After 26 years living in Italy, I would like to pay homage its soul with a great fresco, composed of 5 precious fragrances that will celebrate some of the country’s most beloved cities: Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples.
It is, I hope and believe, to my advantage that my knowledge of Italy, intimate though it is, rests upon my experiences as a man who was not born here. That slight distance allows me to contemplate the land I love with a measure of objectivity, and to take note of some aspects of its character that might be so obvious as to be invisible to one who was raised here.
This project will take place over the following months, and include the participation of my internet friends, both on Basenotes and on other blogs. As usual, samples for those who wish to participate are free.
Your comments will help me and are all welcome.
The first fragrance to have been completed is “Milano Caffè”, has been developed with the contribution of members of the Basenotes, along with the help of my Milanese friends in Italy.
Request your free 2 ml sample in the “comment” box when you pass an order
This perfume, named for Milan, is centred on the omnipresent and most characteristic smell of the city, the aroma of coffee. It pervades the streets and workplaces; it is part of every event and encounter, professional or leisurely; and is present in every social occasion.
I have blended coffee with chocolate because that is the Milanese way: the residents of that marvelous city add Cacao powder to cappuccinos, and place a single square piece of chocolate next to your cup of coffee.
The combination of coffee and chocolate is your introduction to the city of Milan, but it is merely the start. The original blast of coffee- chocolate melts quickly into woody-spicy notes. The heart of ‘Milano caffè’ is an elegant male fragrance worthy of the sophisticated fashion that characterizes the city: Warm, dry, woody, sober and at the same time rich, with a determined, confident character.
A subdued spicy accord alludes to the multi-ethnic aspect of the city, as manifest in the Somali and Arab restaurants that have flourished there in recent years.
Milano caffè is not your usual masculine, composed of trite notes to appeal to a mass audience. It is, instead, a new and unexpected accord that will appeal to people who make trends, not those who follow them.
The next fragrance is dedicated to one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Venice. “Venezia, Giardini segreti” is inspired by the “corti” — the courts of Venice that contain its secret gardens, hidden within the maze of the city — and particularly to the imaginary “Corte Sconta detta Arcana” of the “Favola di Venezia” di Corto Maltese, first discovered in the recesses of Hugo Pratt’s mind, and illustrated by his hand.
“When the Venetians grow tired of the established authorities,” he writes, “they walk to these 3 secret places and, opening the doors that are in the bottom of these courts, they go away forever into beautiful places and other stories.”
The essences that recount these hidden courts, where the feel and smell of the sea are never far away, are of Jasmine and Rose, of Italian aromatic herbs and of Myrrh, the sweet resin which evokes the city’s ancient connection with the East.
The Ambergris is the ingredient of the fragrance that celebrates Venice’s foundation on seafaring; it’s the key that opens the door to other worlds and other stories. It is the magical ingredient that renders the fragrance three-dimensional, the noble pheromone with a scent of leather, of sea and of mother’s milk. This smell, so rare and precious that it is no longer used in modern perfumes, confers to the “Venezia Giardini Segreti” a unique and inimitable magic.
Grain de Musk Denyse Beaulieu
Fragrantica Elena Vosnnaki
Grain de musc (top 10 summer 2013)