1 novembre 2010

Smell in Black: a journey to the end of the night

Yesterday it's ended the Smell in Black event, three days of meetings dedicated to black in all its shades and olfactory meanings. Black as the bistre of femmes fatales, black as the colour of the night crowded of myths, rituals and magic, black like the abyss from where rebirths a new life. Unfortunately I've been able to attend only to the meeting "A shadow of perfume - among vertigo and passion", an olfactory journey to the end of the night guided by Francesca Faruolo one of the Smell Festival promoters, supported by Cristina Ganz (alias Lady in Black) and Giovanni Padovan of Profumeria al Sacro Cuore in Bologna.
In five steps from dusk to dawn, Cristina guided us through a talk-path among the smelled fragrances, describing sensations and impressions from them, all well illustrated by Francesca coupling readings and movies from Matilde Serao to Lasse Hallström's Chocolat to many others.

Darkness falls down and Passion springs featuring as main role tuberose with his intoxicating notes, embodied by two very different takes on it: Nasomatto's Narcotic Venus where Alessandro Gualtieri uses a more floral and charming register and Frédéric Malle's Carnal Flower in which Dominique Ropion morphs the milky and nocturnal flower in a hoarse voice, green and sappy, just opened and with a brutal sensuality, almost masculine.

It's Night and the darkness, excluding sight, sharpens the other senses and we cannot prevent trusting our nose and smelling perfumes that become more intense with an unkonown spatial dimension. I've been particularly fascinated by a perfume I didn't know, Secrète Datura by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier for which Jean-François Laporte put over five years work to recreate the suggestion of witches grass (also the pubblic was very curious about it) through a complex and perfectly balanced olfactory architecture. The opening is floral-green with lily of the valley, lemon and heliotrope and introduces the simphonic theme of datura flower, rebuilt with very intense jasmin and honeysuckle giving a sensation like crumpled corollas opening. The released aroma is substained by a complex base with cocoa and vanilla touches without blurring into gourmand yet giving their sinful temptation to invisibly seal colder and more powdery iris and white musk.

Speaking of nocturnal sins, it's impossible not to name the Sin of gluttony with gourmand facets making the mouth watering, pleasing and reassuring. Among the various gourmand tasted for sure Musc Maori by Parfumerie Générale conquered someone's heart. To me it remembered some kind of french bonbon haute chocolaterie where the crunchy chocolate covering with a bitter-spicy tone given by anise and cofeee flower breaks under the taste buds, releasing a creamy heart of milk chocolate with pralins given by cumaru wood to stimulate even more taste and touch with their nutty backtaste and physical crumblyness.

After the sin, in the darkness only Dopo il peccato, nel buio solo i Artificial paradises can welcome us, ready to absolve us with their alcoolic and smoky excesses, to make us fall down into the deepest obliviona that erases wrongs punishments. Above all we find hashis and absynth, ever celebrated cursed artificial paradises, in Black Afgano di Nasomatto, a very potent aromatic wood, and in Amouage Memoir Man by Karine Vinchon that, despite the inspiration of a trip to hell and back to new life, seemed very pleasant and delicate on the paper, with a nice green opening of absynth sweetened by basil and minth and then smoked up by a cold incense similar to cypress resin, just warmed by rose, anise and vanilla. For sure on skin it has a different effect so I will try it next time.

In the oblivion instincts and hidden passions are finally free together with the beast we fear and that charms us: Animalìa, animal charme. In the beginning animal notes were used above all to fix other notes in a fragrance, being them the closer notes to human skin, closer to our animal being. Also today, even if synthetic fixatives are used, these notes are still used even if mostly synthetic because of environmental reasons, because they are strongly evocatory and magnetic and in some cases they're unreplacable to exalt some indolic facets of herbs and flowers. Smelling them, I always find myself ipnotized like a mouse following the magic fifer, as they'd sound something I can feel vibrating inside me like an harmonic case. I got the proof of it smelling a natural civet tincture that Ne Mr. Padovan kindly led us sniff: I was ravished among the pubblic turning up the nose disgusted by the slightly fecal urinous opening without knowing that after few minuts the paradise of senses would have been there. Then you start to smell an incredible warm beating aroma with spicy and floral hints, so velvety and magic that  you can't keep your nose and mind away. Poor civet but what a marvel! And you can feel it well in Onda by Vero Kern (she was present too) where it's coupled with a smoky leathery vetiver totally rounded by honey and beeswax also animal and persuasive. I finally had the chance to try the parfum extrait and it's gone straight in my wishlist: I felt it powerful, manly, wild and in a word awesome compared to the also nice eau de parfum I tried at Exsence.

In the end comes the dawn with the first lights and from the abyss of senses we emerge again looking at the sky taken by the ethereal chant of Parfumerie Générale's Louanges profanes that I liked a lot for that tinkling of white Madonna lilies like crystal little bells through whiffs of incense. Nothing clerical like the incensed lilies of Giacobetti's Passage d'enfer for L'Artisan, here Pierre Guillaume creates a more decidedly ambery base with a warm benzoin. It seems that Pierre got the inspiration for this fragrance from a request of recreating the smell of angels making love. Is it maybe that tinkling of little bells I ear?

Last treat of the spoils rich in olfactory experiences, thanks to the passionate willingness of Giovanni Padovan that guested few frends in his livingroom, Profumeria al Sacro Cuore, to have a sniffathona follow-up and a pleasant talk, I had the chance to smell Portrait of a Lady, the last creation from Dominique Ropion for Frédéric Malle. The interpretation if the victorian novel by Henry James here is translated in a contemporary way and you can feel it immediately by the very green and sharp opening, almost rough with rose oxide acidulated by redcurrant leaves introducing the blooming vibrating turkish rose, with fruity and winey facets. The full bodied wine is empowered also by a base of patchouli purged from all its camphoraceous and musty impurity leaving only the fluidity spatially deepened by ambroxan and a dense and longlasting incense without being mystical yet really interesting. The rose-patchouli theme is for sure nothing new but Ropion shows to be able to add something new, above all in that so vegetal opening, where the rose almost blooms through the tomato leaves, really clever.

1 commento:

Anonimo ha detto...

Ciao Ermano,

What an Aladdin's cave of treasures. You had my mouth watering at Musc Maori in particular.

Thank you for yet another beautifully descriptive, vivid report!


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