Followers of the Blind Sniff Roulette know I try ranging over past and present while choosing the mystery fragrances and news and stage tricks are not excluded. So if the warming-up round was about commercials, for the second round I went for a scent launched less than a year ago and confidentially sold off of the regular distribution. It's L'Eau de Merzhin from Anatole Lebreton, a young self-taught creator which trained his nose thanks to the love for classics and the study of natural and synthetic raw materials. It's no wonder then someone of you asked me whether it was a vintage because the richness of the olfactory texture is just like that one, painted in the bright (horns) sunny (sun beams) colours of contemporary materials and hints. As Anatole explains in his blog, the inspiration for the fragrance is a tribute to the nature(green, cicadas, stables, horses, insects) and the myths (alchimisti, Gian dei Brughi, M. Butterfly, the magician) of his Brittany, the land of Merlin a.k.a. Merzhin in breton.
Giampaolo Jicky Baldoni
This wonderful fragrance conjures up a sense of luxury: taking time for themselves, slowing down the rithm of metropolitan life escaping to cowntryside, a place where sensual tobacco and hay welcome you together with the smell of sunburnt ripe wheat slowly fading to a civilized clean smell (tonka?). Night blooming jasmin smell is in background inviting you to loosen not only body and soul but also the costumes.
- if it would be a colour? It would be like the colour flashes we see while closing our eyes after looking at the sun in summer.
- if it'd be an animal? It would be a horse with a glossy tawny coat at a gallop through the wheat fields.
- if it would be music? The joyful, monotonous creaking of cicadas.
- if it'd be a place? It conjures up a retreat in the countryside in summer with a stable, a horse, a hayloft and a bower surrounded by wheat fields and vineyards.
- if it'd be a cloth? It would be a man's clean linen shirt (also wearable by a woman) but slightly heaten by the body sweating inside it.
- if it'd be a movie/book? I can see the Joseph Losey's movie "The Go-Between" inspired by L.P. Hartley's novel with the same name because of the scenery rather than for the plot.
- if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? Surely it makes me thing of a rural gentleman with straightforward manners and sensual as Alan Bates. Thinking of a woman, I can see Brigitte Bardot with a ear of wheat in her mouth (It is getting hot in here!... Isn't it?).
It's been difficult to deal with this ambiguous fragrance bearing somehow tirannic and obsessive qualities. For some days it prevented my immagination to have any associations with it, paying attention only to its evolution digging my nose into an ideal, multi-coloured, eludive bouquet.
- if it would be a colour? It would almost be the silvery green fleshy foliage of some bulbs or willow or sage, here and there spotted by yellow buttercups, violets and wisterias.
- if it'd be an animal? It would be an insect (a wasp, a bee, a bumblebee, a ladybug, a fly, a shrimp) and a grass snake active and undisturbed in their natural habitat.
- if it'd be music? It would be Nick Cave's "I let love in", an allegory "written with the blood" on the ambiguous character of love. I made this match basing on the heart of the fragrance, its louder and despotic part made of raw florals (narcissus, hyacinth, jasmin??) and shamelessly iridescent, repulsive and charming.
- if it'd be a place? It would be one of that typical rural gardens in the Po valley, probably from the past, ruled by the aim of saving bulbs and and spontaneous bushes rather than by aesthetics or botanical guidelines. These eclectic and untidy spaces have their own coherence but are stuffed with irises, hyacinths, narcissus and rose, dahlias and carnations that crossed the boundaries of yards to spread in the country. I got this sensation from the beautiful opening (unfortulately too soon fleeting), that welcomes you with hay notes. As said it develops narcotic and violent (is there narcissus in or not?) to smooth down later after a few hours(!) in a slightly medicinal aromatic bouquet where I get some mint, a lavender ghost and hints of dill.
- if it'd be a cloth? It would be a glove: a gardener's one, an alchemist's one, a femme fatale's one.
- if it'd be a movie/book? It would be David Cronenberg's M. Butterfly, dangerously perfect for both sexes.
- if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? As a consequence, it would be Armida, "The woman whose beauty the Orient praised like no other" and the magicial in the Tarots.
This scent is very far from my taste: my nose gets an ashy vetiver with touches of what seems cypress. I get a raw facet, a dissonant note I get from time to time in some ruined vintages: it reminds me of not perfectly leavened bread (like it happens in some wet leather scents) sharp, acid and salty smell, that doesn't disgust though. In the end I get smokiness together with a gentle (star anise? Heliotrope? Green almond? carrot-like iris?) a mood like this.
- if it would be a colour? A colour between khaki and dove grey with ashy shades.
- if it'd be an animal? It would be a smooth-haired dachshund wearing a tweed coat and walking in the grass with self-confidence.
- if it'd be music? It would sound like horns playing before the fox hunting.
- if it'd be a place? It would be a british hunting cottage with a fire burning dry leaves close to an avenue with cypresses.
- if it'd be a cloth? It would be a pair of fustian trousers.
- if it'd be a movie/book? It would be The Baron in the trees. It reminds me of a minor character, the thief Gian dei Brughi that stayed hidden for months reading old books in a grotto with mosses, lichens and foliage. I guess this could be his smell.
- if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
The fragrance opening is bright, masculine and attractive with green invigorating notes (Galbanum?). On skin this high pitch changes, softening and showing a slight powderness still empowering the green topnote. This mix goes on slowly developing into the dry, warm base (cedramber). I like this perfume, it feels comfortable, pity for the dry note in the end. My nose can't cope with this kind of molecules.
- if it would be a colour? Green.
- if it'd be an animal? It would be something furry.
- if it would be music? Some jazz.
- if it'd be a place? It'd be London.
- if it would be a cloth? It would be a cashmere sweater.
- if it'd be a movie/book? It'd be a british commedy.
- if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? It could be a Nobleman.