Masque Milano Romanza

romanzaPatty sent me an envelope of samples recently, most of which are the new Jo Malone tea scents. She knows how much I love tea in the summer. I was sniffing along, not paying too much attention, a little dab here, a little …. what … the … heck … is THAT?!

I giggled when I looked at the label – it’s Masque Milano’s Romanza, which is not a light, summery tea scent… notes are artemisia, orange blossom, angelica, narcissus, violet leaf, jasmine, vetiver, cedar, patchouli, amber, civet. Here’s a snippet from their deliriously OTT website blurbage, which for whatever reason delights rather than annoys me:

Daylight is breaking in. What time is it? The Green Fairy inspired throughout your nightlong endeavours and now you’re done. Your beautiful subject is still there facing you.… as intoxicating as the indolic smell of the flowers in full bloom, coming from the garden…

Masque Milano starts off with a deceptive swish of frothy, leafy sweetness — just a delight, violets and orange blossom with a hint of medicinal green that keeps it balanced. As it unfolded on my arm the first time I realized I had huge smile on my face; it reminds me just a bit of the top notes of Parfum de Nicolai’s joyous Odalisque.

I kept sticking my nose back in there, sniffing and sniffing, as the sweetness began to fall away, replaced by a rich, lush accord of narcissus (earth, hay, barnyard), ripe jasmine and the heavy animalic fug of civet. It’s fantastic. It’s what you think a perfume named “Romanza” should smell like. It’s dirty in all the right ways, and as strikingly beautiful as light through a stained-glass window.

It’s Perfume in the Grand Manner, a big, brazen statement. It reminds me of two other statement scents – Laura Biagiotti’s original Venezia (remember that gem?), with which it shares a stylized, golden richness; and Desprez’ classic Bal a Versailles, with which it shares a deliciously dark, borderline-inappropriate skanky base. On his blog, perfumesilove, Luca Turin describes it as “superb work.”  It’s the kind of scent that reminds me why I fell in love with perfume.

  • PJ says:

    Venezia is my favorite from the 90’s. I still buy the vintage one, usually on Ebay. The re-make actually isn’t too bad, but you know how it is, there’s nothing quite like the original.

  • Neva says:

    Whoa, this sounds like a good scent for real grown up ladies 🙂 I will surely try it out asap. Thanks for the review!

  • Suzy Q says:

    Like Pamela I find Romanza to be way out of my comfort zone but I can’t help but like it. I’ve got a sample vial, which may be all I need. It’s big. Recently I sampled L’Attesa, their new iris focused scent. It is just as masterfully composed but, to me, more wearable.

  • HeidiC says:

    Daaaaaaang — definitely going to have to try this one!

  • pats133 says:

    I sprayed a little spritz of my Romanza sample, went for a brisk walk and wondered where the beautiful floral smell was coming from when i returned home….. it was me…… it was Romanza – it loves hot skin…. i love it! I now need to get a bigger decant.,..

  • Tiara says:

    I love Venezia and have nursed along my bottle forever. Strong sillage always scares me but I apply lightly to begin with…on to the sample list it goes!

  • Portia says:

    Heya March,
    Sample on its way to me. CAN’T WAIT!
    Portia xx

  • I tried this I think about 6 weeks ago for the first time. It is not the typical style of perfume that I like, but it was blogged about in such a way I sent off for a sizeable sample. Whoa! Not my usual amber-wood-resin. I was blown. So I sent off for a much larger sample….I love this stuff, but to me it is the Narcissus of my childhood, and very green, intensely floral with amaaaaazzzing silage and longevity. This scent is beyond my comfort zone but I’m adicted. I find it very different, refreshingly original and well made. Love your posts!