Patty 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.