31 maggio 2010

A Perfume’s Lady: Maria Candida Gentile Maitre Parfumeur

Some months ago I received an email from Maria Candida Gentile, who asked me: "You never speak of my line of fragrances: Don’t you know it? In this case can send you samples. Or... maybe it's because you don’t like it?" I answered I didn’t know the scents well enough to write about them. Moreover, in the past I smelt a couple of fragrances she had composed under a client’s brief, and since they were completely uninteresting to me, I assumed the author had no arguments. And I was wrong: the reasons were probably to be found on the other side, because fragrances she made for her personal line are really beautiful, expressing a sound personal taste, the result of a sensitivity and stylistic research that you "feel".
Meeting Maria Candida was one of the most interesting things I did during Sniffa-Thon organized at Esxence exhibition, last March in Milan. It was my friend Stefania who insisted I met Maria Candida, and since she’s not giving into tantrums over nothing, when she sais "Come on, there's something worth a smell, here!" I trust her and go. She never fails.
On that occasion, Maria Candida dedicated to the big group Adjiumi/ Bergamotto e Benzoino a good hour: trying to silence her innate shyness, she introduced us her fragrances and eventually split one, “Exultat” into raw materials, to make us smell them and show how she put them together to obtain effects she was looking for. From Esxence on, I’ve been wearing all of them again and again: they get in slowly, but then remain for good.

I suppose the "easiest" to start with (even if this adjective doesn’t suit her fragrances at all) may be Sideris, or the Star, a soft, powdery scent based on woods (sandalwood plus the woody feeling of ciste labdanum), resin (benzoin), spices (saffron, pepper) and Turkish rose. A sophisticated, ethereal, comfortable scent, the perfect choice when you feel urged to dream of turquoise silk dresses with long trains, glittering tiaras in the hair and crystal slippers to lose at Midnight.
The other female, Cinabre is essentially dominated by a deeply red rose, a fleshy sensation enriched with the fruity smell of davana, with a magnificent background of benzoin, vanilla and opoponax. A soft, velvety sensation, opposite to that of Sideris: while the context there suggests innocence and tenderness, here everything speaks of red damask, with a ripe sensuality, formally compliant but with the fire of passion burning just below the surface.

These two fragrances suggest me the idea that Maria Candida feels a bit limited by the classic pyramidal composition top/heart/base notes, and feels the need to rework it in a more personal way, using only a few spices like ginger and black pepper as top notes, and entering immediately in the heart of the fragrance. Indeed, the feeling the perfume conveys after the spray is different: in the classic  top/heart/base pyramid the fragrance is introduced by sparkling top notes that capture attention and retain it high until the heart notes get in, but when the top notes are partially or completely missing, the fragrance tends to appear almost "out of the blue", composed and ready. Once there, it starts morphing very, very slowly. A similar structure was typical of certain fragrances launched in the 80s: opulent, slow, long-living, and I think the trend is coming back today. I must say that I like it, but only as long as the author perfectly masters the other two times of the pyramid, namely the heart and the base. The fragrance must have time to perform all its fragrant journey, which must be well articulated and understandable, otherwise the result may be boring. But in this case persistence is satisfactory and fragrances make interesting olfactory journeys, so I'd call this an apt choice of style.
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5 commenti:

Le critique de parfum ha detto...

Sounds very interesting, thank you.

Are these fragrances available outside Italy?

Bergamotto e Benzoino ha detto...

Hi! I think so, I'm checking where, and then report. :-)

Bettina ha detto...

I have not seen her fragrances outside of Italy as of yet. Or let's say it differently: none of the niche perfumeries I know so far here in GErmany do carry the line. Of course there is a chance that a store which existence I may not know has them. However the majors dont have them.
I did enjoy her presentation she gave to the group last March and thanks to Marika for arranging it. Love on the first sniff for me is Sideris. So I had to get a bottle. Very nice. I adore another creation of Maria Candida which she did for the Profumi del Forte line. I hope I dont write BS know but as far as I know Vittoria Apuana (to me the one and only fragrance that captures a day at an Italian beach along the adriatic coast) is her creation.

Bettina ha detto...
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do pheromones work ha detto...

Well,its very interesting even though I am not good for a fragrance descriptions but I wanted to have a perfume collections.