Marine reflections, Gabriella Chieffo Acquasala

When I went for the second time to Esxence this past March I knew I would not be able to make it to every single stand exhibiting. It would’ve been technically impossible and I learned from the previous year experience how it looks like. When you’re at a perfume fair like that, time somehow tends to accelerate and it passes without you even realizing it. Not to miss anything important I made a list of brands I had to visit. The list included both friends and new names on the market.

While in Milan I was really looking forward to my appointment with Gabriella Chieffo. Her perfumes made a huge impression on me at Pitti half a year earlier but we didn’t get a chance to meet eye to eye. This time it was different. I approached her booth, decorated with beautiful origami flowers made of paper, as she was finishing talking with other visitor. Then it was my turn to say hi. She didn’t recognize me in first place but as soon as I introduced myself, she rushed to give me a hug. We started talking laughing, it felt like a reunion with a friend. As I knew other creations that were introduced in Florence in September 2014, we mainly focused on talking about the new one.

Acquasala is a charming fragrance that falls into woody-aromatic group of scent classification and it represents a very unusual interpretation of marine trend. A new perfume from Gabriella wasn’t the only aquatic/marine creation presented at Pitti 2015 but for me it was definitely the most interesting one. On my skin Acquasala starts with the aromatic accord of seaweed. Here it smells like a combination of green, woody and oceanic elements. After around 5-10 minutes the composition gets enriched with olibanum and that’s when it really brings the seaside pictures to one’s mind.

Olibanum, with its mineral, salty and a bit rugged character effuses warm and peaceful scent that I associate with the way stones at the seaside smell when they’re warmed by the sun. This accord perfectly blends with the fragrance of algae and provides a realistic feeling of spending a day at the seaside. One would expect that olibanum might make Acquasala feel cold, while it’s the very opposite. The perfume feels warm and safe. A little bit of piquancy is added with the note of black pepper. It’s slightly metallic in feel but most of all it brings forward the freshly spiced facet.

As the time flies Acquasala shifts more and it feels less and less marine, though you have to keep in mind that salty breeze aspect of olibanum is present in this perfume for its entire lifespan. Later it becomes more balsamic when myrrh coins the composition. To my joy it doesn’t smell like burning plastic but its scent is strictly resinous and slightly oriental. There is really something enjoyable in this part, when seaside meets with orient. Later on some woody accords start to emerge.

Main woody note of Gabriella Chieffo Acquasala is cashmeran, a soft and tender woody note of reasonable substance, not too heavy, not too light. Because there is also a nutmeg accord appearing on my skin almost at the same time this woody facet of the composition smells rather dry on me and it has some roughness to it but in case of this perfume, this is something ‘in plus.’ For the next couple of hours the perfume slowly evolves, revealing some additional notes such as patchouli, which is a bit earthy, or oakmoss – shrubby & woody. All nicely blended and united.

In case of this perfume it’s the drydown that is really something special and unusual. Imagine this – woody notes slowly start to fade away, you begin to notice some sort of bonfire smell that becomes deeper and deeper, it darkens and turns into smoky incense note that kind of starts to hide other notes behind thick fumes. But then, there it is, perfectly noticeable despite the smokiness – the iris. Probably one of favorite notes of Gabriella Chieffo (otherwise she wouldn’t use it in 3 of her perfumes right?) Acquasala shares the same powdery and silky feeling as other two perfumes in this line. In late drydown there is also some sensual amber and musks as well as a hint of refreshing neroli.

Even though Acquasala by Maison Gabriella Chieffo is a perfume of contrast between solidity & subtlety, etherealness & substantiveness, to me it still feels essentially Italian in a conceptual and stylistic manner. It’s also a proof that marine perfume done right, in a truly unusual way, it can really offer a lot to the wearer. Bravo! The perfume is made in eau de parfum concentration and is signed by perfumer Luca Maffei (with Gabriella Chieffo assistance.) It’s available in square-shaped 100ml bottles with brand’s signature cap made of stone. It lingers for over 10 hour and leaves a lovely train behind the wearer. Acquasala feels warm and sunny but it also does great on colder days.

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11 thoughts on “Marine reflections, Gabriella Chieffo Acquasala

  1. hajusuuri says:

    Marine in the title scared me at first but as you described how the perfume evolved, it rose up to the Mist Try category! It is so cool that you’ve met so many perfumers and that you were given such a warm reception!

    • lucasai says:

      I know what you mean sweetie, marine is definitely not something I’ve been looking for on purpose. But Acquasala is a beautiful perfume, a marine but with a lot of twists that make it so unusual.
      Yes, I’m happy about people I met and recognition I got. It felt so flattering to find out that people from new brands also knew my blog and wanted to make friends with me. Also the perfumers – met Cecile Zarokian again and Luca Maffei as well. Some of them said they’ll be happy to work with me if I decide to make my own brand.

  2. Holly says:

    This one sounds really fascinating. It’s so interesting to me that the ocean theme is prevalent in many recent perfumes.

    I finally received my sample of Lye from STC, so I’ll be testing it today!

  3. Hey buddy,
    That bottle looks fabulous. Is it as hefty as it looks?
    One day I will join you at a European frag meet.
    Portia xx

  4. jennL says:

    I love seaweed notes!

  5. […] Carner Barcelona Palo Santo, Altaia Yu Son, Atelier Cologne Oud Saphir & Mandarine Glaciale, Gabriella Chieffo Acquasala. Of course there are more from this or earlier years but it’s hard to remember it […]

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