Tag Archives: Fanny Bal

Two from Masque to Indulge in This Winter

In 2020 due to growing pandemic situation across the world the activity of perfume brands was drastically reduced. I don’t know any numbers or statistics but I have a feeling that the drop could even reach 80%. The biggest loss and saddest thing to accept was the cancelation of Pitti and Esxence, two biggest niche perfume shows. The latter one was rescheduled to April 2021 only to be rescheduled again to June. If you were smart and tech-savvy, you’d move to online promotion. That’s what Masque Milano did and their 2 new perfumes were launched via Google Meet platform.

Ray-Flection begins with a moderately sweet yet delightfully juicy & mouth-watering scent of mandarin orange. Very shortly some aldehydic tones join and lift up the composition making it feel more airy and effervescent. You do feel a little bit of fattiness from these molecules, even a hint of something waxy & slippery but their aerial aspect is prevailing here. Cardamom introduces a bit of a crunchy, roasty spiciness to the backbone of the perfume. Heart of Ray-Flection reveals a floral bouquet in which a pollen sweetness of mimosa flowers whispers tenderly in your ear and gently caresses your face. It’s a pretty smell, a very happy & optimistic one. It is paired with violet leaf – its green color contrasts with the yellowness of the pom-poms. The smell it has is dewy, slightly ozonic and aromatic. Both are wrapped together, almost like a ribbon that ties a bouquet, with a solar accord. On my skin it feels a bit crystalline, lactonic and with a delicate impression of jasmine. While I don’t consider this new creation from Masque to be a challenging scent, the base is the hardest for me to bear. Beeswax becomes quite prominent on my skin and I am not very fond of it. It adds an impression of something too synthetic and artificial, at least to my nose. Then there’s some cedarwood and musk to help the perfume last longer on skin. I believe mimosa lovers should try Ray-Flection, even if only just out of curiosity. To me it stands few steps behind my favorite.

Last year Masque branched out of their main line by introducing Le Donne di Masque, a series of more feminine fragrances composed by female perfumers. I believe first two, Dolceacqua and Petra were already on preview in 2019. This line celebrate 10th anniversary of the brand and the aforementioned two are reinterpretations of Masque first releases. Late in 2020 a third persona was added. Maceleine is a gourmand perfume that goes straight to the point. The wearer is welcomed by a powerful accord of chestnut. The complex identity of the note hides in the fact that it captures the multiple facets of this Parisian delicacy. It’s nutty and at the same time caramelized. A little bit burnt on the outside but soft & perfectly cooked inside. Combined with a generous spoonfull of heavy cream that has been whipped to add some lightness to the concoction. Cumin… there’s not much of it but I get a bit of a specific stench in the background and I associate it with the smell of some of the streets in Paris. Then there’s a lactonic, creamy tuberose that doesn’t overwhelm but rather melts into nut-n-cream feeling. Cypress and geranium add a tad of crunchiness but their verdancy doesn’t stand out in this foody fragrance. Tonka bean amplifies the creamy vibe that Madeleine creates but at least now it’s got that aromatic, rich (yet mild) spiciness that feels like some sprinkles on top of this dessert. The sweetness of vanilla and fluffy clouds of musk complete the perfume. I know it’s got zero calories but how much sugar can your nose take? I think this perfume can be either love or hate, it smells polarizing if you ask me.

I like the idea of an online launch in times of covid. Where the brand founders along with respective perfumer explain the perfume to a selected group of attendees who were sent the samples prior to the event (mine didn’t make it on time so I didn’t attend) but in case of Ray-Flection and Madeleine as much as I have no doubts about quality of both fragrances, because in this field Masque always delivers, neither of them feels a special to me as L’Attesa or Kintsugi. However I am convinced that many fans of the brand will enjoy using one or both of these new scents. Fingers crossed!

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Desert Road, Masque Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway surely deserves a title of one of the most memorable American novelists of 20th century. His numerous adventures, including participation in World War I or being a Spanish Civil War reporter earned him a lot of admiration of generations to come. From various sources we know that he had several women in his life and that he drank a lot. In 1961 he committed suicide. Personally I’ll remember his name mostly because The Old Man and The Sea, which I read at school. Masque Milano decided to pay homage to his person through a vetiver-centered perfume.

(Homage to) Hemingway makes a bold first impression by straightforwardly showing off its heart made of vetiver. For couple initial minutes the smell is quite dense and really oily, sitting on top of the skin as if it had difficulties to begin to evaporate. When the composition finally starts to breathe the vetiver starts to be more spacious but it doesn’t get airy or lightweight. It’s a solid and really substantive element of a new chapter in Masque story. There are several facets that entwine with each other. First one is a rugged woody aspect – with chipped edges and uneven surface. 2nd of the facets embodies hay-like aromatic dryness of the vetiver grass and its coumarin-infused properties. Last facet is more green and slightly stingy to my nose, with a scent effect similar to tannins.

masque-hemingway

According to press release Hemingway features oils of vetiver from Haiti and Java & believe it or not but in my case vetiver is the only note I can smell from this perfume for the first couple of hours. It took as long as 4 or even 5 hours for me to be able to smell the bitterness of rhubarb – but it was a very brief appearance. There was more ginger going on in the later stage of development. It added a spicy twist to the composition with a little bit of freshness. There was also a powdery & tingly backnote to it, like a ground and dried ginger. Leather in Masque Hemingway really caught me by surprise – it’s one of the most unusual leathers I’ve smelled in years. Quite typical at first it quickly developed a resemblance to tar or even asphalt! Dark, intense and pungent. Cedarwood and patchouli ensure great longevity and depth to this weird yet thrilling perfume.

Considering the fact that Masque Hemingway really puts a heavy accent on vetiver and its multiple facets on one side, and the fact that I’m not a vetiver-frenzy person I think I did quite well wearing the scent for the sake of writing this review (I did it for you! ha!) Without much difficulties I can imagine Hemingway becoming quite popular, especially among men perfume audience since it’s much closer to masculine end of spectrum. The composition was developed by Fanny Bal from IFF. Sillage and longevity are above average. It will be available as eau de parfum in 35 ml bottles.

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