Tag Archives: Masque Milano

Big city life, Masque Times Square

The Big Apple, NYC, A City That Never Sleeps, Gotham, Metropolis, New Amsterdam, The Empire City… There are many ways to call New York City. It’s a place where cultures clash globally. Every corner you can notice people of different ethnicity and you can hear a huge number of different languages being spoken as the crowd is passing by.  Just like Frank Sinatra sang – it’s a city you “want to be a part of it”. I bet that if you’d ask local people they’d mention Times Square as one of the most iconic places in NYC. And that’s what Masque would like to convey in their new creation.

Times Square (I – IV; act I, scene four) begins with a delicious hazelnut aroma. It feels nutty, creamy & delightfuly sweet. There’s something very smooth about it, as if someone just transformed these nuts into a sweet paste that could be used in most sophisticated pastry sold in a trendy patisserie. It then transforms into a glossy lipstick accord. This one smells of candied violets. It’s a combination of boudoir powdery notes with crisp aroma of purple flowers of violet. It’s delicious and feminine – smelling really like a lipstick. It’s funky, an in press release we read “…The cherry of the whore’s bloody-red lipstick melts with the strawberry of her chewing-gum…”

Later on Times Square develops a gently fruity floral facet. It’s given by osmanthus which first gives more of a flowery vibe but then it seamlessly transforms into a fruity smel of ripe apricots. There’s some powdery freshness to it as well. Tuberose which at some point joins osmanthus is really well-behaved. I find it gentle and sophisticated as it blends together with other notes to create this cosmetic, fruity-floral concoction. Personally I still consider candied violet as the leading theme here. But there comes a moment when this new Masque fragrance starts to shift.

masque-times-square

It develops this strange, urbanistic smell that it hard to mistake for anything else. The smell of warm asphalt starts to emerge from Masque Times Square. It’s a thrilling sensation to smell something like that. Absolutely no repulsive feelings were involved. I think it’s a tricky way of combining styrax and gaiac wood. They’ve been mixed together to recreate the smell of city streets by effusing a balsamic, resinous, somehow dirty vibe. It’s a very interesting manipulation of notes.

At later stage of development I get a hint of rose that in the context of previous things that I smelled, instantly provided me with association that I’m smelling a bubble gum. There’s also a bit of popcorn-like feeling to Times Square. Base of the perfume is creamy thanks to sandalwood. It adds substantivity and stronger body to the scent. What I especially liked about this perfume is that at Esxence, Riccardo and Alessandro – two brand founders, deconstructed the scent letting people smell singular accords. There was a separate vial for asphalt, lipstick etc.

Do I look at Times Square by Masque as a perfume? Yes and no. There is a part of it that really is perfumistic, with an idea to a perfume and well-organized construction of it. On the other hand I perceive it as a project to some extend. As a conceptual creation meant to be smelled at exhibitions dedicated to New York City, but not necessarily something you’d like to wear. It’s a fun fragrance anyway. It’s been created by IFF perfumer Bruno Jovanovic. This eau de parfum comes in 35 ml bottle in same new design that was initiated by the launch of L’Attesa in 2016.

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Perfume paradise of Esxence 2017 – day 2

First day at Esxence was truly exciting. I had a chance to talk to some of my friends (but not all of them yet) plus I managed to meet few new faces. As I was discovering I somehow managed to decide what I liked the most during day 1. I knew there’s still a lot to smell during next two days and I was happy to broaden my horizons. The fun was starting for another day.

Day 2 – Friday, 24th of March

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This day had an early start. Even though Esxence doors were closed until 10:30 in the morning people with passes could enter to get to the conference room as at 9:45 there was a planned talk show titled “The naked truth: Christophe Laudamiel’s Fragrance Manifesto: Liberte, Egalite, Fragrancsite.” Unfortunately the whole thing got a little out of control. It was delayed by 25 minutes. I had to leave in the early stage because I had a meeting. I wish I could stay and get to the clue…

The meeting I rushed to, leaving conference room behind me was with one of my favorite brands – Carner Barcelona. In Milan they were proudly presenting a new series of fragrances called White Collection. 3 fragrances that bear names of Besos, Latin Lover & Sweet William were developed with perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. These are floral compositions but each is really different. Besos has lots of powdery iris and it dries down to the scent similar to Nivea body cream. Latin Lover features ylang, magnolia and violet. Sweet William has dianthus and iris.

Next I stopped by Volnay stand where I met Muriel Madeleine and I learned that they are showcasing new fragrance called Mimeomai. I remembered it as a pretty fragrance, very positive and suitable for spring. It was a complex blend of spices, woods and floral notes.

After that I went to visit a booth run by Nicolaï. Patricia was busy but their press representative, Damien Flynn found some time to talk. He introduced me to the brand’s latest novelty – Rose Royale. It’s a rather simple eau de toilette, almost like a soliflore. It emanates of gentle, pure and innocent character. What I especially liked about it is pretty accentuated black currant note.

Then I made a stop at big stand that belonged to Histoires de Parfums. It was eye-catching I must say because their stand was made of some sort of paper harmonicas that were able to hold some weight without falling apart. Plus there was some source of light inside that made the paper glow with a warm light. Shame nobody noticed me when I was there to smell their new This is not a Blue Bottle 1.2 and 1.3. So I just smelled them and moved on.

When I felt that my legs are a bit tired I just made a casual stop to chat with Nishane guys or to chat with Pissara. I’m very thankful they had some time for me every day and allowed me to restore some energy at their stands, despite the fact they were so busy all the time. At some point of the day I finally met Val, our one and only cookie queen. I was indeed enamored to meet her again. I knew she was coming but with all the driving to Milan she didn’t make it there on first day. We sat, had a chat and laugh for a while. I also got a personal bag with some cookies (de-li-cious, way too little for my appetite!). As you might expect she was chilling out with Vero Kern a lot.

Just in time when I needed a break from sniffing, it was about time to revisit the conference room and learn something new. I really wanted to hear the next talk. Its title: “Staying ahead: how to remain creative in today’s competitive niche perfumery” (see it here) Lectures like that are really mind opening to my and I can learn a lot from them. Some statements made were quite daring and provoking an opinion exchange which is really the reason of such panel talks.

Later in the afternoon I managed to discover a new brand that had its debut at Esxence 2017. This Italian brand is named Naso di Raza and they had 9 fragrances at the table if I remember correctly. What was getting attention were the caps, as the cubes had some rubber wires protruding from them, forming loops. Luca Maffei and Cecile Zarokian each made 1 fragrance for them. I especially liked Giuseppe (by Luca) which was an abundance of neroli. Very pretty and summery scent.

After that I managed to meet Santiago Burgas Bou of Santi Burgas. He was presenting a new collection of fragrances named Palindrome. Two scents are simply named Palindrome I and II. Both were a bit smoky, resinous and containing a lot of spices. Not a bad stuff at all, especially that they were made together with Rodrigo Flores-Roux.

As the day was passing by I finally experienced one of the happiest people encounters you possibly could imagine. I met Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies. He’s a very energetic and quirky person. There were lots of hugs and smiles when we met. I also brough him a chocolate from Poland which I hope he liked. Even though it was a very short meeting as Portia appeared at The Mall only for 2 hours maybe (he and his partner preferred to do sightseeing in Milan) but I’m glad we finally met in person after so many years of following each other online.

At 15:00 I had a long-awaited meeting with Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard, a lovely couple who created Jul et Mad. This spring they introduced to the world their new fragrance children – a brand new series within Les Whites collection. Just like the previous one it consists of 3 fragrances however this time the source of inspiration lies in art, in three different masterpieces. Created by perfumer Stephanie Bakouche (I met her at the stand & it was actually her who told me about the fragrances) are Mon Seul Desir – an oriental blend rich in resins, spices but also with a great amount of osmanthus and orange. Other one made in her studio is Fugit Amor (my favorite) combines ginger,cardamom, carnation and loads of vetiver. With Stephanie we concluded that it smells fantastic on my skin but it also changed drastically on it, as it turned into fougere-like smell that reminded me of high-class barbershop soap. To tell the truth – I loved it! Final one from the atelier of Luca Maffei is Bella Donna a connection of mulberry, rose, jasmine, saffron and numerous other ingredients. It’s intoxicating!

Also on Friday I finally had a chance to discover Berdoues and their Collection Grand Crus. I really liked those simple, rectangular bottles with different patterns printed on the back side of the flacon to distinguish one fragrance from another. They presented new in the line named Maasai Mara, which blends notes of buchu, chamomile and labdanum. A truly interesting and unusual concoction.

at 16:00 I had a meeting with people from Jacques Fath. After this brand has been brough back on the market they continue to do a really good job in terms of creation and originality. This March Rania Barakat Naim, founder of the brand has presented a new collection done in collaboration with Luca Maffei. I’m glad I had a full hour reserved for them because when we sat down and started smelling & when Luca joined us we had many thoughts to exchange. Beautiful fragrances: Rosso Epicureo, L’Oree du Bois, Les Frivolites and Lilas Exquis are housed in simple yet pretty bottles and they have gorgeous colors of the liquid. My favorite was Rosso Epicureo.

Last thing I did on Friday was to meet with Masque Milano team. Their stand, adorned in lots of red looked very similar to the previous edition. They had this sort of square box area with a hidden couch that allowed you to sit comfortably and smell the fragrances in more peaceful environment. At the stand I met Alessandro Brun who invited few more people to come and listen to the story together with me. We’ve gone together through some IFF raw materials and accords used in two new creations from the brand and in the end we smelled perfume. Mandala is a smoky, heavy oriental that basically doesn’t contain any light notes. It just goes straight to the point. Times Square on the other hand is the essence of New York, it smells like make up, lipgloss, street food and city traffic. Bizarre but truly appealing.

In the evening Masque was throwing a party to celebrate their double launch. It was held at the ground floor of 10 Corso Como, a concept store & a cafe restaurant. After meeting friends and having some drinks we decided to stay at the very place for the dinner.

That sums up my experience of second day at Esxence 2017.

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