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.
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.