Those who love nature will probably agree that there’s a certain beauty to vegetation that grows on its own, without human attention. Meadows and fiels that grow wild flowers, plants & herbs – they look pretty and we admire their easthetic valors in spring/summer season. We often like (at least I do) the fragrance they offer but for some reason we find it too specific or not pretty enough to wear on your skin as a perfume. Why would you if you can choose a magnificent rose or jasmine composition. The underrated smell of wildflowers became a study of new Parfum d’Empire composition. Mal-Aimé literally means ‘unloved’ and pays tribute to weeds. A bouquet of misfits.
Mal-Aimé begins with a verdant vibrancy that feels a bit messy and chaotic for the first couple of minutes. It feels like standing in the middle of a meadow – there are bees, ants, flies, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies minding their own business, and all of this amidst flowering (or not) plants, weeds actually, that you can’t even name unless you’re a specialist. Different shapes and sizes of their leaves, varied shades of green stems, thorns or no thorns, a variety of flower types. Meadows are filled with stimuli for the eyes, nose and ears. They offer plenty of colors, sounds and smells. Marc-Antoine Corticchiato pays tribute to these unloved weeds with a perfume that is green inside out. Corsican Stinkwort also known as Inula is a wild plant that grows commonly in Corsica and the perfumer decided to use it as a main thread going through the entire composition.
I don’t know how it smells in its natural habitat but the fragrance offers a broad exploration of green theme. As I smell Mal-Aimé on my skin at different moments throughout the day I can smell aromas reminiscent of mint one time, the other time it was more similar to basil. There were also moments when it was closer to geranium or ivy. There are also more dry and herbaceous aspects to this composition, such as nettle or thistle that are mentioned officially in the press release. Surprisingly despite so many verdant notes the perfume doesn’t smell medicated or astringent, it’s kind of fresh and even energetic when you smell it. Though I have to say the greenness of this new Parfum d’Empire creation is more succulent and not very juicy or sappy. It surely gives off the vibe of wild plants from the Mediterranean basin, scorched by the sun but adapted to the climate and enjoying it.
The brand also mentions blackberry bramble among the notes. I’m not sure if it was only supposed to add a shrubby facet but if you ask me there is something faintly reminiscent of forest fruit among the bounty of other green notes of Mal-Aimé. These smells of meadow dissipate step by step as hours pass & after a while it becomes more difficult to differenciate between them. At some point it’s just a blurry mass of green – just like a painting can be done with streaks of different green shades, this perfume here becomes as such painting. Only much later in the drydown you can smell one odd thing that stands out – an orris root. Among the lush green smells it tops above them and effuses the scent of earthy and dried root with just some small hints of something buttery (maybe even slightly rancid?) and with a memory of violet flower mingling in the hiding. A lone, unique presence.
Mal-Aimé from Parfum d’Empire is a one curious scent from perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. It’s not your typical perfume but sort of like a study of a fragranced subject. Who knew one can source new raw materials for perfumery by distilling unwanted weeds and such ordinary plants? Nonetheless the composition joins Heritage Corse collection and offers something new both for the perfume world and the brand. It would place nicely somewhere between Corsica Furiosa and Eau de Gloire. Mal-Aimé is released in eau de parfum concentration, in 50 ml bottle. I’m curious if this perfume piqued your interest? I think opinions will be on opposite ends of the scale.