I have never been to Corsica before but it surely is on my bucket list of places I’ll visit someday. Perhaps my visit to Southern ends of Italy falls the closest in terms of climate and atmosphere. Partly I’m exploring this island through fragrance for Parfum d’Empire, one of my favourite niche brands, is deeply rooted in the Corsican heritage of its founder, who shares his childhood scent experiences with us now. The latest collection called L’Heritage Corse we can get even closer to that region.
Salute ! opens with a citrus accord that combines mandarin, grapefruit and lemon. But if, like me, you expected to smell something juicy and optimistic right here, you are in for quite a surprise. These citrus notes have a surprisingly dry scent, kind of succulent. As if someone squeezed out all the juice and allowed the fruit to dry slowly. The resulting fragrance intrigues me as this dryness has some alcoholic qualities… think of the way gin is shown in perfume. There’s also an element of dust to it.
Once the opening calms down the perfume continues to evolve. After some time Salute ! invites you to step into the vineyard. The air has a Mediterranean smell, warm and humid and as you walk between the alleys of ripening grapes you notice how still and thick this air is. But the smell? The entire area is surrounded by the green, sappy scent of vine leaf. Then comes the wine tasting experience but this new Parfum d’Empire fragrance does not smell like wine on its own.
Wine lees is what perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato used in his composition. This wine-dreg extract brings to mind the idea of some rose tones drenched in eau de vie with its rustic, alcoholic, somewhat yeast-y scent in the back. Salute ! as a perfume is alive and changes, just like a bottle of wine that needs to rest in the cellars to unfold its full potential. Speaking of the cellars, that’s another part that is being explored in this fragrance. So let’s continue this vineyard tour, shall we?
As we descent down the olfactive pyramid of this perfume we discover the presence of iris. Nor is it glamorous nor beautiful. It’s dry, slightly peppery and more reminiscent of ash (like in Aedes Iris Nazarena) or dust – this would be a better comparison. It’s like a grey dust covering the cellar shelves and wooden casks. It’s murky in here, smell of wine and oak wood barrels is everywhere. Oakmoss gives Salute ! an earthy vibe while musk is a source of toned dirtiness that fits in here.
Smelling Parfum d’Empire Salute ! gave me a lot of fun. There are quite many fragrances inspired by wines, liquors and alcoholic beverages but many of them are quite literally exploring the synergy of how they smell and taste. Marc-Antoine Corticchiato took a different approach and showing us a bit of the terroir. His grandfather used to produce his own wine too. Thanks to this perfume I was reminded of a visit to a local vineyard during one of my summer holidays. Cheers! Salute!