One of my maxims on independent perfumery is they can do things the big commercial or niche brands can’t. They can take creative risks in small-batch releases that allow for the use of unique ingredients while opening artistic paths not open to others. Of the group I consider to be the most experimental Antonio Gardoni is at the top of that list.
Sig. Gardoni’s hallmark is to use perfume ingredients to create a space where each component finds its correct orientation. I’ve always remembered Sig. Gardoni explaining the meaning of the word “maai” for one of his earlier creations. He told me it was a term out of the martial art of kendo which roughly translates to “interval/space in between”. Ever since he told me that it is something I think of when trying Sig. Gardoni’s perfumes. Bogue 0,7738 takes this concept to an extreme.
When I heard about 0,7738 I was intrigued. The story I was hearing was it was a perfume where Sig. Gardoni wanted to create freely adding whatever he thought the composition needed. While I was waiting for my sample to arrive, I sent him an e-mail to find out more. After comparing it to perfume improvisation Sig. Gardoni corrected me saying, “I wanted to challenge the process I usually apply to composition that is mainly based in creating some micro-formulas that later are composed together in different scales and proportions. A work made of micro balancing acts in a way very conceptual and extremely time consuming. With a lot of implications like rhythm, symmetry, compression… focus on different notes and materials each treated like a possible finished perfume. Here the idea was to build up with almost no way back option.”
In the same e-mail he told me the formula began in his “brain” followed by putting it down on paper. Then the experiment began. He started with half-amounts of everything he wrote down. 10 days later he tried what he had; then re-adjusted. Adding more of some of the initial materials while also adding in new ones. 10 more days followed by another adjustment. This process would stretch out almost five months. He wrote, “Knowing I had no chance to go back everything was extremely pondered and experiential. I obviously often applied routes that I’m familiar with….in a way I got back to an attitude similar to the one I used to have in my early experiments.”
After receiving my sample there are clearly moments of Gardoni-esque brushstrokes; especially in the use of one particular ingredient. There is also a clear adventurousness present where there appears to be an evolution taking place throughout 0,7738.
This starts with a vintage-like spiced citrus accord. This is Sig. Gardoni re-interpreting classic perfume tropes of decades ago. This continues as the florals come forth. Primarily focused on the white flowers I am guessing there are higher amounts of those. It is also interesting to discover during this phase the precise amounts of things like rose, osmanthus, and lavender in this floral space. This is where the concept of maai hits its apex. The flowers find not so much an accord but a swirling kaleidoscope of larger geometric shapes with smaller angular shapes finding room in between. Through this phase it feels like the kind of retro nouveau perfume Sig. Gardoni has become known for. If there can be said to be a keynote in a perfume as densely constructed as 0,7738 I would say it is camphor. Sig. Gardoni used it as part of his collaboration with Bruno Fazzolari; Cadavre Exquis. In 0, 7738 it feels like this was the ingredient he kept slowly upping the concentration every 10 days. This takes that contemporary vintage style and explodes it with an asteroid of camphor and other resins. There is a moment where I am peering over a fragrant crater rimmed with a blizzard of flowers as camphor, benzoin, and galbanum smoke at the bottom. The final stage of 0,7738 is a soothing sweet woodiness which rides underneath the camphor and resins. Sig. Gardoni uses vanilla to smooth out the woods into a comforting base accord.
0,7738 has 24-hour longevity and average sillage.
Sig. Gardoni created his earliest Bogue perfumes after experimenting with a circa 1940 perfumer’s set he discovered. 0,7738 feels like his return to that experimental design. It is a perfume which I have enjoyed studying and attempting to understand. It is also bittersweet because every spray I use to learn more also removes one more away from the day when I will run out. This is important because 0,7738 will not be reproduced after these 33 bottles are gone. I wouldn’t worry about missing out though. I believe 0,7738 are the headwaters of a new stream of creativity that will culminate in the next Bogue release.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.