I say it incessantly but one of the things I love about independent perfumers is their willingness to make their own raw materials. The ability of someone who is working for themselves to make the effort to create the perfect ingredient. One of the best at doing this is perfumer Maria Candida Gentile. When I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with her she usually has a vial or two of the accords she is using in the latest release. I was unable to attend Pitti Fragranze this past September but ever since receiving a sample of Maria Candida Gentile Lankaran Forest I realized I missed the opportunity to try another amazingly realized accord.
Lankaran Forest was actually released in 2015 as a limited edition at the 2nd Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts in London. It was used as the scent of a gallery within which was an artist’s depiction of the forests near the Azerbaijan city in the name of the perfume. To prepare for this Sig.ra Gentile took a trip to the place in the name. While there she was taken by the immense ironwood trees. She would also go visit a citrus orchard and a tea plantation nearby. Together she used all of these inspirations to create the new fragrance.
Maria Candida Gentile
It is those citrus orchards which come out early on. Bitter orange and petitgrain form a tart accord which is given energy by the addition of ginger. For a perfume with forest in the name this felt more like the beach. It begins to get a little more arboreal with the arrival of a black tea accord. Lankaran black tea is renowned for its floral nature over the deepness of the tea leaves. That mix of floralcy and dried tea leaves is an interesting transition from the brighter top notes. Then we finally arrive at the edge of the forest looking up at the ironwood trees and here is where Sig.ra Gentile’s touch with an accord comes into play. She creates a mélange of dry woods with hints of moist lichen clinging to it. There are also grace notes of moist soil here too. It is complex with lovely subtleties I discovered on every day I wore this.
Lankaran Forest has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Most of the time when you see forest in a fragrance name you are expecting soaring woods, big balsamic notes and lots of green. Lankaran Forest is none of that. It is less focused on the forest and more on the whole of a city named Lankaran from orchard to tea to tree. It is one of Sig.ra Gentiles most nuanced perfumes which drew me in even further as I wore it. I believe if I ever make it to Lankaran I already know how it will smell.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Maria Candida Gentile.