There are so many perfume brands claiming to combine Middle Eastern perfumery with Western perfumery that it has become trite when another claims to be doing it. It is with a great deal of skepticism I approach these claims as most often it is tilted mostly to one side of the equation. The other half gets what amounts to a matador’s swoosh of a red cape of the other influence. Every once in a while there is a brand which actually does try to live up to that. I was sent a sample set of the new brand Moresque which is just beginning to be sold outside of a handful of Middle Eastern outlets. There are seven perfumes within the inaugural line. The one which impressed me most was Aristoqrati.
Moresque was started five years ago when CEO Cindy Guillemant met perfumer Andrea Thero Casotti. Together they wanted to produce a line which espoused equal parts Middle Eastern exoticism and Italian style. It is much easier to type out than to achieve. For their efforts they have produced three perfumes in the White Collection and three perfumes in the Black Collection. Aristoqrati makes up the sole member to date of the Art Collection.
Cindy Guillemant (third from l.) and Andrea Thero Casotti (second from r.)
For Aristoqrati Ms. Guillemant and Sig. Casotti wanted to marry the idea of Middle Eastern aristocracy with Italian flair. Most often that first bit of inspiration means oud. Thankfully this creative team has a different sense of history as instead of oud; nutmeg is the link between the Middle East and Italy. During the Dark Ages the Arabs traded nutmeg to Europe through Venice. It was prized as a potential cure for the Black Plague; it wasn't. It became more known as an exotic cooking ingredient worth its weight in gold. It would find its way to Tuscany many years later and be a part of that style of cuisine. The nutmeg in Aristoqrati pulls together an otherwise simple marriage of a few notes into something which actually does pay respect to both sides of its desired heritage.
Sig. Casotti opens Aristoqrati up with the nutmeg and early on it is matched with the green-tinted floralcy of geranium. There is a nuttiness to nutmeg which the greenish quality of the geranium enhances. The sweeter character survives into the heart. There it is met with vetiver and peony. This mix of these three notes is where Aristoqrati really thrived on my skin. Peony has that spring-fresh feeling to it. Vetiver is more grassy than woody. As mentioned above the nutmeg turns sweeter by this point. Sig. Casotti hits the balance just right. Eventually all of this drifts away to a fairly pedestrian amber and patchouli base.
Aristoqrati has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage. All of the Moresque fragrances are called Esprit de Parfum. Putting the concentration somewhere between extrait and eau de parfum. I found they all wore on my skin closer to something at extrait strength which means close to the skin.
I have great respect for the decision not to trot out the usual suspects when trying to make an East meets West perfume. Aristoqrati shows there is plenty of spice in that combination if you just use your imagination.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Osswald NYC.