When it comes to inspiration for perfumes Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights has probably inspired as many perfumes as there were tales told in the story. If fragrances are tales told by the creative team then especially in the Oriental genre every perfumer should have the opportunity to enthrall a wearer for one night. Perfumer Luca Maffei takes his turn with Nobile 1942 1001.
One of the things I have admired about the Nobile 1942 creative team of Massimo Nobile and Stefania Giannino is since 2014 they have taken the brand in a new direction. It mainly consists of taking the well-known fragrance forms and giving them a contemporary shine. It has been an up and down effort but when there have been ups they have been very good. Working with Sig. Maffei they decided on a soft Oriental theme for 1001.
One of their inspirations was the written word. Sig. Maffei includes a papyrus focal point upon which he writes in notes of spices, flowers, and woods. The modern part of this is many Orientals take as part of their being to carry an intensity. 1001 is constructed to be a compelling soft-spoken voice of a storyteller inviting you near enough to hear.
A soft whisper of spices from a piquant susurrus. Ginger, cardamom, pink pepper, and saffron are like offerings given on an altar as each finds a place in the top accord. The watery green woodiness of papyrus arrives next. Sig. Maffei then uses the slightly spicy woody quality of turmeric along with rose to form the place from which the tale is being told along with the page it is written on. It is an abstraction of a scroll. The more traditional components of Orientals are in the base. Sandalwood, amber, vanilla, and musk end 1001 in a familiar place; which is where all well-told tales should conclude.
1001 has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I think the softness of 1001 turns it into a rare office friendly Oriental. By choosing to go very soft it doesn’t skimp on the most important characteristics of the genre. Instead it allows Sig. Maffei to tell his tale of an Arabian Night with a beautiful whisper.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.
It is refreshing to see a longtime brand make an effort to strike out in new directions. To be sure it can be a risky effort. You might alienate current customers while not adding new ones. For the Italian brand Nobile 1942 that change occurred in the fall of 2014. For 25 previous releases they had all been composed by perfumer Marie Duchene. It definitely provided a brand identity. When I first encountered the brand five years ago it was as a fully formed aesthetic played out over the twenty or so perfumes which had just been released in the US. I don’t know what made creative directors Massimo Nobile and Stefania Giannino decide to move in a new direction with new perfumers. It has almost re-invented what a Nobile 1942 fragrance is. The former aesthetic is gone and in its place is an attempt to seemingly take classical architectures and contemporize them. It has been an uneven effort but I am interested in trying each new release these days to see how the experiment is progressing. The latest data point is Sandalo Nobile.
Sandalo Nobile is the follow-up to last year’s Fougere Nobile. Fougere Nobile is one of these less successful efforts as the attempt to modernize made it murkier and less delineated than I cared for. Sandal Nobile is a success for the same reason Fougere Nobile didn’t resonate with me. I want Sandalo Nobile to have a bit of murky mystery. Perfumer Henri Bergia provides that for me.
Sandalo Nobile gives me something different right from the start. M. Bergia uses saffron and cumin as his openers. Most perfumes would use something to lighten up these divisive notes. Sandalo Nobile embraces them; displaying them front and center in all their pungent glory. I am a fan of both notes and this opening was fantastic to me. If either is a particular annoyance to you this is probably something to stay away from. If you want a slightly dirty spicy opening, spray away. M. Bergia goes for a complete change of pace that might have clunked but instead works incredibly well. The heart is orris, green fig, and gurjum. The gurjum slides in with the cumin. The orris and fig provide opulence and a tinge of green. It has become a little more refined but the rough edges are still present. This all gives way to a beautiful sandalwood full of all the things I look for. M. Bergia uses a bit of benzoin to highlight the sweeter aspects of the sandalwood. At this point the cumin the orris, fig and sandalwood form an accord which lasts all day.
Sandalo Nobile has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
It is an ongoing act of confidence in their ability as creative directors for Sig. Nobile and Sig.ra Giannino to steer Nobile 1942 into new territory. It might be a bumpy ride but it isn’t boring. Sandal Nobile is a successful step towards these goals.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Nobile 1942.