When I was invited to the online premiere of Masque Milano Le Donne di Masque Madeleine I was excited for a few reasons. One is just because Creative directors Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi have rarely disappointed me. Two is because one of my favorite young perfumers was collaborating with them, Fanny Bal. Finally after nibbling around the edges of making a gourmand perfume for Masque Milano, Madeleine goes all in.
Just this year the two previous releases in the Le Donne di Masque collection used doughy gourmand accords as featured parts. Dolceaqua had a flaky croissant while Petra featured a deep-fried dough. Because of that I wanted Sigs. Brun and Tedeschi to go for something exclusively gourmand. In Mme Bal they found a partner who imagined that a gourmand fragrance isn’t for the taste buds but the nose.
The inspiration was a tearoom Sigs. Brun and Tedeschi visited when they were in Paris. Named Angelina they are known for their hot chocolate and their signature Mont Blanc pastry. The latter is filled with chestnut cream to rival the hot chocolate. What Mme Bal has done with Madeleine is to make her own filled olfactory pastry. She uses rich gourmand accords to encase an equally opulent tuberose.
Those of us at the premiere event were given the two accords to smell. The tuberose is that creamy sultry version which has appealed to so many over the years. The confectionary accord is chestnut and chocolate. It is like imagining your nose bites down on the sweet outside to find a floral center. It is as delightful as it sounds.
Mme Bal constructs her confectionary accord around chestnut, cream, vanilla, tonka and a very special ingredient to give it life, cumin. When I smelled this as an accord the cumin is what gave the gourmand ingredients vitality. It is likely if Mme Bal has not used it this would have laid flat. Instead it brightens the entire accord. Giving it an enticing scent that draws you in. As you do and crack through the shell you find a treat for the nose. Mme Bal uses the finest version of tuberose she can get at IFF, tuberose absolute LMR. The entire catalog of LMR ingredients is amazing. Interacting with this as the accord itself the nuances of the LMR version is obvious. She uses small amounts of geranium to set the glowing green thread in tuberose alight. She also uses cypress to find a foundation for the creamy floral to push back upon. As this oozes out of the center of the confectionary accord it doesn’t take over like most tuberose does. It finds itself in a supporting role which makes this all that much better.
Madeleine has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I’ve mentioned in the past that this gourmand genre is the place where any perfumer could innovate. This has become especially true of this new generation of perfumers of which Mme Bal is part of. It is also why it will be the innovative brands like Masque Milano who give them the opportunity to try. Madeleine is a gorgeous tuberose-filled confection for the nose which shows why it works.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Masque Milano.