New Perfume Review Homoelegans Paloma y Raices- Calle Ocho Tuberose

I have mentioned this in the past but growing up near Little Havana in Miami during the 1960’s was like having another country a bicycle ride away. In our neighborhood, we had many displaced Cuban families. Their children were part of my circle of friends. As a result, their mothers introduced the anglos to lots of new things. On a hot day, Peter’s mother would make us “batidos” what were like a cross between a smoothie and a milkshake. One day she handed us a glass with a deep orange hue. In response to my quizzical look she said “mamey batido”. Mamey is a tropical fruit that tastes like a hybrid of pumpkin and cantaloupe with added sweetness. From that day, I preferred mamey in my batidos and learned to eat it out of the skin with as much pleasure as I did any orange. No trip home is complete unless I have some mamey.

Maurizio Piazzi and Francesco Gini

As I followed this year’s version of Esxence from an ocean away I was looking to see how a few of the new brands which had impressed me in 2016 were doing now. It was with great interest when the brand founded by Francesco Gini and Maurizio Piazzi, Homoelegans, debuted their third fragrance Paloma y Raices that right there in the note list was mamey. Really? Oh! Was I interested. As far as I know there has never been a perfume with mamey in its ingredient list. I was obsessed to see what perfumer Maurizio Cerizza did to create a mamey accord. As the perfume made its slow way to me my anticipation grew. 

Maurizio Cerizza

All the Homoelegans perfumes are inspired by an artist. For Paloma y Raices it is Frida Kahlo. The creative team was focused on evoking the Mexican smells which surrounded Sra. Kahlo. I am sure there is Mexico here but there was as much my childhood on Calle Ocho on display in Paloma y Raices.

One thing you will notice if you spend any significant time in the tropics is the scent of flowers are always there. One reason is the warmth is the ideal environment for many of the most extroverted white flowers. Therefore Sig. Cerizza chooses tuberose as the heartbeat of Paloma y Raices. Early on it is fruity floral before transforming to a rich oriental base.

Mamey Batido

I’ll get this out of the way Sig. Cerizza nails the scent of mamey. Mamey has a savory melon scent which is easily realized. As the mamey holds its part the tuberose forms one of the most unique fruity floral top accords you will experience. There is a humid tropical vibe which is transitioned more to the tuberose and away from the fruit. A judicious use of peppermint to find the camphor-like heart of tuberose along with ylang-ylang to provide floral depth rounds out the tuberose. It glows with vitality through the middle hours. Then a duet of tobacco and coffee remind me of the smell of cigars and Cuban coffee in the bodegas. It ends on a mixture of balsams.

Paloma y Raices has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I know Sigs. Gini and Piazzi want me to think Frida Kahlo but Paloma y Raices takes me back to summer days of tuberose and mamey on Calle Ocho.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Homoelegans.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Homoelegans Tadzio and Quality of Flesh – Skin of Day and Night

Every large perfume fair I attend when I see someone this conversation takes place, “What have you smelled that was good?” Over the course of the exposition one name will begin to be repeated as the answer to this question. Thus begins the building of that desired positive buzz. It was at the end of the first day that a couple of my blogging colleagues mentioned the new brand Homoelegans. I moved it up my list to try. By the time I got to their stand a day later I had heard that name numerous times.

francesco gini michele marin maurizio piazzi

Team Homoelegans (l. to r.) Francesco Gini, Michele Marin, Maurizio Piazzi

When I arrived I was greeted by the owners/creative directors Maurizio Piazzi and Francesco Gini. Before I ever sniff a strip there are times I have a good feeling for what is to come. Standing in front of Sigs. Piazzi and Gini was one of those. Together working with perfumer Michele Marin they have two debut releases; Tadzio and Quality of Flesh. The entire creative team has produced some singular perfumes with depth and power.


When they were handing me my strip of Tadzio I was being told about the beach and the ocean. As I sniffed I was thinking, “Aquatic? Really?” Then they shifted to our protagonist a young man smelling of the ocean, eating a piece of fruit. Now I connected as the smell of sun warmed flesh covered in salt with the juice of an orange dripping off of his chin. That I got. Tadzio is that bohemian spirit of youth hanging out bare-chested in shorts during the day at the beach.

Sig. Marin uses orange as the fruity note up top. Combined with it is the vegetal green of ivy and the watery version of cucumber. It forms that aqueous part of the accord of salt sprayed skin. The skin comes courtesy of a mix of musks, immortelle, opoponax, and patchouli. Sig. Marin forms that accord brilliantly. Tadzio settles down into that indolent smell of daytime skin for many hours. Tadzio has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

quality of flesh 1

The other release Quality of Flesh is not about innocence. It is about the skin of lovers crushed together in dark corners. Inspired by the Francis Bacon quote, “I like men. I like their brain. I like the quality of their flesh.” The perfume named after this is all about the smell of passion.

Quality of Flesh opens with a bit of juniper berry to give a gin cocktail vibe. Very soon black pepper intrudes with that sizzle it can provide. This leads to that dark corner where we find narcissus and costus waiting. Sig. Marin’s use of costus is inspired. Costus has that kind of sweaty body decaying smell. The narcissus with it forms a chord of anticipation. Leather, civet, castoreum, and benzoin take this even deeper. I think this is going to be too intense for some as the animalics pile upon each other to go with the narcissus and costus. I was completely consumed by my passion for this. Quality of Flesh has 14-16 hour longevity and has minimal sillage. This is most definitely a perfume to be worn for nights in search of that which Mr. Bacon spoke of.

There is so much right in what Sigs. Piazzi and Gini have done with Homoelegans. Two well composed releases and only two. Not trying to go with prevailing trends; staying true to their own artistic vision. Counting that others will gravitate to it. Genuine passion in their demeanor and in their perfumes. All of this is what adds up to being buzzed about.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Homoelegans at Esxence 2016.

Mark Behnke