One of the most pleasant things about writing about perfume is watching young perfumers grow. Right now in the independent niche sector there is a group of these artists I think of as Young Guns. At this stage of their career they are working with young brands which allow them to think a bit out of the box. Sometimes that thinking can lead to something unfocused. The perfumers I put in this category have all learned from those lesser efforts. Thankfully it doesn’t make them retreat into their shell thinking of playing it safe. What has most often happened is they come back ready to strike out in a new direction.
Another component of this is these young brands having a continuing relationship with a perfumer or couple of perfumers. When it comes together both the creative direction and the nose begin to form a working relationship which hopefully leads to something great. At Esxence 2016 one of those moments came to fruition with the release of Gabriella Chieffo Maisia.
Gabriella Chieffo started her eponymous brand in 2014 with four releases. She would follow that up with two more the following year. Maisia is the first release for 2016. Through all seven fragrances she has been collaborating with perfumer Luca Maffei. Sig.ra Chieffo has a very distinctive vision which she entrusts Sig. Maffei to realize. Maisia is the first of a new series where Sig.ra Chieffo wants to create perfumes of shadow and light. That is an easy concept to articulate. Difficult to achieve. For Maisia, Sig.ra Chieffo envisioned a young woman accused of being a witch being burned at the stake. The inspiration photograph above is another interesting bit of information for Sig. Maffei to use as he went about composing Maisia.
Maisia is simply a fig fragrance with that fruit representing our unjustly accused sorceress. She is singed by the fire of spices. Then in the base she is redeemed as her beauty arises from the ashes as a shadow.
Maisia opens on bright lemon matched with green fig leaves. The fig leaves carry mostly green qualities but underneath it all is a bit of the creaminess of the wood of the tree itself. The lemon provides the last of the light before shadows rise. For the rest of the development the keynote is a slightly overripe fig. Early on it picks up some of the fig leaves. Then a heated spicy accord envelops the fig. It figuratively burns it as the they overwhelm the fig for a bit of time. As the spices recede the fig is left behind, a ghost of itself. Then come the moment where Maisia becomes shadowy. Sig. Maffei uses broom and narcissus to bring back to life the incinerated beauty. The difference is the broom provides a dried out dead grass quality. The narcissus provides a transitional beauty note to go along with what remains of the fig.
Maisia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
If you are a fan of fig perfumes Maisia should be on your list to try. The base accord is something unique worth seeing if you like it as much as I do. If you are a fan of precocious young talent and brands Maisia needs to be embraced so more of this kind of perfumery is encouraged. Sig. Maffei has transformed the beauty of fig into ashy shadows. It is a gorgeous trip.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Gabriella Chieffo at Esxence 2016.