A frequent conversation I have when I tell people I write a perfume blog is, “what is there to write about?” My first answer is I think perfume is art when done by creative people who share that intent. I tell them that what you find at the mall tends to be the commercial form of olfactory art. What really inspires my love of perfume is when the members of independent perfumery go for a visionary aspiration of olfactory art. There are not a lot of brands which regularly have this as a raison d’etre.
One creative director who passionately believes this is Stefania Squeglia. I have had the opportunity to be able to sit with her a couple of times. The depth of her commitment to making perfume which inspires thought about what perfume can be shines throughout her brand, Mendittorosa. It is especially prevalent in the Talismans collection. The latest release Sirio is a gorgeous example of capturing an early spring night gazing at the stars.
Sig. ra Squeglia has worked with perfumer Amelie Bourgeois on almost all the Talismans. For this most visionary of perfumery the creative director needs a perfumer who can translate an inventive brief into an equally original perfume. It is what has allowed this collection to examine the edges of what we consider perfume.
For Sirio, Sig. ra Squeglia wanted to capture the connection between the terrestrial Garden of Eden and the universe of stars above. What I experience is what happens when I step out at midnight on a moonless night in the early part of April. There is a chill to the air forming an icy crystallinity around the early plants which have just started to grow. Above are the glittering pinpoints of starlight so clearly seen they must be miles instead of light years away. Sirio captures the connection between terrestrial and extraterrestrial.
The keynote to the opening moments is something I always associate with early spring, rhubarb. As one of the earliest crops to harvest it is the harbinger of more to come. Rhubarb has become more of a perfume staple in the past few years. Here Mme Bourgeois gives it a high enough concentration, so it is the predominant scent. She then cleverly captures that chilly night with the addition of crisp apple and white musks. They come together to form that climactic iciness effect. It feels like there is frost on the spear of rhubarb. The white musks then add an expansiveness which begins to form as floral notes of rose and peony along with the sweet fruit of plum coat the chilled rhubarb. This is an enchanting accord as it feels like our garden milieu has left the earth in a transport bubble. Once we attain the stars a base accord of cashmeran and amberwood add a synthetic woodiness which also retains the expansiveness. It is here where we float in space looking back towards the garden we left.
Sirio has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Italian independent perfumery seems to have more than its share of members who think perfume as art is something worth pursuing. Sig. ra Squeglia made that decision from the moment she founded Mendittorosa. Five years later she can still take me from the garden to the stars.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Mendittorosa.