New Perfume Review Nasomatto Fantomas- Unboxing the Banal

As much as I enjoy many of the video perfume reviewers there is one part that escapes me. The unboxing part of the video. A lot of them spend time taking the cellophane wrapping off. Opening the box and displaying the packaging. They are popular so I feel sure I am in the minority. I was strongly reminded of this by a perfume, Nasomatto Fantomas.

Alessandro Gualtieri is the mastermind creative force behind his Nasomatto brand of perfume. He has always staked out his own section of fragrance space where few others go. Everything he has done for the brand has a madcap energy that makes for a collection of love them or hate them releases. I admire his risky approach too much to be as reductionist as that. I would say there are Nasomattos I happily wear and others that are best on a strip. One thing to be sure is they are never boring.

Alessandro Gualtieri

Fantomas based on the accompanying video on the website seems meant to be a mysterious protagonist hidden in the fog. I know enough not to expect the visual to be too informational on the scent. When I received my sample, I was surprised to find the perfume equivalent of a cellophane wrapper containing two of the most ubiquitous ingredients in perfumery.

Sig. Gualtieri does not release lists of ingredients so what follows is my best guess. It opens with a plastic accord which reminded me strongly of cellophane. One of his signatures is the ability to add texture into his accords. The reason I think of cellophane is there is a crinkliness to the way this tickles my nose. It also reminds me of those industrial smells we find kind of pleasant. This is the scent of sweet plastic behind every cellophane wrapper. Now that we have taken the covering off, what is inside Sig. Gualtieri’s box? Two ingredients, or their analogs, known to every perfume lover; Calone and Ambrox. For the Calone he accentuates the melon-like quality. It is what makes me think this might be an analog created to do this. The briny undercurrent is also here which Is why I think Calone. I have been bored to death with this ingredient but here, wrapped in sweet plastic, the syntheticness of it all is pleasant. This is reinforced through the addition of a set of synthetic woods from the Ambrox family. These provide a monolithic profile which usually unbalances things. In Fantomas they are here in force but not enough that it the only thing you smell. Once it comes together with the other two ingredients it is surprisingly good.

Fantomas has 24-hour plus longevity and way above average sillage. If you spray this on fabric be prepared to live with it for a few days.

Fantomas should be a celebration of everything that bores me about contemporary perfumery. Instead Sig. Gualtieri decided to unbox the banal to show me that isn’t always the case.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke