Why, Hello Clarice: but_not_today /Filippo Sorcinelli

I had a chance to take a quick sniff of “the new one”, a perfume preview version sprayed quickly on my neck while I was attending an Unum event held in Milano, during Esxence 2018. There was something strange about it, even at a quick sniff…it caught my attention right there and then.

I learned that I’ll have to wait for it until Pitti Fragranze in Florence in September, when the launch is planned, and that most probably this current version will undergo slight changes.

All I knew was that the main inspiration came from the movie Hannibal! Florence seemed like a logical choice for this launch. Well, I had to wait. I didn’t stop thinking about it. Five months later, one of the top priorities on my Pitti to-do list was the new perfume in Unum collection. Now it had a name: but_not_today.

Hannibal Lecter: …”Now then, tell me. What did Miggs say to you? He hissed at you. What did he say?”

Clarice Starling: “He said, “I can smell your c**t.”

Hannibal Lecter: “I see. I, myself, cannot. You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L’Air du Temps … but not today.”

Florence always leaves me speechless. One of the most beautiful cities in the world! Such a logical choice for dr. Hannibal Lecter, a man of well-refined taste.

No wonder Ridley Scott fell in love with it while checking out locations for this movie. Even when I saw this film for the first time, I was impressed by photography (John Mathieson), broody mood and angles, scenes and the moment when soft tones of Italian opera fill the air above the ground of Santa Croce, visual elements chosen, and spots of captivating Florentine beauty. I also made an obligatory stop at Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy while I was there: this is where Lecter makes his perfumed purchases for Clarice, buying – almond soap.

Timeless beauty. Just like Palazzo Capponi. Lecter chose to stay in it during his exile in Florence. This is where he did his research in the library, played piano for Clarice, wrote her a letter (yes, the famous red curtains are still there…):

Filippo chose Palazzo Caponni for but_not_today’s launch, playing the piano himself that night. When I entered that courtyard, I almost expected to see Sir Anthony Hopkins, dressed meticulously as dr. Lecter, to walk down the inner staircase and join us.

Food was served (inspired by the movie), champagne and Chianti poured. Red perfume bottles with trails of blood trickling on caps were exibited on silver platters. So divine and yet so decadent: Dr. Lecter would have enjoyed this evening. Clarice? I doubt it:

Hannibal Lecter:

Would you ever say to me “Stop. If you love me, stop?”

Clarice Starling:

Not in a thousand years.

Hannibal Lecter:

“Not in a thousand years”… That’s my girl.

The concept behind this perfume is multilayered: you wouldn’t expect less from Filippo Sorcinelli. An Artist (with a capital A), a “Reneissance man” with a finely chiselled body, brilliant versatile creativity streaks, and a vulnerable soul:

Constantly in search of divine beauty, soul-deep Harmony of the Beauty, through diverse activities.

A perfumer, a painter, an organist, a photographer, a graphic designer, manufacturer of sacred vestments, suffering from his own dramatic vibrations of inspiration and letting us see, smell or touch pieces of his soul.

I enjoy his morning FB statuses: Buongiorno Amici/Buongiorno Nemici, and all the black and white photos. Pitti Fragranze was the place where we met again:

but_not_today , the way I see it, is a reflection of one crucial moment, those seconds when we see Hannibal leaning towards Clarice, his face so close to her skin that he can smell her. We look at that scene fearing that he might decide to bite her, kill her, thus regaining his freedom. I never doubted that he would not: I knew that the moment he smelled her skin, he would kiss her! I’ve read somewhere that our natural skin scent is the strongest at the central area of our face! He loves her (he smells her), and he couldn’t have done anything else but kiss her…pulse racing, one tear rolling down her cheek.

This kiss made two opposites touch, two worlds collide, and at that moment they were both – perfectly imperfect. Human.

As described by the brand:

One runs looking for elegance, art, hating the mediocrity of human, arriving to an extreme and insane point against “rude and unsophisticated people” or who in some way could upset the Universal Beauty.
The other one runs among the cold and impersonal choices of her life, falling in love with an institution who never will repay its adept. Perfection would be boring without that shiver of twisting fear that anybody should have just to cross a glance.
Fear is a very good seductress.

but_not_today reflects this duality, playing with innocence and dark seductiveness of fear. The fragrance changes rhythm and tempo in time, adding depth and another dimension to used notes and accords. Carnation, for instance, has a bright facet of sweetness at one stage, and dark, heavy, almost black licorice-like quality at another.

Yes, carnation is present in “L’Air du Temps” as a symbol of hope and innocence. This perfume shows it’s totally opposite, dark side as well and these two collide, circling and pushing against each other, creating friction and sparks.

but_not_today opens on my skin with a sharp bloody-metallic accord. It feels as a set of razor-sharp knives are suddenly exposed right in front of you, their blades pointed in direction of your heart. Like the taste of blood on your lips or tip of the tongue. Even in this expressive first-sniff appearance, the fragrance is refined, in a strange way: like you are looking at something scary, but you simply can’t stop gazing.

Metal blades cut through space and bloody-red carnation boldly protrudes – it is now openly exhibiting its intense, spicy passionate facet, showing us its “dark side”. I feel pepper-strong spice layer around it, like strings of black licorice are wrapped around its stem. It is wild, filled with desire. Red on black, and in such a fine contrast with that sharp metallic opening.

The fragrance evolves further. Desire now begins to show its animalistic character: lustful, passionate leather encompasses you as Castoreum shines in its characteristic warmth with an outspoken carnal impression, giving these layers of leather additional depth. A small trickle of blood is still running, random metallic sparks jump up every now and then.

As time passes, this heavy red curtain is pushed aside: suddenly, without prior notice, performing a stunning salto mortale, white Lily comes forward (Lily stands for Florence), and this abrupt change seems like the fragrance has turned its other cheek to us: it becomes a strong, almost green floral, but it is carefully laid upon a softer version of leather, like lambskin. You can still feel an undertone of carnation, but it is so much softer, gentler, even sweeter. In this phase, you can feel the connection with L’Air du Temps (it stands for Clarice), although it is distorted, like if you were looking at its image reflected in a broken mirror. This was a phase when I kept sniffing my wrist, trying not to miss a second of it. Just when I thought: enough! but_not_today took me to yet another level.

This floral, green wetness makes a retreat to the background at a much slower pace, reluctantly, as swirls of Frankincense become more intense: this is a moment where I felt all the previous layers unite. I could smell metallic notes, carnation, leather, and incense at the same time, multiple components shifting slowly and deliberately. I suddenly heard a Gregorian chant in my head: Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi…/Hear us, o Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee…How appropriate.

but_not_today evolves further: incense becomes dryer, progressing into the smoke-filled (smoke stands for fear…) woody-oakmoss finale, still allowing random drifts of now more matte leather tones all the way to the drydown.

I remembered the first scene from the movie, when Clarice is running alone through a forest, feeling that she is not alone. Back to the beginning…or is it the end? No. Because hours later, I am surprised again: the fragrance lingers on my skin like the finest, waxy-a little-bit-soapy – men’s cologne. That felt somehow reassuring, calming. Everything is as it’s supposed to be…

I gave this perfume much thought and wearing, and have to admit that it made me think about those scary, exciting, knee-trembling moments when your own desire scares you, the fear you feel just before kissing your lover for the first time… Desire, fear, passion-fueled moments. Intense. Making you feel alive. Just like but_not_today makes me feel.

Ultimately, but_not_today IS a love story. A different love story.

Longevity is lasting, sillage noticeable. but_not_today is extrait du parfum, available in 100ml/210EUR and 10ml (new!) travel size/35EUR. Filippo Sorcinelli Brand didn’t divulge perfume notes in the official description.
Presentation and packaging follow the above described context:

This perfume is not “challenging” (whatever that might mean), “intimidating” nor “scary”. It’s avant-garde, artisan, definitely different, unique, but at the same time – intriguing and beautiful to wear.
Dare to be different!

Thank you, Filippo: it was worth waiting for!

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Filippo Sorcinelli Brand/photographer: Rita Francia.

Samples provided by Filippo Sorcinelli Brand at Pitti Florence 2018., opinions of my own.

Disclaimer

Giveaway!

I’d like to share my experience with you: you will have a chance to win 2x2ml samples of but_not_today, thanks to Filippo Sorcinelli Brand. The giveaway will be announced on The Plum Girl Instagram page!

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