“What do you think about it?” – he asked, softly.
“It smells like fear…bitterness of loss… and…hope.” – I answered.
We were talking about – Epicentro.
Epicentro, the first fragrance in Filippo Sorcinelli’s new collection Delire de Voyage, was presented for the first time at Esxence Milan 2019, and a multimedia art installation, featuring a synesthetic journey, took place on the evening of the last day of the exhibition.
Délire. Delirium. A perfume, a sensation that kicks you out of normality, even for just a couple of seconds, and raises your awareness of what is happening in you and around you. Linked to Beauty, for Beauty is life, and life is Beauty.
All can change in a single, disturbing moment:
“The earthquake is a particularly disruptive and violent event which enters with arrogance into the lives of those involved, taking possession of their “normality” in a few seconds.
External earthquakes increase our own inner earthquakes as if with the loss of the safety of the earth beneath our feet, a profound internal tremor is determined, as a consequence.”
This fragrance is dedicated to the region in Italy from which Filippo Sorcinelli comes – Marche, hit by devastating earthquakes in 2016 and 2017, leaving behind “Ground 0” ruins and many deep scars of lives lost.
Filippo visited the small town of Bolognola after these terrible events, and this perfume is his olfactory impression of the aftermath of the first, 2016 earthquake.
I met with Filippo that evening, and he led us to a dark presentation room inside Hotel Straf near Duomo. The multi-sensory exhibition featured bits and pieces of everyday life found in ruins, artistic video footage of the destruction these earthquakes left behind, and one single bottle of Epicentro.
He was wearing a pendant, shaped like a small silver rock – a part of the presentation package of Epicentro. The bottle, just like the others by Filippo Sorcinelli Brand, is a piece of art by itself: round and smooth with a big, silver, rock-shaped cap, a part of which is this piece of jewelry.
Shock art, by definition: “…contemporary art that incorporates disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. It is a way to disturb “smug, complacent and hypocritical people.”
The Epicentro multisensory journey left me, an empath, thinking about the ways I react to immediate threats, primal fears. My “Lizard Brain” tends to react differently, although involuntarily and instinctively, adjusting to the situation.
I’ve never experienced an earthquake of this force, but I do remember my first-ever earthquake, in California. The movement and swaying of the ground under my feet, the deep, threatening rumble, a growl coming from somewhere deep below the surface, the cold sweat of uncontrollable fear: I tend to freeze.
The order of my reactions in this specific situation was: freeze-flight-fight, meaning that my first reaction to an earthquake was to just stand still (“freeze”), shocked by what is going on (a totally new experience), then, unaware of what I was doing, I fled (hid under the kitchen table), and when the earthquake stopped, I started to assess and repair the damage (“fight”), which luckily didn’t amount to more than just a misalignment of a couple of photos hung on the wall.
I believe that the overwhelming adrenaline rush tends to change your body chemistry and smell, therefore I believe that primal fears influence our body odor, which then, in turn, can be felt.
I know very well how human fear, loss, and pain smell like. And hope! Yes, hope: I associate the scent of incense notes and accords in perfume – with hope. Maybe it’s because of my Catholic upbringing, maybe its because I tend to think about it in regards to the healing power of incense, as used in aromatherapy – reducing and calming stress and fear, maybe it’s because it is one of the oldest fragrant ingredients ever used…it just smells like hope to me. Hope…and resurrection.
Despite the shock-art concept, what I always find interesting, Epicentro is a very wearable fragrance. After experiencing, reviewing, and falling in love with but_not_today, with notes of “blood, dust, and metal”, this fragrance felt smoother, fresher, invigorating and suitable for any season of the year.
Epicentro draws you in from the first moment, opening with sharp, piercing notes, almost metallic, like crushed, bitter citric leaves cutting swiftly and with unexpected precision into your personal space,
This awakening moment soon gains another dimension, as if pulling you deeper, opening other layers of reality. I feel scattered pieces of a white marble baptistery covered with white dust while soft and gentle trails of incense used ages ago are evaporating in the air and swirling in the breeze coming through windowless walls.
Smoky, aldehyde tainted, old oak wooden roof beams bear traces of candle wax, laying on the ground covered with bright, multicolored shiny pieces of a broken vitrail. The rhythm of the fragrance slows down, warming up on the skin after the initial brief and apocalyptic episode, memories of which still protrude every now and then, sparkling softly in now a bit sweeter and muskier layout, soothing and calming.
The complete presentation, down to perfume samples, follows the concept aiming to activate all five senses: even the black Epicentro box is carefully crafted, with a moving base enabling the perfume bottle to shake and vibrate when touched.
Filippo never discloses perfume notes: if we are approaching perfume as an art form, then letting ourselves be seduced, moved, touched, or emotionally drawn in is the best part of the experience! It’s just you and the perfume: what’s in it is shaped by what’s in you, so I’ll just list the “notes” as I felt them:
Top notes: piercing metal, a rush of cold wind blowing through broken windows, crushed citric leaves.
Middle notes fresh white dust, pieces of concrete scattered on street pavements, broken white marble releasing traces of incense.
Base notes: old oak church rooftop beams, multicolored parts of a broken vitraille shining brightly, strangely soothing peacefulness after the apocalypse, hope.
Epicentro, an Extrait du Parfum, feels abstract and fresh, disturbing and calming, introspective and stimulating. It’s all about an inner, olfactory voyage, and endless movements in time and in yourself.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Filippo Sorcinelli
The sample was graciously given to me during Esxence Milan, opinions and feelings belong, as always, to me.