Eyes closed, I dream about traveling to places near and distant, familiar ones greeting me with a smile, unknown ones calling my name. Travel broadens our mind and expands our hearts, yet there’s something soothingly rewarding in – returning. To yourself. I know well where my safe harbor is. Where my Ithaka is.
Your Ithaca, my Ithaka – they are always a place hidden inside our hearts:
“May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind
as many sensual perfumes as you can
and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years…”
Ithaka now, on my skin. The power of poetry, words enhanced by verses, translated into the first perfume in the new, Versi trilogy by MendittoRosa:
This poem inspired Stefania Squeglia of Mendittorosa Perfumes to find a new perfumer, young Camille Chemardin, and trust her with Ithaka.
Mendittorosa shall have each flacon in this line with a hand-made wooden cap, and a unique tablet, with a sign for each perfume.
The presentation is quite elaborate, an illustration made by Massimo Alfaioli (who also made beautiful drawings for Talismans Sirio).
A seemingly simple poem. A seemingly simple perfume. It isn’t.
Bearing in mind that the journey is much more exquisite and rewarding than any arrival at the final destination, I embark on this ship, with a glass vessel carrying a few drops of perfume.
Ithaka greeted me with waves of bergamot-clad, salty deep-sea air carrying scents coming from a big harbor ahead of me, bringing back that sweet feeling of land finally reached – before you can even see it clearly. It’s a rewarding smell after many days spent at sea.
The port is busy as a beehive, you can hear the murmur of people at the market beside the ships, and your nostrils detect a fine, dry, and sweet scent of creamy labdanum and incense filling the air as you disembark your ship.
Your nose, cleared by salty seawater now feels intensely scents almost forgotten: incense becomes rich with the smell of spices, swirling around you softly. As you get accustomed to the surroundings, the rhythm of the fragrance changes, images become less abstract: now you can feel even lighter nuances, a hidden freshness beneath, as waxy-thick white Magnolia petals emerge and touch your skin quietly.
Salty tones are still present robbing it if its sweetness yet leaving it humid, very restrained on my skin, accentuating patchouli over Magnolia. Salty Magnolia made me sniff my wrists over and over again.
As the fragrance develops further, whirls of smoke roll in from someplace distant, present but not disturbing, just signs of nearby life going vibrantly on.
The composition remains airy and light, tenderly woody with added cedar tree shavings, and now definitely grounded, like when you walk barefoot upon soft, warm, dry, and resinous-smelling earth. Hours later, this fragrance lingers on the skin quite close, its final tones becoming smoother and even a bit sweeter in a dry&powdery way, probably due to Benzoin, reminiscent of Vanilla,
Just as the poem, I find Ithaka illuminating, multilayered, very well blended, soothing, and calming. Like arriving home after a long trip or reconnecting with your inner purpose, feeling thankful:
You can read the complete poem Ithaca, written by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafay, born in Alexandria – here.
Although I have stood at the remains of an ancient Phoenician market by the Mediterranean sea in North Africa (preserved for eons with desert sand), I didn’t have to travel far this time, Ithaka, Ithaca is an inner journey:
“Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.”
Notes: Bergamot, Aqueos Magnolia, Incense, Patchouli, Labanum, Incense Resinoid, Virginian Cedar, Cypriol, Benzoin.
Ithaka is EDP, 20% concentration, 100ml/200 EUR – available at Mendittorosa. Longevity is remarkable, sillage noticeable. Test before you buy it.
Enjoy many journeys of life with Ithaka always in your mind!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, MendittoRosa, painting “Odyssey Kisses His Native Land” by Jan Styka.
The sample is a decant Stefania made for me when I visited her stand at Esxence Milan 2019, for which I am deeply grateful.
Opinions of my own.