Welcome to Part II of my Pitti Fragranze 2019 report&highlights!
While enjoying perfumes and fine Tuscan cuisine&vine in Florence, I noticed that quite a few perfume houses were inspired by scents, tastes, and heritage of the Mediterranean basin, an endless source of inspiration.
This is not a “new” trend, I see it simply as an everlasting constant since forever, a reflection of joy of living in this region, heritage and terroir translated into the language of fragrances.
Plants, flowers, herbs, tastes, childhood memories, new olfactory adventures! Here are brands and perfumes I’ve chosen to bring closer to you, some already known, others new or with new releases, in no particular order.
Let’s start this quick-sniff tour of Pitti:
New: Dies Aurorae – Antonio Alessandria Profumi
Just imagine the fiera of Sant’Agata in Sicily, a three-day festival gathering up to one million visitors. Now imagine a ten-year boy, tired from walking in the procession, his fingers and mouth sticky and sweet from eating all the dolci, typical sweets, Olivette and Torrone. Enough to overwhelm the kid, waiting for the early morning church ceremony, holding his father’s hand and dozing off in a dimmed atmosphere of an old church filled with incense smoke, big candles and sounds of ritual songs.
This is Dies Aurorae, the day of the dawn: a mouthwatering, never too sweet gourmand, a delightful, warm and smooth creation touched by lovely Tonka and sprinkled with Pistachio. Quite woody, comforting and churchy in a most gentle way.
I did take a bite of these sweets at their Pitti stand: what can I say but Sicily, here I come! ￼You might have noticed that I personally don’t wear or mention gourmands often, but Dies Aurorae changed my mind. Enough said.
New: Almah Parfums
Based in Barcelona, founded in 1997, and the main business the brand is well known for is the production of natural oils. They also explained to me that the history of the brand goes back to the early 1900s and that they’ve managed to create their own extraction system based on old recepture from the great-grandfather – Valenti Perello. Almah unveiled 16 perfumes at Pitti!
This certainly means that I shall devote more time to them, for now, my first choice would be Santa Cristina: the smell of Costa Brava, as the brand states. Soft pine needles enrich a very smooth and quiet opening, slightly sweet and spicy, like an easy late afternoon/early evening siesta.
Salty tones rise later on, and all I can think about is a hammock near a Med beach…summertime sadness at maximum warp hit me immediately, the feeling of 35C in shade at 6 PM, feeling too lazy to walk over to the beach to swim and cool off.
Notes: Orange Blossom, Geranium, Rose Centifolia, Tuscany Iris, Green Tea, Gardenia, Jasmin, Lavender, Patchouli, Vetiver, Musk, Amberwood, Clove.
Other fragrances I’ll explore further are Mr.Keops, Green Crowne, and Viaggio.
New: Aqua dos Açores
Wine and perfumes, how can it get any better! Add Açores to this combination and here we go: OK, Azores is geographically located in the North Atlantic Ocean, but they are an autonomous region of Portugal.
If you furthermore add to this equation a Florentine couple cultivating wine in a climate where the Mediterranean and tropical flora merge – there you are, with an olfactory diary revolving around specific terroir: I loved their home fragrances Tinto and Branco – red and white wine themed and delicious.
Eau de Parfum Flores and Azul focus on endemic species, obtained from and specific to the Azores.
Flores is a bitter fresh floral aquatic with herbal tones, reminding me of an almost subtropical climate, soft rain, and ocean air.
Azul is woodier, like pieces of wood found washed ashore, drenched in seawater. It’s airy and salty, bitter and sweet, with soft flowers and white woods. Lovely.
The brand quotes: “With precious natural extracts: Cryptomeria, Geranium Bourbon, Clary Sage, Lentisk, Bergamot, Davana, Opoponax” – and I very much like it.
Bravanariz – Smelling Wild
Catalonia connection, yay. Landscapes and terroir, resulting in a line of fragrances that are 100% natural, made with local plants gathered by hand.
The founder, Ernesto Collado Sala took his time to explain to me that you can book a one day tour with them and experience the process firsthand! You can gather plants, learn techniques of extraction, and work on a fragrance – wine tasting and delicious local food are included!
Three fragrances were exhibited, Bosc, Cala and Muga, each with a distinct character and terroir bond, from humid forests of the Albera Massif and the Salines Mountains, following the Muga river, and over to Cap De Creus Peninsula.
This tour mentioned is definitely going on my travel bucket list!
Acampora Profumi: New Tadema Collection
Acampora invited, for the first time in their history, an independent perfumer Miguel Matos to create for them.
Tadema is dedicated to the artist Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema and his work, featuring an olfactory journey and “the most neoclassical tribute to the values of the Mediterranean Sea”.
Three new perfumes in this collection are Mentuccia Romana (aromatic herbs and mint), Citrea Prochyta (lemons, bergamot, mandarin) and Malum (juicy honey-sweet apple with anise, spices, and marine notes).
I have a soft spot for Fragonard, dating all the way back to my first visit to Grasse. They were also exhibiting new, Christmas packaging (photo of Pivoine), and, of course, the new Lavande by Celine Ellena.
Now, this is a bright lavender with a pinch of myrtle, a clear and transparent absinth note in the opening, with lavender but without being straight forward lavender-ish at all! I find it delicately feminine, soft and very powdery, with a musky dry iris in the drydown.
To Grasse I shall return – most probably next year, right now I’m happy to celebrate The Year of Lavender with Fragonard.
Laura Tonatto fragrances have such a smooth vibe, and are very wearable, using evidently high-quality raw materials.
There were no new releases in 2019, but you can surely find at least one Eau de Parfum to love in their extensive collection. Solista, for example, is a lovely Tuberose themed fragrance!
Just reminding you to check them out, I really feel this brand should be mentioned more often.
Bonus I: Aer Scents
Aer is based in Berlin, making natural, hand-blended and 100% botanical perfumes. Their stand was so…green.
Cade was my first sniff favorite, launched in 2017, now slightly reformulated: a smooth, aromatic woody fragrance with just enough freshness and sweetness to add depth to it. Other perfumes in the line are Nargamotha, Ambre, and Cedar and I look forward to testing and exploring this brand in more detail.
Bonus II: Villoresi Museum
Last year, while I was visiting Villa Villoresi, we were told that the Museum shall open soon: well, it finally has!
Not only do you have a chance to enjoy a guided tour of one of the most beautiful gardens overlooking Arno and surrounding villas, but this is also a great learning opportunity for any perfumista.
How can we talk about Patchouli or Styrax without knowing what the actual plant looks like? Or without touching, feeling, smelling bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, lime or yuzu growing on a tree?
Frangipani didn’t flower this year (I smelled it last year!), but inside of the Museum, you have a chance to smell aromatic materials from all over the world. Wonderful!
Except for one thing. I went totally Musk blind on that particular exhibit (Musk, like the real thing. Big molecules. Felt nothing and almost fainted from fear of anosmia), but never mind, I guess that my nose was just too exhausted. Will repeat, sooner or later.
One more thing: Osmorama room! I wish I could get locked inside and stay for a week: inside this room, you’ll find a lavish display of literally all the ingredients a perfumer might ever use!
All nicely stacked and grouped, everything your heart might ever desire. I have never seen such an elaborate “organ”! I really can’t wait to return.
Enjoy your read and don’t forget to drop by for the last Pitti Fragranze 2019 report – coming up soon!
My Pitti Report Part I featuring roses is here.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl