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One of the greatest perfumers in the world, a Master Perfumer. Jean Claude Ellena.

Through his work, he’s been a part of my life for years now! On my skin. Not surprising when you think about all the perfumes he signs! I also love him maybe because I’m sentimental about his path in perfumery, maybe because times are a-changing. His way is the “old French school”, classical way.

Shall there be stories like his in the future?

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 exhibited 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 “Renaissance man” with a finely chiseled 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!

PITTI FRAGRANZE, FLORENCE 14-16.09.2018. – Part I

Florence! One of the most beautiful cities in the world! Here I am again, just last Summer I was wandering around Tuscany: this time my experience of Florence is completely different, and I could return to it time after time.

Pitti time is something special. A gathering of people connected to perfumes, from all over the world. I needed some time for all the impressions to settle down, now I think I’m about to write a series of posts about Pitti Fragranze, from different aspects.

The 16th edition of this fine exhibition at Stazione Leopolda is a great stage for niche perfumes industry, together with numerous events throughout the city: unveiling perfume and industry news, featuring returning houses and debuting brands, workshops, perfume raw materials, and events dedicated to olfactory culture.

So much to see, learn and sniff!

People. People from all around the World. Perfumers, buyers, brand managers, distributors, journalists, photographers, sales managers, vloggers, bloggers, perfume lovers: around 2.150 members of the trade, from over 50 countries! 190 Maisons and brands! Celebrating perfumes…

Here’s to you, wonderful people of Pitti! Since we are talking about niche, indie, artisan perfumes, I feel that people behind the perfumes deserve our full attention.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the humans of Pitti, mostly by the order of stands in Stazione Leopolda from the main entrance onwards. Please have patience if your favorite person is not mentioned in this blog post! More will follow.

First of all, thanks to Ilaria and Olga from Pitti Immagine Ufficio Stampa/Press Office for taking care of my application. Big thanks to young ladies working at the wardrobe too, for their patience when I dropped by every now and then…often. Very often.

Let’s take a closer look:

Louison David Grajcar – Techique Indiscrete

Louison David, born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium was summoned to exhibit at Pitti just a few days before it opened! He managed to decorate his stand in a couple of hours, picking up some flowers and herbs just outside Stazione Leopolda. He did well, just being himself. Jerusalem is his newest addition to the Extract d’Emotion range.

I could relate to his interpretation of one of the cities I remember so well and long to return to. That’s not all: he is kind, gentle, and keeps reminding people that bees matter! Upon purchase of his perfumes, a certain percentage is given to a bee preservation foundation. He is greatly concerned about preserving Nature. He also makes candles, soaps, and teas. A very dear and special young man. Take care, Louison!

Andy Tauer – Tauer Perfumes

Everybody loves Andy! Why? First of all, he makes extraordinary perfumes. Secondly, he is a self-made man, working in his little perfume factory, driving deliveries to the post office with his bike, he writes a blog, actively posts on IG, issues a magazine…Tic-tac work, like a precise Swiss watch, and he embodies values we (yap, bloggers – we had our talks, too…) discussed as being the most important: authenticity, creativity, credibility. He follows himself only, speaks his mind and instinctively delivers beautiful works of perfume art. Plus a big smile and beautiful blue eyes as a bonus! Honestly, I don’t know how he manages to do everything he does on a daily basis. Swissness at it’s best, I guess. And love. For perfumes.

Yes, everybody loves Andy. Which made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with him at his Pitti stand, but even that is OK. After Pitti, he made it known on his IG account: Tauer, the candles, are launching this October! And Les Annees 25 are almost gone, so better hurry up  – if you can order online. Because one thing makes me crazy: I can’t even order Tauer Mag with a sample online, let alone any of the cute-little-familiar-shaped-bottles! Nothing, nada, niente, zip, zero: Croatia is not on the shipping list!

Dear Andy, please do solve this issue soon! We love you. You can do it! 😀 (Why do I keep imagining his little perfume factory like a Santa’s Workshop, with elves and marmots helping him? Why?) <3

Filippo Sorcinelli – Filippo Sorcinelli Brand

Most people know Filippo for his fragrances released under the UNUM, Nebbia and SAUF brands (inspired by individual organ stops on the Grand Orgue of Notre Dame de Paris, connecting music and perfumes, incense music…). Or LAVS. There’ve been some changes here: a new website and SAUF has been renamed into Extrait de Musique (this seemed to confuse a lot of fans, so let’s clear this out). Packaging has been redesigned, take a look at the new bottles: the lower part is now transparent. 2 new additions: Unda Maris 8 and Violin Basse 16! One other thing: new 10ml travel spray size! Priced at 35EUR, for all UNUM perfumes! This is just a quick intro, as I will write in more detail about two fantastic events Filippo and his team organized! The debut of but_not_today perfume was something to be remembered!

Filippo is a painter, photographer, graphic designer, and an organist. Creator of sacred vestments for Popes.  (Atelier LAVS – L’Atelier di Vesti Sacre). An artist, searching for beauty everywhere, in constant creative fluxus. If you take a look at his FB posts each day, he starts with „Buongiorno Amici“ (hello friends), only to follow with „Buongiorno Nemici“ (hello enemies), turning his other cheek. Do I need to mention authenticity, creativity, and credibility again?

I feel only love for him, and his creations. A big thank you to his whole team and kind Cristina Brolli who handled all our communication.

Santiago Burgas Bou – Santi Burgas

Santiago is the creative director of the brand Santi Burgas, born in and loving Torroella de Montgi – dedicating one of his newest perfumes after this city. A multitalented person, too. A graduated textile designer, lover of nature and insects, especially ants – behold the new, ant-hill themed perfume!

Santi is sweet, gentle and kind, at first he might seem a bit shy, but when he starts speaking about his perfumes, his eyes sparkle! Art inspires him, ever since high-school. Santiago is a rebel, rebel as well: I think he enjoys greatly his creative freedom, doing some perfumes by himself and some in collaboration with certain perfumers.

We have a saying in Croatia: Quiet water wears down mountains. Carry on, Santiago Burgas Bou: you shine!

Romy Kowalewski – 27_87

Yap, you’ve probably heard her story: she was born on 27th, in 1987. She won’t disclose the month, you really don’t need to know her horoscope sign. Romy lives in Barcelona, where I first met her.

Millennial hype? She IS a Millennial. Studied hard, wrote her project, made it happen: she invited some perfumers to make something new, not existing on the market. She is determined, hard-working and yes, I loved her #hashtag: seems simple, with sparkling aldehydes. She uses hi-tech materials by Givadaun, obviously enjoys playing with molecules, so I guess Daniela Andier here made quite a hit.

GENNEXT theme goes on with her new addition, Genetic Bliss. Go, Romy, go!

Murat Katran and Mert Guzel – Nishane

Istanbul. Just one word: Istanbul. If you’ve ever visited this city, a lot of things about Nishane are much clearer.

Tradition, modern and cosmopolitan structure, Europe and Asia connected: this is the first perfume house from Turkey!

Are you enjoying Rumi’s poems? Well, Nishane gave us a perfume inspired by his poetry: Fan Your Flames. Little Prince? Nishane covered this, as well: Le Petit Prince Collection, Vain&Naive still sitting on my desk, a review half-written. They team up with chosen perfumers, collaborate, create, move and shake. And they are both ever so sweet and friendly, maybe sometimes overwhelmed by all the interest they’ve attracted.

Love you guys, aferim! <3

Sarah McCartney – 4160 Tuesdays

A lady with thousands of names for her perfumes. Bewitching. Funny and relaxed. Open, eccentric, having fun while mixing up and creating her perfumes.

I really think she is enjoying all this jazz enormously, employing her vivid imagination. Have you seen her FB post featuring a short video of her dancing and singing while shaking up a big bottle, mixing her new perfume? Amazing, to me – that’s Sarah.

She is a self-thought perfumer, scent lover, marketing-wise, fast-thinking and a just a little bit a  perfume fairy. She is quite active in FB perfume lover’s group and I was really looking forward to meeting her.

Keep rockin’ Sarah: I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next!

Francesca Bianchi

She made me cry. One of her perfumes, to be exact. Under My Skin. Well, some perfumes do make me cry, but this one? I was sobbing. Intense, sensual, intimate. Triggering memories.

Talking about authenticity again? Francesca is Francesca is Francesca, take it or leave it. She has her personal view of perfumery and she is boldly hitting your emotions, yet in a very elegant way. She is intense and so are her perfumes, captivating. What a personality! Love her. As I love Sex on the Beach: after so many Summers spent at the beach, that sultry, warm, sun-bathed, sun-tanned, salt-on-your-skin erotic vibe is something I can definitely relate to.

Italian, self-taught, now living in Amsterdam. You bring sunshine wherever you go, Francesca! Thanks for all the tears and laughs!

Nick Steward – Gallivant Perfumes

Gallivant may be a relatively new indie perfume brand from London, debuting at Pitti Fragranze, but Nick, the founder, has twenty-and-some years of experience in the perfume industry. Yes, you know him, he is a veteran: if not from big companies, then as ex-creative director of the house L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Like many great noses, he decided to get back to basics. He is well-read, well-traveled, elegant and interesting. When people ask him „that“ question: „Whom are your perfumes targetting?“ he simply answers: “People. With skin.”

Gallivant is all about cities he knows and loves, atmosphere, a feeling: my kind of thing, definitely. His perfumes come in 30ml bottles: easy to pack and take on your flight.

His newest, 7th perfume is Tokyo: a tribute to Kodo, calming, easy-going, with a whiff of wasabi! Loved it! Immediately set my mind that I have to meet the person behind it!

I tried to find Nick on his distributor’s stand at Stazione Leopolda, but failed and didn’t manage to return to it later on (it’s easy to get distracted!). Well, as some things are meant to happen, while talking to Lucca Maffei standing in the crowd on the street, attending the opening of the new Essential Store Capomarzio70 – surely enough, there was Nick! We finally met, yeeey! And had fun. And meaningful conversations.

Do I have to mention authenticity, creativity, and credibility again? Nick is doing it his way and what an extraordinary journey he is taking us on! Congratulations! P.S. I really really don’t like selfies, naah, next time I’ll ask someone to take our pic. 🙄

Pissara Ploi Umavijani – Parfums Dusita

Much has been written about Pissara: she grew up in Thailand, surrounded by books and poetry. Self-taught, she began creating her perfumes, blending, dreaming…Working. Her passion is noticeable: she translates the poetic world into scents, taking you to Dusita, a paradise where you can be yourself, express yourself. Her value system? Integrity. Uniqueness. Quality. Philosophy of the brand. Her Siamese heritage is strongly present, her talent exceptional.

Say what you will, but Pissara is authentic. She walks her talk. With an irresistible smile, warmth, and kindness. She is living her dream, loving it, and that is contagious!

This year at Pitti, Pissara exhibited her well-known perfumes range but we also got a peek preview of surprises that will be announced: Dusita has a boutique in Paris and the Perfume Creation Atelier starts now! Blend your own perfume with Pissara!

I was like: just give me one reason to return to Paris, just one little reason…

Thank you for all your smiles, kindness and patience! Yes, personality matters!

I was also thrilled to meet (again) fellow bloggers/perfume critics/writers: it is so much fun to know who is (often) behind a nickname, to talk, to exchange opinions, to explore together, support each other…We had so much fun! Chapeau! Things we do for our love of perfumes, things we do…

I am looking forward to seeing you again, beautiful People of Pitti!

See you in Milan, next year!

Perfumes of Pitti? Check out The Plum Girl IG account, you can find short, first-sniff reviews there.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl Archive

Opinions of my own.