I had posted a photo of my “fragrance haul” in a Facebook perfume group, showing off my newly acquired scents from a trip, and a Facebook friend saw my bottle of Maai in the picture, and wrote the comment, “Maai is in the house!”
Yes, Maai is in the f**king house, finally. There’s a strange imagery came into my head, and it’s a Jenny Craig commercial; in it a once-overweight woman finally has shed all her extra pounds, and got accepted into the group of “normal” weight friends, full of joy and tears. I felt like I finally belonged, back to the mothership of sane people.
When Maai came out, it was almost like an unstoppable Internet forest fire in Fragrance County. Everyone was talking about it, and the fragrance friends whom I trusted by their taste in perfumes, all said Maai was amazing. I even got an unrequested sample sent to me from a friend as he couldn’t hold his love for this scent. I had talked to a person who had a shaving soap business suddenly asked if I liked Maai or not because he really loved it.
If I am asked to summarize my feeling for Maai, I would say this – it’s a fully restored, remastered, high definition vintage perfume. Everything that is typical in a vintage perfume, no matter it’s rose, oak moss, civet, or aldehyde, it’s so intense and rich and amped up, it’s like a Picasso cubist painting instead of a romanticism painting of angels. I think people are wondering if Antonio Gardoni has cheated and ignored IFRA safety guideline by pouring a gallon of real oakmoss in Maai with an evil grin (covered up by his beard) and mumbling in Italian, “fock you…”
That all being said, I didn’t love Maai. I liked it. Until I was at a fragrance show in LA, talking to a perfumer about her perfumes, and suddenly someone next to me sprayed some perfume onto a ceramic mask. I couldn’t hold myself, and said, “oh my god, what is this beautiful scent?” It was totally embarrassing because I was praising the scent coming from the next booth. Yes, it’s was Antonio next to me spraying Maai. BUT, not the regular Maai, but a modified version of Maai, called Scent of Mystery. He modified Maai by adding some beautiful gardenia, and amped up the concentration from 28% to 33%. It was so rich, floral, dirty, soapy and flirty it’s ridiculous. I succumbed, I had to get this special version. Now I think about it, maybe the original Maai wasn’t floral enough for me? How crazy.