In 2006, Pluto was declassified and no long considered a planet in our Solar System. I was giddy about the declassification because Gustav Holst’s “The Planet” orchestral suite was perfect again. (Finished in 1916, Pluto was discovered in 1930, so the suite didn’t have Pluto in it.) Later I discovered that the declassification had caused other problems – people who were “governed” by Pluto suddenly had lost their planet and the astrologists needed to come up with some excuse to sooth the lost souls. One astrologist on TV said, “it doesn’t matter. It still is governing you.”
At one point I found astrology fun and briefly wondered if people were governed by big bodies in outer space. However, the most interesting talk about “something governing something” was given by my computer science professor who casually mentioned the father of computer science, Alan Turing and his “Turing Machine” – Can everything be represented by a Turing Machine? If so, does that mean our future is predetermined? It was mind boggling, also, I nearly failed the class.
So I found Mendittorosa’s Nettuno inspired by the planet Neptune quite interesting, and thought it’s about time that someone made a perfume dedicated to a planet. But, why Neptune? On their website it says, “Nettuno Extrait de Parfum is the scented vision of mirror of the soul, olfactory tribute to the Neptune. Mesmeric cosmic dust, planetary mirror of our potential, astral reflections of infinite freedom and possibilities.”
What this perfume has succeeded, is the ability to release a wonderment, mysteriousness and etherealness. It is both light and dark, rich, and very abstract. It shoots out dusty powdery pastel floral colours (iris and musk) that contrast against a three dimensional, darker, slightly medicinal aroma space (leather, vetiver, nutmeg). The scent expands very quickly then slows down, and it is not easy to tell what notes are in this perfume. It never reaches full floral, and never touches full masculinity. But one really shouldn’t analyze too much, but enjoy the little cosmic space it has created.
This year I had a “gift exchange” with a friend. We sent each other a bottle of perfume, and the one I received was Sogno Reale. I had acquired a sample of it a few months ago, and I must apologize, I didn’t pay much attention to it after dabbing some on my skin. (I also did not enjoy testing samples from little vials.) I had just received too many samples that month, and not many perfumes grabbed my attention for they didn’t have a distinct voice or a “catchy” top note.
Now that I have a full bottle with a sprayer, I have changed my view on this perfume completely. Smelling it develop on my skin was very interesting – the first few seconds (yes, the first few seconds, and it is quite enough for most people to lose interest if it isn’t attractive enough) gives me the impression that it’s a weak perfume. But as it develops, it has a slow fizzy effect, almost like you are watching an effervescent tablet dance and dissolve in a glass of water. Or like watching a “tea bomb” blossom in a glass teapot, but with a caveat – I have no idea what’s in the tea bomb and the flavour is like nothing I have smelled before.
That’s because I didn’t check Fragrantica. I didn’t do any research on this perfume because it’s a gift. I just sprayed some on with no pre-conceived idea what kind of story it was supposed to tell me, and also I didn’t understand the Italian title of the perfume. I had been guessing what notes were in the perfume the whole day and I was clueless. It smelled a little powdery, a little uplifting (aldehyde, maybe?), a little sweet, maybe a little floral, a little ancient, like there’s some mysterious mild-smelling herbs or resins stored in a jar an archaeologist had dug up from a tomb and decided it’s quite safe to consume. In other words, it’s very well blended, completely mysterious and alluring.
I gave up, it’s a puzzle I could’t solve, and I looked it up in Fragrantica. (Spoiler Alert) it has hyrax, styrax, olibanum, rum, tuberose and sea notes, if they are important to you.
A woman walked into a souvenir shop located in a busy tourist area of Rome and asked the shopkeeper with a dissenting voice, “Is there anything in this shop not made in China? I have been looking for a true Italian gift to bring home.” The shopkeeper was a bit annoyed and made an nano-second eyes roll. I glanced around the shop and thought, really, there wasn’t anything in here that could meet her simple requirement, so I continued selecting my Pinocchio fridge magnets.
I wished Mendittorosa’s Le Mat (“The Fool”, from a deck of Tarot cards) had already been released back then and was available in that shop, because that would really make her happy. I’ll be frank, I bought Le Mat mostly because of its packaging. It’s one of those hand-crafted packaging designs when I first saw it, I instantly knew that they had put a lot of creativity and effort in it. There had to be a lot of prototyping, material sourcing, numbers crunching, and test-production runs to see whether or not their staff could handle the production of that special design. It was also one of those packaging designs when I first saw it, I foresaw they wouldn’t stay that way forever; once a perfume house becomes really big, they will forgo their traditional ways of time-consuming hand-crafted packaging and go for full factory automation. This is only natural, not necessarily a sellout. When that day arrives, I will show the world that I am one of the proud owners of the first edition bottle.
According to the Tarot wiki, “The Fool is shown at the beginning of his journey with unlimited potential”. If I try really really hard, I might be able to tell you how the scent of Le Mat gives me the association of “The Fool”. But I can’t. Rather, I think it’s a good name for Mendittorosa’s debut perfume, to symbolize their first step into the perfumery business – with their best effort and hope for the best. (Edit: Someone corrected me that Le Mat is not their debut perfume.)
Le Mat is majorly a herbal, spicy scent. It smells rustic and brown, but very refined; sensual but not too moody, initially sweet and boozy but sober; it has carnation, immortelle and rose but doesn’t smell particularly floral. It’s the smell of a scholarly bartender who has been serving folks his unusual home-brew herbal drinks in his tavern since the Medieval times.