In the new “He says, she says”, Persefume’s Jakub and Aleksandra are exploring the new releases of Masque Milano: Le Donne di Masque trilogy and Ray-Flection, the latest opus from the Opera Collection. We have always followed creations of this Italian house, though until now they somehow never got any separate article. Later on we might re-visit the Opera line including another upcoming release – actually Jakub has been wearing his Romanza last night while e.g. Tango, Kintsugi and Love Kills are simply amazing perfumes which definitely deserve special focus.


Riccardo Tedeschi (left) and Alessandro Brun (right) of Masque Milano

Also kudos to Masque‘s Founders for making this pandemic better smelling – thanks to virtual Google Meet events and press kits consisting of new perfumes’ samples, its accords and small Italian souvenirs, we’ve had opportunity to smell, taste and most of all – discuss novelties with its creators. Two meetings took place already while third one is coming shortly. That’s the way to do it in those hard times!


Le Donne di Masque trilogy

Let us focus first on Masque’s latest trilogy: Le Donne di Masque (carefully evaluated by Italian fragrance expert Ermano Picco known from e.g. La gardenia nell’occhiello, contribution to Cafleurebon and other scented projects). Dolceacqua and Petra were initially introduced as 100ml 10th anniversary limited editions, but eventually permanently joined portfolio in smaller sizes while the third composition – Madeleine has been also launched.
What is our take on those novelties?

DOLCEAQUA
Interpreted by DELPHINE THIERRY

Nice, 8am. Sunshine and light traffic on the Promenade des Anglais. Here she comes, with the soft top down, and you jump in. As the road unwinds, the view of the gulf suddenly becomes amazing. Her colourful Hermes foulard sweeps with the breeze and you breathe deeply to catch the rich mixture of Cote d’Azur flavours, in their magic blend of floral and marine. She parks in a panoramic spot and draws out of the back of the car a basket with your breakfast. She doesn’t mind sitting on the ground, she bought her lovely dress at the market stalls for a few dollars and it is not worth worrying about. What a woman! – you think – she can match a few-dollar-dress with such an astonishing pearl necklace. You open a bottle of Beaujolais wine, and lean towards her to pour some wine into her glass. You can’t help stopping pouring wine and close your eyes, as you smell her perfume. So much in line with her, with her style: sweet and mellow, a mixture of flowers and fruit and some hints of vanilla at the bottom.

Head Notes: Coastal Breeze accord, Muguet, Ivy Leaves, Mediterranean Marjoram
Heart Notes: Mimosa, Almond Flower, White Rose, Ylang-Ylang Nosy Be
Base Notes: Saffron Flower, Cedarwood Virginia, Benjoin Siam, Oakmoss, Silky Musks

He – Dolceacqua’s PR text might sound bit cliché as we have read about French Riviera’s romantic charm pretty a lot. This fragrance is luckily more than another dull marine-floral: deeper, mature, with slightly nostalgic feel. Pure beauty of mimosa, almonds and ylang leads to gorgeous, neo-vintage drydown. I am really impressed and as man I have worn it with pleasure, pride and delight. Longevity is simply amazing.

She – Exquisite yellow floral with the most refined pollen note. There’s this type of narcissus with a large, yellow trombone, oh so difficult to catch in a perfume – I guess it is called jonquil – but here it is, in all its grace and tenderness, lying on the soft pillow of musks and oakmoss. Like and elvish secret ikebana, few strokes, translucent, modest, enchanting.

MADELEINE
Interpreted by FANNY BAL

“Angelina means a lot to me. First of all, it was the name of my mother. And from my mother I inherited the passion for travels and for nice afternoon teas in fancy patisserie. So it was almost natural – when I started traveling frequently to Paris – to feel a strong attraction for this place in Rue de Rivoli. Every single business trip in the Ville Lumiere could not end without a stop at our favourite delicatessen place. And most of the times I ended up eating a chestnut dessert that my mother would cook for me when I was a kid, the Mont Blanc!” – Alessandro Brun, Masque Co-Founder

Head Notes: Chestnut Accord, Chantilly Accord, Cumin Seed Oil
Heart Notes: Tuberose Abs LMR , Cypress Oil LMR, Geranium Oil Egypt LMR
Base Notes: Tonka Bean Abs LMR, Milky Musks, Vanilla Pods Extract LMR

He – Very refined, creamy gourmand, though white floral notes prevent it from being too thick and heavy. Chestnut accord is very obvious and literal here – it reminds a bit of Arturetto Landi’s work for Pantheon, but in more subtle rendition. Still, Madeleine pretty quickly reaches its creamy base notes lingering for hours. Must-have for fans of gourmand, yet not too excessively sweet compositions. P.S. Yes, I am also big fan of Parisian Angelina and Mont Blanc dessert – some more patience is needed!

She – Chestnut gourmand – I feel nothing but nuts on cream and tonka with a pinch of cool cypress twig. I would gladly eat it, but as a perfume it’s too one-dimensional for me. I don’t want to discourage anybody, so just know that I have some problems with nutty notes, they almost never fail to ruin the perfume for me.

PETRA
Interpreted by CÉCILE ZAROKIAN

She comes in incense and patchouli… A mysterious scene… “On a morning from a Bogart movie. In a country where they turned back time. You go strolling in the crowd like Peter Lorrie, contemplating a crime. She comes out from the crowd in a silk dress running like a watercolour in the rain.These days – she says – I feel my life just like a river running through the Year of the Cat. On a blue tiled wall by the market stall there’s a hidden door she leads you to…

Head Notes: Bergamot, Yellow Mandarin, Pink Pepper
Heart Notes: Sambac Jasmine abs., Rose Maroc abs., Luqaimat accord, Fruity notes
Base Notes: Incense, Patchouli, Benzoin, Myrrh, Leather, Ambergris infusion

He – Elegant, modern and radiant. Petra is not as oriental as I’ve thought – but you can tell that quality is here. As in the case of e.g. Penhaligon’s Empressa, I have detected similarities with Chanel’s modern icon – Coco Mademoiselle and its floral and patchouli vibes. In any case, here the result is more luxurious, more seductive and deeper – like it a lot.

She – I don’t quite get the name, I mean Petra – monumental ancient city in Jordan is what first comes to my mind, and the perfume does not correspond with this image at all. Petra is all about crispness and brightness. The citruses, fresh, light resin, tiny white flowers, soft musks – it all makes this scent volatile, elegant, feminine and very urban. The leathery finish adds to overall impression of a fragrance of some non-interactive, rather otherwordly persona just passing by. It lacks depth and emotion on my skin. Still interesting.

Coming to another new Masque Milano’s release, we have also smelled Act IV Scene II RAY-FLECTION interpreted by ALEX LEE .

A dream. A flower, with an incredibly intense smell. And huge, humongous. Not a normal flower, one that you can find on earth. This flower was emitting a surprisingly bright light. As the time passed by, and the light grew even more dazzling, the flower starts melting, dripping like honey from a rich and mellow honeycomb.

Head Notes: Mandarin Essence, Sparkling Aldehydes, Cardamom pure Jungle Essence
Heart Notes: Mimosa Absolute France, Violette Leaves Absolute, Solar Rays Accord
Base Notes: Beeswax Absolute, Cedarwood Essence, Musk Accord

Here our opinons are pretty contrasting, but that’s the pure charm of “He says, she says”:

Aleksandra: such a disappointment. I was lucky to be able to sniff through the three component accords – each of them smells better to my nose than the actual composition. If the notion behind this perfume was to create a huge, alien flower, than it would be the one killing with its insipid, almost nauseating, somewhat vapid scent. I can’t help detecting raw aldehyde in the head, and it’s never fun for me. Then the mimosa with beeswax and watery, cucumber note make it glaced in a sickly way. This is not the way the light is obtained, sorry.

Jakub: In this particular case, I do not feel as disappointed as Aleksandra. That realistic mimosa-feel, that subdued honey accord and beautiful, sparkling citrus! It feels pretty minimalistic, yet refined. Modern, yet respecting traditional perfumery. Ray-Flection is luminous, effervescent, soothing fragrance, perhaps the easiest to wear from the Masque’s Opera Collection. However, I also do not agree with “alien flower” term – Ray-flection’s roots are right here. Speaking of its three basic component accords presented to us by the brand – I must admit: I would love to wear honey one on its own!

Masque’s Le Donne di Masque are available as elegant 10ml Travel Sprays (45 EUR, pictured), 35ml bottle (132 EUR) and limited, hand-numbered 100ml sizes for Petra and Dolceacqua (375 EUR). Ray-Flection is being sold as EdP 35ml (115 EUR).

It is not the end of Masque Milano’s novelties – the new fragrance is coming next month, this time inspired by Alice in Wonderland and composed by Mackenzie Reilly. Smelling kit is on its way – stay tuned for more news!

Pictures, quotes, sample of Ray-Flection and its accords provided by Masque Milano. Le Donne di Masque collection reviewed based on Jakub’s Travel Sprays purchase. Opinions – our own.