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L’Attesa – Earthy and rich and hauntingly beautiful - May 5, 2017

Miniature Iris, April 2017 - perfumeniche.com

Masque Milano is one of the very exceptional niche perfume companies. Italian, of course. Who else would choose the vision of an opera in four acts to build a brand, and succeed so perfectly?

Masque Milano Fragranze was launched in Milan in 2012 by Allesandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi as an extension of their cosmetics line, Masque Milano Cosmetics. The concept of the line is that each fragrance represents a different act and scene in an imaginary opera, the “Opera of Life” as conceived by Brun and Tedeschi. And like “publisher’ Frédéric Malle chose to do with his Editions de Parfums scent collection, these two “orchestral directors” choose different perfumers to create the special scent for each Act and Scene.

We’ve written about three of the fragrances:

Russian Tea – Act I, Scene III – Places and journeys - the shared and intimate experience of the ritual tea ceremony on a winter’s day in St. Petersberg. Stunningly different. By Julien Rasquinet

Romanza – Act III, Scene II – Romance and love – narcotic sensuous florals, the sensation of free-falling into romantic love. Sublimely alive. By Cristiano Canali

Tango Act III, Scent IV – Affections and betrayals – the  intoxicating heady scent of the dance of passion and desire. Irresistably sensual. By Cécile Zarokian

And here is our newest addition from the Masque Milano collection:

L’Attesa  – Act III, Scene I – Sentimental rendezvous – Soft jazz and warm breeze, flowers fresh from the garden, champagne fizzing in glass flutes. Waiting for your lover. Intimately emotional. By Luca Maffei

L’Attesa (The Wait) features one of the most poignant notes in perfumery, the iris note. If you’ve been exploring the world of perfumes, you know the unique character of iris - pale, earthy, quietly floral, refined, powdery, melancholic. In L’Attesa, iris is paired with the champagne note. Champagne? How does that translate into scent? Luca Maffei describes it on the Masque Milano website:

“One of the most beautiful moments of the creation process… …Riccardo…after introducing the first “scene” of the Third Act of their scented opera, illustrated the true champagne smell through an actual bubbly tasting. The three of us were enticed by the idea to recreate for the first time the smell of yeast, which would have created a bitter yet intriguing counterpoint to the floral, earthy and poudrè facets of iris, eventually exalting it. After many an attempt, I managed to track down a very peculiar raw material – Beer CO2 – perfectly reproducing the smell of yeast, which of course I employed to recreate a realistic Champagne accord….”

Iris is a tricky note in fragrances. It has a very subdued character that is easily overwhelmed by heavier notes such as florals and woods, but on its own, iris also has a very definite “crusty bread” nuance to it. Maffei continues: … “I decided to employ Italian iris absolute – a rare and utterly precious raw material, stinging and powdery, which enhances the smell of yeast since the opening headnotes – as well as Italian and French iris concretes, much more buttery, which boost the richness of the floral heartnotes and smooth the milky-woody, leathery and musky basenotes…”

Pairing it with the yeasty champagne note was a stroke of brilliance, and the result is exactly as Maffei describes. The champagne creates a solid base for the tenuous iris, the uniquely “iris character” is deepened, the floral, earthy powdery facets are preserved, the pairing is perfect.

This is an opera, and the opening notes gives me the sensation of earthy dampness that I always associate with iris, but it’s immediately lifted with a sunny citrus-bright refrain of bergamot and neroli. The iris increases in volume, accompanied by the champagne note, sparkly and yeasty and tantalizingly noseworthy, and when the white florals of ylang-ylang and creamy tuberose quietly join the chorus, I’m in La La Land. Faintly sweet aromatic sandalwood, green oakmoss, and smoky leather musky notes form the base, adding a smooth rich sensual contrast to the iris and champagne notes.

L’Attesa is no ordinary niche fragrance. The word that comes to mind to describe it is “gravitas”. Alessandro and Riccardo put no restrictions on their perfumers in terms of cost or creativity, so Luca Maffei’s L’Atessa has been made with the highest quality material available. The iris is floral AND powdery AND buttery, it has weight and substance, a clarity and a beauty that is stunning.

But what makes L’Attesa truly special is its composition, a result of the creative vision of Allessandro Brun, Riccardo Tedeschi with the artistry and technical brilliance of perfumer Luca Maffei. The concept of Act III, Scene I in the Opera of Life, a moment in time, a state of being, the preparation, the anticipation of an emotional reunion, The Wait, has been translated to sophisticated perfection in L’Atessa.

L’Attesa is luxuriously smooth and hauntingly beautiful. If you want to experience the opulent beauty of the iris note in fragance, your wait is over.  This is the one to try.

L’Attesa is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $9.00 for 1 ml.