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Romanza – bitter and floral and a heart-stealer - July 11, 2016

It’s no secret that narcissus is a favourite flower in my household. Specifically, it is my husband’s favourite flower. We enjoy them in the spring – the excitement of discovering them in the garden and watching them grow – and miss them when they are gone. That’s when I seek them out in perfume.

Fragrances like Le Temps d'Une Fête and Ostara keep that joy of spring alive for us all year round, so when I heard that Italian niche line Masque Milano Fragranze launched a fragrance based on narcissus called Romanza, I knew it was just a matter of time before I bought a bottle.

Masque Milano Fragranze was launched in 2012 by Allesandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi as an extension of their cosmetics line, Masque Milano Cosmetics, which they started in 2010 in Milan. The concept behind the line is that each fragrance represents a different act and scene in an imaginary opera, called the Opera of Life, as conceived by Brun and Tedeschi.  The Masque Milano Fragranze website lays it out:

Masque Fragranze – the Opera of life in four acts

ACT I
A collection of experiences, discoveries, places and journeys.

ACT II
Interior monologues, emotions, deep thoughts and inner reflections … lights and shadows of human nature.

ACT III
Sentimental relationships … romance and love … affections and betrayals.

ACT IV
Dreams. The world of the most bizarre, improbable and fascinating reveries.

Romanza, launched in 2015, is Act III Scene Two of the opera.

Well, it is Milan after all, home to La Scala, one of the leading opera houses in the world, but you don’t need to love opera to love Romanza.

It opens with a shot of sweet, fresh, fleshy orange blossom joined by the bracing herbal, bitter smell of absinth. Angelica extends the sweet/herbal aspect while adding a dimension of muskiness. And then, the heart just bursts opens to the smell of sweet, heady narcissus, bolstered by indolic jasmine, which together create a dramatic, narcotic blend like no other I have ever smelled. It’s potent and powerful and pulls me deeper and deeper into it, swirling around my brain, igniting the pleasure points. Romanza smells like yielding feels.

Narcissus has a green aspect that violet leaves extend with their metallic, green facets, slowing down the fall, so the pleasure lasts longer until the base of vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli make it drier and darker. Amber adds a sweet warmth while civet makes it animalic and myrrh, well, myrrh, gives it that dark, resinous, bitterness I love. It mingles with some of the lingering sweetness from the heart and the amber to create a bitter sweetness at the end that gives me pause every time I catch a gorgeous whiff of it.

If it were an act and a scene in an opera, Romanza would be a scene-stealer, as a fragrance it’s heart stealer with no regard for gender…or maybe I just yielded my heart to it. Doesn’t matter which.  I’m not in the mood to argue. I’m in the mood to yield to love.

Romanza is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $9.00 CAD for 1 ml.