On the catwalk again


 Masque Milano is a brand i respected for its  coherence in concept, its outcome and the quality of their products. Things swift several years ago. Firstly, the replacement of their 100 milliliters bottles for the 35 ml ones, and, later, with the (slight) change in direction, when their marketing started to focus on a wider audience and their offerings adapted to a more mainstream market. It felt like switching from witnessing to a haute couture catwalk from the first row to an ordinary and unexciting fashion show. (Almost) Everything after Kintsugi and Love Kills fell flat. Madeleine was the only one waving desperately for attention, until i eventually saw it, despite its sugary-pink tutu. 

 Now, should we prepare for a new Masque Milano fashion week soon? I'd say yes, because they are definitely up to the catwalk (again) with their new two releases and i must add, Chapeau for the awaking!. White Wale and Sleight of Fern are worthy of a show run on themselves and, ever since the trend, I'm in awe that a few fragrances that base on Ambroxan are so masterfully blended that the material doesn't literally jump at the neck and neutralize everything else in the composition.

 I define White Wale as Masque Milano's book - a scented Frankenstein - where the most beautiful parts of their other chapters - Kintsugi, Mandala, Times Square, Russian Tea, Hemingway, Ray-Flection - are put together as a complex structure, whose varied and irregular elements are properly  assembled. 
White Wale is endearingly sweet - not the usual tooth screeching caramel, more like a drop of honeyed-tea falling on clean skin - and sparkling salty. It starts in my favorite's aunt suede bag, home for her waxy red lipstick, her best-loved floral fragrance - not too bold nor too subtle -, an always present small box of violet candies for my sweet tooth, a few hair clips that penetrated everything around with a soft metallic scent and her most worn black leather gloves, and it ends in my nostalgia, longing for the days on the countryside - for mornings smoked by nights' fires and afternoons played in my wooden swing, my feet touching the earth while holding on to ropes that smell of roots and balsams, like my grandfather's hands.

I've dreamed of a great fougère for the longest, living, until Sleight of Fern arrived, from pieces of the past, that despite of their simple compositions, were fulfilling my need for aromatic and barbershop. With Sleight of Fern I'd go as far as calling Stéphanie Bakouche my favorite modern perfumer for this particular genre. She built the perfect fougère, in my humble opinion, by fitting together aromatic and barbershop parts into a perfect balance, thinking every single molecule's effect into the whole. First comes the astringent punch - typical of classic aftershaves, with spices and thyme and sage undertones - then a dried-out-of-its-greenness lavender comes into play, summing its camphoraceous and licorice-like tonalities to the composition. At the next stage the fragrance grows on bitter and floral-aromatic, manifesting a turpentine nuance that goes on the rubbery side. Sleight of Fern ends where it should, on the forest's floor, softly inked, covered in the sweet greenness of hay and almonds.

I guess I'm back on the front row of Masque Milano's haute couture show, impatiently waiting for their future releases. The present looks more than optimistic. 

Samples generously sent by the brand, opinions are my own and honest, as always.


  1. Love your review, Ana! Wonderful grand finale of the Opera Collection! 2 scents that carry the brand’s DNA and yet with their individual personalities!


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