Victoria by Frassaï
Oftentimes I close into my own bubble and stick to what's in my perfume wardrobe, mostly because of the disappointment I feel towards the actual perfume market, either because I find modern compositions to be quite repetitive (especially when it comes to glueing-sickling-sweet aka Ehtyl Maltol and modern ambery-woods = full impact on Ambroxan or Iso E Super) or i don't recognize fragrances I was familiar with from years ago and find their actual formula an insult to me, as a customer. It's today's trend to copy best-seller compositions or to release from perfumed water after perfumed water, with small alterations in between, - that on the faux-niche side of the perfume market also come in bling-bling bottles and boxes so big and exuberant that are absolutely impractical and unsustainable -, only for the sake of cashing-in. Although I must also admire some fragrances' continuation in good conditions, despite their formulas being changed and adapted over time. But those cases are rare.
Nowadays, only a handful of perfumers or brand owners are critical towards their work or releases, not allowing themselves to lower to mediocre and instantly acceptable, in terms of quality and composition. They also invert their time and give all the needed attention to the creative process. It's what I like to call honest perfumery. And Frassaï is a part of it. Natalia's implication in the process of creation of each fragrance of the line reads in their quality and in the innovation brought to the market.
I love the element of surprise when it comes to a fragrance - when it's good, obviously, - and Frassaï's Victoria turns on the lights and pops-up the champagne.
Victoria feels like an undiscovered wild creature that, apparently, seems to be born out of chaos. And chaos settles into harmony once its disorder dissipates. Victoria is bold and heavy and unique; the kind of uniqueness that I'm sure won't please everyone. The pepper is there, pushing out the oils of the citrus peels, the sweetness released by fruits and spices pierces through the whole composition, the fruity-fatty lactones bath the tuberose and the other flowers that soften the woods, the styrax is there, with its leather and smoky facets, supporting the oud accord, with its non overly animalic, non overly barnyard(y) and non over-medicinal warmth, the burnt quality of the cade oil and the woods are all in there and you can feel them, one by one, until they disappear into the blend, unifying. And they appear and disappear again, creating some sort of haze around. Tuberose should be the center of attention, but it isn't. Many will be pleased by its absence through presence, as it can sometimes be overwhelming, all claws and teeth with its narcotic, heady and meaty greeness. Its role, here, is to arbitrate between the tropical-sweet, fruity, slightly vegetal, and fatty top and the weighted dark base, centering with its creamy/ lactonic/ mingling of sweet, slightly bitter molasses of creamy woods and warm spices.
Victoria is gourmand in an inedible way. While its sharp-lighter side suggests some sort of dessert I'm unfamiliar with, the obscure border is earthy, animalic, balsamic and woody. It's a firm and mysterious composition with new nuances and inflections that make you come back for more.
Victoria's unaltered circle of chemical synthesis is one I love wearing around my skin. I'm glad it exists, to scare the bad and boring perfumes away.
Bottle gifted by the brand at Esxence, in Milano, after it made an impact on me. I've been wearing it a lot since then, to make sure my opinions are firm and objective. And they are.