Sunday, March 11, 2012
Exultat by Italian perfumer Maria Candida Gentile is touching on both the contrast and the accomodating orifices between citrus and sacerdotal frankincense. The latter naturally possesses citrusy facets on top, making the combination register as an increase in tonality for a few minutes, an effect also explored in Etro's Shaal Nur. The ecclesiastical connotation of resinous frankincense (olibanum) couldn't go amiss: The story goes that signora Gentile was inspired by a visit to the church of Saint Lorence in Lucina during the hour of Vespers.
But in Exultat the hesperidic top note soon dissipates to give way to a very detectable and unusual in such a context violet leaf note; silvery, quiet and crepuscular, like linen purified in a wash of ashes and countryside lavender. This technique mollifies the natural smokiness of frankincense, rendering it purer, subtler and very wearable with the soft feel of Grey Flannel. We might have been conditioned to regard frankincense fragrances as reclusive, monastic and intellectualized, but here is proof they can be wordly, human and smiling as well, which is a feat in itself.
Notes for Maria Candida Gentile Exultat:
top: lime, bitter orange, orange and olibanum;
middle: powdery violet and fresh violet leaf;
base: woodsy notes, vetiver and virginia cedar.
photo by Sarah Rose Smiley