I was recently approached by Alessandro and Riccardo of Masque Milano to ask if I would be receptive to a few samples of their fragrances. Naturally I was delighted (me? Turn down samples?) and just a few days later, the Fed Ex man interrupted me pruning the fuchsia to give me a parcel from Italy. Both fuchsia and perfumes are now in good order, apart from one small phial which shattered in transit and made the package smell wonderful.
Today I shall be reviewing Montecristo because it had such a big impact on me. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it has the potential to become a cult classic. Montecristo was created in 2013 by nose Delphine Thierry.
At first spray, Montecristo is almost a citrussy like cologne, but within minutes something interesting happens. There is a combination of tobacco, leather and um… well body odour. Skank if you will. The smell of sex. If you met a man wearing this you would find him irresistible and not quite know why. NB – this isn’t a guarantee, just an impression. Please don’t pursue me if it goes horribly wrong.
At this point I could not stop sniffing it, but the note seems to blend in and calm down a bit as it enters the middle phase. Whilst there is celery seed in this, it is more subtle than say, Caron Yatagan, but has a faint herby, vegetable smell which is a lot nicer than the way I am phrasing it.
The dirty/sexy/skanky note that I mentioned really caught my attention and whilst for me, it dominated; it was so beautifully framed and enhanced by other notes that it takes Montecristo into a league of its own.
The note is Hyrax and according to my bible, aka Fragrantica, it is from an animal that is, almost unbelievably, the closest living relative to the elephant, despite resembling a squirrel with a knowing look. As an alternative to Castoreum (from beavers) and Civet (which look like small raccoons), the essence of Hyrax is harvested from its crystallised pee. Alarming as that sounds, it is a cruelty free way of injecting the smell of musky armpit or sweaty post coital inner thigh into a fragrance whilst allowing the animals to roam freely in the wild, free of harm.
In Montecristo, this note is complemented by woody, leather and tobacco notes which give it an intensely masculine vibe, which, even if I say so myself, smells wonderfully androgynous on a woman. Namely me.
Longevity is fourteen hours, during which time the base notes emerge, leaving a scent of vetiver, leather, dark smoky woods, and, well how can I put this? Dried spit. After a while it smells like I have saliva on my arm, but before you think that’s derogatory, I actually loved it. It smelled like a human. It was comforting, smoky, manly and delicious.
I predict great things for Montecristo and I also predict that Lisa Wordbird will fall hard for it.
Montecristo by Masque Milano is the smell of the bad boy on the motorbike that your parents didn’t want you to date.