“Florentine perfumer and founder of i Profumi di Firenze, Dr. Giovanni di Massimo discovered Catherine de Medici’s secret perfume recipes and other Medici fragrance formulas in 1966 in the aftermath of a devastating flood. That year torrential rains caused the Arno River to overflow into the city’s historical center engulfing it in muddy water. While sorting through the watery mess, Dr. Massimo found buried deep in his apothecary’s ancient basement a 16th-century manuscript containing these secret formulas. Remarkably not only had the document survived this deluge, it remained intact despite all the centuries undetected. From the formulas commissioned by Catherine de Medici, Dr. Massimo chose the most beautiful, recreated it with all-natural essences and named the perfume “Caterina de Medici” in her honor.”
HOUSE: I Profumi di Firenze
FRAGRANCES: Limone di Sicilia, Patchouly Rosso, Terra di Siena, Vaniglia e Fichi
NOSE: Giovanni Di Massimo
SIZE/COST: 50ml / $110
Limone di Sicilia (88%): This is an atomizable meringue-like limoncello that cuts through the air with sharpness and fluffy curves. The highest quality Mediterranean citrus combines together to form a complex, glowing bond of dazzling fruity molecules. This is so lemony, so bright, bursting of all that juiciness one craves when it comes to reaching for a Summery citrus. Fortunately this has no added notes to complicate the mix, this is a true celebration of the autonomous, southernmost Italian hillside country surrounded by the sea, and its most precious oasis of fruit trees. A fragrance that sparkles with light, and lightness. Seek and you hath found. Fresh, ripe and refreshing. Perfect for the season.
Notes: Sicilian Lemon, Verbena, Bergamot from Calabria
Patchouly Rosso (85%): A ‘for real’ patchouli with a bitter woodiness and dramatic flourishes. This has one foot firmly implanted back in the heyday of a certain 70’s vernacular, and the other foot is stepping off into the fleeting unknown. A hippy-go-lucky essence. It’s not a one-note wonder by a long shot, though it’s far less pungent than one may anticipate or desire. It’s blended in such a way as to eek out that vaguely minty, partly herbaceous plume, but manages to have this sense of ‘other’ – a bit of cool elusiveness. That bodes in its favor I must say, and will likely be more embraced by those around you who just may be put off by the note in a general way. Here the patchouli exhales in a quasi mentholated manner, and the soft dusty woods balance the rest with a true earthen sensation.
Notes: Bitter Woods, Coeur de Patchouli
Terra di Siena (82%): From the top I get a husky lavender and some spice. But it’s only moments until the soft and hazy sandalwood begins to whorl into consciousness. It’s the note that takes flight and combines the totality of all its other notes, forming the central magnet to all the electrostatic particles floating in the abyss. This develops into a delightful symphony of woody accords that sing a sweet song. The coloration just glistens and oozes of vanillas and whispering woodlands. Terra di Siena is a curvaceous perfume without hard edges, smoother than satin in sunlight. Like a powder puff, a siren sigh, and letting go of any excess worldly weight, leave your baggage behind.
Notes: Mint, Bergamot, Florentine Lavender, Cinnamon, Orange Blossom, Sandalwood from Misore (India), Malaysian Sandalwood, Italian Cedar, Tonka Bean, Vanilla Orchid
Vaniglia e Fichi (89%): At first, oddly enough, this reminded me of blue cheese. It’s more the association my cerebral rolodex has with the fig accord, as I love the pairing of opposites. This has a newness to be broken in, sort of an outer layer that is sealing something inside. Once that layer is broken out pours the warmth of vanilla bean and oak. There is something about dry and oily terpene (subliminal as it may be) that I cannot put words to otherwise. This one sneaks up on my psyche unexpectedly. I didn’t think I liked it at first, but like all great things, it takes time, like a fine vintage wine, to settle and permeate the senses. Let it breathe, and then you can do so cyclically. Aside from the fruit jam, which fortunately is not syrupy, what orients this fragrance is the woody musk, it’s delicate yet fiery, ashy yet milky. My recommendation is this will likely be best on skin from Autumn through Spring thaw. This fragrance is a pure conundrum of opposites, and I’m here for it. Of all their fragrances, this is likely the one I’d reach for, it’s perfectly unique, I just may need a full size for my medicine cabinet archive.
Notes: Vanilla from Madagascar, Fig, Musk, Lilac, Jasmine, Blood Orange, Woods
Ex Confusion – Embrace (2012, n5MD)