Today's fragrance market seems splitted between brands creating new trends and others following them with way too often terrible results. Between blingy and vulgar luxury versus pretentious artsy characters with little substance. Between the so called insta-lines (brands launching 15, completely irrelevant, new fragrances at the same time) and mysterious people resurrecting mysterious brands from another era with *ancient* formulas found in lost apothecary shops around the globe. In this sad and pretty pathetic scenario, Masque is doing its own thing by simply delivering pieces of outstanding perfumery as opposed to ephemeral fashion items and shallowly consumerist luxury products.
I've been a huge fan of Masque since day #1 (make it actually day #2 because I've never had the chance to smell their original two launches from 2012 Dolceacqua and Petra) and I've to say they have never let me down.
This time it's the turn of L'Attesa. An iris-centered composition that despite sounding a bit trendy because of its main player (iris seems to get all the rage from quite some years now), it strikes as a timeless piece of classic perfumery. Whereas most iris fragrances feel either too thin by relying on a temporary green / carroty / leathery / rooty effect to then basically turn into cardboard or go totally lipstick / cosmetic, L'Attesa starts with a unique and yet familiar accord of rooty iris and something I would classify as green and kind of sour (the champagne accord?). The iris becomes more classically powdery while the introduction of an extra floral component preserves the fragrance from falling into the usual *woody* whisper we generally get from modern iris perfumes. it's a full bodied iris that keeps all of its iris-y aspects all the way through its evolution. It's powdery but also leathery, rooty and yet floral, buttery and decadent. A grown-up kind of approach to the main theme or something you would expect from the most classical french perfume brands such as Chanel or the likes. Something that won't make any pants drop or won't make you feel any cooler while wearing it. Something only people who actually like fragrances will probably appreciate in its complex sophistication.
L'Attesa is the proof that perfumery is still alive and that it can be something completely unrelated from fashion. Something that lasts over a single season until the next buzz is build around the next *product*. L'Attesa is perfumery. One of those fragrances that has all the characteristics to become a pillar and jump up there with the monsters of yore of this genre.
Don't expect something easy to like or easy to wear because Romanza is quite an imponent and ambitious composition that takes the best of two worlds and pair them together. On on side there's a somewhat canonic style of perfumery. A certain classicism that's generally inherent to officially trained perfumers while, on the other side, there's an overall artisianal vibe and (more or less) calibrated roughness that's definitely more typical of indie lines and self-taught noses. These two aspects paired together give birth to a decadent and humongous green floral which, either you'll like it or not, won't leave you indifferent.
The fragrance opens extremely green and bitter with a mix of angelica, absinth and florals such as jasmine, narcissus and hyacinth. The florals are so vivid and in your face as in the most classic compositions of the past while a rough edge and a healthy dose of "ugliness" provided by a massive amount of civet preserve the fragrance from feeling pathetically nostalgic and driving it instead towards more artisanal / indie territories. What stylistically comes to mind are some florals by Abdes Salaam as well as Papillon and Bogue but also certain post-Dior-esque florals made in Roudnitska. In this phase Romanza feels incredibly striking, adventurous and creative by continually crossing the boundaries between official perfumery and a more typically-indie style.
A classical, somewhat kind of mainstream base starts lurking in the back introducing a woody vetiver / amber combo to round everything up while paradoxically providing even more decadence. As the base takes over with time, the florals merge perfectly with the rest to turn the composition into an endless and humongous floral of immense beauty.
Now, if you're not after something that's easy to like, if you prefer to seek for beauty instead of having it slammed in your face, if you like complexity as opposed to pop, check this out. Top quality stuff all around.