When doing what I do, there will always be a fine line between settling for what you get or pushing your boundaries for your own satisfaction and growth. I am and will always be keen on education as the very core of everything I do. I want to know and learn and I want you as a reader to learn something from visiting this site.
I early detected that my knowledge of perfumery and more specific Niche Perfumes was next to nothing. Since December last year, I’ve tried my best to rectify the situation by sitting down and learn from those who know. I’m in training and will continue to be so until I feel that I know what I’m talking about – which may take some time!
It so happens, that one of my friends lives and breath the industry of Niche Perfumery. Being very highly educated, always “in the know” and working every day surrounded buy scents and the history of fine perfumery I have had the opportunity to sit down and learn from him.
One of my trainings has included getting to know the Italian Luxury Fragrance House XERJOFF and it’s various lines of perfumes. Come with me and you’ll get to learn more!
Sergio Momo founded XERJOFF about ten years ago although perfumery runs in his family with both his father and grandmother in the business. According to the founder himself, the House is to be seen as a “brand umbrella” where there are a number of collections in the portfolio. He claims that this is a strength for the House in the fierce competition with other brands in the market.
It is impossible to me to learn and speak of all the lines at one shot, so today we will focus on Casamorati Profumi dal 1888. Known only as Casamorati.
Back in the Mid-1800 a man called Claudio Casamorati was well known for making the most exquisite bath soap and bath salts. His products were of the highest quality, very expensive and produced for the Italian Aristocracy. In 1888 there were an exhibition ongoing and Mr. Casamorati met Queen Margerita de Savoy, whom fell in love with his range and wast knowledge of scents. That’s how the name become Casamorati 1888.
Skipping forward some 100 year and more, Mr. Sergio Momo of XERJOFF came across a box of old original recipes by Casamorati! I have tried to find out how he managed to find them, who owned them and all that jazz and when I do, you’ll be the first to know!
Anyway, this is where it got exciting. It actually took Mr. Momo a good 2 years to decode the fragrances and in 2009 the first bottle was launched.
Today, there are ten fragrances in the line and I will present to you my four favourites, starting with MEFISTO.
First of all, what the eye can see: the bottle. All Casamorati bottles have the same shape and stopper with the characteristic tassel hanging down. Each bottle comes with a typical Art Nouveau design to manifest the historical heritage of this special era.
Each fragrance has its own personality, a character that tells us a bit of the scent itself. To me, it feels like a theatre with different roles and you always find the one you like the most and connect with, both emotionally and spiritually.
MEFISTO was my first love. A bit strange maybe, as this is a male’s fragrance! The clear, dark blue glass bottle reflects the scent well, as it is sporty, very much like a classic Italian cologne. I can see my type of man wearing this fragrance; an ambitious man who still likes the outdoors, who sails racing boats for kicks and is at ease with himself.
It is a sexy scent. Mr. Ivan Siarbolin, Xerjoff Brand Manager to the GCC Market describes it as “Devilishly Handsome” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. With it’s clean and clear notes comes a darker, oriental undertone which makes it interesting but still a great perfume to begin with, if you are new to niche perfumes.
Head notes of Calabrian Lemon, Grapefruit, Bergamot and a touch of Lavender with a heart of Rose Absolute, and Iris it is quite a bouquet and for these notes I would almost wear it myself. The base is what makes it stand out: Sandalwood, Cedar, Amber and Musk. How can you not fall for a man who smells of the Mediterranean? If I would purchase a bottle for my husband today, MEFISTO would be my first choice.
Then, for my taste, follows LIRA. Now, many seem to only associate niche perfumery with something expensive. Like if you’ve got expensive taste, then this is what you should be wearing.
This is so far from the truth.
Niche is about craftsmanship and traditions, about making perfumes the old fashioned way and only sourcing the best ingredients and often rare components. Sure, it will amp up the price point but it is truly awarding for the senses. I was not aware of the complicated layers of fragrances until I ventured in to this world. Yes, I knew that different perfumes smelled different on different persons but I didn’t quite grasp the concept of such strong elements that you need to walk around with a fragrance for a good hour before you can really start to feel what it’s like!
Casamorati, and XERJOFF for that matter, is very protective of its ingredients and never compromises with the quality. On all bottles, you’ll see a Falcon.
The legend has it, that back in the Middle Ages, beneath the portico of the Roman Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, lay an ancient marble mask called Bocca Della Verita – The mouth of truth. If a man put his hand in the mouth of the mask and then lied while being under oath, he would not be able to remove his hand out of the mouth of the mask. A wonderful lying detector by all means, and now The mouth of truth is sitting on all the bottles as a sign for XERJOFF’s devotion to always being truthful with their ingredients and to their clientele.
Back to LIRA. The character for this fragrance it a romantic actress, a Starlet. It is a male fragrance for sure, but I would say that it works for females as well. This Starlet actress stands for something provocative and mysterious, while still being extrovert and energetic. She takes centre stage, she is utterly European and all men feels at home in her care. I could smell LIRA on Mr. Ivan and totally understood why the fragrance suited him so well. I think of a well dressed man with attention to details and fine arts. I see someone who knows his classical music, history and enjoy carrying items that reflect timelessness, as a pen from Montblanc or a classic piece of watch.
In this fragrance, you’ll find Bergamot in the head notes instead, paired together with Blood Orange and Lavender. In it’s heart comes all the interesting, extrovert elements: with Rose, Jasmine, Cinnamon and Licorice Blossom it wears like something I’ve never experienced before. It is not bold or harsh, but it is significant. The base notes is what then ties it all together and makes me smile while sniffing it: Vanilla, Musk and Caramel. Warm succulent notes, here comes the care, the homy feeling. Sweet caramel, spicy cinnamon and zesty blood orange makes for a pretty cool fragrance! It is magnificent.
Today, you’ll find XERJOFF in fifty countries around the world, but only a few have the full stand alone stores: Dubai, London, Turin and Moscow. Here in Dubai, the store is located in The Dubai Mall, and part of the wing that houses exclusive fragrances, Jewellery and all high end Watch makers. The market for niche-anything in Dubai is quite interesting: people have the means to spend on high quality, but still there are some blanks to fill in regards to knowledge and perception.
This is why I’m so honoured to be given a chance to learn and then spread the word. Niche perfumery will always drown in the media feed of commercial beauty. It is not often advertised, you need to know where to go to find the brands you are looking for. Also, in The Dubai Mall, you’ll find Plethora which stocks some of the worlds most elegant perfume brands.
Now. Over to the ladies. Two of my favourites that I think you will enjoy. First of all: the pink bottle of GRAN BALLO. The horrified look on Mr. Ivan’s face I got, when I (and the kind SA) told him that we indeed sometimes choose our perfumes according to how much we like the bottle! Hahaha, it was a sight to see, but really, if I can’t decide between two perfumes, it is most likely that I decide on the one with the cutest bottle. I like to have my fragrances on display, even though I do know I should keep them out of sunshine and heat…
GRAN BALLO is actually only a year old. It is a reflection of the high society debutant balls where young and eligible aristocrats with hopeful dreams could dance the night away and maybe find the love of their life. It is young and light at heart, the character for this fragrance being an utterly beautiful young lady all dressed up to dance in satin and pearls. I love everything that resembles youth and hope.
Head notes of Wild berries and Mandarin makes GRAND BALLO flirty. I almost blushed when I first tried this perfume on! At its heart it holds Honeysuckle, Gardenia and Jasmine Sambac. Very flowery but still, the scents of night blossoms. Heavy in its way but not at all overpowering. The base notes with Amber, Vanilla, Caramel and Sandalwood one again lets us have that sweet, promising sensation of home and safety. It is absolutely breathtaking and by far my favourite of the Casamorati Female scents out now. I would wear it on a date, it is an evening time kind of scent for a girl about town.
The history behind beautiful DAMA BIANCA is no doubt what caught my attention the most. We often forget that with old traditions lays tales to know about. It is a door to a world long ago forgotten.
DAMA BIANCA – the White Lady – existed in real life. In Turin, there is a large building that was once a privately owned palace. The family who lived here was extremely wealthy and when the time came for their daughter to marry, the parents had already picked a suitable groom. As with all these tragic stories, the lady, already in love with someone else, refused to ever get married if she couldn’t have the man of her heart. She dramatically locked herself in the palace, trapped in this fairytale world and never during her lifetime left her “prison”. Inside the palace, on the courtyard, stood some fruit trees and these became her only connection with real life. She succumbed to her dreams on what life could have been and died alone in the palace.
This scent really feels a bit dramatic and melancholic, just as it’s figure. It is a testimony that wealth can’t buy happiness. The top notes of Lime, Kumquats and Florentine Orris is a bit too complicated to me. I’m not used to these fragrances at all, but they soon evaporates for the heart notes, holding Egyptian Jasmine, Lilly of The Vally (a huge favourite of mine) Violets and Lilacs. Lilac will for ever remind me of my childhood summers. I think they are what I miss the very most with living in Dubai. I wish I could have lilacs in my own garden, just to feel a little more like home.
For the base note in GRAND BALLO it gets even more complexed with Sandalwood, Cedar Wood, Zanzibar Vanilla Beans, Delicate Ambrette, White Musk and Burnt Malt. I can’t even begin to describe how this smells on the skin. You really need to test it out for yourself in order to experience it. It is elegant despite all the wooden notes, or maybe because of them?
During my afternoon at XERJOFF I also got a deluxe mini of the newest Casamorati fragrance, which I will present in a separate article. When I first smelled it, I told Mr. Ivan it didn’t say much to me. It was not YES and it was not NO. Just in between.
I think I was talking from having sniffed roughly 20 perfumes beforehand! Or, I might have been completely out of my game. Maybe we should have started with the new launch first hahaha.
Anyhow, I’ve been wearing it a lot ever since and now it is very much loved.
I hope that this presentation of the Casamorati brand and XERJOFF will make you curious about niche perfume house and the history and knowledge that lay inside them. I am still learning and I hope to get the chance of presenting the other XERJOFF lines as well as additional niche brands. It is so very rewarding to know more and push the boundaries of what beauty can be. Don’t you think? ♥