April 22, 2012
Co-Founder, creator and artist of A Dozen Roses, Sandy Cataldo, signing bottles
Profiles: LUBERON
Maria Candida Gentile Exclusive Fragrances
by Ermano Picco
Ermano, a.k.a. "Magnifiscent" or just "Mags" has a 10-year professional career in Computer Engineering and is a perfume lover since the time he used to steal her mom's O de Lancôme back in the seventies. From there he further explored both the commercial and artistic perfumery. In 2010 he created his bilingual blog (IT/ENG) "La Gardenia nell'Occhiello" to share his passion for olfactory culture. He also published interviews by perfumers and perfume creators among which also the perfumer, fragrance specialist and historian Roja Dove. He's also been interviewd by several italian websites and the Perfume Magazine "Imagine" in August 2011. Thinking of perfume as a 360 degree experience involving all the senses, he regularly creates events about understanding perfumes playing with Synesthesia to explain their relation with other senses like taste. Other passions he cultivates are cooking and good food, music, cinema and art. Ermano currently resides in Milan, Italy.
There are a few things that I've learned in life: "always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can”

The more I smell my wrist, the more this quote from Practical Magic, the popular novel by Alice Hoffman, echoes in my head. Lavender has rarely been one of my favorite notes,  but what I smell is definitely bewitching and it’s my ultimate addiction, Luberon, the latest creation of the talented Italian perfumer Maria Candida Gentile.

Luberon is part of the new Exclusive line of Extrait de parfum Maria Candida Gentile presented at Esxence 2012 that will be available in September of this year. Included in the collection is Lady Day, a lush gardenia with a dark green foliage inspired by Billie Holliday, was one of the most surprising discoveries of these editions, and Burlesque, which conjures up the playful sexiness of ostrich red feathers, fishnet stockings and lace girdles with a coquettish overload of iris topped by a juicy blood orange.

Another fragrance, Gentile, beside's being Maria Candida's surname is also the Italian word for gentle. Gentile smells uncommonly cheerful with the sparkle of citrus and earthy vetiver smoothed by a velvety osmanthus. What surprisingly won me over is the lavender, smelling round and comfortable as I’ve never smelled it since Caron's Pour un Homme, not at all like lavender sachets or barbershop aftershaves, but presented here in a contemporary, uplifting interpretation.

Luberon is a small area near Grasse in the South of France and is very famous for its lavender fields. While I’ve never been there, Maria Candida studied perfumery for three years in Grasse and still visits the region often, to source raw materials but also for leisure. The olfactory landscape that Gentile paints presents this corner of Provence in all its vivid colors. Violet fields are there, sunbathing in June’s heat and exhaling their sweet floral cloud reminiscent of hay. There are woods all around and the breeze coming from the hills is fresh and moist, carrying the liquid verdancy of the garrigue, a mix of rosemary, peppermint and other aromatic plants. This fragrance speaks to me, it makes me recall when I was a child and used to help my grandmother pick aromatic herbs straight from the garden for cooking. The smell of crushed leaves and stems left on the fingers was incredible and of course, there was always a yummy reward for helping.

There is much more in the landscape: a floral tenderness shows up wrapping everything with its rosy honeyed mellowness and rendering a complex texture in the background.

What I appreciate most in Maria Candida's compositions is that they are never just canvases that a vedutista would paint, but surrealistic paintings like Magritte’s, where the quiet landscape of a tidy garden whispers an emotional call. As Gentile says, “only what comes from the heart can touch the heart,” and the beauty of this juice is indeed touching in an almost physical sense. Here you can feel the warmth of the sun kissing your face as hints of May roses and fruity jasmine tease your nose and just a little imagination is needed to hear the bees humming through the violet rows, collecting pollen for their fragrant honey.

Having worn Luberon for several days, the scent feels like a glove, lingering with its powdery softness on my skin for hours. After having worn it for several days, I will definitely follow Alice Hoffman's advice and seek lavender to bring good luck; I have already have fallen in love with it.

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