“Love is a rose. Every petal an illusion. Every thorn a reality.” Charles Baudelaire
Nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, geranium, rosa centifolia, patchouli, cashmere wood, immortelle.
Mendittorosa Odori dAnima (Scents of the Soul) are an Italian brand that take their inspiration from the active volcano of Stromboli. Their Talismans Collezione Preziosa (Talismans Precious Collection) is themed around the idea of perfume being a talisman to protect the wearer, deliver them from harm and bring them good luck.
Go on, we will admit, we were pretty drawn in by this slant on perfume consumerism. Yes it’s all marketing guff, but actually the idea of a protective, lucky scent did resonate with even our cynical old hearts. This quote from their website: “We may not have all the tools for survival, but we have hope and defiance.” made us do a little fist pump in the air. Kudos to the marketing fairies who wrote that awesome little nugget.
Le Mat is really interesting right from the start. One spritz of this and a big, bold cloud of the spices it contains positively erupts from your skin. The nutmeg is really discernible, as are the cloves. This is soft, sweet, and warmed up by the hints of pepper. The impression is something on the very edge of cakey but left hovering there, never quite tipping over into edible. It’s almost as if you are suddenly transported to a market in the Middle East where the exotic combination of spices and baking cakes combine on a warm zephyr. It’s an absolutely fascinating opening and quite surprising, but it’s fleeting.
One only gets a breath or two of the sweet start before Le Mat performs a seamlessly chameleonic shift and rose and geranium both waltz in. Suddenly we are no longer in the souk and instead we’re in an English Victorian garden. This shouldn’t be possible, it shouldn’t make sense or be as seamless as it is, but somehow they’ve pulled it off brilliantly. The transition is flawless and quite beautiful.
The rose and geranium work beautifully together, they’re nicely balanced so that the rose is tethered by the spikier, drier notes of the geranium. It’s a classic combination, but a pleasant one for sure. The romance of the rose is held in check by the reality of the geranium, but the result is something very beautiful and much more real. This isn’t an old fashioned type of rose scent though, we can’t say that strongly enough. It feels really modern, classy but like the rose has been refreshed (perhaps by the immortelle) and transformed into something much more contemporary.
The heart also yields patchouli but it’s that fantastic quality patchouli that smells nothing like a hippy store but instead is rich, sweet, almost chocolatey. It’s a very different sort of sweetness to the florals and the two play off one another beautifully. The patchouli brings a syrupy quality to the heart of Le Mat that is both intriguing and soothing at the same time. It’s almost like the perfumer was trying to convey the idea that there is sadness in life, but that’s ok, we can’t have sunshine all the time. Maybe we’re projecting, or maybe this really is a very clever perfume.
There’s a seductive darkness in the scent, something brooding. Le Mat is roses, yes, but roses that have thorns and will tear your flesh if you let them. But you’ll like it even as they make you bleed.
The floral notes continue into the base where they are balanced by the cashmere woods. The inclusion of the soft woods here really rounds out the fragrance. It balances the rose beautifully, turns it a shade more powdery, but doesn’t clash with anything that has come before. The soft woodiness just provides a really great framework to view the patchouli, rose, and geranium through – and it’s still possible to pick those out distinctly as the perfume wears.
If we were being really picky we could point out that the movement into the base is less unexpected than the shifts higher up the perfume were, but it’s still a really pleasant end to a triumphant scent. We do indeed have hope and defiance.
The other stuff
Given the high end price tag of Le Mat it needed to be long wearing, and thankfully it is. It lasted all day without needing to be reapplied. A little also went a long way. A couple of spritzes and you’ll be good to go.
The sillage, or projection of the scent is also very pleasant. We were aware, as we tested, that we smelt nice, catching wafts of it all day. It’s one of those lovely scents that other people are likely to notice too, not cloying or heavy enough to be annoying, but interesting and most definitely present.
Le Mat is definitely a perfume to wear right now. The warmth that it has throughout is bound to take the chill off a cold autumnal day.
In terms of gender this is a really interesting one to call. It fits very well on feminine skin, but we also felt that there was enough brooding in it for it to be plausible as a wear for someone on the more masculine end of the spectrum, particularly if you have a tendency to enhance the spicier notes rather than the floral ones.
The presentation of this is also worthy of note, you can see it on their website – it comes in it’s own tiny little crate which we loved, and the bottle lids are handcrafted.
Le Mat from the Talismans Collezione Preziosa is available at the ever wonderful Bloom Perfumery London who supplied me with a sample of this for reviewing. At Bloom, Le Mat is priced at £215 for 100ml Extrait. So you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. You can also buy it from the Mendittorosa/Talismans website where it is priced at 230 euros for the same amount.