You can’t fake quality, nor can you disguise it. This earthy, manly scent attempts to do neither.
Sour accords, tobacco absolute, Peru balsam, patchouli, labdanum, marine wood accord, bourbon vetiver, sandalwood, musk, amber.
Angela Ciampagne are a brand built on a small family tradition of artisan production housed in central Italy. Much of their work is inspired by this beautiful land and cultural traditions. Each of the Angela Champagne range is a unique numbered piece and pretty much every part of the assembly process is done by hand to ensure that you really are getting something which is properly artisan crafted.
So, first thing to mention is that Ignes is not a shouty perfume at all. When you apply it, you don’t get huge bursts of scent rising to meet you, nor will it knock someone in the next room unconscious with its potency. Instead what you get, right from the start, is the hum of restrained, sumptuous, high-quality ingredients.
The first impression we got from Ignes was of rum, or whisky – some dark, fiery spirit all concentrated and clinging to the sides of a glass. Soon thereafter the scent thickens and becomes chewy and sweet, almost sickly in tone, really syrupy. This happened very quickly for us when we tested this scent, over the space of a few minutes at most. To get what we mean here imagine the difference between red wine and port; it’s that change in viscosity, in concentration, in sweetness that we are eluding to and that’s what it is like to experience Ignes.
There’s something in the top of the scent that reminded us of over ripe fruits, perhaps blackened bananas, sweet yes but also sour and starting to rot. It’s a very interesting contrast to have these two tones of sweet and soured play alongside one another and it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Ignes is one of those scents though that if you like it you will really, really like it.
As the scent ages into the heart, it seems to gain viscosity further, becoming darker, more unctuous. If this scent had a colour it would be rich, dark browns and ambers. Ignes also has a moment in the heart where it goes quite creamy and almost milky – the sandalwood showing us its presence perhaps? This lighter moment serves to highlight how deep and brown and dense the rest of the scent is.
A generous amount of wood and leather comes through in the heart of the scent too, but this is very dark wood, very aged and well seasoned and the leather is handled beautifully lightly. It’s the sort of leather note that isn’t heavy or laboured at all, nor does it smell synthetic. The wood and leather are natural bedfellows and play together beautifully, each strengthening the impression of the other.
The tobacco notes round out the middle of the scent and you can well imagine that this isn’t pigskin leather you can smell but instead the leathery tobacco leaves drying on their racks. There’s an old greenery here, a sort of past fecundity now fled.
That idea of a fled fecundity trails the scent into the base. Here the scent’s potency begins to wane, and you can’t help but catch wafts of an earthy leaf-mulch scent. In the base, Ignes smells of autumns, of damp leaves and brown earth and of things going to sleep for the coldest months. There’s also a smoky quality that lingers about in the base particularly, although we did notice it in the top too. Again, it has this sort of remembered quality, like smoke has stuck to your skin some hours earlier. It’s not strong, and it certainly doesn’t overpower the other notes. It reminded us of someone burning twigs in the distance as you stroll through a wood kicking leaves beneath your feet.
The idea that kept recurring to us as we tested Ignes was that if you met an aged dryad on a late autumn day, somewhere deep in the forest, this is what he would smell like.
The single element that shines out the most around Ignes though isn’t the composition at all – for indeed although its very pleasant, it didn’t strike us as being something we hadn’t tried in various guises before – the real star here is the quality. All the notes smell rich, complex and really high quality. If you love tobacco smells, or dark woody scents, then this will delight you. If you’re just getting into the world of niche then there are probably other places you should start. This is definitely a perfume made for connoisseurs.
The other stuff
As we mentioned, Ignes isn’t a shouty scent and the sillage, or projection, of the scent is pretty limited. It stays very close to the body throughout its wear and is discernible at around hugging distance only.
The longevity of the scent is moderate at best. After testing it several times we concluded that it goes to around lunchtime or just after when applied first thing in the morning. In hotter weather it lasts less.
Given how autumnal and brown this scent smelled to us, couple with that cozy projection and longevity, we felt that this would wear best at the end of summer, once the leaves have browned and started to fall. The cooler air would also allow it to breathe a little more, and hopefully last a bit longer too.
In terms of who should wear this, we felt that it sat much more towards the masculine end of the spectrum. Indeed, to us it has quite a strongly masculine energy about it. Don’t let that put you off though if you want to give it a whirl.
We were kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by a friend and follower of The Sniff. Thank you.