A dandelion growing in a parking lot, a rose cracking its way through concrete. This scent manages to evoke the triumph of nature over the built environment and, in doing so, is both optimistic and uplifting.
Lemon, cyclamen, greenery, tuberose, ambrette, amber, French vanilla concrete, musk tonkin, tropical woods.
Angela Ciampagne are an Italian brand who make hand-crafted, artisanal scents from their workshop in central Italy. Much of their work is inspired by their geographical location and the cultural traditions which surround them and everyday life in the village.
Miracula is part of the De Vita Collection, which celebrates life, death and miracles, and comes in a beautiful numbered bottle. This is artisanal craftsmanship at its finest.
Imagine a world covered in concrete. Not a blade of grass to be seen, just hard, grey surfaces everywhere you look. When it rains, the roads turn into gunmetal-coloured rivers and even the sky is pewter and flat.
This world is what the top notes of Miracula smell like: grey, stoney, cold, sombre-toned, and unforgiving. In saying that though, it does have a particular, brutalist aesthetic in the top, a beauty to be found in the concrete dissonance.
But here is the really clever part: that concrete jungle is just a foil, a backdrop to the more natural beauty to follow, because suddenly, the dystopian asphalt splits and a tiny plant emerges from the crack, unfurling its leaves as it grows and blossoms. To us at least, this is what the whole of Miracula was about; that moment nature overwhelms our built environment both actually – in terms of the notes that are presented – but also figuratively in terms of what feelings it evoked as we wore it.
Once Miracula has really settled and opened, the grey stones recede into the background, they’re always there, but they are reclaimed by the spicy, leathery new growth which creeps over them. Time and again when wearing this scent we were drawn to think of the beauty of the natural world and how it conquers pavements and tarmac given enough time. Miracula was, for us, about the miracle of Mother Nature.
There’s a gradual warming as the scent wears. It starts off with these cold, stoney notes, but shifts in tiny, seamless increments towards a much warmer base. It’s impossible to see the join between the ingredients that create this movement in the perfume, it’s so well constructed that you only notice the shift has happened once you think back to what it was like before.
We got a lot more of the floral notes and nuances in the heart, as if the tuberose plant we had seen emerging from the concrete had started to put out small, tentative blossoms, growing in vitality as time goes along. The perfume never really becomes what could be called a true floral scent though, the balance is always in favour of the more mineral and woody notes but the tuberose offers a moment of bloom in the heart notes, a moment of pausing to reflect on the beauty of both the flower and the scent itself.
By the base of the scent, the plant we observed growing through the pavement has grown and become a majestic tree with a leafy canopy. The scent has warmed significantly from its inception, and now we get waves of almost creamy woods, shot through with spicy nuances and a beautiful, musky undertone which makes the whole scent feel lush and multifaceted, full of a natural kind of energy.
The musks and woods used in the base are bewitching. The accord is just listed as ‘tropical woods’ but it has hints of sandalwood in there for the creaminess and hints of what smelled like cedar for the brightness. This smells like real woods, very true and full of depth.
The musk is similarly deep and complex. It has a sweetness and a texture like sable against your skin. By that we mean it smells smooth, soft, luxurious and very natural. The amber bolsters it and adds that beautiful unctuous layer. This is an expensive scent but it smells it too, nothing cheap, nothing trite, nothing superfluous.
It would be fair to say that we were huge fans of this scent, although perhaps more accurate to say that we were spellbound by it. It’s fascinating, beautiful, and almost awe-inspiring in the same way that nature herself can be.
The other stuff
The sillage, or projection, of the scent is really good. It easily reaches handshake distance on minimal sprays and would extend beyond that comfortably if you applied more.
The longevity is also brilliant. It just seems to sit with you all day, barely decreasing in volume as the day wears on. Given the price point that this comes in at, it needs to have impeccable sillage and longevity, and thankfully it delivers on both very nicely.
In terms of gender, Miracula sits more towards the masculine end of the spectrum, but, that said, our Editor is a woman and she is utterly besotted with this scent so, as always, use that as a guideline rather than a rule.
Miracula is available from Bloom Perfumery, London, where it is priced at £320 for 100ml of Extrait de Parfum. Bloom generously provided us with a sample of this fragrance.
Miracula is also available from the Angela Ciampagne web boutique.
There’s no doubt that this is a stonkingly expensive perfume, in reality it is only likely to be the preserve of really serious collectors or those with extremely deep pockets, but by goodness is it beautiful, so if your pockets aren’t that deep, try and get hold of a decant. You’ll either thank us for pointing you in the direction of it, or hate us that you love it so much you want a full bottle!