South by Mendittorosa Odori d’Anima

A perfume with a bread accord. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.

Listed notes

Basil, bergamot, cyclamen, jasmine, dry cleaned fabric accord, syringa flowers, amyris wood, carrot seeds, bread, hazelnut, sandalwoood.

The brand

Mendittorosa Odori d’Anima are an esoteric and indeed eccentric Italian brand. Their range is split into two parts: the Talismans line which showcase scents as protection (we have reviewed Sirio, Le Mat, Nettuno and Sogno Reale) and the Mendittorosa scents which are then subdivided into The Trilogy, Time Without Time and The Duo, of which South forms part. We’ve also interviewed Stefania, the brand’s founder if you want to take a deeper dive into their strange and creative world.

It’s so hard to categorise any of the Mendittorosa scents, because they are a brand which absolutely brims with personality and artistic expression. South is no exception.

Top notes

South opens with a hot and almost sour chime. It’s really intriguing and reminded us of red berries, sour and tangy. You can almost feel the redcurrants bursting on your tongue and making your mouth water with their refreshing, tingly flavour. South does that but for the nose. It’s really quite something. Not as hard-edged as citrus, nor as energetic, but giving a similar zingy vibe.

The red fruits mellow though and resolve into…

Heart notes

… a freshly baked bread accord.

A bread accord. Seriously.

What Mendittorosa have done here, right here in the middle of this perfume, is the equivalent of a perfumer’s mic drop. And you know what, they’re good enough to have just about pulled this off successfully, which is quite some feat.

Yes, bread is delicious, and yes, baking bread is one of the simplest, most joyful pleasures in life. But in perfume? And following on from a sour, vibrant top? Surely not?

But it works. It really works.

In fairness, we had to try this a few times to fully understand the transition of the notes and the way the scent flows, but now that we have, it’s really fun to wear. There’s a yeasty, slightly fermented, slightly sour and slightly booze concoction here. It made us think of those summer puddings which are layers of pressed bread and berries served with lashings of cream. The bread accord adds this warm homeliness to the fruit and an increasingly floral backdrop becomes more and more apparent as the scent wears on. At times it evoked the vibe of a homebrewed ale, in a very pleasant and almost languid way; it has that sense of a good thing taking time to brew about it.

Base notes

The floral elements come through most strongly in the base, although we never quite lose the yeasty bread element either. In the listed notes is a ‘dry cleaned textiles’ accord and this is an apt shorthand way of describing how the base smells. The hazelnut gives us the rough, dry texture of the fabric whilst the florals overlay that with a kind of crisp, freshly cleaned vibe. South showcases a fascinating contrast of different facets, not as simple as just light and shade, this is more like rough and smooth, old and new, real and imagined.

South moves a lot from the top to the base, and in some ways it feels like a still life scene of domestic bliss: sunshine on the redcurrants in the garden, the scent of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen and a clean sofa upon which to lie and nap. A bit like they’ve zoomed in on certain facets of that sort of scene. Nevertheless, to wear it is to feel contented, comforted and cocooned in a bucolic childhood of years long passed. It’s certainly one of those scents which, if you connect with its resonance, will transport you backwards in time.

Yet again we have been impressed, delighted and surprised by the depth of emotion Mendittorosa pour into their scents. South won’t be for everyone – and the brand are happy for that to be the case – but for those who find they fall in love with this scent, an abiding relationship will be formed.

The other stuff

The longevity of South is brilliant. On every occasion we tested it it was still detectable well into the evening after a 7am application – so more than 12 hours of wear from one or two sprays. We were very pleased by this.

The sillage of the scent isn’t the most enormous, probably to less than handshake distance, or thereabouts. Interestingly, when we tested this, other people picked up less of the bready yeasty notes than we did ourselves when wearing it – they remarked on the fruit and floral aspects more.

We felt that South was a truly unisex scent, wearable by all genders. There is something powerfully homely about it which we can imagine will connect with people across the board. Wear it if you want to feel comforted on a really deep and primal level.

South is wearing really well at the moment. It adds a lovely warmth when worn in the cooler autumn air. It’s easy to imagine that it would be nice in summer though too.

Wearing South didn’t exactly make us feel sexy; it’s not really that sort of scent. It did make us feel nostalgic and comforted though, which is maybe just as important. A time and a place for everything. It would be a great scent to wear as you travelled and wanted to feel safe and reassured, or wear it at a stressful time in your life to feel grounded. It has powerful associations which shouldn’t be dismissed, and which won’t be easy to forget.

Buy it

The Mendittorosa line, including South, is available from Bloom Perfumery London, who kindly supplied us with a no-strings-attached sample of this scent. South is priced at £135 for 100ml EdP.

The Mendittorosa perfumes are also available via their web boutique.

Article photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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