Scented history. Megalium is a reference to the scents used by the Romans and this rich fragrance conveys the splendour of an ancient civilisation in a delightfully effortless way.
Cinnamon essence, cinnamon tree leaves, mandarin, calamus, nutmeg, pimento berry, white pepper, Bulgarian rose, olibanum, myrrh, opoponax, styrax resin.
Megalium by Carner Barcelona is a fragrance with real personality and character. It conveys a civilisation since passed in it’s tone and construction and, for anyone with a bit of historical imagination, it’s easy to be enchanted by this beautiful scent.
Imagine, if you will, the cityscape of Pompeii. The year is AD 79, a rumbling volcano looms over the city emitting an occasional low growl but, for the moment, it is silent. Plaster and stone buildings stand proud against the hot sun of late summer, casting long shadows. Inside their walls, mosaics and pools reduce the ambient temperature to a more bearable level of warmth during the day, but the nights have started to turn cool.
In a temperate corner of a well-to-do villa, a brazier has been lit to ward off the approaching chill of the evening. Some of the wood that has been cast on the fire is from a cinnamon tree which had fallen in the courtyard the year before. The embers from the fire scent the air with a pungent cinnamon tone, smoke and spice forming a heady concoction as intoxicating as any incense burnt in the religious houses that dot the city.
The still-living cinnamon trees that stand in the courtyard add a greener, more leathery tone to the whole scent of the evening and now and again wafts of warm citrus can be picked up from the market across the street. It’s an inviting mixture of fresh spice and barky wood, light citrus and more heady smoke.
A couple of the citizens of the house gather around the brazier, the heat gently warming the still unclad parts of their skin, and causing wonderful aromas to lift from their bodies, freshly washed and oiled at the Thermae bath houses earlier in the day.
A rose scent lifts from skin, adding a different timbre to the evening’s olfactory landscape. The rose isn’t overly floral, more fleshy, and it dampens down the spicy resins and woods from the nearby trees, adding a gentle sweetness to balance the overall picture beautifully. There is a calmness here, a brief pause before great activity. Rest before eruption.
The rose note itself brings with it a dusting of white pepper, which punctuates the air with little dashes of a warm piquancy and gives the scent a drier feeling, reminding us of the dust rising underfoot on the road leading up the mountain. The wizened old seer who lives in a cave outside town might tell us it is a portend of things to come; when the mountain will shake it’s head and wrath will pour down on the town, the white ash blanketing the villa as the white pepper dusts the rose.
Come closer as we stoop to listen to the stories that the citizens are telling each other, tales of potions and magical resins and unguents. The night is drawing near now, but flares of light; torches, the brazier and tongues of fire from the mountain above hold the night at bay just yet. We feel both calm and energised as we listen to the whisper of these people now long dead.
There’s a beautiful clash of dark and light, preserved and fresh, resins and sap in the tales that Megalium tells us. It is a scent which has some heavy notes contained therein but which manages them lightly, bringing a sense of restraint and gravitas to the fragrance. It’s never stodgy, always beautifully balanced capturing the feeling of this old civilisation quite masterfully.
The other stuff
The longevity of Megalium is good. We found that it lasted well into the afternoon before subsiding. The projection of the scent, we felt, was to around handshake distance or thereabouts. Despite the big notes in this fragrance it isn’t particularly shouty and loud, but it is particularly delightful.
In terms of the gender that this fragrance would suit, we felt that it sat more towards the masculine end of the spectrum. As always though, you should feel empowered to wear whatever you like, regardless of who you are, so take this with a pinch of salt.
It would be easy to pigeonhole Megalium as a cozy winter scent, but there is something about the way that it wears in warmer weather that we really enjoyed. We’d suggest trying it on a summer’s evening to really bring out your gladiatorial side.
Carner Barcelona is a classical and sophisticated fragrance house that oozes a quiet elegance and luxurious aura. In aiming to capture the spirit and essence of the magnificent city of Barcelona in their scents they have brought us some really solid perfumes such as Palo Santo, Tardes, Latin Lover, Sweet William and Besos, which we have previously reviewed. Carner’s fragrances are conceived by well known experts from around the world, but manufactured entirely in Barcelona.
Megalium is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £140 for 100ml EdP, or £100 for 50ml.
You can also buy Megalium from the Carner Barcelona web boutique.
We were gifted a no-strings-attached sample of Megalium by Carner Barcelona whilst visiting Esxence 2019. We thank Carner for their generosity.