A new scent from the marvel-makers that are Mendittorosa. Ithaka is a dreamy, floaty scent with a hidden, narcotic backbone.
Bergamot, magnolia, incense, patchouli, labdanum, Virginian cedar, cypriol, benzoin.
The first time Ithaka is experienced, you would be forgiven for thinking that it isn’t up to the level of complexity that we have become accustomed to from the Mendittorosa house. Indeed, this is what we thought on first wearing it ourselves. Ithaka is a lot easier to grasp than many of Mendittorosa’s other scents and that can make it appear overly simple, but dig a little deeper and there is something rather precious here which carries the Mendittorosa DNA in a different direction.
Ithaka opens with a slightly abstract top. It’s creamy, a little bit citrusy, clean, delicately floral and slightly aquatic. It’s not all that easy to pin down other than to say that it is diffuse, pretty and rather feminine leaning. There’s something about Ithaka which makes it seem very refracted and translucent, at least in the start, like you can’t quite see what it is trying to show you, you need a few more clues. It lends itself to descriptions that sound more like a 1980s music video than a scent, all gauzy fabric billowing in the warm breeze of an orchard, whilst people wearing nothing but magnolia petals dance around the trees.
The most pleasing and triumphant moment of Ithaka comes in the heart of the scent. For a while there, it feels as if you are amongst magnolia trees watching their beautiful, fleshy petals rain down and inhaling their delicately bright aroma. Then, suddenly, someone has set fire to some cedar logs over the garden wall and a waft of white smoke crosses the scene. It feels rather counterintuitive, it feels as if the smoke should obliterate the dainty flowers but somehow – perhaps because this is Mendittorosa – it doesn’t. The magnolia blossoms are more beautiful because of the wafts of smoke, and the smoke more creamy, more floaty, because of the petals. Added to that is a backbone of cedar, addictive in its woody vibration, adding a ping of something brighter and less muted, and we have a scent which is a little different, certainly to the other Mendittorosa perfumes we have tried.
A creeping sweetness steals under the feet of the other ingredients in the base of the scent. It has a slight earthy warmth to it which is pleasing; like the warmth that radiates from bare earth after a hot summer’s day. Whispers of smoke linger, along with shadows of magnolia petals.
If you read the notes listed in the base for this scent you might imagine it to be heavy, dense, serious. But it isn’t. Throughout the whole wear of the scent it retains a sense of space and capaciousness and this is retained in the base. This openness, in turn, lends the fragrance a certain relaxed joyousness which it is easy to enjoy and appreciate. It’s like the petals of the magnolia when they are at their widest, stretching for sunlight before they fall.
The other stuff
The Mendittorosa brand make scents which are full of their personality and character. They are frequently bold, offering a lot of fragrant clout per spray. Ithaka feels like a bit of a departure from that. It’s much quieter, much calmer, much easier to get along with. It leans more towards the stereotypically feminine end of the fragrance spectrum too. Much of their other work is very unisex or slightly masculine leaning, but this feels to us like a floaty summer dress of a scent.
On that note, try this fragrance in warm weather; the cold seems to kill it. A warm summer’s day, however, really encourages it to open up and share its delicate wafts of incense wonderfully. Both longevity and projection of the scent seemed to increase in warmer climes.
The sillage, or projection, of the fragrance is quite limited. It seemed to mostly stay relatively close to the body, and we felt that we had to apply more than we would normally do to get it to project much at all. This makes it a good fragrance to consider for the office or shared spaces when you want to smell wonderful but not annoy everyone around you.
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. Alongside this very popular line they have four other collections. Ithaka is the first of the new Versi collection which explores themes of poetry in fragrance.
We’ve previously reviewed many of their line including Alfa (dark woody and spicy), Le Mat (wonderful dirty rose), Sirio (rhubarb), Sogno Reale (spicy and electric), Nettuno (aqueous notes, leathery notes: a real mix), and South (Summer pudding: bread, berries and the comforts of home).
Ithaka is available from Bloom Perfumery London, where it is priced at £195 for 100ml EdP. Bloom very kindly provided us with a no-strings-attached sample of this fragrance.
You can also buy Ithaka from the Mendittorosa web boutique.