An alien flower or a ray of sunlight? What’s behind the curious description of Masque Milano’s Ray-Flection?
Mandarin, aldehydes, cardamon, mimosa, violet, solar rays accord, beeswax absolute, cedar, musks.
Ray-Flection by Masque Milano opens with a really concentrated blast of warm, spicy and almost bitter cardamon. This is cardamon straight from the pod, intense, with hints of greenery peeping out from beneath along with specks of violet. The cardamon and violet are really interesting bedfellows – they seem to egg each other on in the composition. As you think one is about to take over, the other comes back again. At times it feels like you are watching a competition and although they share some common properties, it’s the dry, powdered facets in particular which feel amplified here, almost a textural thing.
If you’ve read the marketing blurb around how this perfume is a rendition of a strange alien flower then you might be surprised how un-floral it feels at the start. If this is part of the lifespan of the flower, perhaps it is better suited to being a representation of the seed stage; a cardamon pod on a tough, green stalk, as opposed to the flower being in full bloom.
Nevertheless, the initial bars are very dense, spicy, sparkling and lively. There is a lot of energy and punch in the beginning of the scent, but this is perhaps what you expect from this brand?
As the scent really gets going, and indeed it is one of those fragrances which starts strong and then continues to bloom as it is heated on the skin, the sweet tones of mimosa waft into the frame. The mimosa feels like it hovers above the cardamon spiciness which is almost earthy at times. The scent has this ethereal duality before the two facets begin to settle into each other.
There is a moment when the fragrance becomes a little soapy, before it mellows and chills out. It reaches a peculiar crescendo, has a soapy moment and then feels like it relaxes. The rough edges of the cardamon get smoothed away, a mellifluous honeyed tone becomes more noticeable and the scent really starts to glow. It might seem odd to say that the scent has a sort of shiny feel, but it really does. Perhaps it is the solar accords working their magic on my subconscious that makes it feel that way, but it doesn’t matter because it’s a really nice vibe to hit.
Lurking under everything is something a little cooler and damper that just serves to tether the scent back to that earthiness in the start and stop it floating away on a honeyed mimosa and cardamon cloud. It stops the composition from becoming nostalgic and overly pretty and gives it that harder, grittier edge too.
Throughout a wear of Ray-Flection there is a real sense of density and power. The cardamon and violet linger really quite significantly and although they are joined by honey and mimosa, both those facets seem to modify the spicy tones rather than take up a lot of space in their own right. The honey elements are nice though, they never tip over into becoming too animalic or urine-like, which honey can do.
The scent didn’t change a whole lot from start to finish, there is movement – although it feels like it is all heading in the direction set out at the start – but that’s ok. There is a lot to be said for a fragrance that continues to do what it set out to do at the beginning. If anything, more of a beeswaxy tone comes through later, it mingles with and follows on from the honeyed facet pleasingly giving a slightly waxy dimension to everything.
If you read just the notes, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a relaxed and chilled out scent. It isn’t really. I found this to be a rather tenacious, gregarious fragrance, full of contradictions – be that warm/cool, bitter/sweet, wet/dry, spicy/floral, relaxed/energetic. This is a scent with some fight in it, some real moxie. Ray-Flection feels like the sort of perfume that will polarise people and I always admire brands that are willing to set their stall out with conviction like that.
The other stuff
I didn’t feel that Ray-Flection conjured the alien flower that it promised. I could sort of see where Masque were heading with that idea, but personally I don’t feel like they quite made it. This is a scent with a strong vein of spice and it is full of sass and spark, so I really didn’t mind it not hitting the floral element as much as I imagined it may have. But of course, we need to remember that this is an imaginary flower, an alien flower, so it can smell of whatever the hell it wants to!
The longevity of Ray-Flection is really good, I got 8-10 hours out of a wear. It also seems to project quite confidently too, to at least handshake distance and you could probably get that further with a greater number of sprays.
Ray-Flection feels like it would wear well in the winter months to act as a perfumed heating system and a reminder of what sunlight on skin feels like. In summer it might get a bit too “buzzy”, but go with whatever suits you and your way of wearing scent.
Masque Milano are an Italian brand who started cooking up fine fragrances in 2010, launching their first range in 2013. The brand is the product of the friendship of Alessandro and Ricardo, who bring a wide variety of influences and inspiration to the brand’s concepts.
Ray-Flection is part of Act IV of Masque’s Opera series. This aims to present the opera of life over four acts, the final act focusing on dreams and flights of fantasy. The marketing blurb around Ray-Flection hinges on the fragrance being the embodiment of a strange, alien flower, perhaps one which is dreamed into being by the wearer?
Masque offer bold fragrances which have a significant following in the fragrance community. They aren’t scents that everyone will like but they are veritably bursting with character, so find one that you love and it is almost certain to become a signature scent.
Ray-Flection is available from the Masque Milano web store where it is priced at €115 for 35ml EdP.
We were very kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by a friend of The Sniff who has no association with the Masque Milano brand.