Moresque Parfum, Part 2 (Art Collection)


Moresque’s Art Collection showcases artisanal talent in its opulent fragrances (composed by Andrea “Thero” Casotti) and in the hand-decorated, one-of-a-kind bottles that house them. Some of the perfumes in this collection even take inspiration from other art forms. Here are three that are sure to delight the nose and engage the imagination.


In the world of classical dance, nothing is more iconic than Swan Lake, and few dance companies are more legendary than the Bolshoi Ballet. Moresque’s Ballerina invites us to picture a performance in progress: Tchaikovsky’s haunting music, the polished wood and heavy velvet curtains of the theater’s box seats, and the prima ballerina onstage in the spotlight. What scent would embody this dancer, whose delicate gestures and fragile satin-and-tulle costume bely her extraordinary strength? Ballerina’s dewy peach top note segues into a heart of raspberries and cream, but this fragrance isn’t just sweet and fluffy. Like the dancer who performs the dual role of the White Swan and the Black Swan, it’s lithe and tenacious beneath its ethereal surface, with a heart of iris (evoking powder on warm skin) and a base of olibanum and musky ambrette seed. (Fans of Parfums de Marly’s Delina will definitely want to try Ballerina as well!)

Art Collection Contessa MORESQUE PERFUMES


Virginia Oldoïni, the Countess of Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat and influential member of Parisian high society in the later 1800s. She is often remembered for her romantic connections with famous men like the emperor Napoleon III. However, she was also significant as a muse to the painters and photographers who documented her beauty and her opulent sense of style in hundreds of images. More than a century before social media, the Countess knew how to present herself in a way that was distinctive and memorable. As an olfactory tribute to Virginia Oldoïni, Contessa is a colorful femme fatale of a fragrance. Its classical heart of rose, jasmine, and ylang ylang is dressed up with unconventional top notes of pink pepper, nutmeg, and most of all, anise—whose unusual, licorice-like aroma tempers the heat of the other spices. Contessa’s drydown is sultry and lasting: tonka bean adds some woody sweetness and a persistent trail of musk completes the perfumed picture.


Moresque describes Aristoqrati as a celebration of the noble and royal dynasties whose family trees have shaped history. We could also consider this fragrance as a salute to the time-honored alliance between artists and their patrons since so many aristocrats have supported culture over time. In either case, Aristoqrati’s composition draws from the rich offerings of the Silk Road and the spice trade, combining notes of Egyptian geranium, Indonesian nutmeg, and vetiver from Madagascar for a spicy-woody blend with an enduring amber base. This is a less traditionally “feminine” fragrance than Ballerina or Contessa and it could be worn by anyone with a taste for artistic achievement and a sense of adventure. After all, no aristocratic title is required to appreciate the art of perfumery!



Moresque is an Italian luxury fragrance line that looks to the past for inspiration, with a focus on the historical overlaps between European and Arab cultures. Moresque’s White Collection was launched in 2015 and captures a mood of elegance and refinement in its compositions, which are created by perfumer Andrea (Thero) Casotti in dialogue with Moresque’s founder, Cindy Guillemant. Here are three of those perfumes, sparked by sensory and emotional impressions of sweet delicacies, beautiful women, and a royal poet.


Diademas name refers to diadems, the jeweled headbands worn exclusively by monarchs and other sovereign rulers. A diadem signifies absolute authority, but this fragrance isn’t cold or haughty: instead, it’s a lush gourmand that brings a smile to its wearer’s face. If you’re looking for a sophisticated cherry perfume, a gourmand that balances sweetness with depth, Diadem is a must-try. It opens with a boozy, slightly bitter cherry note that turns sweeter as the fragrance evolves, meeting up with an almond-y heart of ylang ylang. Lastly, Diadem’s base of benzoin and vanilla suggests caramel, that burned-sugar treat whose name possibly derives from the Arabic phrase kurat al milh or “ball of sweet salt.” Mingled here with seasonal summer fruits and tropical flowers, this caramel note makes Diadem a rich, sparkling temptation of a fragrance.



For Moreta, Moresque turns to the Iberian peninsula, with a term that’s a Spanish endearment for a strikingly beautiful woman. Its composition is appropriately centered around the concept of orange trees in bloom—a seasonal sight and smell that have given Spain’s Costa del Azahar, or  “orange blossom coast,” its name. Moreta’s bouquet of fresh orange flowers, topped with mouth-watering citrus zest, is a flirtatious evocation of warm late-spring evenings and effervescent cocktails. Yet Moreta also has an earthier side, thanks to its long-lasting background of white musk and cedar. Fans of Kilian’s gourmand-floral Love, Don’t Be Shy will also want to spend time with Moreta, getting to know its mix of brightness and sweetness. Orange blossoms possess a nectar that lures bees into their petals; this perfume attracts admirers in a similar way, drawing them closer to its luscious core.


Moresque takes a literary approach to this perfume, which the brand describes as “an olfactory allegory to the princess and poet Tamima, wife of the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf of Morocco.” Tamima pays homage to Morocco’s terrain by suggesting local flora such as eucalyptus, sage, sun-warmed oranges, and the tree resin that’s transformed into aromatic frankincense. This is a sharp, lively fragrance signaling confidence and accomplishment. It feels very contemporary, thanks both to its oud note (everything old is new again!) and its use of cashmeran, resulting in a woody-musky amber with glints of citrus. The Almoravid dynasty marked a fruitful period in Moroccan literature. As a nod to a female voice in the poetry of that era, Tamima is a refined and persuasive verse, packaged in the elegant form of Moresque’s White Collection bottle.

More Moresque musings to come!




Masque Milano, Part 2

Many of us haven’t traveled much over the past two years, but fragrance can be one way to connect with the world through our senses and our imaginations. Masque Milano may be based in Italy, but its founders and perfumers look far and wide for inspiration. 

Here are three bold scents from Masque Milano’s “Act II” collection that take us on olfactory trips and introduce us to time-honored ingredients and traditions from around the world.



If you’re interested in Japanese culture, you may already know that kintsugi is a technique of repairing broken ceramics and accentuating the mended cracks with gold, a reminder that greater beauty can be gained through life experience. Masque Milano imagines a potter practicing kintsugi under a magnolia tree, and perfumer Vanina Muracciole includes this floral note as part of modern chypre composition. Kintsugi’s bergamot top note is as bright as gold and its deeper notes are as textured and cleverly fitted together as the pieces of a mended vessel: warm suede, bitter green leaves, a salty-musky ambergris, and more.


When we inhale this fragrance designed by Christian Carbonnel, we can imagine the sounds of spinning prayer wheels and chanting monks accompanied by the scent of sacred incense. A blend of myrrh, labdanum, and frankincense bordered in sandalwood and dusted in spice, this deep and aromatic fragrance is named for the “sacred circle” of the mandala, a graphic representation of the universe used in Buddhism and Hinduism. Worshippers focus on a mandala in order to visualize the cosmos and move towards enlightenment; we can incorporate fragrance into our own daily rituals.


Vetiver, a grassy plant native to Southeast Asia and now grown in additional warm climates, is prized for its fragrant roots. In this fragrance by Fanny Bal, vetiver oils sourced from Haiti and Java are paired with piquant rhubarb and ginger and a smooth cedar note. Vetiver smells earthy, slightly smoky, and a little rough-edged; it’s a fitting central motif for a tribute to the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who spent time in Havana, Key West, and the Bahamas and took literary inspiration from their Caribbean settings. Hemingway’s travels have become legendary. We might be staying closer to home this year, but we can always wander through scent!




If we had to choose one word to describe Masque Milano Fragrances, we might say “passion.” The brand’s own passion—for storytelling, for the arts, for high quality and expert craftsmanship in their perfumes—is evident. Masque Milano also happens to offer several fragrances that capture different kinds of romantic passion. Whatever kind of love you’re experiencing (or hoping to experience) these days, from a fleeting encounter to true devotion, there could be a Masque Milano scent to accompany it. 

Here are three picks from Masque Milano’s “Act III” collection:

Love Kills

Roses can be a romantic cliché, but there’s nothing delicate or saccharine about this floral fragrance by perfumer Caroline Dumur. Taking the rose as its central motif, Love Kills traces an emotional arc from joy and intimacy to betrayal and loss. It starts off lush and bright, with vibrant Turkish rose enhanced by geranium and a lychee-like note. Its heart evokes a fruity red wine, but by the time it evolves fully, Love Kills has turned into something drier and duskier, like a flower fading into musky, crumpled petals and a bittersweet memory of desire.


In L’Attesa, on the other hand, we get all the anticipation and none of the heartbreak. This composition by Luca Maffei suggests the anticipation of a romantic rendezvous on a summer evening, complete with freshly uncorked champagne, jazz playing in the background, and a warm breeze coming through the window. L’Attesa is a must-try for iris-lovers: elegant, yet a little earthy, it’s a cool and root-y iris soliflore with a dusty, leather-tinged drydown. Truly an amorous encounter that’s worth the wait, L’Attesa is a top-seller for good reason.


Lastly, for no-holds-barred sensuality, there’s Tango. An homage to passion as expressed in a daring dance for two, this fragrance was created by Cécile Zarokian. At first sniff, Tango seems like a classically composed pyramid of bergamot, jasmine, and amber. On skin, however, it unfurls layers of smoldering spice (including some provocative cumin) and animalic musk, plus an accord that appropriately suggests dark rum sweetened with honey. Intoxicating and intense, and more than a little dangerous, Tango lingers like the thought of a lover’s touch.


Stay tuned for part 2!