Sight and sound are definitely a part of our earliest memories. They say children can remember from the age of three and a half upward and I have to admit, my first memory has to do with sticking my finger in the electric socket and feeling the jolt. I remember feeling like someone had pushed me and apparently — this is my parents’ memory of the event — I ran to the living room crying holding my index finger, utterly frightened.
But how much does scent, the smells around us, have to do with our individual memory bank? Personally, I can’t help but remember my favorite uncle Pippo every time I smell a certain brand of cigarette smoking up the air. And I go back to my childhood quickly, as soon as I step off the train in Florence and smell the city’s distinctive scent of, well how do I put it nicely, sewer… Just recently I was told why that smell is so intrinsically Florentine and it has to do with the lack of a sewage system dating back to Medici time. Apparently, every time the system fills up, giant trucks come to gather up the goodies and carry them away. There are serious studies done on it!
So it’s no surprise that the Florentines were some of the first people to use scents, ambiance fragrances and perfume to change the air around them. Oh, another favorite I rediscovered in Florence thanks to this year’s Pitti Fragranze is Santa Maria Novella’s Carta d’Armenia, which I was told by one of the heirs of the family who has owned the shop for centuries, is good also for dehumidifying. On top of my use for it, getting rid of other people’s germs in hotel rooms.
Paride Vitale of PARCO 1923
Parco 1923 is the passion project of successful publicist and entrepreneur Paride Vitale and is his ode to the place where he grew up — The Parco Nazionale dell’Abruzzo. This wondrous wooded area in the Abruzzi region is rich in tree moss, juniper and honeysuckle which are all ingredients present in Parco 1923’s creations. The latest, which comes in a wide range of products from body wash to hand and body cream and of course Eau de Toilette, is Scarpetta di Venere with rose and wild blueberry top notes and hints of red lilies.
I enjoyed catching up with Vitale who represents the beautiful spirit of his company and of course, talked about his fragrance inspirations — warning, childhood memories may be triggered!
P.S. Don’t forget to download the Parco 1923 app, “I Sentieri di Parco 1923” which will take you through the paths of the National Park and will get you dreaming of greener pastures.
ECOOKING food for your skin
In the depth of a personal low, Danish skincare developer Tina Søgaard took to her kitchen. And out of her own love issues our best skin products have been created. With a range of serums, multi balms and even a men’s line, ECooking does the trick. And when you’re trying to stay super young at 50, well, hydration and care are important.
ECooking products are completely natural and hence, edible. You may not want to waste perfectly wonderful skincare by licking it from the container but in case you lick your lips after applying their lip balm or washing your face, you won’t poison yourself. And the taste — yes I tried the multi balm, it smelled like bitter orange and rose how could I resist?! — is pleasant and subtle.
Filippo Sorcinelli at San Miniato al Monte
A night that will never be forgotten began as an evening at the opening cocktail of Pitti Fragranze and ended inside the magnificent San Miniato, a church which is as magical as it is spiritual. Add in the music and fragrance combination of the great Filippo Sorcinelli and you’ve got a night to remember.
Blending notes with scents Sorcinelli believes in the communication between music and smell. Two senses that one would not usually associate together. As you can see from the image above, in the header, he’s also quite a visual person, and his own personal style, all black with a straight line tattoo coming down the side of his neck, is quite haunting. And his fragrances, intoxicating.
The Institute for Art & Olfaction’s Saskia Wilson-Brown
Founded in Los Angeles in late 2012, the Institute for Art & Olfaction, or IAO is a not-for-profit organization that aims to “advancing public, artistic and experimental engagement with scent.” They do this by organizing a biannual scent fair in LA, winter sessions with world-famous noses and they even hold a yearly Art and Olfactory award, they are in their sixth year, submission for which open on October 1st.
At its center is the IAO’s founder Saskia Wilson-Brown and I was lucky enough to catch up with her during Pitti Fragranze. She talked about scent, her own mission at the IAO and her earliest scent memory. Check out the video below.
NERO DIVINO by Teatro Fragranze Uniche
It’s seldom that a single fragrance, a perfume on its own will leave such a huge imprint on my senses but that’s definitely the case of Teatro Fragranze Uniche’s Nero Divino. A game on words in Italian, meaning at once “divine black” and if separated and reworked, red wine, this perfume belongs to its grapes.
Its top notes are definitely from “uva fragola” the sweet Isabella grape that is used to make Fragolino sweet wine, but also there are hints of leather and cedar wood that ground the scent and make it utterly wearable. With its mystical signature black juice (juice is how the liquid inside the perfume bottle is called by insiders) Nero Divino became a personal favorite from this year’s Pitti Fragranze.