It would not be an overstatement to call Messe de Minuit the most arresting of Etro’s line. While it may not be the most approachable composition due to the musty touch of patchouli, malted warmth of honey and the aggressive sharpness of galbanum, the fragrance compels due to the harmonious blend of these diverse elements. There are no dramatic shifts between the vibrant citrusy tartness of the top notes and the honeyed musk of the base. Created in 1994 by Robertet’s Jacques Flori, Messe de Minuit strikes one somber note after another, allowing one to fall under its spell. …
Although incense is an important player in Messe de Minuit, the note is by no means dominant, as it is in another incense favorite, Armani Privé Bois d’Encens. The woody sweetness of cinnamon, the cold smoothness of myrrh and the animalic richness of amber create the complex tapestry of the composition, along with the resinous incense.
The most alluring aspect of wearing Messe de Minuit is that the fragrance conjures all sorts of images for me, from the serene ruins of Roman baths that I visited in England to the melancholy beauty of wooden village churches I saw in Ukraine. For this reason, Messe de Minuit never ceases to surprise me with yet another association that it draws from the depth of my memory.
Messe de Minuit is not a fragrance of darkness. It is a fragrance of shadows, alternating between dusky and luminous notes. In many ways, Messe de Minuit makes me think of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, in which the idée fixe, an exquisitely beautiful theme representing the composer’s beloved, recurs again and again. The idée fixe of Messe de Minuit is comprised of soft lemony floralcy, which weaves around the main facets of the composition. Even when the base notes embrace the skin with their spicy resinous darkness, the floral radiance shimmers subtly beneath. Finally, much like Symphonie Fantastique, Messe de Minuit is simply haunting.
Messe de Minuit has a decent tenacity, but the sillage is not particularly strong. My definition of a perfect sillage, or trail left by the perfume wearer in his/her wake, is Guerlain L’Heure Bleue. Low sillage would be Annick Goutal Mandragore. Messe de Minuit falls in the middle. It includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, orange, galbanum, cinnamon, myrrh, incense, patchouli, amber, musk, honey. Etro fragrances are available at Aedes, Beauty.com or Neiman Aarcus, UK-based Escentual in the UK, and Belgium-based Senteurs d’Ailleurs.