Perfume Treasure in Sicily Boudoir 36

Spend a day in Catania, a baroque jewel on the east coast of Sicily, and you will understand why Boudoir 36, an artisanal perfume boutique, is such a great fit for this exuberant city. Every scent, taste and color seems more intense—jasmine draping the building facades, oranges piled into ziggurats on the sidewalks, and even the blue of the sky with a dark triangle of Mount Etna. The perfume selection at Boudoir 36 can rival the finest boutiques in Paris and London, but its flamboyance and opulence are uniquely Sicilian.

Once behind the heavy red curtain of Boudoir 36, you leave behind the bustle of Via Santa Filomena and discover a calm, dark oasis. ‘Boudoir’ is an appropriate name; the boutique is small, only 22 square meters, and it has the intimate ambiance of a private salon. There are shelves upon shelves of perfume bottles, crystal glasses of scent strips, gilded candles, and soaps wrapped in colorful paper. Flowers spill out of vases in baroque arrangements and crystal chandeliers cast a soft glow over the antique furniture.

“I want to offer an experience that involves all the senses,” says Antonio Alessandria, the visionary behind Boudoir 36. He succeeds mostly because of his contagious passion—obsession even—for perfume. After finishing his day job as an electronics engineer, he works at the boutique late into the night and spends his free time studying fragrances. His knowledge is encyclopedic, and Alessandria is generous in sharing it. More than selling you a pretty bottle, he wants you to be seduced by perfume.

Alessandria treats his collection like a museum curator, with exacting attention to detail and thorough research. He travels to meet perfumers and stocks Boudoir 36 with the best of artisanal perfume and body products from more than 40 different brands. He carries luxury perfumes like Jean Patou Joy and Creed Imperial Millesime, but also less well-known fragrances. If you want to sample Frapin 1270, from the makers of prized Pierre Frapin cognac, or Tauleto Wine Fragrance redolent of the Sangiovese grapes, Boudoir 36 is one of the few places in the world offering this opportunity. The home scent and body care selection is likewise outstanding. Devotees seek out Cire Trudon’s Trianon candle inspired by Marie-Antoinette’s garden in Versailles and Les Sens de Marrakech’s Argan Body Scrub that pays homage to Moroccan hamam rituals.

Besides offering fragrances made by other perfumers, Alessandria also features his own collection. The line includes fragrances in different style, but Fleurs et Flammes has been my favorite from the beginning. The smoky white blossoms are twisted with dark woods and verdant notes, creating a dramatic contrast. The marriage of opulent gardenia and tuberose against the equally sumptuous backdrop makes this perfume memorable. Another notable fragrance is Nuit Rouge. Imagine the combination of iris, coffee, incense and spices. Add a fresh twist of rhubarb and a soft finish of musk and sandalwood, and you have an olfactory take on Sicilian baroque.

The loyal clientele of Boudoir 36 includes both celebrities and local residents. Italian actress Isa Danieli relies on Alessandria to find perfume for her theater roles. A neighbor stops by to purchase another bottle of Frédéric Malle’s Carnal Flower, a lush tuberose she discovered thanks to Alessandria’s gentle guidance. As he reflects, “My customers are above all people who wear perfume as a way to express their moods and personalities.” Part of his magic is in finding the perfect match.

Boudoir 36, Via Santa Filomena, 36, 95129 Catania, Italy (+39 095 715 2358,, opening hours: from Tuesday to Saturday; from 6pm to 10pm)

What are your favorite perfume stores? Where do you prefer to shop for fragrances in your town?



  • Klaas: Amsterdam has many perfumeries, both niche and high street, but if you’re in town and if you are looking to treat yourself, Perfume Lounge is the place to go. They offer a cornucopia of niche brands, the staff is incredibly knowledgeable, they ship abroad and host workshops and events as well (Patricia de Nicolai, Christophe Laudamiel and Francesca Bianchi are regulars!)

    They are a little bit outside the city centre, and you have to ring the bell to enter, but don’t be discouraged…..I’ve very often walked out without buying and they are still as friendly and helpful as ever.

    Highly recommended! July 28, 2023 at 10:34am Reply

  • Kathy Parsons: What a superb post for any perfume lover. July 28, 2023 at 11:32am Reply

  • Becky: I want to go there! Getting a vibe for perfumes! I’ve been in love with bergamot and I love the smell of figs! I want to start going to perfume stores when I travel! I’ve been wearing Jo Malone for years. My husband found for me and brought back from London! Our first love language, travel and Jo Malone! I didn’t even realize that till now🥰 July 28, 2023 at 11:29pm Reply

  • Aurora: You make it sound wonderful, Victoria, what a terrific name for a perfumery, and I want to visit Sicily so much.

    My favorite perfumery in London is Bloom as I don’t feel intimidated, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble for them and very important, they’re generous with samples and I’ve discovered many perfumes that way. I’m only sorry that they closed one of their two boutiques which was closer to where I live. July 29, 2023 at 2:54am Reply

    • MaureenC: I agree they are always really friendly. July 31, 2023 at 10:11am Reply

  • Alina: I enjoyed this article very much, especially since there are few places in my town for perfume shopping. I usually buy online, but it’s difficult. Why don’t more places offer sample programs? July 29, 2023 at 3:54am Reply

  • PrincessTonk: Beautiful dream to enter that shop with that owner, his items, sense of beauty, passion, connection and creativity. July 29, 2023 at 11:22pm Reply

  • Johaboha: In Berlin, I love the store 15westParfum, a beautiful small and stylish boutique where everything is lovingly curated by the owner Mark, who knows many perfumers personally and can tell you in depth about every scent. He is a true passionate! Mekkanische Rose is another option close-by, led by two brothers who create their own perfumes and one can also buy oils and essences. July 31, 2023 at 2:52am Reply

What do you think?

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2024 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy