italian perfumery: 2 posts

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.

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The Italians

Some of the most interesting artisanal brands I’ve recently discovered come from Italy. I won’t venture to generalize about this trend, if it can be called so, although what strikes me about the new Italian creations is the freshness of their approach. They pay tribute to classics, but not self-consciously so, and they stay au courant while avoiding the pitfalls of style versus substance. In my new FT column, Italian Perfumes, I focus on two fairly new niche houses, Antonio Alessandria Parfums and Rubini Profumi, and explain what makes them stand out.

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Wearing their perfumes reminded me why I love the Italian take on elegance. It has a sense of humor.

“Classic Italian perfumery has a reputation for flamboyance – embodied by the Cinecittà glamour of Sophia Loren, as well as the gold tan and bleached-blonde aesthetic of Donatella Versace. It may be a cliché, but one need not be a marketing specialist to notice that Italians wear scents differently from the French or Germans. Women enjoy lush white florals with a touch of powder for an enveloping, lingering effect. Men aren’t shy about donning sweet perfumes and using them to make a statement. Encounter such a fragranced denizen cutting la bella figura at an outdoor café some place in Rome or Palermo, and you’ll understand better Italy’s penchant for the baroque. To continue, please click here.”

Do you have any favorite Italian fragrances? Apart from the bottled sort, mine would be the wet vetiver and iris smell of Milan, freshly baked pizza bianca with rosemary, lemon groves off the Amalfi coast, and the shamelessly lush Sicilian jasmine.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved

Latest Comments

  • Hamamelis in Recommend Me a Perfume: July 2024: Hi Laura, what about Andy Tauer’s L’air des Alpes Suisses? A real mountain scent, but it may lean masculine though. Another outdoorsy fragrance could be Parfum d’Empire Mal-aime, a unique… July 25, 2024 at 5:43am

  • Aire in Recommend Me a Perfume: July 2024: Sisley Eau de Campagne might be nice. July 24, 2024 at 7:49pm

  • Aurora in Recommend Me a Perfume: July 2024: Hi Emi: two pine scents with sweetness: Annick Goutal Nuit étoilée, very outdoorsy and for a richer, more Christmassy pine, Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. July 24, 2024 at 2:59pm

  • Laura in Recommend Me a Perfume: July 2024: Hi everyone, I am looking for a pergume for a mountain adventure like hiking, walking, etc in a mild climate in August. I would like a scent through which I… July 24, 2024 at 2:11pm

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