Maria Candida Gentile

A selection of perfumes from the Italian perfume house Maria Candida Gentile.

Mood Scent 4 : Frankincense and Myrrh Perfumes


It’s Mood Scent 4 time again! Our monthly blogging project where Portia, (on A Bottled Rose) , Samantha  (I Scent You A Day), Megan (Megan In St Maxime) and I write about a different subject linking perfume to mood or occasion. This time we picked frankincense and myrrh perfumes.

Frankincense is often associated with church by those who visit or used to (Catholic) church.  I used to go to a Dutch Catholic church as a child but frankincense was not used in this very modern 1970s church. I have only fairly recently started to appreciate frankincense when visiting churches as a common visitor. All my choices here are my personal favourites and not meant to give a list of the ‘best’ frankincense fragrances. I only included one myrrh perfumes as these are not easy to find and I wanted to include a fragrance which is still sold for a decent price.

 

Maria Candida Gentile Exultat and Sideris
Exultat brings a feeling of awe and wonder by combining dry frankincense with sweet violet candies. Imagine yourself as a small child sitting at the back of an old empty Mediterranean church, the priest has left a faint trail of frankincense hours ago and now you are eating violet candies secretly next to your grandmother who is visiting the church to pray. My Spanish grandmother was fond of visiting the cinema together instead of going to church with me, so this image was a mere fantasy, but I love these two fragrances combined: the violet candies and scent frankincense in a Catholic church. They make this a special fragrance while light powder and dust give it a more worldly aura.

Sideris, another creation from perfumer Maria Candida Gentile takes the frankincense to different territory by adding pungent pepper, very dry Mediterranean herbs, light sweet rose and balsamic benzoin. The fragrance was dedicated to a poem written by Cesare Pavese and inspired by walk along the Mediterranean Sea in the North West Italian area of Liguria. The frankincense is liturgical in both Italian creations, reminiscent of the smell a Catholic church hours after the priest has wafted a barrel on a chain of smoking frankincense. While Exultat is sweetened by violet confectionary, Sideris is adorned by sweet powdery rose petals, precious saffron and peppery spices.

Comme des Garcons:  Series 3  Ouarzazate
While Avignon gets all the attention from the Comme des Garcons Incense series, Ouarzazate is well worth a try. This incense series was inspired by 5 different world religions. The fragrance Avignon relates to Christianity and Ouarzazate to Islam. Mark Buxton was inspired by the fortress (kasbah) in this Southern Moroccan city. Ouarzazate is the gateway to the Sahara Desert and features in many series and films including Game Of Thrones (season 3) and Gladiator.

Ouarzazate is a sweet caramel like and spicy frankincense scent. Hints of black pepper, nutmeg and dry clary sage on a translucent olibanum/frankincense and dark woody base make it easy to wear. It is a little too light for my taste especially compared to the Ouarzazate incense sticks which I bought first but an interesting frankincense fragrance full of spices and well worth a try.

Caron Parfum Sacre Eau de Parfum
In Parfum Sacre lush dark red velvet rose petals are enveloped by pungent black pepper and warmed by cinnamon. Parfum Sacre feels like wearing a crimson long satin dress, the soft light fabric touching your skin. Resinous dry myrrh and soft vanilla add a comfortable sensation while rich orange blossom and a light cinnamic touch bring an overall feeling of smoothness. This velvety feeling reminds me of Guerlain Samsara which makes me wonder if sandalwood was not added as well.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer
In Passage d’Enfer perfumer Olivia Giacobetti combines the white lily flower, symbol of the virgin Mary in Christianity, with translucent cold frankincense and clean ‘laundry like’ musk. Passage d’Enfer translates as passage to hell and was originally created to pay homage to the first office of L’Artisan Parfumeur in the Passage d’Enfer in Paris in the 1970s. Lily flower is toned down here and transparent in true Olivia Giacobetti style leaving a light impression of its essence. Passage d’Enfer comes as an accompanying body lotion and shower gel as well.

Boujee Bougies Gilt Scented Candle
The recently launched Boujee Bougies scented candle Gilt plays with the idea of gold, guilt and confession. Golden sun rays shine through the stained glass lightening up a dark church and the metallic touch of golden leaves. Frankincense was burned hours ago still leaving its light smoky and pine tree trail, embellished by the cold scent of copper from the frankincense barrel. Gilt has amazing throw even for a small 60 g candle and burns evenly which is a great bonus as you use the whole candle until the end.

These are my frankincense and myrrh perfume and scented candle picks. Have a look on Samantha’s blog I Scent You A Day Megan’s blog  Megan in St. Maxime  and Portia on A Bottled Rose,  to read they choices too!

I Love To Hear From You
What are your favorite frankincense and myrrh perfumes? What do you think of my choices? Do you know them?

Disclosure: All fragrances, candles and samples mentioned were bought by me personally. Photographs were made by me as well and are an artistic expression. Bottles which are sold now, might be different from the ones shown on the photographs.

 

The Fragrance That Helped Me During The Cremation Of An Old Friend – Maria Candida Gentile Exultat

Not too long ago I attended the ceremony before the cremation of an old friend and colleague. We had shared very good and really bad times together. My friend and I were the same age of fifty which made his death extra confronting and painful.

When you turn fifty and look at your life not all of us are where we had dreamed we would be. It can be disappointing. I know from personal experience although life has given me very unexpected gifts. In his life my friend had chosen to follow a bumpy uneven and at times difficult path to walk.

While dressing for the cremation it felt a bit frivolous to think about what scent to wear. I did not feel like wearing a fragrance. My lost friend was not interested in scent and I did not want to impose my fragrance on other people. But as perfume is not only an adornment to me, I decided to wear a calming, quiet and serene scent, Maria Candida Gentile Exultat. There was not a church mass but it felt like the right scent to wear due to its connection with the Church of San Lorenzo in Rome.  A visit to the Church of San Lorenzo during the hour of vespers inspired Maria Candida Gentile to create Exultat according to the official website.

Incense plays an important part in Exultat. As incense is used in mass to purify and sanctify, it felt like the right thing to wear. The combination of violet, woods and frankincense makes it both a spiritual and calming scent. It helps you stay in the moment and close to yourself. Scent can help us a little in coping with difficult times and Exultat helped me a bit on that particular day because of it’s calming qualities.

Losing a loved one can be devastating I know from experience as I have lost my mother not very long ago. I can only imagine what it must feel like for his family and other loved ones he has left behind. He and his laugh stay with us in our memory.

(Notes: Top Note: Frankincense, Orange, Bitter Orange, Lime
Heart Note: Violet, Violet Leaves Base Note: Woods, Vetiver, Texas Cedar wood)

A beautiful In Memoriam was written in Dutch by Peter Mabelus.

Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre

imageSome perfumes should come with a warning as in a Thai restaurant saying how spicy it is.  If perfumes would come with 1, 2 or 3 peppers, referring to its spicyness, the eau de parfum Cinabre would have 3 peppers.

Cinabre is a spicy rose perfume made by Maria Candida Gentile in 2009. The combination of the rose with the black pepper in the beginning makes it very daring.  It gives the perfume a bite. This perfume is not a light tea rose but a strong powdery spicy hot rose. While wearing Cinabre, I feel daring and courageous. One would not think a rose perfume could do this.

Maria Candida Gentile is a female independent Italian perfumer with her own perfume house. She has developed 6 classic perfumes and 4 exclusive perfumes for her own line. All her perfumes are available online.

I have been wearing Cinabre for some days now and am struck by its beauty and originality. The bottle and perfume might look and smell very classic.  But the perfume has a very modern touch to it. Like a Burberry trench coat classic but modern at the same time.

At first I got a very powdery rose scent mixed with black pepper. After 15 to 20 minutes the pepper subdued and the scent became a light rose powdery perfume like smelling an expensive rose powdery soap. The soap scent subdues into a more creamy soft sweet rose after more or less an hour.

Notes according to the Maria Candida Gentile website are: black pepper, ginger, rose baies, Splendens rose, Moroccan Rose, benzoin, opoponax and vanilla. The perfume group is rich floral according to Michael Edwards.

The spicyness in this rose perfume brought to mind the image of being dressed completely in black and adding a very red bright scarf or wearing no makeup and adding red lipstick. Your complete image changes completely.

image

According the official website of Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre means dragon blood, a crimson red resin from the Dragon Blood tree. Dragon blood was used for alchemy, health cure, for violins in the 18th century and used as lipstick.  The dragon blood tree is quite rare nowadays and grows primarily on an exotic island, Socotra in the Indian Ocean and is part of Yemen. The label of the very classic Cinabre perfume bottle is crimson red. Beautiful. For rose lovers, this eau de parfum is a must try. If you like Guerlain Nahema or Caron Parfum Sacre, give Cinabre a try. You could see Cinabre as a very distant little foreign niece of Nahema.

Coco Chanel said that women should not smell like roses but I think that even Coco would not mind to this modern interpretation of a rose perfume.

Origin of bottle my own

1. Photograph made by Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida (Miniam Food Creative)

2. Picture was made by Rene Gruau

3. Painting made by Henriette Hackenberg, www.henriette-hackenberg.nl A card from this painting is available on her website as well.

Originally published Octobre 2012

Updated and re edited: November 25th, 2014

The Maria Candida Gentile Collection consists now of:  the collection Flight of the Bumblebee with three fragrances which was introduced in 2014, 8 eau de parfum the latest being Noir Tropical, 4 pure perfumes and 2 home fragrances.