MAAI by Bogue Profumo

Year: 2014

Notes: aldehydes, dried fruits, spices, oriental incense infusions, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, green tuberose, labdanum, resins, oakmoss, sandalwood, animal musks
MAAI is the third release from Antonio Gardoni's Italian niche house, Bogue Profumo.

Like Cologne Reloaded, MAAI successfully recreates perfumery's glorious past, while exuding a contemporary twist. However, on this occasion, it's neither an enhancement nor reconstruction of some long-forgotten vintage fragrance. Instead, it's a new creation, which largely takes its inspiration from the classic chyprés of yesteryear (particularly those from Chanel).

Commencing with spicy aldehydic accents, it's primarily a floral-chypré, featuring a fresh, crisp and green floral core. With ethereal oriental incense infusions, the composition rests on a bed of resins, sandalwood, oakmoss and animal musks. But unlike Bogue's previous efforts, it isn't as herbaceous yet still possesses an old-school aura throughout.

One's not entirely sure what the musk cocktail consists of, but it's probably a mixture of castoreum, hyraceum, civet, ambergris and beeswax. This evocative animalic aroma is discernible from the very beginning and plays a central role, yet is sufficiently reined in not to give the impression that its presence is just for shock value. With leathery nuances, the musks also impart a hay-like warmth to the proceedings.

During the drydown, the resins imbue a subdued ambery sweetness, as the sandalwood adds a creamy woody sheen. By this stage, the green floral heart has long dissipated. With a sturdy oakmoss backbone, it continues to gently linger on the skin, and emit a dusty and faecal muskiness.

Superbly executed and comprising of high-quality ingredients, MAAI is both a masterful and complex effort that provides a glimmer of hope, in the light of current IFRA restrictions and EU regulations. While its staying power is respectable, one would still like Antonio to compose something more potent in the near future.

Regardless of this, MAAI is undoubtedly one of the best fragrance releases of 2014.