A bright winter’s morning. The bathroom of a stately home.
On the wash basin, lies a pristine bar of soap.
It is the most perfect soap imaginable; a hard, impenetrable, triple-milled yellow soap; the clean, heart-clearing brightness of bergamot: the finest essences of sun-binding neroli all married grassly to a light, fresh note of cool, purified vetiver root planted down, somewhere beneath the surfaces, in its fragrant, pounded, centre.
A vetiver, then, of spanking immaculateness and spruceness; a perfect accoutrement to the face-splashing morning ritual: a scent that very reeks – very nearly, ALMOST – of trust.
Until you smell Signoricci that is, when the artificial, clammed together, and somewhat hysterical brightness of Creed’s Original Vetiver is suddenly exposed……
Signoricci, one of the few key masculines from a classical house that, in its heyday, produced some of the most delicate and exquisite feminine florals ever created, predates Creed’s scent by three long decades and is of a similar soap-cleansed theme; citrus (lemon, verbena and lime), over delicate, cologne-steeped vetiver, but in this long discontinued perfume the effect is incredibly, incredibly refined.
I first smelled smelled Signoricci at my brand new friend Federico’s apartment in Rome one October afternoon – standing there, alone as it was on his wooden bookshelf in his room – and I remember how immediately blown away I was by its deceptively simple beauty; a beautiful conception of fine-hearted masculinity that is almost impossible to imagine now in today’s world of hard-hitting woods; spices; and designer-bearded synthetics.
Beginning with perhaps the most piercing, yet simultaneously gentle and perfect citrus top note I know of, the vetiver, cedar and sandalwood heart of this composition is revealed gently and gradually; an accord of almost heartbreaking cleanliness: a perfection and purity of soul.
Its perfection notwithstanding, if there can be any criticism of Signoricci (and must there be, really?) it is just that: this perfume, in all honesty, is possibly too perfect; a saintly, flawlessly scrupled man who seems too good, almost, to be possibly true.
Like doubting Thomases, we stand agape.