CHINA WHITE (2008) + BLAMAGE (2014) + BARAONDA (2016) + FANTOMAS (2020) by NASOMATTO

Sometimes it is good to go back to a house you have overlooked.

Though always sensing the integrity and craftsmanship of ‘masculine powerhouses’ Duro and Black Aghano as well as the toxic clubland femininity of Narcotic Venus, Alessandro Gualteri’s generously potent (and deliciously designed) style-guide elixirs are too domineering and forceful for my particular sensibility.

At least I thought so.

If Baraonda – a comely woody whiskey Amber is not quite my tipple – I am ambivalent about the liquor (in my personal experience good things rarely come of it ) and detest the note in perfumes, I can still appreciate why this cult favourite has the reputation of ultimate seductability : warm and expertly blended.

China White, though, an ode to a certain recreational white powder, has no such negative associations because I have never tried it. Its reflection in perfume- a haunting, medicinal floral powder that I found myself sniffing from the back of my hand like a line of (you get the drift) when I tried it on skin the other day, was curious and unique, reminding me a little of Marlene Dietrich’s signature perfume by Creed, Angelique Encens (1933); that melancholically autumnal cassia bark heartbreak; dense and chalky and strange.

Looking it up, typically I find that this is the one they are going to discontinue.

Blamage, apparently a serendipitous, ‘unfortunate’ mistake by the perfumer, is another haunter : I don’t ordinarily like smoke notes in perfumes but this one is indescribable and enigmatic ; leather and incense ; niche but not typical. Almost indecipherable. I need to retry.

Fantomas – an extraordinarily weird melon / smoke / gunpowder / rubber, in the drydown ,on scent card the next day, is nothing more than a standard oudh. From the bell jar and nozzle though, it smelled rather beautiful, like the pristineness of icing sugar as you pass by the sealed vitrine of a high end cake shop, near the edge of a winter city park.

Up close, the melon note, with other tropical fruit, is highly perturbing (you definitely wouldn’t get the job at an interview wearing this) – and yet there is something here – an impenetrability, even ethereality; a conviction in the artistry on display – that I think will probably draw me back in for further tests.

Have I been wrong about Nasomatto all along ?


Filed under Flowers

5 responses to “CHINA WHITE (2008) + BLAMAGE (2014) + BARAONDA (2016) + FANTOMAS (2020) by NASOMATTO

  1. I’ve only tried some of them in stores and they seemed a bit too strong, but interesting, at least in the openings.

  2. Robin

    We carried the Nasomatto line when I covered for the owner of a niche perfume shop years ago at Christmas. I remember catching the bus home after a final generous application of China White, one from the range that I was hoping to finally understand and appreciate, as it was extremely popular at the time online and even with repeated efforts I hadn’t yet managed to find my way into it. I sat down beside another passenger . . . who immediately flinched, grimaced and changed seats.

    Hadn’t been enormously impressed by the line overall, but for some crazy reason I never gave China White another try.

    • Because, as much as I tried – and I still actually want it for some reason- I really liked the beginning ; the ultimate base note, some kind of cheap fake sandalwood hiding within all the ‘cocaine’, after a few hours in the base, is kind of crap. And disappointing.

      Love this view of a particular day in Canadian Winter.

  3. I was rather underwhelmed with Nasomatto also. I was hoping to like Narcotic V but found it a dull rendition of tuberose (I didn’t even know that was possible).

  4. I had tried many, many years in the past to find a scent I enjoyed in their line, and not a one spoke to me. Maybe their offerings are better now?

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