Back in my first days of incessant sample buying I came across Parfums M.Micallef, a luxury perfume and beauty brand founded by Martina Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman. Micallef creations although created in France, in Grasse, by a French perfumer and under the direction of Martina Micallef, have a clear middle-eastern orientation. They are soft, inviting, sweet in a very balanced way and full of velvet hues. What I liked about them is that they exude orientalism without shouting it out and this is a big plus in our days, where “oriental” is as catchy as “clean” used to be in the 90’s. I remember liking their Red Sea and Guaiac. A chance to sample their latest releases was very welcome. A quartet of vanilla interpretations, a masculine and a voluptuous feminine
Style: the opening is a musky, spicy and floral but very quickly this changes into a smoky nutmeg with hints of citrus. This very quick change is impressive and you know these initial notes will pop up again later. In a few minutes some sweetness is added to the composition. I imagine it must come from the floral components. Lavender starts becoming apparent but in its herbal form, no musty barbershop here. The drydown is very classy: lavender, a little citrus and smoky incense. Although Style is not ground-breaking it is a very elegant masculine scent with spiralling progression through deep, natural notes . Sweet lavender on top of bitter, smoky vetiver and woods.
Notes from M.Micallef: lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamome, jasmine, lavender, lily of the valey, musk, patchouli, incense, sandalwood (and I still cannot believe vetiver is not listed!)
Notes from my nose: musk, nutmeg, lavender, smoke, incense, vetiver
Ylang in Gold: This is the feminine star and it certainly makes an impression. It opens with an extra juicy peach coupled with hints of coconut. Of course this doesn’t sound original but the execution is. Despite the fruit-coconut cocktail and its sweetness there is a strong resinous undercurrent. I have never smelled a more bitter fruit or coconut! As development progresses the fruity opening turns into a floral heart and ylang ylang becomes apparent. This is a big, sweet, creamy floral but there is always a mysterious shadow cast over familiar and cheerful ingredients. Sophisticated tropical cocktail.
Notes from M.Micallef: sage, rosemary, artemisia, mint, magnolia, ylang, coconut, musk, moss
Notes from my nose: peach, coconut, resins, ylang ylang, musk
Vanilla Flower: I get a lot of ylang from the opening of this one. Officially it is just “floral notes” but I recognize the acerbic, peachy volatility of ylang. Very quickly however the bitter-sweet aspects of thick, natural vanilla extract dominate the composition justifying the name. Full bodied vanilla with the lift of ylang.
Notes from Fragrantica: floral notes, vanilla, peach, rose
Notes from my nose: ylang ylang, vanilla, musk
Vannila Orient: now this is supposed to be a feminine, like all the perfumes of the new Vanilla line but to my nose it isn’t. I can smell oud right from the opening. Warm spices and saffron. Vanilla is there and gradually gets stronger but overall remains part of the base and never the centre of attraction.In the drydown I can smell a very unexpected blackcurrant note that complements oud like those two were meant to be together. The drydown is a deep purple oriental blackcurrant, slightly more feminine than the opening. I really loved this one! A very unisex, warm, fruity oriental.
Notes from Fragrantica: spices, vanilla, sandalwood, amber, musk
Notes from my nose: oud, saffron, vanilla, amber
Vanilla Marine: as weird and unappealing this might sound it smells quite good. The opening is fruity with ozonic hints. Like an unripe apricot. It remains a fruity vanilla fragrance without an artificial marine note. Vanilla is sweet and round.
Notes from Fragrantica: lemon, blackcurrant, vanilla, white flowers, sea water, benzoin, musk, woody notes
Notes from my nose: apricot, marine notes, vanilla
Vanilla Leather: saved the best for last as you can imagine (or quite close). This really smells complex, with lots of things going on. A beautiful etherial opening with spices, flowers and lift. Warm woods later on and a smoky, leathery base. I get a lot of similarities with Style, which means that Vanilla Leather is not just for women. Vanilla is still not the star here so do not let the name scare you if you are not into this. Sweetness is moderate and watching this beauty unfold for hours is really worth seeking a sample of this.
Notes from Fragrantica: bergamot, lavender and mint, cinnamon, caraway and orange blossom,vanilla, suede, tonka bean, cedar, sandalwood.
Notes from my nose: lavender, mint, vanilla, leather, earth
Most developing: Style
Most feminine: Ylang in Gold
Most complex: Vanilla Leather
Most cheerful: Vanilla Flower
Most unexpected: Vanilla Marine
Personal favourite: Vanilla Orient
Samples offered by Parfums M.Micallef
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