Persolaise Review: Maai from Bogue Profumo (2014; Antonio Gardoni)
There's been a fair amount of talk lately about the extent to which current creations from the niche world are little more than reactions to the mainstream: pious homages to retro values which satisfy the needs of nostalgic fume-geeks but do little to further the art of fragrance. I'd say that particular criticism is often justified, but when indie brands get the backward glance right, they come up with startling pieces of work. A case in point is 2014's Maai from the Italian brand, Bogue. It owes its soul to masculine chypres of yesteryear - those glorious Cary Grant compositions that are more expertly put together than an origami-folded pocket square - but it dresses its body with lean, modern finery. To put that in olfactory terms, its core is a grandiloquent, brazen mix of animalics, woods and urinous, medicinal herbs (lots of sage) whereas its external layer presents sheer, uplifting blossoms, ready to break into a smile at a moment's notice. It may lean on its niche credentials too heavily, but as a union of the assertiveness of Kouros, the sophistication of Cacharel Pour Homme and the romanticism of Fleur Du Male, it is a fascinating creature indeed. Do seek it out.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained by the author in 2015.]