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Under My Skin – What a feeling!

I’ve got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin

Cole Porter 1936

Sometimes I come across a fragrance that just takes my breath away, a fragrance that so deeply connects with my emotional core that I lose my words, which for me is a big deal. Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi is one of those fragrances.

Francesca Bianchi is an Italian perfumer, self-taught, who lives and works in Amsterdam. These facts in themselves make her interesting, but she also single-handedly launched her independent artisanal brand in 2016 and was acknowledged three years later as an exceptionally gifted perfumer. CaFleureBon rated her line as Best Indie House in 2019

Under My Skin is her fourth fragrance, launched in late 2017. In her press release, she said:

“I started working on it around 2 years ago. I was charmed by strong animalic scents, and I tried to do my own; but I had to realize that what I like in other’s creations is not necessarily what I like to create myself. So after adding materials going into the heavy or sweet or stable-like animalic theme, I had to eliminate them little by little, and arrive to this solution which suits me the best: a leathery, slightly animalic, powdery one, a velvety and elegant take. The name comes from a conversation with an artist and fragrance lover, who told me it was as if the scent emanates from skin, rather than being sprayed from outside. This concept of ‘Under My Skin’ reinforced my path of going into something more subtly ’human’ than overtly ‘animal’. 

Under My Skin extrait de parfum owns a long and complex note list but it wears on skin with intimate warmth and elegance.  The opening is at first citrusy and herbal from grapefruit and lavender but the notes are beautifully rendered in watercolour tones, fresh and dewy and soft. A cloud of milky sandalwood and orris butter rises and goes poof! releasing the lush elegance of the vegetal iris accord which merges with salty/sweet ambergris, sueded leather and musk notes as the perfume dries down.  Spicy pepper and carnation, rose and more sandalwood and balsamic wood notes and dark vanilla and bitter moss expand the warm skin notes, adding depth and texture, so that Under My Skin taps into intimate memories. The scent of home and place – woods, seashores, gardens, kitchens, books, clothes. And the scent of loved ones - siblings, mothers, fathers, lovers, babies, children, wives, husbands.

Under My Skin is really two scents. Smell it up close on your skin and it is leathery and sensual, a deep animalic scent. Catch its elegant waft from your clothes and it is creamy and velvety, an intimate human scent. Because of this subtle dichotomy, Under My Skin is an incredibly wearable fragrance, for any person for any occasion. It is a fragrance I wear just for myself, for how it makes me feel. It's truly gotten under my skin and connected with my psyche, which is where I started with this story.

Describing her creative process on her website, Francesca says:

“The creation of a perfume is a very long and complex process, and it takes me a hermit life to devise a formula which I then blend, holding my breath at every drop I add as in a sacred ritual. At those ecstatic and silent moments, I feel like an alchemist which – through a transformation – gives birth to something new, which is not the simple addition of different materials.”

Francesca is on her own brilliant path as an olfactory alchemist. Under My Skin is definitely a new interpretation of the animalic genre in contemporary perfumes - there is currently nothing else like it. Seamlessly blended and harmonious, not dark, or loud, or polarizing, her fragrance emanates warmth and good-feeling, with a “lean-in” quality that is so appealing.    

Under My Skin is not about the notes, it’s about the feelings it stirs, and I can feel Francesca’s passion for her art whenever I wear it. I know that we can all use more passion and beautiful art in our daily lives as we live through this uncertain time.

Under My Skin is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.

Image - perfumeniche.com