Blog post by Gwen

Messe de Minuit - resinous and floral and haunting

Photo: perfumeniche - Messe de Minuit 100 ml bottle - batch code: A13291

The fragrance category of church scents never goes out of fashion. It seems to have a universal appeal, likley because incense has been used for centuries in religious worship, ceremonies, and meditation in religions around the world. And in a category filled with divine fragrances, Messe de Minuit from Etro, is one of the best.

Etro was founded as a textile company in Milan in 1968 by Gimmi Etro, and soon became known for their men's and women's fashion collections. Over time, they added accessories, fragrances and home furnishings to the brand.

Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and it’s also home to the Duomo di Milano, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, located just steps away from Etro's head office. At 515 feet by 302 feet, it’s huge! Built of brick faced with Candoglia marble it has a lightness about it that comes from the intricate carvings, curlicues and spires that reach up and seem to pull the heavy building up heavenward. On the roof, they create a tracery from which you can see the sky.

Something heavy that gets lighter. A study in contrasts for sure, just like Messe de Minuit

Messe de Minuit, or Midnight Mass, is the second Mass in the cycle of four masses in the Catholic church that celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus. The first mass, a vigil Mass for Christmas held on Christmas Eve, is celebrated at sunset, followed by Midnight Mass, celebrated at midnight, then there is the Mass at Dawn, celebrated at daybreak and lastly, Christmas Day Mass.

Midnight Mass is a transitional mass. It takes place at the heart of the night, just before the start of a new day and celebrates the passage from darkness to light, both spiritually and physically. It is this passage that Messe de Minuit captures in scent.

It opens with notes of incense, bergamot and orange. Surprisingly, the incense is not the star here; its smoky woodiness balanced by the sweet citrusy orange. As it blooms, a note of rose adds a floralcy to the composition, while labdanum gives it an animalic, uriny, herbaceous, leathery dimension. Cinnamon and clove add spiciness and warmth. At the base, patchouli brings an exotic mustiness to the juice, while myrrh adds a bitter note. Musk softens them both, as honey adds a touch of sweetness.

In the beginning, Messe de Minuit smells like being in a church and has all the familiar smells of the Christmas season – incense, oranges, spices, myrrh. It’s resinous and deep, but as it evolves on the skin, the floral, herbaceous notes shimmer through the dark patchouli/myrrh base, celebrating the passage from darkness to light as the nights get shorter after the winter solstice and we move towards the rebirth of life in the spring. A study in contrasts, yes, but it’s such a gorgeous fragrance to wear, which is why Messe de Minuit is a standout in a crowded category.

Check out Messe de Minuit in our Shop.