Blog post by Gwen
Castanas asadas - Wikimedia Commons - Andres Nieto Porras, Dec. 27, 2010
When I read about Castagna in a post on Facebook, and the fine hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Castagna is Italian for ‘chestnut,’ and I love a chestnut note in fragrance (think Noir Exquis), and there aren’t many fragrances that have it.
Castagna is from Tuttotondo, a new Italian line of toiletries and fragrances. Their website describes their products as ‘unusual “postcards” of travel adventures which have taken us on the exploration of the world and the discovery or rare and unusual ingredients.’ Castagna is one of five fragrances that make up Tuttotondo’s first fragrance collection, each inspired by travel adventures through Italy.
Castagna is a tribute to the chestnuts grown in the area of Mount Amiata, a dormant volcano in the province of Siena in Central Tuscany. The first sniff of this gorgeous scent took me back to vacations in Tuscany, the outdoor restaurant near Tonda where the guanciale and Brunello di Montalcino were so good we didn’t notice we’d been eaten alive by mosquitoes until the next day. Still, we went back for dinner there the next three nights…a Mediaeval Festival in San Gimignano where we walked among knights, ladies, tumblers, jugglers, storytellers and musicians…a concert in Siena and then shopping for scarves from each contrade to bring home as gifts… eating chewy, rich, spicy panforte out of hand in the summer and castagnaccio, a chestnut flour dessert cake, with pine nuts, raisins and rosemary, in the autumn with a coffee or amaro. Oh, I do love what Castgana smells like!
It opens with notes of bright bergamot and powdery, earthy iris that merge into a creamy, smooth heart of sweet, earthy chestnut, warmed by spicy clove and sweetened with vanilla-tinged heliotrope. A note of maple syrup gives it a caramel facet. It smells gently boozy and rich at the same time and is the kind of gourmand fragrance I can’t resist where the sweetness is a supporting player, not a dominating main character. This hovers over a woody base of vetiver, sandalwood and guaiac wood. The vetiver and guaiac wood give it a seductive smokiness. Vanilla and Tonka bean add sweetness, but it’s a warm, spicy sweetness. Musk completes it.
For all of this, the drydown is surprisingly delicate and refined, and while chestnuts are associated with cooler temperatures, Castagna can be worn anytime by men and women. I like the smell of it more on a man, where it can have a sweet/salty contrast.
Castagna would still stir my senses even if it didn’t stir memories.
Check out Castagne in our Shop.