Blog post by Gwen

Sleight of Fern – verdant and voluptuous and sophisticated

fernA trip to Tuscany in September with dear friends. We're lucky with the weather. We've escaped the heat of late summer, and the predicted rain never came. Our luck holds when we move on to Florence and then Venice, our city time contrasting with our week spent in the Tuscan countryside.

And if I'm exploring Florence, I'm really exploring perfume, and on this particular day, I head straight to l'Ó Profumo.

I wanted to sniff fragrances I'd only read about, learn more about brands I hadn't read about, and buy something from a brand I'm very familiar with - that would be Sleight of Fern from Masque Milano. I've been intrigued by this fragrance since I first read about it, and I'm more than a little obsessed with it since I started wearing it. Here's why.

Alessandro Brun, co-founder of Masque Milano, has a soft spot for traditional Italian fougeres, which he associates with his grandfather. Fougère, from the French word for "fern," is one of the olfactive parent families of perfumes. Fragrances in this group don't actually have the scent of the fern plant, nor is a fougere a single ingredient. A classical fougere is an olfactory accord that usually contains bergamot, lavender, geranium, rose, oakmoss, vetiver, tonka bean and coumarin and can be modified with the addition of animalic, floral, green, leather, spicey or woody notes.

Brun wanted to add a fougere to the Masque Milano stable but faced the challenge of respecting the traditional structure of a fougere while staying true to the Masque Milano mandate of creating unique perfumes that have a soul. He needed a perfumer who understood fougeres, so he turned Stephanie Bakouche, the uber-talented nose behind the incomparable Invasion Barbare, that stunning fougere from MDCI Parfums.

The concept behind Masque Milano is that each fragrance represents a different act and scene in the 'Opera of Life,' as conceived by Brun and his partner, Riccardo Tedeschi. Sleight of Fern is Act IV, Scene Three of the opera.

The curtain rises on Act IV, Scene Three with Italian bergamot; its citrusy, fresh elegance is paired with aromatic French lavender that smells clean and sweet. I pick up aspects of honey, hay and wildflowers. We are in fougere country, for sure, but there's a twist when a fig sap accord appears. On me, it smells green, not fruity and not sweet. Lentisque, fresh and piney adds another layer of green just as red thyme shows up and brings a rich herbaceousness to the mix. Fougeres may not have the scent of the fern plant, but Sleight of Fern's verdancy lets you experience the greenness of a fern plant and what a glorious, multi-faceted green jewel it is. The green at the top connects to the green aspect of tuberose, the green facet of narcissus and the minty facet of geranium at the heart and draws them forward. The tuberose is exotic, opulent, and narcotic; the narcissus is rich, heady and floral. Together they add voluptuousness and sensuality to the fragrance that plays out against a rich green backdrop. It's just sublime. The green goes down to the base with patchouli and oakmoss. They sit atop creamy sandalwood and leathery birchwood and add sophistication to Sleight of Fern. Tonka bean absolute brings the coumarin – a reminder that this is a fougere. A sophisticated, modern, unisex fougere.

The name 'Sleight of Fern' is a play on the phrase 'sleight of hand,' which refers to skill in performing magic tricks. Is Stephanie Bakouche a magician? Maybe, but when I wear Sleight of Fern, I smell talent, dexterity, creativity, and genius. I also smell fabulous.

Check out Sleight of Fern in our Shop.