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Baume du Doge – The fragrant power of Venice - May 12, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - - Spices in window of Antica Drogheria Mascari in Venice 

I have just returned from a vacation in Venice - one of our best trips ever! We rented an apartment with close friends on the top floor of a building in San Polo. Our days were spent waking to the bells of the Frari, looking at art, shopping at the market, wandering along canals, over bridges and through piazzas – exploring, discovering and enjoying. Our evenings were spent cooking, eating, drinking and laughing on the terrace.

The best part was being with people we love, the magical part was being in Venice, and the fun part was living like a local. Renting an apartment, I found myself less interested in the shops that sell carnival mask fridge magnets and Murano glass necklaces and more interested in the shops  the locals use - food shops, wine shops, and especially the spice shops.

Near our apartment was Antica Drogheria Mascari. One of the oldest specialty food stores in Venice, it is the last surviving spice store on Calle degli Spezieri (Street of the Spice Merchants). I have spent hours in this place. The teas, wines, oils and sweets are spectacular but they are all overshadowed by the spices. It seems that every spice on the planet is there, kept in big glass jars and displayed in pyramid-shaped mounds on big platters in the window - a visual reminder to passersby of Venice’s powerful maritime past when merchants brought spices, silks, and incense from the Far East to this hustling port city to trade, making it the portal between the worlds of east and west.

It’s that time period that is brought to life in Baume du Doge by Eau d`Italie, the Italian indie perfume line that explores the landscapes and history of Italian regions and cities through scent creations like Eau d`Italie, Jardin du Poète and Rose Paestum.

Baume du Doge opens with a note of sweet, luscious orange warmed by cinnamon and sweet, resinous, camphouous cardamom. Wild fennel adds an herbal, anisic note. The notes mingle and blend and smell like some kind of herb tea – light and comforting. As it blooms, a rich, resinous smoky note of frankincense comes up through the top notes, warmed by peppery saffron and checked by bitter myrrh. Sweet, warm aromatic clove balances the heart before it moves to the base where woody, earthy, balsamic vetiver root comes to play along with sweet, warm benzoin while vanilla adds a rich creaminess that softens the spices and mellows out any sharpness. It smells dry, woody and camphourous – to my nose it smells like the patchouli-scented wooden boxes they used for shipping silk and I melt a little every time I get a whiff of it.

Despite all the heavy hitters in the list of notes for Baume du Doge the dry-down is opulent, rich and yet surprisingly light. The list of notes tells the story: oranges, so common now, we forget they originated in Southeast Asia and were introduced to Europe in the late 15th century; clove so highly valued that London dockworkers in the 16th century were paid their bonuses in them; frankincense and myrrh so critical to making perfume and incense that their trees were seen as a source of wealth by Arab rulers. Spices, roots and herbs from the middle east, so rare, so exotic, so fragrant filled the air in medieval Venice. This is what Baume du Doge smells like.

Today, we’re adding Baume du Doge to our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00.