The new brand Orto Parisi was introduced this year at Esxence, however the real presentation took place at Smell Festival 2014 in Bologna, an annual event dedicated to perfume lovers. The word orto, meaning garden, is the first clue to the brand philosophy. Indeed, the perfume line consists of five fragrances, created to celebrate nature and the organic side of life. Meanwhile, Parisi is the grandfather Vincenzo, who used to fertilize his garden with his own needs collected in a bucket. Therefore, Orto Parisi was born in memory of Vincenzo, whose garden hovered an air of infinite.
“Put away desinfectant wipes, air fresheners, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, fabric softeners and linen sprays. If a child puts his hands into a still hot cow dung, let him do it. It will dry. He’ll wash it away with water. There’s nothing more natural.” This is how François Dahdah’s presentation on the ambigous project of Alessandro Gualtieri starts. Could the founder of Nasomatto create a provocation with no content? I don’t think so. That’s why I decided to leave sighs and sceptical glances to the end of the presentation, having sampled all five fragrances.
Perfume bottles are positioned on dry pressed manure, framed with solid golden metal. Ironic, straightforward, smart. Trying to ignore giggling and snorting of the public. No, the manure doesn’t smell.
The first Orto Parisi fragrance Bergamask is dedicated to two ingredients: bergamot and musk. Nothing too extreme, i.e. no smell of feces. It’s presented as a sour, fresh and crisp scent of killing. The smell of a crushed mosquito on a sweaty thigh. Bergamot is clean and bright, musk gives a slight feeling of sweat. The scent gets heavier, warmer and more intense until it becomes a nice classic cologne. Very interesting.
By the way, all Orto Parisi fragrances are sampled on cotton discs: Alessandro Gualtieri claims it’s the best way to perceive their complexity and maturity.
The second fragrance Viride is a devotion to green grass and fields. It opens with very vivid vetiver and some dry patchouli to create an impression of earthy fields, muddy roots, dirty feet and burning sun over your head. It changes beautifully and becomes dry hay. A genuine and mature scent which immediately makes many summers at grandma’s house come back.
Brutus – a truly masculine scent for a man. Quite aggressive and frowning eyebrows, yet freshly shaved and wearing clean shoes. Bergamot and mandarin play with patchouli and create a picture of a gloomy bar with a warm scent of rum in the air. The base is filled with dusty wooden notes. It feels as if it was trying to tell a story about antique wardrobes and drawers, chalky suitcases, stopped watches and yellowed notebooks. Nostalgic and attractive. If I were a man, I’d use it.
Boccanera – black mouth – is one of the most provocative fragrances of the line. It refers to chocolate, chili pepper, a fleshy mouth of a black woman and even the smell of anus. I expected the worst, but I actually included it to my wishlist. Boccanera opens with dry and bitter cocoa powder tones with ginger and pepper; it’s powerful, almost animalistic, smoky and resinous, yet very gourmand, warm and spicy. A nice choice for a freezing winter day with crackling logs in fireplace and wet shoes outside.
Last but not least, the fifth perfume Stercus (meaning manure) came out to be a warming and wooden smell of stalls. It contains an unexplainable sour fruity note. Slightly sweet. Warm. Protective.
Never judge a book by its cover. Never judge a perfume by its name.
One of the most interesting discoveries of the year, which is so controversial it can’t avoid scepticism and prejudices. However, Alessandro Gualtieri once again has proven his talent and extreme sensibility to turn a scent into an emotion.
His creations are mature and complete, yet incredibly simple and secure. So simple only your grandpa and his horses could be so simple. Something that really lasts and matters.