May 2, 2014
Last year, Italian perfumer Silvia Monti composed six perfumes and launched the Peccato Originale line, inspired by ancient healing compounds and early medicine.This brand's concept was born when Ms. Monti, a pharmacist/healer by trade, stood in the basement of the family-owned pharmacy breathing the lingering aromas of antique apothecary’s jars that once held fragrant formulae. The company is named Peccato Originale (Original Sin) as it was once believed every psycho-physical malady, treatable by prescription, was a result of an imperfection which is uniquely human: original sin. This entire collection presents an intriguing fusion of contemporary clinical precision with a wealth of history, knowledge and healing, alembicated into impressive fragrances. Each scent is based on a different condition/cure and the transition of actual ingredients to perfumed notes, by Ms. Monti, shows an understanding not only of chemistry and pharmacopeia; but of crafting innovative perfumes.
"A Spoonful of Laudanum" by Daniel Hagerman/Vintage illustration of a blister beetle
Iniezione di Morfina (Injection of Morphine) is inspired by the narcotic analgesic morphine, derived from opium. This fragrance echoes the bitter concoction laudanum, a tonic used for centuroes that contained high amounts of both morphine and codeine, making it highly powerful but extremely addictive. An unusual and intense accord permeates this perfume’s opening; bitter and slightly salty. Compounded with dry floral notes and black pepper’s zing, a stab of galbanum provides an enticing sharpness as it spreads warming the body. A dry down of utter bliss, bordering on euphoria, envelops you with vaporous vanilla and warmed sandalwood, infused with patchouli. Almost as habit-forming as its namesake, Iniezione di Morfina is an ingenious and original perfume. Sillage: average. Longevity: good.
Formula: Lemon flowers, marine algae, oak moss, carnation, lavender, black pepper, galbanum, vanilla, sandalwood & patchouli.
Every civilization has a cure for boosting lagging libidos. Cantaride (Brushstrokes) is a perfumed homage to this aphrodisiacs. Historically sourced from insects rich in the terpenoid cantharidin, this eventually evolved into what is known today as “Spanish Fly”. Opening with a complex intermingling of musky floral angelica seed and viscuous salty caviar, Cantaride is oddly enticing and immediately feels sensual and indulgent. The heart of leather dominating a smoldering benzoin is redolent of warm skin and hot passion. A finish of aged patchouli, tempting vanilla and high-quality musk adds oriental flavor while synthesizing sweet, sexy and strong into one tantalizing come-hither scent. Sillage: excellent. Longevity: very good.
Formula: Angelica seeds, caviar, “bright” leather, benzoin, patchouli, vanilla & musk.
"emulsion" by photographer Giuliano Bekor/"Apothecaries Making Theriac" illustration from the Middle Ages
Pharmaceutical emulsions allow us to take unpalatable medicine and not gag at the taste. Emulsione Libera (Freeing Emulsion) is the perfumed equivalent, blending potent blossoms and syrupy fruits into a suspension of spices, tea and wood. Papaya and pineapple notes never become too sweet, tempered by twists of citrus and green tea. Indolic and powdery floral notes are masterfully combined with spices; resulting in something clean and serene. Sandalwood and white moss trail softly from skin, hours later, dusted with amber. The use of spiced green tea and mossy wood as a perfumed emulsion for fruit and flowers is delightful. Sillage: average. Longevity: above average.
Formula: Papaya, pineapple, mandarin, green tea, Parma violet, jasmine, nutmeg, cardamom, sandalwood, white moss, amber, tea absolute.
Theriac is an ancient Greek remedy from the first century AD, used as a panacea or “cure-all”, and the inspiration for Estratto di Follia (Folly Extract). Traditionally composed of 64 ingredients (including viper’s flesh and opium) and was considered a homeopathic preventative to venomous bites and poisoning, with the added bonus of being a general tonic. Estratto di Follia's tonic properties are evident in the citric opening tinged with an oceanic greenness. Its invigorating qualities are evident in its spicy flowery body, subtly laced with wood and darkness. This aptly reflects theriac’s constitutional benefits in a foundation of vibrant amber balanced to perfection by an underlying mystique of moss and lichen. Sillage: average. Longevity: good.
Formula: Bergamot, lemon, algae, pink & black peppercorns, white floral bouquet accord, patchouli, amber, white moss and Icelandic lichen.
"An Alchemist" by Thomas Wyck/illustration for the text "New Discoveries" by Jan van der Straet
Every culture has an immortality myth. Essenza Miracoloso (Miracle Essence) is based on the “elixir of life” which healed all manner of disease and supposedly bestowed everlasting life. A truly invigorating overture of intense cardamom is lifted and expanded with sheer citrus. Incense rich at its heart, yet imbued with essences of soft flowers, fragrant leaves and smooth hardwoods, Essenza Miracolosa meanders from stimulating and spicy to floral fresh and balmy before melting into a woody spicy conclusion of regal gums radiating a harmony of desiccated sweetness and shimmering warmth. Elegant uplifting and lively, with a decidedly resinous character, this composition is underscored with ancient and exotic accords resulting in something as eternally youthful as it is timeless and mysterious. SIllage: above average. Longevity: very good.
Notes: Cardamom, bergamot, incense, green tea, floral notes, guaiac wood, sandalwood, spices, and copaiba balsam.
Eros is named for the winged son of Aphrodite, Greek god of love, and ithe perfumes was inspited by some of the ingredients in a cure for venereal maladies. A blend of guaiac wood and gurjum balsam was typically used in this compound. Ms. Monti fuses a bit of the symbolic cause into the cure with the addition of voluptuous rose and fresh moss to the smoke-tinged and resinous woody opening. An intense fever of amber and patchouli raging in the base is calmed with guaiac wood and cool clean musk in the sensible yet sensuous finish of Eros. Sillage: good. Longevity: above average.
Formula: Gurjum balsam, agarwood, rose, green moss, patchouli, amber, musk and guaiac wood.
Testing Peccato Originale’s perfumes not only introduced me to a splendid line, it had me digging out old notebooks and texts from when I apprenticed to a Master Herbalist for two years while at University in the early 1990’s. The mental image of Ms. Monti standing in that basement had me fondly remembering the aromas of aging arnica liniment, lifebreath tonic being blended and lavender flowers slowly distilling in the background. My mentor always said to me in his gentle wise voice “Treating the body is pointless, if you do not also nourish the spirit. There is healing energy everywhere…you just need to tune into it.” Sylvia Monti’s creations reminded me of that, while offering much needed first aid in fragrant form for my weary soul. Somewhere in the beyond, my mentor is smiling knowing someone finally “got it”.
First Aid clutch
Disclosure: Reviews based on samples sent to me by MiN New York. The entire line is available, exclusively in the US, at the MiN NY store in Manhattan (and website) in100 ml EDPs and also offered is a First Aid Clutch, containing one 10 ml sprayer of each scent, meeting airline guidelines and already packed for travel.
John Reasinger, Senior Editor & Natural Perfume Editor
Thanks to the generosity of MiN NY, we have a sampler set of all six perfumes to give away to one US winner. To be eligible please leave a comment stating which scent would best heal your olfactory ailments or what you found interesting about Pecatto Originale. Draw will end on May 6th, 2014.
We announce the winners only on site and our Facebook page, so like CaFleureBon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will just be spilled perfume.