It’s not often that a fragrance leaves me utterly befuddled and almost at a loss for words. The new Akowa from M. Micallef is one of those rare scents. Thanks to a secret mystery ingredient from Africa, its opening bears an alien strangeness that is riveting and peculiar, particularly when juxtaposed next to contradictory elements. I honestly don’t know what to make of it sometimes, let alone know if I can describe it. It dominates Akowa from start to finish, emits a wide range of unusual facets, and has an otherworldly strangeness that can be quite fascinating. Yet, other parts of Akowa verge on the repellant and nauseating, often being loud to the point of almost being garish. Wearing Akowa was one of the most perplexing scent experiences I can recall, leading me to feel as though I were practically stuttering in confusion and beset by a push-pull set of opposing, contradictory forces. It’s wildly original, probably unique, but… but… Well, I’m bewildered.