Dolceacqua is one of several recent releases in Masque Milano‘s separate and new collection line called La Donna Di MASQUE. All the fragrances in this new line have female names, city names, or female city names and also, if I recall correctly, are all made by female perfumers as well, at least thus far. (The prior Masque fragrances with which you and I are accustomed have belonged to The Opera Collection.)
Masque Milano‘s Lost Alice is a lovely, fun, whimsical olfactory escape and comfort scent for a pandemic world where most of these things are in short supply.
Creatively inspired, original in notes and ideas, and (mostly) successfully achieved, it is one of those fragrances that epitomizes, in my opinion, what niche is supposed to be, the reason why we seek it out over more easily accessible fragrance brands, the reason why we’re willing to pay more money, and the reason why we expect so much more from other brands that claim to be “niche” only to offer the most tired, downtrodden, generic retreads of stale ideas instead. When I write scathingly about the latest rehash of tobacco, vanilla, and amber (or worse still, Ambroxan), when I lament about Serge Lutens’ loss of original ideas and pioneering spirit, it is fragrances like many of those from Masque Milano that come to mind as alternatives where the brand is genuinely making a constant, years-long effort to put something new, interesting, or creative out there. Like Lost Alice.
Names have a funny way of shaping one’s expectations, so when Masque Milano told me that the name of its forthcoming scent would be “Hemingway” and a tribute to the author, I had a certain olfactory profile in mind. I associate the author with the scent of rum, whisky, bourbon, and cigars, but Hemingway the fragrance was something quite different. To my surprise, however, alcohol did end up being unexpectedly involved, even if it was not actually intended to be a part of the scent and even if it wasn’t the sort that I had expected.
Mandala, the second recent release from Masque Milano, has a very different geographic focus than its New York sister. This one is centered on a monastery in Tibet or Nepal where the sound of Buddhist monks’ overtone singing rings out in the rarefied air, “two notes chant[ed] in perfect, peaceful harmony.” The fragrance is meant to have the same duality, as well as the same meditative serenity, according to Masque’s official scent description: “A myrrh and incense fragrance – light and delicate. A contemplative atmosphere. Vibrating at two levels at the same time.”