Masque Milano Ray-flection (Nose: Alex Lee), release year 2020.
“TOTALITARIANISM: People are interested in ants because they think they have managed to create a successful totalitarian system. Certainly, the impression we get from the outside is that everyone in the anthill works, everyone is obedient, everyone is ready to sacrifice themselves and everyone is the same. And for the time being, all human totalitarian systems have failed. That is why we thought of copying social insects (like Napoleon, whose emblem was the bee). The pheromones that flood the anthill with global information have an equivalent in the planetary television of today. There is a widespread belief that if the best is made available to all, one day we will end up with a perfect human race. That is not the way of things. Nature, with all due respect to Mr Darwin, does not evolve in the direction of the supremacy of the best (according to which criteria, anyway?). Nature draws its strength from diversity. It needs all kinds of people, good, bad, mad, desperate, sporty, bed-ridden, hunchbacked, hare-lipped, happy, sad, intelligent, stupid, selfish, generous, small, tall, black, yellow, red and white. It needs all religions, philosophies, fanaticisms and wisdom. The only danger is that any one species may be eliminated by another. In the past, fields of maize artificially designed by men and made up of clones of the best heads (the ones that need least water, are most frost-resistant or produce the best grains) have suddenly succumbed to trivial infections while fields of wild maize made up of several different strains, each with its own peculiar strengths and weaknesses, have always managed to survive epidemics. Nature hates uniformity and loves diversity. It is in this perhaps that its essential genius lies.
― Bernard Werber, Empire Of The Ants2
I have been fascinated by bees (and the more “safe” for study colonies of ants) since I was a little kid, playing God to an unsuspecting ant hill in my grandmother’s garden. Holding an empty jar and lid, hunting for my next pin-held exponent for the dreaded biology “insectarium”, I remember musing about the arrogant human race, demanding signs of intelligent alien life while looking at the stars, when, just under our eyes and feet, a whole micro-society was alive and thiving, with its own rules and systems (the reverted mirror of observant-god / ant colony paradox and irony being extremely poignant when a spider would refuse its “victim of science” status and bite me!). Around the same pre-teen age I have discovered science fiction, and since then, never truly escaped the neon lens through which they paint reality – Bernard Werber being one of the authors I come back to, time and time again (if you have ever questioned how ants perceive humans, or what religion or rebellion or romance could look like in an ant colony, these books are your chance for an imaginative yet oddly plausible interpretation).
But back to the matter at hand, the perfume that has as inspiration an “alien flower”? Neon? Aliens? Honey? Color me INTERESTED*.
*I had the pleasure of being invited to an online launch of Ray-Flection, where 100 people arround the world received a kit holding the three accords that make the fragrance, 3 jars of (delicious) honey, and the mystery fragrance.
Act IV Scene II
A dream. A flower, with an incredibly intense smell. And huge, humongous. Not a normal flower, one that you can find on earth. This flower was emitting a surprisingly bright light. As the time passed by, and the light grew even more dazzling, the flower starts melting, dripping like honey from a rich and mellow honeycomb.
“For this new chapter of the collection, we decided to create an “alien flower”, a floral perfume that has never been smelled before.” – press release from Masque Milano.
Accord 1: MIMOSA – A Holodeck mimosa, even real(er) than the real thing -fresh, blooming, wet, saturated deep yellow, high luminosity, hi-resolution full juicy nervures in hi-textured reality.
Alex Lee: “During the briefing process, the word “neon” was the color tone Masque Milano wanted for their perfume.
The idea of a bright golden, orange neon mimosa became the image that I wanted to translate.” “At the beginning of each year, fresh mimosa is harvested from a cultivator in Tanneron and immediately extracted in MANE’s factory just a few miles away to ensure that we capture all of the flower’s beauty. I wanted to give the fans of Masque Milano a true mimosa fragrance, so I chose to use an overdose of MANE’s mimosa absolute which best represents the natural smell of mimosa. It is a quality that is as rich as mimosa’s natural head space with an elegant powdery facet. Mimosa flower also has a cucumber-y texture. I used a touch of MANE’s violet leaf absolute for its green wet nuances to better achieve this hyper realistic representation of the flower.”
Accord II HONEY The bright yellow lines that mark the walls of the holodeck turn dim and shift to pale yellow honeycombs (or electrical circuits for robotic bees?). This part smells like your breath, after puting your tongue on a small battery, then tasting a spoonfull of honey. Yellow sparks fly.
A bee is drawn into a flower, by the sight of its bright colors, the shape the patterns made on the petals, the sweet aromatic nectar particles. But there’s more than what meets the senses: electricity!*
Dominic Clarke and Heather Whitney from the University of Bristol have shown that bees can sense the electric field that surrounds a flower. They can even learn to distinguish between fields produced by different floral shapes, or use them to work out whether a flower has been recently visited by other bees. Flowers aren’t just visual spectacles and smelly beacons. They’re also electric billboards.
Accord III Citrus aldehides
The liquid metal honey is puling a “Terminator-melting-in-reverse trick”, the Dali-an yellow clocks retracting from the branches, transforming into tiny powder particles of pollen, specks of sparkly energy, golden, ethereal, airy.
Alessandro and Riccardo: “We wanted a very seductive accord inside our creation, that makes one want to keep smelling the fragrance, yet without entering into a gourmand territory (i.e. avoiding the excessive use of modern cotton candy notes of ethyl maltol). A natural idea was to use honey for this unexpected addiction – and Alex wanted to use A LOT of it. The golden color of honey would boost the luminosity of the fragrance even more. Smelling some of the mods, we had the impression of taking a bath in a humongous jar of honey!“
Alex Lee: Initial instincts called me to create an oriental (my forte), heavy, sweet fragrance, but in the end, I wanted to go against that and to create an ultra-fresh interpretation of the flower. I used an overdose of yellow mandarin essential oil to bring another neon orange colored blast of freshness (a more matured variant versus the green mandarin essential oil).
Mandarin Essence, Sparkling Aldehydes, Cardamom pure Jungle Essence TM
Mimosa Absolute France, Violette Leaves Absolute, Solar Rays Accord
Beeswax Absolute, Cedarwood Essence, Musk Accord
Read more about Masque Milano fragrances: here
Read Lauryn Beer review on Cafleurebon here