One of my favorite ingredients in perfumery is incense. I’ve never done the formal analysis, but it is my suspicion that there are more incense fragrances in the Colognoisseur Collection than any other. It is such a favorite that I have difficulty putting them away for the summer. Fall is here and now I start looking for some incense choices for the cooler days. It is such a popular ingredient that all major designers have an entry. For this entry of Under the Radar I wanted to choose one from a lesser known designer and fragrance brand; Etro Messe de Minuit.
Etro is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. It started as a textile printing company. Their iconic paisley designs began here. Etro has managed to continue to find new ways to innovate that paisley throughout its line. Etro is unusual that it came to fragrance before fashion. The first perfumes were released in 1989 seven years before the first runway show. With few exceptions the Etro perfumes have been designed by perfumer Jacques Flori. Particularly the early entries from 1989-1999 form a beautifully coherent collection. Messe de Minuit falls right in the middle of this run.
Messe de Minuit translates to Midnight Mass. You might think church-style incense and that isn’t quite descriptive enough. Although the first half of the development does carry an indelible Christmas vibe. It is the back half where M. Flori softens some of the sharper edges of the incense via the use of some different resins.
The top accord is like one of those warm holiday punch bowls where citrus fruits and cinnamon rise in steamy waves off the surface. The cinnamon provides the metaphorical heat to the lemon and orange. The incense imposes itself upon the festivities. In the early moments the incense carries a hint of metallic shimmer. M. Flori uses myrrh as a warming resinous complement. They absorb the spices to form a delightfully deep incense accord. Labdanum and patchouli provide a different style of warmth which harmonizes with the incense over the final hours.
Messe de Minuit has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Etro is not easily found in stores. I rarely see it anymore. It can be more easily found online. It is worth seeking out and ordering a sample set, especially the early releases. The entire line is under the radar but starting with Messe de Minuit you should consider putting it on yours.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.