I have mentioned this in the past but growing up near Little Havana in Miami during the 1960’s was like having another country a bicycle ride away. In our neighborhood, we had many displaced Cuban families. Their children were part of my circle of friends. As a result, their mothers introduced the anglos to lots of new things. On a hot day, Peter’s mother would make us “batidos” what were like a cross between a smoothie and a milkshake. One day she handed us a glass with a deep orange hue. In response to my quizzical look she said “mamey batido”. Mamey is a tropical fruit that tastes like a hybrid of pumpkin and cantaloupe with added sweetness. From that day, I preferred mamey in my batidos and learned to eat it out of the skin with as much pleasure as I did any orange. No trip home is complete unless I have some mamey.
Maurizio Piazzi and Francesco Gini
As I followed this year’s version of Esxence from an ocean away I was looking to see how a few of the new brands which had impressed me in 2016 were doing now. It was with great interest when the brand founded by Francesco Gini and Maurizio Piazzi, Homoelegans, debuted their third fragrance Paloma y Raices that right there in the note list was mamey. Really? Oh! Was I interested. As far as I know there has never been a perfume with mamey in its ingredient list. I was obsessed to see what perfumer Maurizio Cerizza did to create a mamey accord. As the perfume made its slow way to me my anticipation grew.
All the Homoelegans perfumes are inspired by an artist. For Paloma y Raices it is Frida Kahlo. The creative team was focused on evoking the Mexican smells which surrounded Sra. Kahlo. I am sure there is Mexico here but there was as much my childhood on Calle Ocho on display in Paloma y Raices.
One thing you will notice if you spend any significant time in the tropics is the scent of flowers are always there. One reason is the warmth is the ideal environment for many of the most extroverted white flowers. Therefore Sig. Cerizza chooses tuberose as the heartbeat of Paloma y Raices. Early on it is fruity floral before transforming to a rich oriental base.
I’ll get this out of the way Sig. Cerizza nails the scent of mamey. Mamey has a savory melon scent which is easily realized. As the mamey holds its part the tuberose forms one of the most unique fruity floral top accords you will experience. There is a humid tropical vibe which is transitioned more to the tuberose and away from the fruit. A judicious use of peppermint to find the camphor-like heart of tuberose along with ylang-ylang to provide floral depth rounds out the tuberose. It glows with vitality through the middle hours. Then a duet of tobacco and coffee remind me of the smell of cigars and Cuban coffee in the bodegas. It ends on a mixture of balsams.
Paloma y Raices has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
I know Sigs. Gini and Piazzi want me to think Frida Kahlo but Paloma y Raices takes me back to summer days of tuberose and mamey on Calle Ocho.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Homoelegans.