One of my favorite perfumes brands is M. Micallef. In this case the reasons are very easy to explain they feel French to me. This is a brand which has always exuded a Gallic sense of style from the day I first smelled Gaiac through to the present day. The founders and creative directors Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman are French. The perfumer, Jean-Claude Astier, who has worked on all of the releases is also French. So maybe it is in the blood. Or maybe it is something else.
Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman
When I say these smell French to me I mean they carry an undeniable elegance above the everyday. There may be no country which wears its elegance on its sleeve more effortlessly than France. M. Micallef also display an effortless elegance. These have always felt like perfumes to be worn when I want to project my own personal sophistication. Even if I am wearing an M. Micallef fragrance under one of my ever-present Hawaiian shirts in my mind I see it as elevated because of its presence. The latest release Osaito has become one of my favorites within the entire line because it takes one of the most pedestrian styles of perfume, citrus, and infused it with this indigenous grace.
Osaito is the follow-up to last year’s Akowa but it is diametrically different. I found Akowa to be a delightfully overstuffed expression of olfactory ideas. Osaito is minimalist in comparison. Throughout the development of Osaito the very familiar is infused with something more. Mme Micallef was the creative director in charge of Osaito and with M. Astier they have made a fantastic citrus.
Osaito opens with a very typical Mediterranean accord of grapefruit, lemon, along with Calone and ozonic notes. The first few moments are not going to prepare you for the rest of the development. You might even stifle a yawn. Then M. Astier adds in immortelle and myrtle. This combination is a rich riff on typical citrus developments. Immortelle adds a treacly maple syrup which the top accord is happy to ride on top of. The myrtle applies a variation where an herbal aspect is twinned to a floral. This has also been a staple of Mediterranean inspired fragrances. With the immortelle it sheds that common quality for something more sophisticated as it is allowed to breathe a little more freely in Osaito. As in Akowa there is a “secret ingredient” which is a wood. I would describe it as mahogany-like. Deeper than a lighter cypress or cedar. Sandalwood adds in the familiar. Taken together it is a luxurious woody foundation.
Osaito has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Osaito is one of the best citrus perfumes I have tried in the last couple of years. When I tried it at Esxence it didn’t impress me as much as it has when given the opportunity to be the sole focus of my attention. Since my return I keep wanting to go back and revise my 10-best list from the show. Osaito belongs on it. It is an elegant French citrus which is no surprise considering the brand from which it comes from.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2016.