I was thinking of worn and repainted urban walls; I also was thinking of fresco painting — which is the origin of the fantasy note 'wet plaster.’ — Bruno Fazzolari
It was the “wet plaster” that got me. To me, texture is one of the most intriguing aspects of perfume. Knowing Bruno Fazzolari Monserrat had a plaster note made me want to try it right away. I imagined something chalky and creamy at the same time, giving the fragrance the feel of earthy pastry cream.1
And it did. Monserrat’s plaster is really there. (Other notes include pink grapefruit, green leaves, carrot seed, osmanthus, jasmine and white musk.) So, what does a fragrance that riffs on wet plaster smell like? To me, the best description would be that it smells like standing in a damp monastery on a June afternoon with butterflies dipping into the bright green shrubs above the flower beds — while you brush your teeth.
Above Monserrat’s plaster wafts a bracing green-citrus-floral bouquet tight and fresh enough to remind me of toothpaste, even though mint isn’t listed in its notes. Monserrat’s freshness is akin to a cologne, but its texture is thicker and warmer and a little bit sweeter. Especially at first, Monserrat smells of pink grapefruit and spearmint, with the mint taking over, then blending with and finally being absorbed by tart budding leaves and subtle, apricot-inflected flowers.
Monserrat holds its body well as it wears, and it wears most of the day on me. It stays fresh green, tart and opaque from my morning coffee until dinner.
I’m used to thinking of a springtime fragrance as something sheer and floral, like Agonist Floralust, the fragrance I reviewed last week; grand and intoxicating, like Guerlain Chamade; or a retro green chypre like Estée Lauder Private Collection (to name just one). Monserrat fills a category I hadn't thought about yet. It’s like the wool challis scarf you wind around your neck to take the chill off a spring rain. Yes, winter is over, but it’s not quite throw-open-the-windows weather yet.
Bruno Fazzolari Monserrat is $110 for 30 ml. For information on where to buy it, see Bruno Fazzolari under Perfume Houses.
1. I admit to being shamefully susceptible to descriptions. Robin once compared L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubéreuse to Juicy Fruit gum. Once I smelled it in the perfume, I could never unsmell it.