Basmati rice in a perfume? That was definitely a first for me and the reason I initially gravitated towards the display of Calé Fragranze d’Autore when in Milan. And this is where I discovered Mistero – the heavenly men’s fragrance that has become a staple on my husband’s dresser (from which I sneak spritzes all the time!).
Dry, woody and fiery, this robust fragrance is peppered with the smokey woodiness of agarwood, which melds with a comforting, semi-sweet rum accord. To this are added hints of Basmati rice, saffron, mint, rhubarb, pimento and hazelnut – all of them combining to create a warm and spicy composition that conjures up smoky campfires that have been dampened by the rains… the same rains, probably, which drench India’s rice fields to nourish the precious Basmati.
Distinguished by its long, slender grains, Basmati rice has been grown in India since the 19th century and is revered for its nutty aroma. Its name means “the fragrant one” in Sanskrit, and Basmati is the world’s most sought-after rice because of its delicate flavours – it can fetch 10 times the price of other rice grains. India, happily, is the largest producer of this aromatic and flavourful goldmine.
And this is the note that appears half-way through Mistero’s development – slightly powdery and comforting, made even more interesting by the presence of spices. It’s perfect for a boutique brand whose creations are inspired by stories and narratives. Silvio Levi, President of Calé, calls the creations “olfactory poetry”, aimed at people who like to “listen” to perfumes and follow the narrative that unfolds from within.
Italian nose Maurizio Cerizza has beautifully interpreted Levi’s stories, transforming them into perfumed poems that raise this boutique Italian brand head-and-shoulders above today’s far-too-generic and commercial compositions. Mistero, for me, is just the beginning of a storyline I hope to explore more deeply in the coming days!