Perfume Directory

MAAI (2014)
by Bogue Profumo

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MAAI information

Year of Launch2014
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 65 votes)

People and companies

HouseBogue Profumo
PerfumerAntonio Gardoni

About MAAI

MAAI is a shared / unisex perfume by Bogue Profumo. The scent was launched in 2014 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Antonio Gardoni

Reviews of MAAI

All the heavy breathing about MAAI on internet forums led me to expect something quite different – everything from animal magnetism to animal disgrace (away to the naughty corner with you for peeing on the floor). So it was quite a surprise to be greeted by MAAI’s old school ‘suave gent’ style opening – resins and florals with abstract aldehydic radiance, rounded by a sweet and warm musk, that somehow signalled slicked back hair and a shirt open to the second button. The musk – and for me this perfume majors on musk, particularly in the drydown – does have that lovely animal warmth, but this animal ain’t rubbing its backside on your carpet. Instead there’s an aura of almost soapy freshness which combines intriguingly with a wine must scent.
MAAI is a perfume of layers – there are honeyed florals that surprise the wearer in bursts and then get contained again by their cordon of a dry leather-like moss accent, there’s the bustle of polished smooth woody tones saturated with that head-spinning muskiness, and then the angularity of terpenes and resins. The whole thing speaks at once with one voice and with many – and it seems to have so much to say. Rich, ravishing and beautifully detailed, MAAI is a perfume for indulgent days when one can take the time to get just a little lost in how good one smells.

24th April, 2018
I must second the eloquent praise of the esteemed WhySoSerious, which reflects my own sentiments about Maai. It is a fragrance that brings a smile to my face every time, because it is so alive and vibrant, like the olfactory silhouette of an actual human being- a very sexy human being at that. Wearing it is like merging a second skin with your own. The green tuberose note is both elegant and - thanks to the aldehydes -sparkly, the animalics are present, though not in-your-face but rather exuding a gentle but insistent erotic tug - like the hypnotizing skin scent of your beloved. Warm resinous woods and mossiness perfect the experience, which is framed by an Art Deco sense of restraint - nothing here is garish and over the top and in fact Maai is far more wearable than most vintage animalic chypres, which may have olfactory bits and pieces protruding from them shamelessly, that are no longer considered as desireable as they used to be. Maai, then, is not tired retro, but neo-classicism at its best and it truly shines among the many half-baked, sterile, synthetic, lifeless, thin or screechy perfume wraiths that constitute "niche" today, a living, breathing, blooming, glowing beauty.
12th January, 2017 (last edited: 14th January, 2017)
Big Thumbs Up. It might overtake Chypre Palatin as my favourite modern rendition of a classic dirty chypre that (as many mention elsewhere) is not particularly a new invention but refreshingly close to vintage perfumes that we all feared would never be recreated to their full fanfare potential. This is a refreshingly GOOD ifra-dodger.

If you like Kouros, you must try this as it presents a more elegant, long-lasting, and complex elixir in the dirty floral chypre category. However, if you're not into urine-ous leanings, skip it - you're probably too much of a wimp for Maai. Granted, I don't find it nearly as dirty as some reviews suggest. It is sparkling and bright, in fact, with its radiantly masterful opening of crisp, dry aldehydes and incense. The dirtier elements come later, sit close to the skin and, even then, tend to simmer non-obtrusively with the florals and resins.

Overpriced, I would say. But such is the disadvantage of getting your hands on those hard-to-find, small-production niche fragrances that run the risk (as Bogue´s cologne) of one day becoming extinct. I do not regret the purchase and one spray goes a looooooooooong way!

Edit: Does anyone who owns the discontinued Creed Old English Leather find that Maai dries down to THAT exact scent? (On paper, at least!)
15th December, 2015 (last edited: 16th December, 2015)
Maai smells expensive and like something produced before allergen regulations. How the oakmoss and civet smell (are?) so real and are used in such quantities, I do not know. The problem to me is that it smells like an imitation of old fragrances rather than a new one. Perhaps I am too susceptible to marketing, image, and stories attached to perfume but wearing this is not nearly as pleasing as wearing actual La Nuit, Montana, Kouros or what have you. It feels incomplete. It has no history. ELDO Rien is a similar old-style opulent chypre but it is its own entity, and its cast of rubber and tar over aldehydic floral make it feel modern rather than a dogmatic imitation of the past. My first thought on smelling Maai was not that it was incredible, but that it smelled uncannily like Marilyn Miglin Pheromone or Charlie. Actually, my first thought was "Aviance Night Musk!" I have never smelled Aviance Night Musk, but Maai smelled like my mental image of Aviance Night Musk, if that makes any sense, something from 1980 that would've been advertised with an image of Dressed to Kill pantyhose legs in heels. It almost has a feminine bowling alley dowdiness to it. It feels bizarre to pay $300 for Marilyn Miglin Pheromone. In ten years if they still make this and all the real chypres are gone, we'll see how I feel. On another note, the perfumer himself, Antonio Gardoni, is very nice to look at. Perhaps if I smelled Maai emanating from his chest hair it would not make me think of Sally Struthers in Five Easy Pieces so much.
12th October, 2015
I'm neutral on it. This sort of scent is just not my style: rich, opulent, floral. I'm not a fan of tuberose, finding the indolic notes a bit jarring. However, I will concede that this is a well-made, complex scent. I can see why it some would find it beautiful.
It starts with lovely resinous notes in shades of green and brown. I like this phase. The spices pick up very quickly and add a lot of sweet, exotic heft.
Unfortunately for me, the scent just keeps ramping up, up, up. To my taste it gets sweet and dense, heavy and unpleasant. The animalic notes are intriguing and earthy, but they too add to the heaviness.
I had hoped the resinous notes were ameliorate the mix, but they get buried.
25th September, 2015
Over the past 20 years or so, perfume lovers have started to become rather jaded as the so-called “homogenization of taste” has taken place, accelerated and shaped by the largest perfume houses, which generally no longer make perfume for art’s sake, but for the sake of what will sell. Rather than create a beautiful work of perfume and then sell it to the people who will love it, they do extensive market research and create their fragrances based on what they think the people want.

The problem with this approach is that most people are not especially creative when imagining a personal fragrance, which has left us with this overwhelming glut of “clean/fresh” or “sweet” or “floral” concoctions that currently saturate modern mainstream perfume. The landscape consists of endless variations on the same thing (now it’s “oud”), recycled over and over until anyone who’s tried more than three or four is nauseated and bored with the whole thing.

But, occasionally, flashes of brilliance ignite and light up the desolate perfume wasteland. Bogue Profumo’s epic animal masterpiece Maai is less a flash and more a supernova.

Described by its creator as an attempt to marry smoke and sandalwood dust with what he (and many great perfumers) considers a unique and challenging note: tuberose.

Honestly, Maai is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful things I have ever smelled.

It opens with a burst of smoke and wood. This is not the kind of smoke you’d get from a campfire or a leather shop, but the rich, earthy, primeval smoke you’d smell walking through a forest after the whole thing had burned. This is the smoke of new creation, of the fury of Mother Nature, underlain with the scent of wood and soil. It’s brilliantly married with animal, almost urinous civet in the fashion of the great chypre masterpieces of old (I’m especially reminded of Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit) and rich oakmoss, which is just about the earthiest thing you can include in a perfume.

The use of real oakmoss was banned by the IFRA (International Fragrance Association, the body that regulates the perfume industry) a couple of years ago due to what many believe is obscene over-caution. Oakmoss naturally contains a compound called atranol, which can cause occasional mild skin irritations in a very small number of people. However, it is still possible to use the genuine article in perfumery if it undergoes an expensive and time-consuming process to remove the atranol content, and that’s what Sig. Gardoni has done here. The oakmoss in Maai is the real thing and gives the perfume a rich, solid, well-rounded feel.

The tuberose is of the sharp, green, VERY fresh variety, as if the juice contains the very essence of what a healthy tuberose should smell like, distilled into its mysterious liquid depths. This is partly due to the tasteful inclusion of aldehydes, which are lain over the entire fragrance in such a way as to give it a luminous, silvery-green quality, like sunlight breaking through the forest canopy. As the perfume dries down further, it retains its rich, mossy-civet feel, but becomes more resinous and smooth. The dirty, musky, intensely sexy character remains undiluted throughout the entire development of the perfume, but this is not to say that it’s linear; it’s simply so well composed that the spirit behind its creation shines through at all times, though the pieces from which that spirit is assembled shift in arrangement to show off different facets at different times.

About the best way I can describe my overall impression of Maai is through a clever quote I heard in one of my literature courses some years ago: “Sleeping in clean sheets isn’t nearly as much fun as waking up in dirty ones.” It’s deeply, animalistically sensual, utterly uncompromising, and breathtakingly gorgeous. Perhaps owing to the first review I read of it, which described it as “The Chypre of the Treetop Valkyries,” I tend to associate it with big cats, especially panthers. There’s just something intensely graceful yet unabashedly powerful about it.

This is the perfume Mother Nature wears when she wants to remind humanity why they once feared the forests.
03rd June, 2015

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