Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of MAAI by Bogue Profumo

Total Reviews: 17
Modern Chypre Extrordinaire

Its really good. Initially kind of camphorous. Civet aldehydes jasmine. Its awesome. 5 stars, top 10 for me.
16th September, 2020
BOGUE – MAAI (2014)

A blast of luxuriant resins greets the nose upon initial application. They are a bit sharp at first, but quickly warm. I sense cedar wood as well, though it is not listed in the note tree. (The note tree itself is rather secretive, announcing “resins,” “spices,” “incense infusions,” and “animalics,” without revealing any by name.)

Soon the florals begin to enter, slowly and quietly, with tuberose and ylang leading the procession. I can’t detect the rose or jasmine listed. Cinnamon and cardamom (ala Laurent’s Opium) appear alongside. The animalics arrive with civet, musk and castoreum prominent. It all settles down to a deep, warm, masculine aroma, reminding me of a carpentry emporium: the aroma of freshly sawed wood, combining with shellac, lemon oil and honeyed turpentine.
I am unable to detect any sandalwood or oak moss, although other Basenoters do.

As with MEM, Bogue’s blending and use of obviously quality oils is stellar. This is one I would be hard pressed to label as unisex, as it is to my nose overwhelmingly masculine, just as MEM is unabashedly feminine by nature.

Recommended for those into the “woods” genre.


18th July, 2020
Woody. Resinous. Wet straw. Opens with the scent like that of an antique cedar, hope chest. Screechy, banshee-voiced rose and jasmine. Dirty, soil, and earth. Skanky animal cage. Morphs into a smell that reminds me of an artists', indoor co-op. Folks refinishing old furniture on one side of the building - people painting portraits and such with oils, on the other. In other words varnish, shellac, turpentine, and lindseed oil aromas. I love it! I don't love the cost. A bit salty for my pocketbook.
09th August, 2018
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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)
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
This is an extraordinarily evocative fragrance, one of those that transports you places. In this way, it's like Djedi and vintage L'Heure Bleu, two of the most evocative fragrances created, with reputations for their capacity to transport people. Everyone has a story of where L'Heure and Djedi took them. Maai has that same effect on me. In truth, this is one of the reason I love fragrances.
What is outstanding about this fragrance is its rich, complex, intoxicating, honeyed, leathery floral smell. There's a slight mustiness to the opening that usually indicates angelica, which instantly adds an atmospheric edge to the voluptuousness and sets a stage, which is a clever use of the opening. With this combination, I'm pretty much taken to a place that drips honey, where flowers fill the air with moaning and sighs, like music, a constantly glowing song in air thick and ancient, laden with old sunshine, dust and antiquity, so even the day is dark, though sweet and rich. This place isn't about sight at all, but smell and touch and sound... And the leather! It is everywhere and everything, skin and clothes - sweet, tender, tough and ultimately, the sweet dream of being human, which glows forth out of the darkness of this fragrance. What may be most special about Maai is its kindness to skin, its rich effect on people. It's a fragrance that loves people. The strong visceral input of Maai ultimately becomes intoxicating to me. A smashing fragrance.
10th March, 2015 (last edited: 25th March, 2015)
The opening of MAAI reminds me a great deal of Liz Zorn's Meerschaum. It's top notes fairly knock me over the head- spices, incense and resins make me think of an old ship laden with goods from the Orient.
In about an hour, The middle notes of honeyed flowers and a ton of sandalwood begin to take over. I cannot stop smelling my wrist.
I used one spray last night before bed, and when I woke up, I could still clearly smell it. Oakmoss? Not sure. But that is some serious longevity for me.
This is one of the most interesting, high quality scents that I have ever had the pleasure to own. My little split may not last long......
30th December, 2014 (last edited: 15th December, 2019)
MAAI is a rich, deep redolent floral chypre. The term "maai" is a Japanese word that refers to the space between two opponents in martial arts. Is this the interplay of opposites in this scent? On this side are fluid flowing florals of tuberose, rose, Ylang, jasmine . . . and on the other side of the circle are dry decayed, earthy civet, castoreum, hyraceum. MAAI is the space between these opposing forces. Yes, it has noticeable animalic aromas that are balanced nicely and slowly blend with and subdue the deep florals - this conflict drives the character of the fragrance. There is also a rich grounded aspect to this scent that keeps me forgetting this is a floral fragrance. The combination of parts create an all new story here. Warm and uplifting. I like it.
17th December, 2014
i feel that this has one foot firmly in the past while confidently charting what future chypres might smell like, ifra restrictions be damned. this is literally a ferocious chypre with deepest moss, shimmering citrus and a feral leather accord that eventually morphs into a very animalic (pee) zone based on hyrax, which i find works beautifully here (and better-refined than in masque montecristo, for example). it lasts a solid 10 hours and goes through an astounding cycle of development, including an indolic floral rose/jasmine core that soon melts into ripe fruit. wow....a modern masterpiece! kudos to a genuine gentleman of class and creativity - antonio gardoni
14th October, 2014
Genre: Chypre

A alternate pyramid, from Luckyscent.com: tuberose, rose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, civet, castoreum, hyraceum, dried fruits, sandalwood, oakmoss

Let me say right off the bat that MAAI is probably the most interesting new introduction I’ve smelled in 2014. Imagine a ménage à trois of Muscs Koublaï Khan, Opium, and Carnal Flower on a bed of oakmoss, and you’ll have some idea of this scent’s overall structure. MAAI starts out on a take-no-prisoners blast of animalic notes – mostly civet (reconstruction, I presume) and castoreum. Comparisons with both Kouros and Muscs Koublaï Khan are well-justified. Soon after application the animalic accord is joined by a floral bouquet centered on a lush, buttery tuberose note (à la Fracas or Carnal Flower). Beneath this emerges a spiced amber accord, heavy on both benzoin and labdanum. (Opium, anybody?) Supporting the entire tripartite structure is a surprisingly powerful oakmoss note - more conspicuous than I’ve smelled in any new release in recent memory. I have no idea how perfumer Antonio Gardoni achieves this – ignoring IFRA? an exceptionally potent and convincing reconstruction? Whatever the means, the end effect is delightful and refreshing.

I mean no insult when I say this fragrance could have been composed over half a century ago, by a nose like Edmond Roudnitska or Germaine Cellier. The spiced amber outlasts all but the oakmoss, before, in a surprising development, the scent dries down to a full-circle recap of the opening animalic notes, this time as a subtle and seductive skin scent over remnants of moss and labdanum. Unisex, lasting, and potent as all get-out, with far-flung sillage and projection.

Beautiful work.

Note: special thanks to alfarom and deadidol for alerting me to MAAI. I moght not otherwise have tried it.
06th October, 2014 (last edited: 08th October, 2014)
F*** ME SIDEWAYS!

WOW! I mean, really, WOW!

I liked Bogue since Gardoni's very early excursions into perfumery but, even though I own full bottles of his previous fragrances, I've never really grown to *love* them. I thoroughly liked them and yes, he immediately showed a great potential and talent but, IMO, none of his previous works were more than good sketches / ideas on potentially great fragrances. Well, with Maai he pushed on the accelerator and delivered something that moves in masterpieces territories.

A big, animalic, old school chypre that says *F*** IFRA* from top to bottom. I've no idea about the strength but this is so potent and concentrated that feels like an extrait. Still too early to go with a proper note breakdown but think about Onda, Jubilation 25 (the feminine), some of the best chypres from the past and O'Driù all of them at the same time. Honestly, mind-blowing.

I'm more than happy because this fragrance, together with very few others, reached me in a moment in which I started feeling terribly bored by the majority of the new launches. These fragrances brought back some enthusiasm and gave me hope that, in the end, perfumery is not dead as long as it skips trite stereotypes and soul-less formulas.

If you dig Vero Profumo's style, you absolutely need Maaj because Gardoni is a solid candidate to become the new Vero Kern.

By far one of the best releases of 2014.
24th September, 2014
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What to say about this one? It's intriguingly familiar and at the same time it's quite unique. Is the son of a relationship between Vero Profumo Rubj EDP and Kouros? Or Maybe his father is Santa Maria Novella Potpourri? Or Maybe both? Kouros is the first fragrance that comes to my mind, a descendant of its fougere structure with hints to its animal nuances but without the powdery aura. But soon the clove and resins stands out and i start to see the angular bones of potpourri too. And then, his mother Onda EDP sweet tuberose and orange flower pops up in a way that i almost start imagine a passionfruit aroma on this too (which i know it doesn't exhist). And then, all the familiar resemblances goes away and what is left is an spetacular old fashion resin floral base which is made modern for my by its very direct approach - this doesn't have any flourish aromas that don't make a good contribution to the structure. Very good indeed.
25th August, 2014
Maai is an aldehydic, animalic floral musk built on tuberose, musks, and resins. Without using vintage materials, Antonio has managed to close the gap between the grand old perfumery traditions of Chanel circa 1940 and the modern schools of perfumery that exist in today’s scaredy cat, post-IFRA world. And as someone who loves the vintage Chanels and Guerlains, Maai is speaking my language.

But for all of that, what does Maai actually smell like? It smells……both wonderful and scary. I didn’t know that something could smell so clean and so dirty all at once. A sharp, soapy sheen of aldehydes bathes the whole thing in a bath of white light from top to bottom, and is clearly a reference to vintage Chanel aldehyde monsters like Chanel No. 22. But unlike Chanel No. 22, which keeps things in a high, happy-go-lucky register by adding sunny orange blossoms, Maai immediately counterpoints the clean aldehydes with a powerful undercurrent of dirty musk, civet, and (maybe?) castoreum.

But fear not, this is not the fecal type of dirtiness you get in Serge Lutens’ Muscs Khoublai Khan‘s opening or the sulphurous wall of funk you get in Masque’s Montecristo. To my (admittedly amateurish) nose, the kind of animalics we are talking about here is the high-pitched civet-y tone of old school wonders such as Jean Desprez’ Bal a Versailles, or even Molinard’s Habanita. There may even be some castoreum here, but if there is, there is not enough to provide the round sort of dirty-coziness you get in Muscs Khoublai Khan or L’Ombre Fauve, but rather, just a pinch to sand down the edges on that rather sharp civet. Actually, according to one online review I saw, all of these nuances might actually be down to just one ingredient, specifically hyraceum – the fossilized excrement of the rock hyrax, a sort of African badger. Hyraceum has a fermented smell that encompasses aspects of oudh, civet, castoreum, and tobacco. Whatever it is, it is quite deliciously dirty.

But for me, much of the dirtiness here comes from the interplay of musks and honey. There may also be a bit of unlisted ginger or vetiver, because I can smell a direct line between the first half of Maai and scents such as Onda (honey, vetiver, leather, ginger) by Vero Profumo, and Molinard’s Habanita (powder, honey, leather). Specifically, there is something in Maai’s opening salvo that recalls the clean-dirty bathroom disinfectant feel of these two scents. If you haven’t guessed by now, that’s the scary part of Maai for me. Despite repeated tries, neither Onda nor Habanita worked for me, as my nose persisted in short-circuiting to that unfortunate bathroom cleaner association.

Thankfully, Maai goes on to shed that initial harshness, revealing glimpses of a green-tinged tuberose in the background, and an absolutely beautiful resinous, mossy backbone. The tuberose here is not the fleshy, indolic flower of my nightmares a la Fracas by Robert Piguet, but rather a crisp, watery flower that is sensed rather than seen directly. In fact, the way the tuberose is treated here reminds me of the subtle way Bernard Chant set the rose in Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir against a shadowy backdrop of resins and moss so that it is only revealed in sideways shots, like flashes in your peripheral vision. I have noticed the same treatment of the rose in Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums, the shape of which you can only just make out by squinting through the haze of leather and patchouli. La Perla, that classic drugstore cheapy, has a similarly honeyed, dirty musk thing going on, lending it the same air of suggestiveness that Maai has. Again, the chypres I have mentioned here all share the same kind of leathery, mossy, animalic drydown that I get in Maai.

But is there even moss in this, let alone the real deal oakmoss? I don’t know – the official notes don’t say. Although this not strictly speaking a chypre, there does seem to be a mossy feel to this, although it may just be those dirty musks fooling my nose. The resinous, woody feel is real enough, though, and provides a sort of memory link between the resinous floor wax feel of vintage Mitsouko and modern-day equivalents, which in my estimation, would be the beautiful Jubilation 25 by Amouage (on the luxury end of things) and Hindu Kush by La Via del Profumo (on the natural perfumery side). In the far drydown, there is a sort of cold, unburned incense smell as well, which serves to circle the wagons neatly back to vintage Chanel No. 22.

All in all, Maai is a fabulous achievement, and one whose very name perfectly captures the perfumer’s intentions. Wikipedia defines the word ‘Maai’ as “interval“, which is specifically a „Japanese martial arts term referring to the space between two opponents in combat, or “engagement distance”. It is a complex concept, incorporating not just the distance between opponents, but also the time it will take to cross the distance, angle and rhythm of attack.“ In other words, Maai is a perfume that seeks to reconcile the space between two opposing forces in perfumery; the lingering memory of the grand old-fashioned nitro musk- and oakmoss-soaked perfumes of the past, and the present-day reality of modern perfume making. Maai succeeds in that it references a glorious past without being a mere reconstruction; it feels at once ancient and modern, and indeed does inhabit that interval space between the old and the new. I for one absolutely love it.
05th August, 2014
It seems Bogue MAAI has caught up a sort of mythical-cult status here on Basenotes (actually not just here) and it finally rendered me so curious to the point of swinging me in to action in order to retrieve a few samples straight from this artisanal and experimental obscure olfactory italian "officina". The Gardoni's alchemical performance seems to aim (across MAAI in this case but also by Bogue Cologne Reloaded for instance) resurrecting in a contemporary key a classic/vintage sort of animalic-honeyed chypre status. The latter is probably in here closer to scents a la Cuir de Russie L.T. Piver, YSL Kouros, Portos Balenciaga, Boucheron Pour Homme, Cerchi nell'Acqua Waves or L'Antimatiere by LesNez (and partially Comme des Garcons 2 Man, La perla by La Perla, Creed Cypres-Musc, Acier Alluminium and Vero Profumo Onda, to mention a bunch) than to several contemporary exercises of furiously "beastly" avantgarde dark animalism a la Montecristo (or also Lutens MKK, By Kilian Pure Oud or AbdesSalaam Attar Castoreum, to not say Zibetto). Classic balance and radiant-clean aldehydic, slightly barber-shop and honeyed-hesperidic chypre "laundriness" are in here key words to underline and to get an excursion across. By MAAI I detect in substance far more a tribute to a classic "french/british" royal concept of "barber-shop/laundry/cleaned-room-like" suave perfumery than a forceful exercise of modern testosteronic draculaesque animalic alchemy. The animalic side of the aroma is indeed in here far more provided by honeyed musks (and faint ambergris) than by the yet present civet/castoreum combo. On this sphere MAAI, despite could not be properly labelled as a revolutionary potion, can easily reach by soon the status of neo-classic chypre perfume for aristocratic new millennium amateurs. The aroma unveils by soon an aldehydic-soapy-hesperidic front side with an interaction of citrus (probably lemon-bergamot-orange), aldehydes, animalic musc, honey-wax, fresh spices/woodsy resins (may be ginger, could be also coriander, saffron and birch tar), well calibrated civet-castoreum and undiscerned mineral patterns. According with my personal experience the black musk natural oil provides a deeply mossy honeyed vibe and I suppose the deeply honeyed feel is in here reinforced by hints of the previous. It seems along the way to detect a classically naïf floral central stage with hints of rose-jasmine-tuberose, may be ylang/ylang and neroli. A dominant tuberose? Don't feel properly it since I far more detect under the nose a typically vintage-honeyed-aldehydic dirty (civet-musk-suede) rosey jasmine. A touch of burnt plastic-metal-grass almost dirty-dissonant remote vibe (vaguely a la Odeur 71 but far more minimal in perception) is detectable as "askew" background undertone in the middle of the cool aromatic soapy honeyed general atmosphere. I wonder if a touch of orris root enhances the present herbal-grassy undertone which I minimally detect and that is anyway yet nailed down by aromatic spices and hints of herbs joined with boise resins. It could also be a touch of powdery iris reinforces the spacious spicy/soapy vaguely minty-powdery projection. It seems to detect civet more than castoreum but just as background undertone and sometimes I wonder whether a secret touch of final leather complete the olfactory fatigue while hints of aromatic/boise resins (possibly resins from the forest, a touch of olibanum too?), benzoin and may be cedarwood/vetiver close the round. Of course I agree who with writes the MAAI's aroma is brilliantly rendered being purely classical throughout. It means there is a lingering extreme honeyed spacious balance amalgamating the diverse elements, it means there is a barber-shop old-school evocative trail throughout and that the performer did not push the foot over the excess's accelerator giving on the contrary priority to a classic concept of restrained distinctive laundry moderation in a way an expert connoisseur could blindly swear this fragrance has been released 40-50 years ago. A huge thumbs up for Mr Gardoni.
10th July, 2014 (last edited: 07th November, 2016)
Casting aside any and all hyperbole, MAAI is currently my frontrunner for the best release of 2014.

I’m a huge fan of Antonio Gardoni’s work, and for some time, I’ve considered him to be one of the most important new perfumers in a coterie currently running laps around the despondent fragrance industry. Last year’s Cologne Reloaded and Eau d’E were startlingly good offerings, albeit restricted due to the limitations set by using idiosyncratic and vintage materials. While the bar was set unreasonably high by those two, Gardoni's knocked it out of the park with MAAI.

This is a warmly evocative and animalic chypre, but one that doesn't push the musks for the sake of being daring; they're fully present and central, but not obnoxiously so. My initial impression is that there's a castoreum / hyraceum combination at work, alongside a generous dosing of civet. Both the experience of Montecristo and MKK come to mind, but MAAI splits the difference and takes it down a notch. It's an animalic scent for sure, but in a much more classical vein and not one that will scare the chickens.

Also, MAAI isn't as herbal as some of his past releases, but it maintains some of the old school form that he's so enamored with. In the past, I've found that his work feels more like a modern twist on vintage, but this one feels classical throughout. There's moss, some resins, what strikes me as a spiced lavender, and a selection of other florals that are all finely integrated. It's smooth and refined with no sharp edges protruding—a totally baroque thing with a ton of drama. I get the impression of slightly plummy dried fruits, earthy notes, and some gorgeous musks.

The fruity notes that I perceived are, in actuality, part of the floral component—a green tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose. When combined, they feel less floral and more stewed to me—a sort of rich, mulled series of notes that you'd expect from bygone perfumery. What spins it a little more fruity is the hyraceum, which lends real character to the overall structure. Although I find this aspect hard to isolate, the scent is structured upon old style aldehydes akin to early Chanel experiments. This is all built over a base labdanum and sandalwood with oriental incense infusions running throughout. It's acutely complex, but feels effortless. Also, this is a highly concentrated blend, so it has some volume but also lasts for a long time on the skin—over eight hours.

Wearing this again today to verify the impressions I jotted down a while back, I’m struck once more by just how exceptional this is; the images and scenarios that it evokes reflect its timeless nature. Whereas Cologne Reloaded was steeped in perfume history, MAAI doesn’t align with contemporary compositions, but it doesn’t feel anchored to a specific period either. Although several indie scents have come along in recent years to crack the glass ceiling of the industry and upend the myth of the contemporary “mastery perfumer,” only a few demonstrate this level of attention to detail while still nodding the past. MAAI isn’t an attempt to undermine the industry, but it reaffirms what’s possible when a perfumer dedicates him/herself to the task, putting most contemporary releases to shame in the process.

Astounding and inspiring work.
05th July, 2014