Maria Candida Gentile Lady Day ~ perfume review

Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald

Some time ago, the indie brand Strange Invisible Perfumes had a Lady Day fragrance.1 It was, as you’d expect, a gardenia (Billie Holiday, aka Lady Day, was known for wearing gardenias in her hair onstage2), and it was, as you’d perhaps also expect, big, as in a BWF (big white floral). It wasn’t dark, really, or melancholy, just big and lush, and it also wasn’t the oddball take on Lady Day that you find in Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire, which Kevin found more Gaga than Holiday.3

Italian perfumer Maria Candida Gentile takes an entirely different approach, and if I can’t really connect the smell with what I know of Billie Holiday, that’s neither here nor there I suppose, and we’re always happy to have an excuse to post another image: she is shown here with The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald…

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Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses ~ fragrance review

elephants and rose

I “met” my first elephant in a zoo when I was little and a life-long fascination with elephants was ignited. My elephant-love led me from Babar children’s stories and elephant picture books, to studies on elephant physiology and behavior, and the symbolism of elephants in art and religion, especially in Buddhism and Hinduism. My house is full of Ganesha statues and amulets, and I always go to Seattle’s Asian Art Museum when a tiny statue of Kangiten is on (rare) view — two elephants stand face to face and tenderly embrace. I love the Indian paintings of Airavata, the white elephant god and mount of Indra, who emerged from the churning of the milk ocean, an event that made the nectar of immortality available for the Hindu gods to drink. (You may know him as Erawan; in Thailand, you’ll see him depicted with three, or more, heads.)

I used to perk up with excitement when I’d see a photograph of elephants in a magazine or newspaper or hear their trumpeting on TV. Now? I approach such images and sounds warily…

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Maria Candida Gentile Sideris & Exultat ~ fragrance reviews

Maria Candida Gentile Sideris & Exultat

Today, quick reviews of two fragrances from Italian niche house Maria Candida Gentile: Sideris and Exultat. Both are in the brand’s Classic Line.


Sideris was born during a walk along a Mediterranean beach in Liguria (Italy) at night. The moment was so beautiful that one could feel like floating in the air, between the sea and the stars in the sky. It is purely poetic fragrance.

With incense, cistus, myrrh, white pepper, saffron, rose, sandalwood, benzoin and waxed woods.

I first tried Sideris last summer, around the same time that I reviewed the brand’s Hanbury, and I liked it right away…

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