There are few fragrances that have the power to elevate your mood and bring you calm joy. Mandala by Masque Milano is doing a great job at it.
I’ve always appreciated the forethought some perfume houses put in the concepts of their collections. Such planning gives a complete feel of the collection and gives meaning to each one of the fragrances in it.
Admirers of the art of opera, Alessandro and Riccardo have organized Masque’s collection according to the acts and scenes of an opera. The name of their perfume house - Masque - is a reference itself to the exquisite masks various characters wear during an operatic performance.
On Masque’s website Alessandro and Riccardo explain:
“In every single scene of an opera, some of the actors alongside the leading character, as well as the element of the set are changing. In the same way, in our lives we can change the “mask” (our look, lifestyle, friendships, the tone of our voice or the mannerism) yet we could never part from our innermost sensitivity.“
Masque’s perfumes are reflection of the sensitivity of our soul behind the mask we wear.
This philosophy guides every release under the Masque Milano collection - they all are “perfumes with a soul”.
Alessandro and Riccardo don’t stop only at developing an overall philosophy for Masque Milano. They go further and organize their collection to follow the structure of an opera with four acts and four scenes. Each act has its own theme the fragrances belonging to it follow.
A collection of experiences, discoveries, places, and journeys.
Interior monologues, emotions, deep thoughts and inner reflections...lights and shadows of humans.
Sentimental relationships...romance and love...affections and betrayals.
Dreams. The world of the most bizarre, improbable and fascinating reveries.
Mandala is Scene II of Act II of the Masque’s opera of Life.
Dig Deeper: What Does It Smell Like?
In simple terms, Mandala is an incense fragrance. The inspiration came from the two-note chanting of the Buddhist monks. Alessandro and Riccardo teamed up with Christian Carbonnel to create a fragrance that holds two notes of different character throughout its life. The two notes (or rather accords) are incense and fresh resins - both widely used in Buddhist practices.
The chanting of the incense and resins creates an effect of openness. When I smell Mandala I imagine an open field in the mountains of Tibet. It is a crisp morning and the grass in my feet is wet with dew. The first rays of the sun are piercing the dark clouds and warm up the ground. There is nothing around me but peace and tranquility.
My experience of Mandala reminds me of a mountain trip I took as a child growing up in Europe. I remember those crisp morning when nothing was awake. It was cold and the grass was wet. We were drinking herbal tea.
Mandala sums up this experience without smelling like any of the elements described above. There are no herbs, grass or ozonic notes in the composition. I believe the objective with Mandala was to capture the feeling of peace and tranquility one would experience standing in an open Tibetan field; not the actual aromas you can smell there.
My assumption is further supported by the tagline of the perfume: The Whole Universe. Indeed, smelling Mandala could feels as if you are standing on top of the universe - a feeling some get while standing on Mount Everest.
The opening of Mandala brings me calm happiness. I feel content and at peace. I attribute these emotions to the incense and resin accords to the frankincense and incense accords. In the opening I also get a touch of Angelica. It gives the fragrance a sunny disposition; it is the effect of sun rays piercing the clouds on a cold morning.
As an ingredient, Angelica smells grassy and herbal. It is has a touch of sweetness but it is by no means what most people would call sweet or floral. In Mandala the Angelica gives just that little touch of herbal sweetness.
As Mandala dries down, the effect of open airiness slowly dissipates. The composition goes quieter and turns into a incense-resinous scent. In this form Mandala lasts over 14 hours on my skin. I don’t smell it when I move around, however, it is definitely present on my skin.
How to Wear Masque Milano Mandala
Mandala is a versatile fragrance even though it is made with incense and resins - ingredients, which many people find challenging.
Its light airy character makes Mandala great to wear in the summer. Frankincense and incense have amazing cooling properties and have been worn for centuries in hot climates like the Middle East and North Africa.
Even though labdanum and other resins found in Mandala have some warmth, I don’t find it sufficient to make it a solid winter scent. I haven’t tested it in cold weather, however, I suspect it may stay more timid.
Mandala is scent that puts me to peace and brings me content happiness. In moments of solitude, meditation or any relaxing activity is when I’d wear it. Lazy Sundays and relaxed walks is what Mandala is made for.
This fragrance would work well in an office environment too. It is virtually impossible to offend anyone’s senses. Many will find it unique if they manage to smell it on you. After the first hour or so, Mandala goes quiet on the skin. Only I and those intimately close to me could smell it.
Mandala wouldn’t be my top choice for a day full of active sports. Its character doesn’t lend itself adrenaline-inducing activities and it will appear incongruent and clashing with your emotions and feelings at the time.
Mandala is not a mature scent and virtually anyone can wear it. I don’t think 10-year-olds would naturally gravitate towards the smell of incense and resins, however, if need be, they can successfully pull it off.
Mandala’s retail price of $165 for 35ml also makes it unlikely for most 10-year-olds to indulge in it.
As for the older ones amongst us - there are no limits here. Before making this statement I was trying to picture several completely different people from very different walks of life and personalities. My objective was to see whether Mandala would clash with the message they project and the answer is no. Whether you are a construction worker or a philosopher, Mandala will work for you equally well.
The Experts Say...
Mark Behnke, Colognoisseur
“Mandala is a good version of that [combining two different fragrance tracks] style of fragrance as it still finds something worth sniffing even if this harmonic has been seen before.”
Star Rating: None Given
Read Mark's full review here.
Frankincense, Nutmeg, Angelica
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