Perfume Review: Montale Confidential Collection Indian Saffron
Every self-respecting perfume brand must have an exclusive line. If the exclusive scents are at the same time limited editions, all the better. Montale call theirs "Confidential Collection". The collection consists of Santal de Mysore, Rose and Indian Saffron; all scents come in parfum strength. I only managed to try Saffron, and if its beauty is indicative of the overall quality of the collection, then I hope the "Confidential" Montale parfums will reach our shores, even if only in limited quantities and for a limited amount of time.
It is universally known that saffron is one of the most high-priced spices. The stigmas (the pollen-collecting organs of a saffron flower) of approximately 200,000 flowers produce only about 2 pounds of saffron, and in the olden days the value of saffron has been compared to that of gold. (Ian Hemphill, The Spice and Herb Bible.) Indian saffron is said to be the world's finest and therefore most expensive. With its rendition, Montale does justice to the precious spice, choosing to boldly and realistically replicate the strange and compelling earthy, woody, at times almost iodine and bittersweet aroma of saffron.
The beginning of Indian Saffron is shockingly, gloriously earthy. I have always considered CB I Hate Perfume Black March to be the most earthy fragrance, disturbing in its true-to-life quality, and Indian Saffron comes a very close second. The spice smells raw, like soft, pliable black soil; a woody accord runs through the composition, at times even leaving an oud-like impression, underscoring the dry, resinous, what Hemphill describes as "oaked-wine" aspect of saffron. After a long stretch of wonderful, woody, leathery earthiness, the composition dries down as a softer and a little sweeter "skin-scent", which makes one smell as if one spent a day in the Aladdin's cave, which was filled not with coins and jewelry but with just as precious dark-red dried saffron stigmas.
Indian Saffron is available at Montale boutique in Paris, EUR 300.00 for 50ml.
Image source, allposters.com.