Testa Maura: The Bucolica Collection

Mia Murza EDP

Topnote: Bergamot
Heartnote: Immortelle
Basenote: Patchouly, Labdanum (Rockrose), Balsam of Peru

Mia Murza is supposed to be perfumer Xavier Torre's tribute to immortelle (aka helichrysum), a flower that's typical of the mediterranean island of Corsica which is Torre's homeland. All of his fragrances are supposed to be composed using 100% organic essential oils containing no petrochemicals or synthetics products. When possible, says Torre, the ingredients are sourced locally and, in any case, they have to come strictly from certified organic farming.

What Mia Murza smells like? It opens with a green bergamot note paired with immortelle. The helichrysum is devoided of most of the typical syrupy aspect and emphasized on its aromatic-woody quality. The initial accord is pretty soon joined by a remarkable amount of patchouli with just a tad of sweetness provided by labdanum. Overall, Mia Murza could make a very nice option for anyone who's usually not into immortelle-based compositions as it completely avoids the typical heavyness of most of the fragrances listing this note among their ingredients.

My only complain is that Mia Murza is more of a patchouli than a proper immortelle-centered fragrance but, that being said, it's honestly quite well blended even if a tad too simple and fast in its evolution. Projection and lasting are both average (expecially considering this is an all natural fragrance). Nice, but not particularly exciting.

Rating: 6.5/10

Aqua Di Casta EDP

Topnote: Black Pepper, Ginger
Heartnote: Rose, Ylang-Ylang
Basenote: Vetiver, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Chestnut

I'm sold. Aqua di Casta gained its place among the most interesting fragrances of the past few years. First of all, let me tell you that in order to appreciate  this fragrance, you've to be into extremely dry woody compositions. There's nothing sweet here, nothing smooth...

Aqua Di Casta opens with a shockingly pungent/piquant pepper and ginger combo immediately joined by a beatiful accord of woody vetiver. If this brings to mind of modern masculines a-là Bang, be advised that the Testa Maura it's, both in concept and execution, very distant from these types of  fragrances. The central vetiver note is refined by a desweetened rose/ylang-ylang accord that while being surely remarkable, it doesn't drive the fragrance towards the floral. This is more intended to slightly soften the general austerity while a bold and extremely dry sandalwood base emerges from the back turning Acqua Di Casta into a nutty and woody vetiver/sandalwood drydown. 

Overall I would recommend Aqua di Casta to both sandalwood and vetiver lovers as one of the most natural smelling examples of these notes. Anything but sweet.

Very nice.

Rating: 8/10

Carticasi EDP

Topnote: Mastic Resin
Heartnote: Galbanum, Rose, Ylang-Ylang
Basenote: Cedarwood

Carticasi has probably one of the most realistic note list I've ever seen. It exactly smells like the sum of its parts. A minimalistic yet quite interesting mixture of extremely bitter green notes and resins with a non-powdery rose/floral accord and a woody base. If you like the typical resinous green aroma of galbanum, Carticasi is a mandatory test. Not to talk that this is one of the very few good rendition of mastic available on the market.

As all the other fragrances from this line, it smells incredibly natural, simple with average longevity (considering it's 100% organic stuff).

Fans of bitter green florals take note.

Rating: 7-7.5/10

Aleria EDP

Topnote: Orange, Lime, Lemon, Tangerine
Heartnote: Myrtle, Ylang-Ylang
Basenote: Woods, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Beeswax

Are you looking for an aromatic woody citrus that is not overloaded with the usual woody-amber base? Aleria is a very nice option.

As long as you don't expect something groundbreaking, you will discover a simple yet very well refined and incredibly natural smelling composition that opens with citruses galore. Tangerine and lemon are supported by a remarkably aromatic, sort of green, nuance of lime giving an overall effect which smells halfway between Limoncello (minus the sweetness) and a summery citrus-centered alcohol-free cocktail. Refreshing and invigorating. Myrtle make its appearance in the middle phase reinforcing the general mediterranean vibe and serving as a nice introduction to one of the smoothest cedarwood bases I've smelled in years. Ylang-ylang provides subtle floral details without never becoming dominant or particularly detectable.

Unisex, summery and with a strong mediterranean vibe. I don't exclude getting a bottle in the future...

Rating: 7/10

Loriani EDP

Topnote: Bergamot, Lavender, Thyme
Heartnote: Orange Blossom, Lavender
Basenote: Vanilla

I'm surely not among the biggest fans of orange blossom but, I've to admit, that paired with both thyme and lavender it provides a nice twist. Loriani unmistakeably starts with pure lavender. So far so good but probably not exactly exciting considering the huge amount of lavender-centered fragrances available on the market. What makes Loriani different, or at least attention worthy, is the thyme/orange blossom accord that joins the party in the middle phase. All the notes I mentioned may have the tendency to become sort of scratchy if not directly harsh but Torre's intepretation, while running on the edge of precipice, shows a classicist vein that's quite irresistible. The drydown is close to the skin, softly spicy and moderately sweet.

Considering I'm not much of a fan of most of the notes involved in this composition, Loriani still clearly speaks of honesty and simplicity. Nice.

Rating: 6.5-7/10

For infos: www.testamaura.com

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