To date, Riccardo Goti is a name largely absent from the mind of many a perfumisto. After studying design at the State Institute of Art in Firenze, Goti first stepped into the limelight with his unique fashions and use of unorthodox materials; mixing fabric with cut leather and metal hardware. With a more recent shift in focus towards jewellery design, Goti found his fame in the accessories market... his universe still utilizing raw leathers, tarnished metals, semi-polished stones and pliable materials like tin. In 2008, motivated by a desire to create unique, multi-faceted, multi-layered perfumes to accompany his accessories Goti recruited one of the oldest cosmetics manufacturers / pharmacies in the world - Santa Maria Novella. Together, they produced three GOTI ESSENZE fragrances composed of wholly natural ingredients: Black, White and Earth. Their very select distribution rendered them virtually invisible on the radars of devout perfumisti, but they created a distinct 'blip' on the screen of the fashionisti that had followed Goti's journey from the very beginning.
In 2013, Riccardo Goti has recently added two new scents to his portfolio: Gray and Smoke. But before I go on, I feel it is worth noting that the previously-launched trio have been completely reformulated to coincide with the 2013 new product launch and re-packaging of the brand. (There is no indication given as to why the previous scents are now largely unrecognisable today, but I have discovered that Santa Maria Novella are no longer producing the Goti Essences. That assignment has now been turned over to Laboratorio Therapeutico M.R., a Florentine pharmaceutical / neutroceutical firm founded in 1930, which - since the early 80's - has diversified its business by creating cosmetics and food supplements). Whilst this might have had something of an impact on the first three fragrances, we can gladly approach Gray and Smoke as Goti Essenze newcomers and take them at face value. In this blog piece I will be turning my attention to Smoke, which in my eyes, is the more interesting of the pair.
Smoke – contrary to that which its name might suggest – is not a run-of-the-mill olfactory study of charred woods and ashen embers that we perfume lovers have seen time and again. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Smoke – at least by the hand of Goti - feels more fluid, colourful, and transparent. Absent are the dark plumes of oud, birch tar and black tea that one might expect of such a scent, and in their place, a fascinating arrangement of notes that lend a curious translucency. A jewel-coloured opening of pomegranate startles with its bittersweet piquancy. This purple-red fire dances on a soft bed of cedar... a scattering of fragrant woodchips that provide a sense of combustable warmth. Moments into it's flight, there is a slightly bewildering camphorous quality that hints at the presence of blue eucalyptus or green menthol, but no such elements exist. I grasp for answers, only to realise I've discovered a penetrating yellow note of zesty ginger pooling below the surface. This ginger imbues the scent from top to bottom with an almost petroleum-like quality... it is sharp, aqueous and feels somewhat volatile and incendiary.
The foundation upon which Smoke was built includes ebony, incense and resins. The citric-orange presence of frankincense is very clear in this composition and partners well with the ginger, only amplifying it's abundance. It adds colour and dimension and lingers long into the drydown.
Riccardo Goti's interpretation of Smoke makes for an imaginative change of tact as far as smoke-themed perfumes are concerned. It feels infinitely more modern and avant garde than the majority of those that have gone before it. This genderless scent will captivate and mystify many with it's vivid colour and unique composition.
The new Goti Essences now appear in stunning, lightweight 50ml and 100ml polished metal flacons. The smaller of the two is perfect for travel, and the luxurious 100ml comes with a detachable leather bulb atomiser. A small screw cap and metal cover for the flacon are included with the larger size. Both are packaged in exquisite sturdy black boxes with tooled leather buckles.
Very 'Goti' indeed.