Nobile 1942 A’ Grazia by Nicoleta
Sometimes we find ourselves witnessing events so extraordinary that they make even the most rational of us stop and wonder. If you are more scientifically inclined, you rely – as I seldom do – on Arthur C. Clark’s words, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic – and in these days, where technology is evolving at a higher rate than any time in history, never have these words rang more true. On the other end of the spectrum, the “what if” and the deeply rooted human need to believe in miracles has never been stronger. And this is where “believing costs nothing” becomes even stronger, regardless of whether we are talking about religious faith or not. The laws of nature and physics are not as rigid as we think and it is impossible to know them in their absolute totality. But then, is there really a need to find a reason for everything? Sometimes it’s good to let things happen and just take a leap of faith.
The new collection from Nobile 1942, called I Rituali, is a playful take on telling pieces of Italian history and culture through its perfumes, and this time, we’re focusing on the supernatural. “We’re not superstitious, but you never know. A collection of scented amulets to give to yourself but also to those who don’t believe in these things.” The first one in the collection was released last year, called “Anti Malocchio” – a beautiful citrus aromatic woody scent that serves as a reminder that luck is blind but bad luck sees very well – a spicy remedy for the “jinx” of those who reserve evil eyes for us.
Blood miracle, via Italy(dot)org website
The one we will focus on today is called A’ Grazia, and is inspired by the cult of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. Three times a year, the saint renews his bond with Naples and his blood liquefies in front of thousands of worshippers, gathered to witness the miracle. In the atmosphere that is thick with tense anticipation, the “parenti” await for the moment in which they must sing chants and invocations to the saint, for the blood to return to its natural liquid form, waiting for the cardinal to display the vial and for the assistant to announce the miracle. The cult of San Gennaro has always been rooted in the Neapolitan culture and it is still deeply felt today by the Neapolitans who have a constant and personal relationship with the saint: a constant dialogue, a confidential relationship like the one you’d have with a trusted friend. “San Gennà, pensaci tu!” translated as “San Gennaro, take care of it!” it is an invocation that is repeated in the face of personal and collective concerns, natural events, and disasters. Whether you are a believer or not, three times a year the cathedral of Naples is filled with the faithful to attend the blood miracle. The chosen dates are the first Saturday in May, 19 September, the saint’s feast day, and 16 December, the “feast of the patronage of San Gennaro” in memory of the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 1631, which is believed, he protected the city from. His blood is exposed in front of thousands of citizens and faithful who wait, and hope with bated breath for the blood to melt. What if it doesn’t melt? The Neapolitans begin to tremble because it is an omen of great misfortunes and history teaches us this: in 1940 Italy took part in the Second World War; in 1943 the Nazis occupied the city, in 1980 the Irpinia earthquake. *
Miguel Matos courtesy of Miguel Matos
The nose who was entrusted with bringing the concept to life is Miguel Matos, who is a master of balancing darkness and light into deeply original creations, filled with passion, contrast, and the depth that comes from his special blend of artistic sensibility. “In this fragrance, I have tried to create the sensations of red, but also with the suggestions of a human body and the intense emotions that go from the earth to the sky. The heart of the perfume is an intense and warm rose, with hints of metallic accents in the spicy opening, fruity and gourmand elements in the development of the structure, and a very deep woody base. I wanted to create an enveloping experience full of pathos.” – Miguel Matos
The miracolo of San Gennaro, via capellasangennario (dot) com
The first minutes of are fascinating – a subtle hint of cold incense smoke that rises in the air, crisp and airy, and travels, carried by the light wind, over the city. There are no aldehydic notes listed, but the rose oxide mixed in with the bergamot makes the fragrance vertical, uplifting, filled with light and lung-filling. I “drunk” with abandon my first sample vial, puffing away, absolutely hooked on this ingenious and amazing combination that gets really addictive, really fast.
There is a metallic hint underneath of Nobile 1942 A’ Grazia- as if your hands have touched the ancient knob of the entrance into the church, and the metallic smell lingers on the skin, transforming, slowly warming up. The thorny, sharp metalic and irreverent green rose aura turns into a serene white bouquet of roses that have been placed in front of the altar. The velvety petals have gathered dust and the light of the sun, filtered through the colorful stained glass of the large windows now feels powdery and bitter-sweet, like a dusting of multicolored cacao powder that has seeped into the nervures of the flowers. As time passes, the sweetness intensifies, buttery, turning into a bitter, dark chocolate that veers into the facets of a deep sweet leather nuance. The atmosphere of the church is painted in my mind, 360, with details, now feeling like walking between the long prayer benches, breathing the scent of ancient leather and all the sweetness of the cakes.
Nobile 1942 A’ Grazia doesn’t smell like anything I have smelled before. A beautiful metallic airy rose that mixes the high of adrenaline, and anticipation, with the low hum of introspection and peace. It feels alive on the skin, interchangeable, evermoving – and like many of Miguel Matos creations (Omen from Manos Gerakanis being an absolute favourite of mine), it’s hard to pinpoint into one category.
Perfume tips: one spray or more whenever you need. Then wait… (and hope).
*info from the Nobile 1942 official presentation
Also read our reviews for: Nobile 26, 1001
Top notes: bergamot, davana, cumin, rose oxide
Heart Notes: Rose, Cypriol, Chocolate
Base Notes: sandalwood, amber, raspberry, leather, vanilla, musk.
Nicoleta Tomsa, Senior Editor
Disclosure: Sample received from the brand. As always, my opinions are my own.
*information is taken from the Nobile 1942 official presentation and from cappellasangennaro.it
Nobile 1942 A’ Grazia official image, via Instagram page
Thanks to the generosity of Nobile 1942 we have a 75 ml bottle for one registered reader in the EU or USA. You must register or your entry will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what sparks your interest based on Nicoleta’s review and where you live. Draw closes 1/21/2024
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