I love perfume with a passion and could count finding new fragrances as one of my pastimes. In another life I’d be a nose, immersing myself in the olfactory world. So I’m always thrilled to be given new scents as a gift, as I was the other week when a friend presented me with a particularly impressive bottle.
It is called Red Potion (£180 for 100ml EDP), by The Merchant of Venice perfume house, which I’d never heard of before. It’s a fascinating brand, I learn, founded by the Venetian family that established the Museo del Profumo in Palazzo Mocenigo in 2013. The scents draw their inspiration from The Floating City’s gilded history and are often packaged in bottles crafted from Murano glass – this one, unsurprisingly, in a striking, swirling bright red. It represents the fire-coloured sunsets reflected in the ripples of Venice’s lagoon, the red velvets of the gondolas and the colour often used in Italian Renaissance paintings. It’s all very evocative – but I really don’t like red. It’s not a colour I wear or surround myself with in any way. I was sure I would not like this scent.
I was very wrong. The fragrance is extraordinarily well balanced and, for me (a citrus lover above all else), curiously enticing, with its enveloping floral richness created by notes of golden immortelle, orange, rosemary and honeysuckle (a note that stands out). With sandalwood and tonka bean at its base, the fragrance is inspired, as is the whole Murano Collection, by ancient Venetian trade routes and the raw materials they transported – in this case La Muda del Trafego from north Africa. And the travels continue: Red Potion more or less resides in my suitcase, as I can’t bear to leave it at home.