HSH Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi L'Aurora (2009) {Perfume Review & Musings}


Time flies! But what is it to a perfume like L'Aurora, which is inspired by an ancient Italian Renaissance recipe held for centuries in the books of HSH Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi and committed to the Vatican secret archives since the 19th century? We said time flies because it was re-created in 2009 and we are now facing a new year in 2013 and are now only reviewing it. Coming soon also is Valentine's Day. And L'Aurora is certainly a perfume fit for an amorous mood...

Discovering it initially, we had to ask its perfumer-creator Lorenzo Dante Ferrowho belongs to the Venetian school of perfumery, what aromatic thoughts he had put into it that were inspired by Eros. He discreetly acknowledged that indeed, there was in L'Aurora a special accord that was enhancing of the pleasures of the flesh. In the polyphonic interview with all the actors that played a role in the creation of the fragrance, the Prince and the perfumer said,

"Lorenzo Dante Ferro and the Prince were mesmerized by the sensual and erotic fullness of L'Aurora.  Yes, as you stated, it was a historical, sought after aphrodisiacal effect.  Maestro Ferro said, "And, indeed it has such an effect when the wearer walks into a room.  It is hard to ignore but in a subtle, elegant way."

This accord is so present, real and powerful that it can lay dormant for several years, and suddenly like a dragon coming back to life in a forgotten cave, manifests its existence thanks to its sillage-breath-of-the-dragon. In more mundane terms, this means that as we walked past a certain cupboard, we kept capturing this extraordinarily sensual sillage escaping suddenly from the dead. It did not want to be left ignored. It was signifying it was time to liberate it from the bottle.

The problem with L'Aurora is that it is too obviously sexual. It is therefore not easy to wear it in daily life. It is one of those perfumes that if you wear it on the street, you might feel like you are going to provoke wolf whistles vs. inspire men to sing. Finally this evening as the cold weather attenuates the potency of the scent, we got a joyous singing whistle for compromise. But see, it has that wolf-whistling triggering element to it. It suggests the heat of passion, heaving bosoms and disarrayed bed sheets in the wake it leaves. 

Our first impression when we smelled it was that this must be the perfume worn by a carnal bride on her wedding night. You can easily imagine a night of passion in a Renaissance castle in a time when daggers were easily drawn, thanks to its effluvia. Othello's Desdemona could have worn it. 

Funny. We take some respite, looking at beautiful garden pictures in an issue of Point de Vue on secret gardens and we happen on this quote by lord Strathnaver describing an Italian bosque on his property at Dunrobin, in Scotland "A very Italian bosque gives the delightful impression that it would be possible to get assassinated."

L'Aurora is like that, very Italian, and excessive. Its aura is passionate in that chiarooscuro way. Many French writers have remarked that neighboring countries such as Italy and Spain dance a closer dance with death and therefore that passions there are more extreme. In L'Aurora there is that sort of contained excess. 

The fragrance opens on a white floral accord which is particularly rich and satisfying. It is thick with indoles yet ladylike. You do not smell anymore the extremely sweaty, animalic accord which unceasingly grabbed you by your senses as you passed by the flacon. Imagine that accord as a mix between Eau d'Hermès and the incense mixes worn by African women. The result is incredibly dark-Africa and spicy. As you smell the perfume on your skin - you - and not a passerby, it is redolent of roses, jasmines, lily of the valley and tuberose, with a measure of aldehydes. The flowers are in-check yet throbbing.

L'Aurora manages to take you to a different time and space, a new gamut of sensations, using classic feminine notes. The composition is said to contain more than 200 original ingredients which contribute to this sensation of a rich, voluptuous perfume done within the aphrodisiacal tradition. If you look at it as a wedding perfume, which it was for the Prince and Principessa in 2009, it is one done in the tradition of spicy mixes. If you ever puzzled over why Poivre by Caron, a black pepper fragrance was advertized as a wedding perfume once upon a time, you understand better that it was meant to enliven your nights not just to match a radiant, virginal white dress. 

Produced initially as a limited-edition and for private parties together with Giove Nettuno Plutone, we hope l'Aurora and Giove will be re-issued from time to time. 

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