We review Italica, an Extrait de Parfum from Xerjoff’s Casamorati collection, and one of the Italian niche perfumery’s most exquisite gourmands.
Niche house Xerjoff was founded in 2004 by Italian designer and perfumer Sergio Momo. Headquartered in Turin, Momo’s birthplace and Northern Italy’s baroquesque cultural capital, Xerjoff is renowned for its fine ingredients, delicate fragrances, and exuberant bottles.
From an early age, Momo was no stranger to fragrances. His father, a globetrotter, would bring back home interesting scents from all corners of the world. Sometimes, they were perfumes. Other times, he tells Azyaamode, they were raw materials.
Momo’s childhood memories are associated with the scent of sandalwood, an ingredient that he prominently features in his fragrances. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that his father’s signature scent, as revealed in an exclusive interview for ÇaFleureBon, was Equipage by Hermes—a dry, spicy, manly marjoram, tarragon, and sandalwood scent.
When Momo got into college, he’d use his father’s perfumes. At this time, he discovered a lifelong obsession. “During that time, I realized I had a passion for scents and many different kinds of smell,” he shares with Elite Living Africa. “Not just bottled perfumes. The bakery in the morning, or the motorbike race which I attended during the weekend.”
Little did he know that this newfound passion would lead him down a path where he would find one of the most prominent houses in the world of niche perfumery. Today, the house of Xerjoff and its artisanal fragrances are synonymous with the very concept of “niche,” and vice versa.
|Concentration||Extrait de Parfum|
|Description||Saffron and Sicilian almonds are blended with whispering silky milk notes, garnished with Bourbon vanilla and buttery toffee, all combined with rich layers of cedarwood, sandalwood, and white musk.|
|Sizes||1.01 fl oz (30 ml), 3.4 fl oz (100 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Fragrance, Water, BHT, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool
Source: Product packaging (in the photos), retrieved January 17, 2022
Words can hardly describe how delectable Italica, the extraordinary creation of a gourmand, is. As you and I are about to find out, this Extrait de Parfum from Xerjoff’s Casamorati collection easily deserves the title of the best gourmand in the world.
Love it or hate it—believe me, you will not be left in-between—you have to hand it to Sergio Momo for creating a gourmand of such superior ingredients, exquisite blend, and full-bodied scent.
The Casamorati collection is named after Claudio Casamorati, a perfumer from the 19th century whose bath salts and soaps perfumed the bodies of Italian royalty. It’s said that, in 1888, Queen Margherita de Savoy—the same queen of Italy the Margherita pizza is named after—met Casamorati at a private exhibition and grew enamored with his creations.
Well over a century later, Momo, through mysterious ways, came across a collection of original recipes by Casamorati. He got so inspired, he started his own perfume collection in tribute to Casamorati’s art.
Italica was first launched in 2016 as a limited-edition perfume. Expectedly, it was always sold out and to say that was difficult to obtain would be a major understatement. Then, Xerjoff decided to make it a part of their permanent selection.
The top notes are saffron, almond, and milk. Heart notes are Bourbon vanilla and toffee. Base notes are cedarwood, sandalwood, and white musks.
The moment the juice touches your skin, it caresses you with a delicious and comforting opening of bitter almond and frothy milk spiced in oriental saffron. It’s lush, delicious, and, it can’t be left unsaid, remarkably realistic.
Then come the heart notes. The creamiest, most velvety Bourbon vanilla imaginable takes over, sweetened and thickened by the nutty, caramel-butter aroma of toffee. Here again, the recreation is so real, it feels as if you’ve just taken a bath in vanilla-infused, toffee-melted almond milk.
Enter the dry down: Almond bitter. Vanilla sweet. Everlastingly woody. The most perfect blend of bitter, creamy, and woodsy I—along with the rest of the members of the Sterlish editorial team—have ever sniffed.
If you haven’t given Xerjoff’s Italica a whiff, you will think I’m exaggerating. Trust me when I say that I am not. The moment you spray it on, your skin turns into a wondrous treat; you walk into the room and you leave behind a beguiling scent as if you came straight from an artisanal bakery on the Amalfi Coast.
An almond scent so rich, so heady, and so delicate, you will want to keep smelling yourself over, and over, and over again—and so will everyone else who’s fortunate enough to be around you.
As with any other Xerjoff perfume, Italica isn’t a safe blind-buy.
Particularly if you dislike almonds, this likely isn’t the perfume for you. Give it a try first, or use a perfume subscription service like Scentbird or Yuniqu to get a travel spray and test it for a few days to deem if it’s full-bottle-worthy for you or not.
You are in a centuries-old Italian bakery. The scent of almonds permeates the air. You take a bite of an almond vanilla cake topped generously with whipped cream and toffee as the barista, standing directly behind you, froths whole milk on the espresso machine for a cup of cappuccino.
Italica is one the most opulent, decadent, luscious gourmands you’ll ever try. The perfect blend of bitter and sweet: almond and toffee. It is an invitation to indulge in the most epicurean of pleasures.
If Italica was a woman, she would definitely be femme-fatale: she may look sweet and inviting at first sight. But once you get a taste for her, you’d never be able to get enough—and will be under her spell forever.
With Xerjoff’s Italica, the tastiest dessert on earth is you.
When sprayed on the skin and hair, Xerjoff’s Italica is long-lasting. The scent stays on you for a good 10-12 hours. Sprayed solely on the skin, the duration is less impressive—and Italica lingers for 6-8 hours.
You asked, we answered: Why some perfumes last longer than others
In terms of Sillage, Italica by Xerjoff is intimate. Its projection is light to moderate during the first 1-2 hours. Then, the scent starts to sit close to the skin; it’s one of those fragrances meant only for a lucky few.
Layer Italica by Xerjoff with Vanilla | 28 by KAYALI if you want to bring out the gourmand notes with boozy vanilla and tone down the almond character of the original fragrance.
To create a heady gourmand that combines bitter almond, creamy vanilla, and opulent jasmine, layer Xerjoff’s Italica with Dior’s Hypnotic Poison.
Layer Italica by Xerjoff with Sunshine Woman by Amouage to make the former sunny and peachy, and the latter milky and creamy. The result is a private summertime blend like no other.
Italica by Xerjoff is available in two sizes: 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) and 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) in a bottle made of matte, dark cherry-colored glass. The bottle, with a white tassel, is engraved with the Casamorati mark and golden symbol; the weighty golden cap snaps securely into place.
Both bottles will decorate your dresser drawer gorgeously. However, neither is particularly convenient for travel. If you fly frequently, we recommend that you get a decant in a travel-sized atomizer instead (you can thank us later).
Read our guide: Which size perfume to buy?
The price tag of Xerjoff’s Italica is not for the faint-hearted. On the day this review was published, the 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) bottle sold for €300 ($342.28).
Nothing smells quite like Italica by Xerjoff. That said, if you’re looking for other fragrances by the house, do consider Lira and Bouquet Ideale.
Italica, an Extrait de Parfum by Italian niche perfumery Xerjoff, is an unisex fragrance for men and women.
The most delectable gourmand of them all, Italica will appeal to the wearer with an appetite for almond and vanilla. Do try it before you buy it and, if it’s love at first sniff, this Extrait de Parfum is guaranteed to turn into an all-time favorite in your collection.