The perfume Ilha do Mel stays true to its origins, dreams triumphing over determination. Its South American soul reveals itself through Brazil’s signature, oil of mandarin, cheerful and fresh. But like the isle itself, the fragrance calls out for ingredients that have travelled from elsewhere. Her coasts gladly welcome the essence of juniper, sourced from European saplings, with its northern and peppery woodiness in tow. She embraces the surprising and unsettling notes of hyacinth, green, floral, and striking. The introductions have been made.
At first, an apparition, like in a dream… The vision of an enticing Brazilian island, allowing to all sorts of fantasies. Its outline is a myth. The curves conjure the silhouette of a whale spouting from a fairy tale, or that of a strange hourglass unconcerned with the passage of time. She is an imaginary land released from a genie’s lamp like a wish. Her name, Ilha do Mel or “Honey Island”, immerses the soul in delicious dreams. This honey, which memories of love are made of, sends an urgent message: surrender to desire and lose yourself! It was its enchanting name that led Memo to this destination, a virtually untouched and pure island, where visitors rarely venture beyond its beaches. Memo explores the isle in its very own way, through scent.
Like the shores of an island, the scent is drawn by the sea’s desires. Just as the rising and falling waves have sculpted the coastlines and dunes throughout the centuries, the perfume notes meet and merge into each other, curling and peaking, shaping the silhouette of the scent with elan and elation. An undulating and creative give and take. Crests of broom absolute roll into noble Iris concrete, blending with voluptuous gardenia and orange blossom absolute… and a touch of jasmine blossom honey. It is a fragrance of elevation – though the highest peak of the island is only 150 metres (about 500 feet) above sea level, its geology is stunning – in the depths of the Enchanted Grottos of its southern region, the rocks tell the story of the past’s passionate embrace between the South American and African continents.
Its mystery remains. Ilha do Mel does not intend to reveal all its secrets. Much like the alchemy of love, Ilha do Mel is inexplicable. What matters lies elsewhere; one should relish the journey through its rolling landscape, breathe its lingering trail with delight, while the ingredients reverberate its innermost self. Traveling without roads, without bearings, you are invited to lose yourself, to let the way unfold.
The olfactory pyramid of this luxurious perfume contains: Oil of mandarin, hyacinth accord, oil of juniper, broom flower absolute, gardenia accord, iris concrete, jasmine absolute, orange blossom absolute, vetiver, oil of vanilla, musk.
Available from www.memofragrances.com and Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge London. £175 for 75 ml