An Exercise In Contrasts – Review: Bogue Profumo MAAI

By Michael

Until relatively recently I felt that exciting releases were relatively few and far between.

While the five hundredth variation on synthetic oud and pseudo Middle Eastern perfume is pushed onto the market there are exciting houses like Vero Profumo and Bogue Profumo taking classic themes and pushing them to the edge and beyond. These are not perfumers releasing endless micro variations. Their releases so far have been bold and exciting and not just an intellectual exercise or art perfume, no, the perfumes actually smell good. Amazing.

Bogue Logo

I first came to learn of Bogue when the now famous (or is that infamous? Editor’s Note: I’m quite sure it’s infamous!) Cookie Queen Val sent me a sample of Bogue’s original Cologne Reloaded.

Over the course of a few wears I fell in love this amazing birchy cologne, so with the first of Antonio’s offerings firmly under my skin I eagerly anticipated the release of another. Soon after, I was reading all sorts of wonderful comments about another more animalic addition to the Bogue fragrance family and I simply had to try it.

Enter MAAI.

MAAI is the latest offering from Bogue Profumo the Italian niche brand of Antonio Gardoni.


I will admit I was scared of reviewing MAAI. What if I didn’t like it?

I need not have worried.

I not only like it, I love it.

I love it so much that reviewing MAAI now sets a different challenge.

When I really love a fragrance I don’t want to pull it apart. I just want to shut down the analytical part of my brain and enjoy the smell. Sure, there is this note and that note and they present in this way and that but ultimately this smells unique. It smells like MAAI.

MAAI includes notes of aldehydes, tuberose, rose, jasmine, resins, musk and civet.

Perhaps the best way to describe MAAI is animalic forest undergrowth.
There you are sniffing your way through some stinky moss and *whack* you’re slapped across the face with a healthy dose of shaving cream.

It remind me of one of my all time favourite fragrances YSL’s Kouros and like the mighty K, MAAI smells like a barbershop fragrance mixed with an old school animalic chypre. It’s an amazing combination.

MAAI simultaneously smells clean and dirty.

Fresh and lived-in.

Sanitised and human.

The contrasts continue with the fleshy florals smelling brand new one moment then ready to decay the next. They are almost decaying. The petals are drooping and the flowers are ready to fall.

MAAI smells classic and modern.

I must admit that I’m not entirely sure I would have realised MAAI was a modern fragrance if sniffed blind. Well not at first anyway. It could easily pass for a classic chypre from early 20th century or a barbershop fragrance of the 70s/80s.
This is the most appealing aspect of what Antonio has accomplished with this fragrance.
Instead of simply creating an old fashioned fragrance with modern materials he has captured the essence of the old while keeping the whole modern and original.

Antonio Gardoni

Antonio Gardoni

So what are you waiting for?
This is an absolute must try for fans of barbershop fragrances and animalic chypres.

Thanks to Bogue we have 8 samples of MAAI to give away.

Giveaway rules:
This giveaway is open to all readers worldwide. To enter you must leave a comment on this post about your favorite chypre or barbershop perfume and the reason why you think MAAI would be great for you.

The giveaway is open for one week, the winners will be determined by and posted on the blog.

Good luck!


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Jasmine, Musk, Rose, Tuberose and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to An Exercise In Contrasts – Review: Bogue Profumo MAAI

  1. cookie queen says:

    I’ll take that as a compliment. Maii is just fabulous and I hope to have a bottle of the stuff by the end of next week. Spot on review. xxx

  2. Ana says:

    Hi there Michael!I have tried Maai already but I will shamelessly enter the giveaway as I need more time with this fragrance.At times I’m completely in love with it and at times I simply am baffled by it.Haven’t managed to make up my mind with one sample. My favorite chypres,from what I tested or own so far are Chypre Palatin, Chypre Mousse,Mitsouko and Rochas Femme.Thank you and Antonio Gordoni for the wonderful draw.

  3. Sandra says:

    Hi Michael. This one sounds very interesting. I have yet to find a chypre that I can wear happily.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Do I infer this stinky moss and shaving cream combo might also be suitable for women? Not sure it sounds too appealing to me, but I am not a chypre lover for the most part.

    • Michael says:

      Absolutely Vanessa. The chypre tendencies and tuberose make it decidedly unisex.

    • Ana says:

      And overall, I think that it’s definitely softer that the notes might imply,the drydown especially is bliss,very comfortable and sensual.The smell reminds me of the little soft cubes of amber you can buy in the esoteric shops.I love those,I dissolve them in my massage oil mixes.

  5. Tara says:

    A good contrast in a fragrance can really make it interesting and hold your attention. I like forest undergrowth aromas but not sure how I’d get on with the animalic/barbershop aspects. Either way, it’s nice to hear about someone creating innovative perfumes that are also good to wear. That’s what I love about Vero’s work.

  6. Your writing is refreshing. And this sounds very appealing – I adore Kouros.

  7. Connie says:

    I’m not sure how anyone could resist a description like ‘animalic forest undergrowth’. My favorite chypre is the classic Mitsouko, preferable vintage formulation. Please do enter me!

  8. Tina G says:

    Hi Michael – I’ve had my eye on Bogue Profumo only for a short time but they sound like a great crowd – your placing of the “clean and dirty” aspect of MAAI sounds like it would be worth checking out. And “tuberose, rose, jasmine, resins, musk and civet”… um, tick on all the above! So I’d love to enter the draw. Fave Chypres would be Muscs Koublai Khan by SL, and the spicy rose fragrances Pink Quartz (Olivier Durbano) and Lithium (nu-be). For fougeres – I do like Fahrenheit, it’s a classic, and I did enjoy Absinthe by Aftelier.
    Tina x

  9. Cynthia Mc says:

    Dear Michael, I just love your descriptions. “…animalic forest undergrowth.” “Clean and dirty.” Fragrances that contrast and change are so much more interesting and enjoyable to wear. And of course chypres always make me smile one of those slow, satisfied, smiles. A few of my favorites are The Noir & Bergamote (Accord Parfait), Encre Noire and Aventus.
    Please do enter me in the draw.

    • Michael says:

      You’re too kind Cynthia 🙂
      Good luck in the draw.
      I haven’t even heard of The Noir & Bergamote but it sounds great. En and Aventus though – I have heard of those!

  10. Scotty says:

    Hey Michael – reminiscent of Kouros? Sign me up! I love the clean/dirty, funky yet fresh tension of Kouros. Pick a favourite Chypre?!? Ok, a tie…between Azuree, Knowing, Givenchy III, Halston Couture and Madame Rochas ( although I don’t know if that last one counts….)
    Great review 🙂

  11. Joaquim says:

    My favorite chypre is Chypre Mousse by Oriza L. Legrand, but in my mother’s skin, in me is just a cacophonic, bitter bunch of leaves, violet and leather, but in my mother smells glorious, a fairy forest full of little and magic flowers growing from moss and the most beautiful leather, all surrounded by mushrooms.
    Shame on me.
    Thank you for the draw!

  12. hajusuuri says:

    My favorite chypres are Chypre Mousse and Chypre Palatin. I usually avoid animalic fragrances so I am curious to try this!

  13. nemo says:

    I love smelling like forest undergrowth 🙂 That said, I am not entirely sure I have a favorite chypre or barbershop perfume. I think one of the chypres I most enjoy is Serge Lutens MKK, but I didn’t know it was a chypre until I read the comments for this post. I am very curious to branch out and try this, no pun intended!

  14. klmnoperfumes says:

    I’d love a chance at this! This sounds awesome. I’d like it because Bogue Profumo is a new brand to me—I haven’t had a chance to sample any of their scents, yet. Off the top of my head, I’d say my favorite barbershop scent is Antico Caruso by Profumum.

  15. sugandaraja says:

    The only barbershop fragrance that really captivated me is a recent love – Parfums Retro Grand Cuir. I’m quite in love with it, a big, tarry Cuir de Russie with a fresh, soapy, lavender top that makes it an ideal barbershop fragrance in my opinion.

    • Michael says:

      sugandaraja from Basenotes?
      I really must try Parfums Retro Grand Cuir,, I’ve read so many positive comments and your love for it makes me even more curious 🙂

  16. ladywinther says:

    Dearest Michael ❤ (whom I do not know, so feel the flutter of eyelashes and imagine my sticky-sweet smile :D) . My favourite chypre is Amouage Jubilation 25, and you should give me a chance to try Maai because I'm desperate to try it, and because May ( which is pronounced almost like Maai) is my birth month.

  17. Michael says:

    Well, um, hi there ladywinther with the fluttery eyelashes! It’s a pleasure to meet you 😀
    No doubt you should try MAAI if you love Jubilation. Best of luck in the draw.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s