‘My perfumes are rooms to discover with mood, texture, light and colour..’
Any new perfumed composition from Bogue Profumo and Maestro Antonio Gardoni feels like the revelation of a secret architectural project. This echoes Antonio’s profession as the founder of Studio AG, an architecture and design studio in Brescia, Italy where he grew up and went to university.
The origins of Bogue Profumo are steeped in alchemical chiaroscuro. Antonio originally came across a cache of vintage perfumery bases and musty formulations in the basement of an Italian property thanks to a tip off from an antique dealer. These redolent juices had assumed a whiff of dank time and darkness. Antonio nurtured them and experimented with the addition of modern elements, honing and editing the results to create a baseline of olfactive oddity.
As someone who conceptualises and visualises space, Antonio’s journey and approach to perfume is a little unorthodox to some. His perfumes obey few rules and yet have a powerful dowager brutalism. His signature is written in the dust of that original rooty, cellar-caged manipulation of tooth and clawed floral disturbance. He is a dangerous perfumer, giving us unexpected frictions and beauty, albeit in the dark and blindfolded.
The main body of his work has a fecund gaminess that emanates from his particular use of materials such as civet, castoreum, amber and indoles. Blended with swooning erotic florals and claustrophobic herbs the Gardoni perfumed way is a one of whispered perversions in fading light.
Bogue odours smell transgressive. Antonio is an artistic polymath. The rooms he mentions at the start of this piece are tenebrous though, this is not comfortable perfumery, it shocks, even appals a little and is all the better for it. It smells ancient, buried, something Antonio has found and offered up to us from damp chthonic depths. In some ways he has. Bogue’s original cache of forty perfumer’s preparations was the starting point for a sombre and detailed journey into understanding the very nature of how natural materials worked. I was very intrigued to read an interview where he discussed a method called ‘tree deconstruction’ whereby he believes a tree smells a certain way because it is the sum of its aromatic parts. In his lab, Antonio recreates ‘a tree’, rebuilding it using specific percentage distillations of roots, branches, leaves, berries and bark in order to achieve the desired aroma.
Bogue includes O/E, LiTA, 10, MEM and the claustrophobic sexually charged atmospherics of MAAI, a massively beautiful perfume. The scent of brothels and abandoned caves, mouldering monasteries and vampiric bedchambers. There is a certain sensual horror at being overwhelmingly attracted to such a dank and animalic reek, but then one just smiles, applies liberally and waits for the world to end.
Antonio is someone who needs to probe at edges and darkness. He is fascinated by personal environment and how we inhabit it, either through physicality, objectivity and olfaction. He is a deliberate and obsessive man, seeking finite detail in everything he does.
There is a feral, defiant signature written boldly across the work. His perfumes smell transgressive in their complexity. Like the strange desires associated with meeting someone who annoys you but also desire. Sometimes a fast love is perfect, but deeper bonds and convoluted appetites are engendered by things that initially disturb us.
AM Dec 2022