Could Paolo Tirenzi of Tiziana Terenzi be the most interesting man in the world?
When I first met Paolo Tirenzi I thought I’d be talking to him about the unique Tiziana Terenzi fragrances he creates with his sister, but the first thing Paolo did was invite me to smell a few of the unique oud (oudh) essences he has distilled himself. I was surprised, and honored!
About Paolo Terenzi: Some people collect souvenir spoons, or postcards, but Mr. Terenzi kind of marches to the beat of a different drummer. His collection is wood from all over the world and yes, he distills his own ouds. There are about 15 species of Agarwood (it might be the most expensive wood in the world) and without going into too much detail Agarwood or oudh forms as a reaction to fungal or bacterial attack on the wood, and the resulting resin in the hardwood has a very unique scent. Each is so different, and some take up to 35 years to become the rare essence that Mr. Tirenzi can use in a fragrance. I should mention that I adore ouds!
If that’s not fascinating enough, Paolo also told me that he has sailed across oceans in the very same type of (day sail) boat my parents and I used in Brooklyn New York just for little jaunts in New York Harbor and out to the Rockaways. He has even been brave enough to take his wife and young child on some of the wilder forays!
Paolo learned about scent from his family business, but he also has background in biology, chemistry and law. He went to law school studying Philosophy of Law with a speciality of German philosopher Hegel. He plays a jazz guitar and says he has jammed with famous musicians. He claims that his jazz improvisational skills help him when he is making new Tiziana Terenzi fragrances!
Mr. Paolo Terenzi really could be the most interesting man in the world, or if not the most interesting, at least he is one of them!
About Tiziana Terenzi:
The first Tiziana Terenzi fragrance was created in 2012 and the newest was made in 2016, but this luxurious family owned Italian company began in 1968 by Paolo and Tiziana’s father Evelino Terenzi, a high end the candle line inspired by Evelino’s father Guglielmo who with his wife Luigia Mancini, began an artisinal candle business in the family home.
Fast forward to the current day, and Evelino Terenzi’s children, Tiziana and Paolo are now the owners of the brand. Daughter Tiziana Terenzi is the designer and son Paolo Terenzi is the nose and the president of company. The House of Tiziana Terenzi, known for its scented candles (they make them for other company too, such as Parfums de Marly). The fragrances are more than just decorative scents, they have “stories” that focus on capturing a moment, an emotion, and also have to do with Paolo’s “fascination with fire.” It’s complicated to explain, so without getting too deeply into the psyche, the ones with “black soul” are in black wood containers and the ones with White Soul are in gold containers.
These are not your average fruity florals you’ll find in a department store. They are a fragrance lovers delight and a collector’s dream. Believe it or not, I sniffed them all. A lot of the earlier fragrances are very intense, sensual, woody, incense-y, spicy and very exciting! But the newer fragrances veer away from the ouds and more into fresher, lighter scents. I loved almost all of them, but in truth the one that I really adore is Ecstasy Extrait De Parfum ($145.00 100 ml.) This is the first fragrance Paolo and Tiziana crafted in the Tiziana Terenzi line, an homage to their father when he passed. The fragrance hits you fiercely, with top notes of frankincense, plus jasmine, sandalwood, white flowers bakur and oud. Paolo says that the initial scent is meant to be a shock, like the loss of his father, but almost like the stages of grief, as the scent dries down, it softens.
New to the Tiziana Terenzi line for 2016:
New for this year are Al Contrario and Kirke. Al Contrario is a gourmand fragrance, with top notes of ebony wood, cacao pods, and stone powder, a heart of vanilla, orchids and tonka beans, and base notes of sandalwood, cane sugar, benzoin and hazelnut. The “story” around Al Contrario is that is is about travel and the return from a journey. There’s that moment of nostalgia for the good time and memories you’ve just had and left behind, but the sense of unease upon return about what might await. However, as you get closer to home the familiar appears and you feel welcome again, at home.” The scent is glad in the square dark wood box (so a black soul, I guess). It’s very long lasting and while gourmand and sweet, not sugary.
Kirke starts with top notes of Passion Fruit, Peach and Raspberry, plus cassis, pear and warm sand. There’s a heart of lily of the valley and a bottom of heliotropine, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli and musk. The story about Kirke is that it is an enchanting place south of Rome that’s now a Natural Park, immersed among the enormous sand dunes that face the sea and uninhabited mountains that are surrounded by opulent forests and woods. Framing the area is the most flourishing Mediterranean scrub ever seen that holds traces of the great men and women who lived here in the past. Walking along the ancient paths means being immersed in the sinuous scents and resounding recollections in memory, like a mermaid’s song or the melody that the goddess Circe used to attract her victims, which we learned about in the Odyssey by Ulysses. Kirke is a sensual and warm fragrance that can “transport the soul to the beauties of the senses.” It’s a pretty fragrance, and yet still quite unusual — you aren’t going to smell this on every other person you meet.
I should mention that the candles, an item that started the family business, are large and impressive. Nestled into Black and White votives with gold accents are handmae, toxin-free, food-grade vegetable wax candles with wood wicks, made in Italy. Each candles has a burn time of about 50 hours.
Fragrances like this are not found on every department store shelf, but you can find them in places like Barney New York and online at Barneys