Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino il Volto – “There are no hands / to caress my face.” This is the beginning of a 1948 poem by Father David Maria Turoldo, which the Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli took as the name for a photography series in the early 1960s. It’s these photos that serve as the inspiration for UNUM’s founder and artist Filippo Sorcinelli’s new fragrance. The photos are striking: disarming images of young priests in states of joyous movement, dancing and playing. The fragrance is an olfactory rendering of the stunning imagery, capturing the humanity beneath the black cassocks.
The fragrance opens with a fizzy glow of crackling petitgrain and bergamot, which lifts up to reveal the heart: a breathtaking wall of scent, flawlessly blended cedar with spice, like cinnamon, and clary sage, ylang ylang, and resins. The drydown evokes what we imagine the seminary could have been, its stone walled building resonating with sandalwood, rituals cloaked in incense and benzoin, and the warm puff of tobacco. It transports you into Giacomelli’s photographs of the clergymen smoking cigars – when the rector saw these images, it was the last straw, and Giacomelli was prevented from ever photographing at the seminary again.