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Dolce Amalfi (Miroslav Perkov for Xerjoff Casamorati)

Article written for, and first published, in CaFleureBon.

Cycle 1. Creative direction and digital editing by a_nose_knows for Xerjoff Dolce Amalfi.

Come the first day of spring, and there she was: our French teacher, riding a bicycle.

No, it was not like in some someone-in-Paris photo, all romantic and cinematically translucent; in fact, most of the visual memories I have from my post-communist childhood are rather drab, and generally somber—EXCEPT for that one day, every spring, when our French teacher clumsily took onto her rickety bike. It was a sight to be seen, that: she was a lollie of a human, head always in the clouds, wobbling about, lost in her skirts,her hat flapping.

I used to think she was painfully unaware of her own spectaculous apparition; as the years passed, I am wanting to believe she did, and chose to ride anyway--and, for all the laughters, I now thank her, while in my head I have her photos, played stiffly in the memory diorama: French teacher biking downtown; French teacher riding in Paris; French teacher riding on the Amalfi Coast.

Cycle 2. Photo ©Herz/Getty Images. Creative direction and digital editing by a_nose_knows for Xerjoff Dolce Amalfi.

For every bike, there’s somewhere been a dreamer, and for every wheel, a turn of heart. There’s no biking without kid-ness and no ride without succumbing to the happiness of having no choice but to be ridiculous. Let’s face it, nothing is genteel or graceful about straddling some pipes; but rarely has something been more universal, more accepted, and more fun than a bike.

Cycle 3. Creative direction and digital editing by a_nose_knows for Xerjoff Dolce Amalfi.

Did you know…

  • That John Keats, derided the bicycle as the “nothing of the day”?

  • The first steerable, two-wheeled contraption was created by a German baron named Karl von Drais in 1817, and took the names of “velocipede,” “hobby-horse,” “draisine” and “running machine”... because it did not have pedals.

  • Starting in the 1860s, several different French inventors (Pierre Lallement, Pierre Michaux and Ernest Michaux) developed better models, with pedals attached to the front wheel—these were the first machines to be called “bicycles” (also “boneshakers”, due to their raucous rides).

  • For a short period in the Edwardian era, the so-called “Turkish trousers” became fashionable as a riding gear… for the ladies, thus free at last from their corsets and petticoats.

  • In many countries around the globe, May is—quite appropriately, if I may say so—the designated month for cyclists.

Cycle 4. Self-portrait of dana in Italy. Creative direction and digital editing by a_nose_knows for Xerjoff Dolce Amalfi.

Dolce Amalfi continues my spring-summery series of agrumated happy scents with a warm-spicy version of a citrus, relaxed, a bit spacy, and very comforting. (Yes, I am keenly aware that hesperidic notes are nowhere to be found in the official description-- but a nose is a nose and mine is filled, from the beginning, with many and all sweet citrus, blended effortlessly into an ambery base via tea spices).

Nothing about Dolce Amalfi will scandalize the traditionalists; equally so, nothing about it will stall the adventurers, either: the opening is extremely juicy but dignified, the development-intimate and natural, and the wearing-mature and settled, happy-melancholic, and of a leisurely disposition. Like a summer memory; like a breeze on a languorous day; like a bike ride along the shore.

Free at last.

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