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Montecristo (Delphine Thierry for Masque Milano)

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Article written and published in CaFleureBon. Finalist in the PerfumedPlume Awards.

Collage by dana including Montechristo by Masque Milano. Photo of Le Chabanais interior; Toulouse Lautrec drawing

The moans they’d spent, the time they’d took,

The money paid for every nook

Of every girl, or boy, or spook

In Madam’s Book.

(The Ledger of Le Chabanais- poem fragment by dana for Masque Milano)

Picture of Le Chabanais dame and selfie by dana; quote by Maupassant. Collage by dana for Montecristo by Masque Milano

Jan 23- J.M. de V. came drunk again, asking for Viola. She was full, but I made him wait and wait he did, the puppet, lost as he is in her buxom. Wept again for her to milk and then release herself on him, and that may be all he gets should his wife stay as barren and trodden as the kalderimi in Montparnasse. Can’t help but imagine him smell like the Missus under Viola’s waters- like some old, grey, cold, sour, wet, sobbing stone.

Paid 20 fr.

Photo of Le Chabanais interior; Toulouse Lautrec drawing. Collage by dana for Montechristo by Masque Milano

Feb 2- Had an improbable encounter last night. Girls were washing up, only Geena and Ruxi up to revive the procter’s appetite save he goes home inert again. I was lodging the evening and it must have been around 4 (note to self to add more Nubian beauties- when fevrier is this slow, only they can fire up the business), when I heard some fumbling in the alley.

Daye mumbled something about dogs but then opened up the door--and in came le chevalier, mounted like a horse, tied in a harness made to his own rotund measure. He was accompanied by a sylphide who looked very much like my beloved Marlene (another note to self- make sure she visits before Remarque finishes his novel- otherwise, she’s off with him). They brought a third, red and shiny like a candle, half- naked and tied in leather strings, oiled thick with incense and the brightest set of teeth I’ve ever seen on a man! I set them out in the Japanese room with champagne, rope, soap, sinew and branches of birch, as demanded. Didn’t know how hard it is to find birches in Paris in February.

The procter and le Chevalier don’t get along and since that article in “L’Indiscret” they don’t want to cross paths with anyone. Hence neither paid. CHARGE EXTRA

Photo and art treatment by dana for Montecristo by Masque Milano. Quote by Maupassant

Mar 8- this week we’re closed amid many a protests. Cleaning house and in need of closer looks to:

  • the prince’s copper bath. All that champagne and smoking made it cloudy, and Albert does not enjoy a cloudy bath. Needs a good polishing as much as I do. (Maybe B can do us both. Of all my past gypsies, it’s this one’s eyes that got me… and his singing, and his man-horse smell under all the leather, much as he washes it in herbs and salts)

  • girls’ toilettes. Nobody from Jockey Club wants to see washbasins- we need to modernize. I have an Inspecteur de Salubrite coming to assess the left wing and see what can be done.

  • the Moorish room- Guy’s men are already here to sketch, so I’ll have Lautrec paint No. 14 while they’re all camping. I can’t afford any more stalling… although the nights, much as they’re thick with smoke, are so homey I sometimes forget of the Polissons et galipettes.

Note to self: order new ledger.

Montecristo by Masque Milano. Photo and art by dana

Montecristo doesn’t start and it doesn’t quite finish, either, in any way sensible to what we know a fragrance to be. Built like a brick and equally head-smashing, it arouses sentiments at once irresistible and appalling to all who’ve submitted to the common law.

The opening, as it often goes with uncommon goods, is brash and strong and vastly intimidating: burnt coals and melted wicks, flint and Phosphorus, and vapors of booze so tight you can easily guess the massive repetition in indulgence. What follows is equally lived-in: smoked-out heavy curtains, hardwood furniture polished by many an elbow, and, above all, the sweet and unmistakable smell of groins, moans and sweat, unabashedly glorious and shamelessly treading the line between la belle epoque and the most progressive current in perfumery today.

The last layer to join in is the liveliest leather I know, lustered and warm and worn so often and intimately it’s like a second skin... and so it hums: symbolistic, surgical, and as lethal as a Madam’s ledger.

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