Pink Elephants on Parade – Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses (2015)

The release of Elephant & Roses by indie perfumer Maria Candida Gentile conjured up such a beautiful image, I knew I would have to explore it. As MCG’s perfumes are not that easy to come by it took me some time and in the meantime I read other reviews. As far as I remember most talked of an animalic rose, so I was wasn’t prepared for the make-up’y powder puff in an old-fashioned green-room that first hit me.circus girls2

I’ve seen people talk of all the things that perfume and elephants makes them associate, for me it’s my first ever visit to the cinema. I can still remember how it felt when Dumbo’s mother was locked away for protecting her little baby elephant with the big ears. Another thing that stayed with me, was the surrealistic sequence of pink elephants singing; “Look out! Look out! Pink elephants on parade. Here they come!” And it is the visual for me when I think of the name Elephant & Roses.

Wearing it, and testing it over the last weeks, the perfume slowly opened up to show many more facets than my initial impression. So for instance the opening thyme makes for a welcome change in the top note repertoire, and is a lovely companion for the pedal point of the vegetal muskiness. The rose is very mild, the greenness hidden in the opening thyme and its softness disguised within the make-up powder. The heart of the perfume feels part rose, iris (not mentioned), hair and a swan down puff. And underlying always the musk. I believe it’s mainly the costus I smell with the hint of ambergris, the costus with its weird and wonderful herbal furry feel. The base sees a little saw-dust woodiness added, but all in all there’s nothing growlingly animalic or wild boar sweaty about it, even the elephant is not in the room, so to speak. The powdery musk feels a little sweet and intimate, politely naughty rather than dirty.

If the ‘animal’ part of Elephant & Roses has scared you off, I’d say it shouldn’t, it’s less zoo, and more the vintage dressing room of a circus princess, and perhaps even not so very far off my first association of the Dumbo circus.

Although I have a few powdery perfumes, nothing comes close to this little number, and its distinctive perfumer’s stamp has made me very curious to try and retry Maria Candida Gentile’s other fragrances.

Do you know her fragrances, and do you have favourites or some you are curious to try?

Feat picture is mine, Dumbo still from film from Walt Disney Productions, circus girls 1930s didn’t have a credit. Sample of Elephant & Roses bought by me.


20 thoughts on “Pink Elephants on Parade – Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses (2015)

  1. i am a huge fan of MCG and have 7 of her fragrances. Her perfumes are so underrated and get nowhere near the attention they deserve. I believe her release BURLESQUE would be right up your street.

    • Hi Chris, oh my, you know me well. Burlesque is wonderful, I have a sample of it too, however the patchouli is just a tiny bit too ‘scratchy’ for me, unfortunately, otherwise I would have ordered a huge bottle straight away.
      I wrote to a perfume friend of mine, that I’m sure the patch with time will turn into a wonderful mellow thing. So basically Burlesque will become a fabulous vintage perfume for me 😀 but perhaps that’s a little far away…

      • Have you tried INCARNATA by Anatole Lebreton ? This one has real classic vintage style to it.

        • That looks very interesting, thanks for the thumbs up Chris, I’ll see where I can find a sample.

        • They all sound pretty spectacular, which was your favourite? Thanks again for alerting me to these 🙂

          • L’eau Scandaleuse was my favourite, but all 4 are very good.

            • I love the name, and ordered the samples 😉

  2. Hi Asali! I don’t believe I’ve tried anything from MCG – but perhaps I should try to get some of her scents in my radar. While this scent doesn’t really sound up my alley (I’m not sure how I feel about powder), I absolutely loooove the name Elephant & Roses. It’s so fun!

    • Hi Sun Mi, it seems not everyone gets the powdery feel, I think on some it comes across way more plain musky with rose, but I thought since I could tell from Fragrantica that I’m not alone feeling a dominant powder, I would add my seven (s)cents to the blogosphere too.
      MCG is a perfumer who has her own voice/ nose and her perfumes are definitely most worthy to be tried. Yes, that name IS great, isn’t it? 🙂

  3. Dear Asali,

    Interesting to use thyme with rose instead of the more usual pepper. It sounds quite interesting as a rose fragrance. Can’t remember to have smelled this combination. Can you? I have MCG Cinabre which is rose with pepper as a top, quite powerfull but from the sound of it, less original.

    • Yes, it is, and it works really well. I saw quite a few people commenting how it was overwhelming, but to me it was pretty discreet and not long lasting anyway. I think I have pepper- fatigue, has it not been used as a niche perfumery top note for every single release over the last 5 years? 😉 forgive me, that just had to get out it seems. However, I will just get my Cinabre sample out, since it’s a rose as well it seems a good place to start (re) exploring 🙂

  4. Hi Asali
    I love the sound of this so much I’m going to check First in Fragrance.
    Elephants were a motif of the retreat so I’m attracted to them in all form now 🙂 “Politely naughty” is just my level of animalic and vintage-style frags are my fave. Would you say your overall impression of this was a powdery green, then?

    • A motif, how fascinating. I’m really curious how you’ll find it, as I said in the other comment, it must wear and come across very differently to different people from the reviews and comments I’ve seen so far. I like that costus ‘musk’, but to me it’s still costus rather than actual ‘musk’, and of the animalic accord described in the notes, I’m not sure I get much, so definitely politely naughty only 🙂 Hm, powdery green… It very much depends how you perceive costus I suppose, because there isn’t that much green in there. But thyme, costus and that tiny bit of vetiver might make it for enough ‘green’ for you.

      • First in Fragrance aren’t stocking it!
        Would you describe it as a powdery musk then? Sorry, I’m just trying to get a handle on it, as you didn’t find it very rosy. I don’t need it be green.
        I found Burlesque was also perceived differently by others so it must be something about her fragrances. Interesting.

        • I’ll send you the rest of my sample, not a lot, but enough to get a feel for it I’m sure 🙂

  5. I laughed at the notion of the elephant not being in the room! I am not familiar with this range at all, although I am fond of elephants. I have a plush one called Delhi, for example – am too old to have enjoyed Dumbo, though. Pink elephants in particular remind me of those plastic ice cubes you put in a drink – preferable an alcoholic one to keep the ‘pink elephant’ theme going!

    Apart from the thyme note, which I am not sure I even like on a chicken, never mind an elephant-themed perfume, I do rather like the sound of this. Like Tara, I am drawn to the ‘politely naughty’, a splendid oxymoron in itself.

    • Ooh and how I love that you appreciate thoses little things. Sometimes in everyday life I forget not all people enjoy those play with words, it then lands rather heavily on the ground, elephant-like almost, one would be tempted to say.
      However, Dumbo is from 1941, so I hope you were not too old to have watched it back then :-D. It must have been a sort of re-release I saw.
      Haha, to the thyme note. Well, perhaps Tara will spare you a sniff when I send it her way, and the way these cocktail-perfume trails keep meeting, I truly must get to London soon to join you for exactly that, pink elephants or not.

  6. I’m totally unfamiliar with this brans (I will try it one day!), but I wanted to comment on your post because of your associations 🙂 (and I waited long enough for others to comment on the perfume itself, so I hope I’m not disrupting your review)

    First, I want to say that I’ve watched that Pink Elephants on Parade clip for the first time now and was amazed it passed as a cartoon for kids: it’s such a psychedelic scene! It could have easily be made in late 60s. But, at the same time, I recognize Disney’s hand. And I must say this song sounds much more uplifting than the one I first had in mind when I read your review.

    So, now to that association that I had. In my childhood there was a children movie “Boba and Elephant” about friendship between a 5 years old boy Boba and an elephant in the Zoo where Boba’s mom worked. It wasn’t the best or the most loved movie but there was a song in it that became famous and was performed often both by adult singers and by children chorus. You can listen to 15-20 seconds of the song (and see the culmination scene of the movie) here. I didn’t find any good English translation of that song, so just in short, not trying to keep it versed:

    There was a pink elephant living in the wild. He was a cheerful and well-respected fella. But one day everything had changed when he got caught by a hunter and placed into a Zoo. On that overcast day his skin turned to normal elephant grey and other animals (probably a bit of schadenfreude involved) were laughing at him because of that, which didn’t angry him but made him sad.

    (an this point the narrative ends and the last couplet is done in the first person)

    My dear Elephant, don’t be upset: I know that you’re pink! Maybe, while dreaming, you’ve just leaned against a grey wall and it have rubbed off on you? Sometimes life brings us rainy days but there will be a sunny dawn, which will make your skin rose-pink again.

    I should say that even as a child I wasn’t cheered up much by these motivational words. As an adult, I know why: nobody promised to return him his freedom 😉 Now you see why I like your association better?

    • Dear Undina,
      Just for another time, I love to hear associated stories about anything related, not just perfume, so do feel free to comment anytime, nomatter what it is you feel like saying 🙂
      Secondly, THANK you for taking such trouble to translate this text. It feels like this whole text sums up the film perhaps even better than the film itself, and it is easy to see why it became popular and also why it struck a nerve in the former Sovjet. Perhaps it would be too daring a move to set the elephant free? I feel like you just from reading the text, that it’s a sad story indeed.
      The surrealist parade came after Fantasia, so it was probably inspired by it.I think it’s an amazing scene, one of those things that made early Disney films so special. And I hate to say it, but Dumbo might become the star of the circus, but he is never set free either, just free to fulfill his potential. Funny how each of these films seem to hit the core of the society they were created in.

      • I don’t think it was even a thought that the elephant would want to leave the Zoo (other than in the search for the boy whom he missed) and go back to wilderness! 😉
        It’s a very interesting observation about the Dumbo’s fate and differences in the nature of “social contracts” depicted by these two creations for kids.

Comments are closed.