I’ve been stalling my review of ‘Mito’, wondering if, with repeated spritzing, I might come up with a different story to tell. Sometimes though, a scent provokes such a vivid olfactory memory that no matter how much you try to associate it with something else, it will always, always take you back in time.
Vero.Profumo ‘Mito’ was the first fragrance sample I ever ordered from Bloom Perfumery. I chose it after reading an awesome review all about Vero Kern and her inspiring work, written by my perfumed mentor The Silver Fox. I should have ordered samples of the whole range but I was just dipping my toe into the world of niche perfume, I didn’t want to seem greedy ordering loads of samples so I just went for ‘Mito’ Eau de Parfum. I spent the whole afternoon after it arrived with my nose glued to my wrist, understanding what I was smelling properly for the first time. I wasn’t expecting to be sent hurtling back through my memories though, to a time before this perfume even existed. ‘Mito’ picked me up by my ankles and planted me firmly in a snapshot that was taken eight years ago, when I first arrived in Devon….
I had just graduated from university, I hadn’t done as well as I should have and I was feeling just a little bit lost about what I was going to do next. Most people in this situation would have gone home, I would have been welcomed by my parents, but I felt like I had something to prove, that I could support myself whether I had a first class degree or not. I was also in love. It seemed like my best option, so I came straight from Cardiff to Exeter and moved in with my boyfriend in his student house.
We had about five weeks to find somewhere else to live, I had no job, no spare money. It was a steep learning curve I can tell you. I managed to get two part time jobs, one of them at Lush. (I can hear some of you thinking “oh god! Here she goes again about that bloody place!” It’s true that I do talk about Lush a lot, but it’s where my interest in perfume started really. And this memory is from when I had just started there, before I left, then came back as a manager and got very burnt out by it all. This is a good memory.)
My lush job was a relief from all the pressure we were under with finding a house at such short notice. I knew that for the length of my four hour shift I could escape into a world of products that I loved and people who were all friendly. I didn’t know anyone in Exeter really so it felt like I’d been accepted into a ready made friendship group. It was also a distraction from the fact that I was supposed to be thinking about a career. My confidence was particularly delicate at that point, I was just grateful to be working somewhere interesting while I tried to figure out what the hell I was doing.
That summer there were some massive thunderstorms with rain that was so heavy it was almost like a monsoon. When it wasn’t raining the air was thick and sweaty. The house we were living in was damp and at night dozens of slugs would somehow get into the kitchen and slime their way across the floor and up the cabinet doors. I also came across a moth as big as a saucer in that kitchen. There was no shower so in the mornings before work I would sit in the bath, listening to the thunder roll around in the sky outside. I was obsessed with a lemongrass and lime scented bath ballistic which I would pop into the water and inhale deeply to try and clear the fog of worry from my mind. Then off I would go to work in the heavy air, skin scented with green citrus.
There is one particular day I remember vividly, my shift was from two until six and there had been a storm brewing all day. In the morning we went to view some flats, then I went off to work while my boyfriend viewed more in the afternoon. I was panicky because we only had five days left before we would be kicked out of the house we were living in and we hadn’t found anything that we could afford. At work I was set the task of replenishing all the bath ballistics, which was a dusty job. The boxes of product all had drifts of fragrant powder at the bottom and I remember making a huge, colourful mess on the stockroom floor. My phone had run out of battery so I had no idea if we’d managed to find a flat that afternoon. As I rushed home in the evening the storm that had been threatening all day finally split the sky open and I was caught in the most torrential rain I have ever experienced. My black ballet pumps were soaked through in seconds and filled with all the dust and soap from the shop they began to foam as I walked. As the rain started saturating my clothes I realised that I was emanating the most fragrant fog, leaving a bright streak in the wet air and a soapy trail behind me.
It was powder from a box of the lemongrass ballistics that I had accidentally covered myself with. In the sultry, muggy evening the smell was incredible, mixed with the heat from my skin as I rushed on home in the downpour, hoping for good news…..
This is where ‘Mito’ transports me every time I wear it. There is such a dazzlingly green and sharp opening that the sensation is fizzy. As with all of Vero’s perfumes, it is difficult to separate and analyse specific notes, ‘Mito’ sparkles and splashes in bright bursts that are at once visual and mouth watering. Although there is no mention of lemongrass in the note listing, the combination of maybe the bergamot, cypress and fleshy magnolia combine to create an effect that is very similar. Combined with that wonderful effervescence the perfume becomes a bright green explosion on the skin.
I find that the lemongrass turns more towards lime as the perfume warms, the fizziness becoming more like sherbet. Another interesting development is Vero’s signature impression of warm skin, slightly salty and lightly powdered. In ‘Onda’ this skin scent is very sexual and fleshy, with a slightly over ripe fruitiness. In ‘Mito’ it is reportedly more subtle. But then I have found ‘Mito’ to be totally different on me to the way that other reviews have described it. I’ve noticed also that it smells almost like another perfume entirely on my friend, who loves it too. On her it is somehow much more controlled and cool. I notice the white florals and the sparkling of champagne bubbles. It is a dappled green stroll through manicured gardens, exactly the image that Vero Kern intended for it. ‘Mito’ is elegant and flowing when my friend wears it and she says it makes her feel extremely sophisticated.
On me ‘Mito’ is sticky lime juice on heated skin, crushed with sherbet and salt in the humid air. It is the first raindrops steaming on hot pavements and the electric hum of a storm filled moment. It has a fluorescent luminosity that feels as if I am wearing a neon sign. ‘Mito’ loses all her class and sophistication on my skin and pulls on her patent heels and lycra for a night on the town. She wears her hair big and her skirt short. She drinks tequila with lime and salt and keeps a lollipop in her purse for the taxi ride home. It also reminds me so vividly of that evening eight years ago in the torrential rain, of that time in my life that was both exciting and terrifying, of being so in love that it acted like a buffer for what could potentially have been a pretty disastrous situation.
I adore ‘Mito’ for all those reasons, and I think that I would have worn it with no fear a few years ago, when I did go out on the town in lycra and heels. I do not feel as if it would suit who I am now. I cannot think of many occasions to wear it because it has some serious sillage and longevity. I am really looking forward to trying the extrait and the Voiles d’Extrait when they are released because I love ‘Mito’s’ character, she just talks a little too loudly for me. Maybe she’ll have a softer voice in her new incarnation, I’ll wait and see. I long to feel comfortable in this perfume.
If you were wondering, that evening I got home, sopping wet, to discover that my boyfriend had found us a little flat, which we went on to live in for three years. The boyfriend is now my husband, proving there really is such a thing as true love.