Jean Patou Sira des Indes : Perfume Reviews

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Aishwaryadevdas

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Aside from the siren call of novelty, Sira des Indes was to be eagerly anticipated, if only for the Jean Patou tradition. Jean Patou fragrances, from the breathtakingly perfect marriage of jasmine and rose de mai in Joy to the osmanthus bejeweled animalic richness of 1000, exhibit a kind of statuesque and confident beauty that is rarely encountered. Even En Joy, despite its compromises with the dominant fruity-floral trends and unfortunate powdery sweetness, delights with the delicate balance of its floral heart.

High expectations or not, I certainly could not have foreseen that Sira des Indes would be dominated by transparent and sweet pear notes before melting into the gourmand drydown of slightly balsamic vanilla, musk and amber. …

It is definitely not a pink and sheer fruity-floral; however, like En Joy, it does not avoid falling under the spell of the trend for gourmand orientals. Whether following the trend is a good or a bad thing might depend on one’s view. The loftier my impression of a perfume house, the more expectations I have that it will offer unusual and novel compositions rather than being influenced by what already exists on the market. Sira des Indes straddles the line between novelty and trendiness, with results that may satisfy neither those who seek daring nor those who crave the familiar.

This is not to say that Sira des Indes lacks beautiful facets. Indeed, its assertive animalic leitmotif separates the composition from the rest of the gourmand perfumes popular at the moment. Sira des Indes weaves in a surprising cured tea leaf note of magnolia champaca into its sweet fruity accord, while the animalic notes heighten the sensual aspect, vividly evoking a tropical opulence where some flowers bloom while others decay. The voluptuous vanillic sweetness of the drydown recalls Julye, a fragrance made by the talented Jean Michel Duriez, the in-house Jean Patou nose, as an example of his bespoke perfumery. Yet, while in Julye, the rich vanilla is balanced by leather, Sira des Indes amplifies the sweetness with amber and musk. I feel that it is as close to a vision of India as the cinematic confections of Bollywood starring Aishwarya Rai are to a reflection of Indian social trends. In other words, not very, but both are highly appealing.  Sira des Indes is a remarkably crafted creation by Duriez, and even if I wished that it would have embarked upon a more daring and unpredictable course, its beauty cannot be denied.

Sira des Indes includes notes of magnolia champaca, banana accord, bergamot, pear, red berries, cardamom, musk, amber, vanilla and sandalwood. As I mentioned earlier, the name refers to the South Indian dessert of cream of wheat, butter and sugar, which is usually served with banana slices on the side. It is also a tribute to Sita, the loyal queen from the epic Ramayana and the Sari. It is already available at Saks5thAvenue, and soon Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Sephora will carry the fragrance.

Photo: Aishwarya Rai, Indian actress and model, still from “Devdas.”  aishwaryaraiworld.com

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25 Comments

  • Katie: You know, I’m still curious about this one, even after reading your post and how sweet it is. Of course, I don’t shy away from pear notes as a general rule – I’ve experienced pear as something that works really well in the right balance. Thus it’s one of those things where I don’t blame the note, I blame the composition if it doesn’t work. It sounds like perhaps it is one of those that may be either a love it or hate it scent? All in all, I’d still rather give Julye a whack than this, however… perhaps that is my own idiosyncratic snobbery at work there.

    (P.S. If I had ever had a little girl, Sita was one of two names I would have picked. She’s one of my favorite literary heroines really, though of course, she is not “literary” to those who aren’t irreligious like myself.) March 1, 2006 at 1:09am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, when I was growing up, “Sita aur Gita,” a Bollywood film starring Hema Malini in a duo role of twins was all the rage. There were a number of girls I knew who were named Sita (or Gita). Ramayana is a fascinating epic, and while I say that Bollywood is not reflective of contemporary social trends, the films, especially the classics, contain many social messages–about the role of a wife, aboud one’s duties, one’s connection to the community. Raj Kapoor’s films are, of course, intensely socialist, hence their appeal to the Soviet regime. Can you tell that I am a huge Bollywood fan?

    As for Sira des Indes, it is a bit too pretty and sweet, but it is not unsophisticated and nicely done. I just wish that the sweetness were not so pronounced and that it took further into the daring direction. Of course, suffi ka halwa, the dessert inspiring Sira des Indes, is very sweet, and a few tablespoons are enough to satisfy my cravings. March 1, 2006 at 1:17am Reply

  • Judith: Well, it sounds worth sniffing but probably not worth buying. I am more interested in your remarks on Julye (leather gets me every time), though extreme sweetness tends not to work for me. Did you like this one? And how available is it? Enough questions; I hope your work went well-jave a great day! March 1, 2006 at 8:05am Reply

  • Marina: You make a great point saying that when a fragrance walks the line between novelty and trendiness, it becomes unsatisfactory both to those who are looking for novelty and to those who want the trendy. Still, I am curious to try Sira des Indes, even though it has a pear note, which is one of the notes that just don’t work on me.
    Aishwarya Rai is gorgeous! 🙂 March 1, 2006 at 8:35am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, Julye is not available at all. You can try it at the store, if they still have a tester, but that is it. It is leather and vanilla combination, very beautiful, but certainly on a sweet side. Sira des Indes contains some of that accord, although overall it is much more gourmand. March 1, 2006 at 10:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, that is usually the case, isn’t it? As for Aishwarya Rai, she is stunning, and I cannot agree more with you. March 1, 2006 at 10:57am Reply

  • Robin: I was very much put off by the sweetness when I smelled it on a card. Will have to put on skin soon, but banana & pear are not my favorite notes. March 1, 2006 at 11:16am Reply

  • helg: We must restrain you somehow! You make even notes I don’t like seem luscious and appealing. Poor wallet…..LOL

    Hugs! March 1, 2006 at 11:21am Reply

  • Elaine: Thank you for this wonderful site. I refer to your reveiws often as I research things to try or purchase.

    Joy was my first perfume when I first started working after college. I did not know very much about fragrance (still don’t, but I’m learning), but as a teenager I always dreamed of having it. It was the lure of it being expensive, unattainable , and therefore beautiful.

    Now that I’m reading your (and other) websites about fragrance I can begin to enjoy the many dimensions of fragrance that go beyond that type of selection.

    Sweet fragrances smell great to me on test strips, or for the first minute or so when I test them, then they don’t agree with me.

    I will test Joy again, though, next time I’m out and see what I think after all(!) these years since I’ve worn it.

    Thanks again for your very enjoyable website. March 1, 2006 at 12:32pm Reply

  • N: I read your review with great interest dear V! I do not get any pear note more banana – in fact I passed the Patou boutique today and retested both the EdP and the parfum.
    Also – luckily for me – Sira is not too sweet. The extrait is gorgeous and the sandalwood comes out more thank in the EdP – but I must admit that I enjoy this creation. 🙂 The body lotion is even sweeter so don’t try that! I will be getting a bottle. March 1, 2006 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Tara: I had the good fortune of sampling this a few days ago and I loved it! This will definitely be a purchase for me. But of course, I like sweet scents. However it was not overly sweet on me, more fresh and lightly fruity. I did not get any overt pear or banana notes, just an overall fresh fruity smell along with the vanilla sweetness of the base. I will probably get the lotion as well as it didn’t last very long on me. I believe I tested the edt. March 1, 2006 at 1:50pm Reply

  • Laura: Oh, I’m disappointed. I was so looking forward to trying this. I will still try it, of course. Maybe, like Neela, I won’t get an overly sweet feeling from it! Many of the notes are ones I like. We’ll see ;D. March 1, 2006 at 1:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, the more I wear it, the more convinced I become that there is nothing particular about it that I do not like. I was hoping for something more daring, I suppose. March 1, 2006 at 2:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: E, it is a lovely fragrance, that is beyond any doubt. I would certainly recommend trying it. March 1, 2006 at 2:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elaine, thank you very much for your nice words. I am glad that you are enjoying my reviews and finding them helpful. I love many of Jean Patou fragrances, but Joy in the extrait de parfum is my favourite. I highly recommend revisiting it. I have to say that I do not like the EDP version as much, either the EDT (it dries down as a rich jasmine mist on my skin) or the parfum (more dominated by rose de mai). March 1, 2006 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, I guess that it is the fact that Sira des Indes takes the road of fruity gourmand. The composition itself is lovely, but yes, it is too sweet for my tastes. I am sure those with more tolerance for fruity sweetness will not mind it as much. That being said, I envision that my bottle will be used from time to time. And I also want to try the parfum. Patou’s parfum versions are always superior. March 1, 2006 at 2:11pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Great review and gorgeous picture of Ms. Rai. She is stunningly beautiful! I saw her in Bride and Prejudice and thought she was wonderful. The whole movie was wonderful!

    I will definitely test this one.

    Hugs! March 1, 2006 at 2:14pm Reply

  • marchlion: I am, I guess, one of those rare fans of pear in perfume! But the overall sweetness sounds a bit much. And the banana… that worries me. I was happy to read your comments — you are so diplomatic, I ended your review wondering, but did she *like* it? 🙂 I can see how you were disappointed. However, it is something I need to try. Does the animalic aspect remain present? (That entices me.) March 1, 2006 at 4:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara, I think that it is pretty, and the level of sweetness is not unlike Delices de Cartier, which was incidentally a fragrance that I find disappointing. Encountering yet another fruity and gourmand composition cannot excite me anymore, but I admit that Sira des Indes is nicely done and will gather many fans. March 1, 2006 at 5:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I think that if you did not find En Joy too sweet, you will not mind the sweetness in Sira des Indes. I love the top notes of En Joy, but the drydown is too powdery. Here, the entire composition is much more interesting overall. March 1, 2006 at 5:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, Aishwarya Rai is simply stunning. I would watch her in anything! I also liked Bride and Prejudice, although I think that Devdas and Taal (and other of her Bollywood films) are much more interesting. March 1, 2006 at 5:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, the animalic aspect is present throughout. Strangely enough, this facet is almost fecal, which is rather interesting in conjunction with the florals. I am not trying to be diplomatic, but rather this is a reflection of what I think about Sira des Indes: I do not dislike it, and I would say that it is a pretty, well-crafted fragrance. My bottle will get plenty of use. March 1, 2006 at 6:03pm Reply

  • Joytika: Hmmm, this sounds like a very interesting scent. I wish I knew where I could find a tester to try it out in the suburbs… March 12, 2006 at 5:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I am not sure where you live, but you might want to call your local Saks or Neimans. They should have it. March 12, 2006 at 6:27pm Reply

  • Nutmom: I still enjoy my bottle of Sira des Indes, in 2013 & it is one of my favorites! There is something about it that reminds me of one of my all time favorites “Spellbound” by EL.
    On me, it’s spicier than sweet. I own the EDP.
    Over the years my preferences have changed with hormonal shifts of pregnancy, etcetera … and now I’m coming back to old favorites / although Youth Dew is still pretty heavy to me & I think Opium is just too familiar after over a decade of daily wear … Now, I enjoy rotating fragrances, daily & seasonally – and mixing 2! November 17, 2013 at 2:15am Reply

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