Anya’s Garden Temple : Perfume Review

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Fragrance of the orange
Flowering at last in June
Wafts through the summer night
The memory of scented sleeves
Of someone long ago.
Kokinshu III:139 Anonymous , from collection of Japanese poetry compiled in the 10th century AD

Fragrances that can make one fall deep into a daydream are to be cherished, particularly because they are rare. Over the past week, I found myself dabbing Temple on my wrists and pushing aside my fragrance chemistry papers.  Instead I was reaching for anthologies of Japanese poetry and I knew that I had found my potion. Temple made me wonder if the scented sleeves of the poem were perfumed with kyara/agarwood incense; it made me remember a visit to the Mahalakshmi shrine in Mumbai where incense offered to the goddess was then distributed among the worshippers; it made me yearn for a perfume souk in Damascus where one can still find fine aged oud beside the knockoffs of Hugo Boss. All of this in a drop of perfume… If that is not special, I do not know what is.

Temple is an all-natural fragrance created by Anya McCoy of Anya’s Garden. The addictive citrusy juiciness of Temple’s top note belies its smoldering, voluptuous character, which becomes apparent almost immediately. The sonorous ambery-woody accord is marked by gourmand sweetness, which is balanced well against the dramatic richness of oud. In fact, the marvel of Temple on a purely technical level lies in its ability to weave quite a luminous tapestry out of particularly heavy, dense materials. The contrast between citrus and woods is delightful, while a touch of mitti attar distilled from baked Indian clay lends the composition a haunting, earthy facet.

Certainly Temple is not for everyone, since natural oud is a challenging and dramatic note.  Temple relies on its richness, but it does not compromise its character. That is precisely the reason why I find Temple so compelling, especially when compared to many timid oud fragrances in the niche market. Even minute quantities of the fragrance are enough to provide a reasonably good sillage. Like traditional attars and classical woody oriental fragrances, to which it pays a beautiful tribute, Temple stays close to the skin, creating an intimate veil of scent.

Temple includes notes of orange, borneol crystals, aglaia flower, cassia, Ayurvedic herbs and spices, Laotian and Vietnamese agarwood (oud), and earth tincture. It is available from Anya’s Garden.

Photo: Temple Offering, Goa, India © Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved.

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16 Comments

  • Salwar: Great flowers… realy nice.. December 1, 2010 at 4:43am Reply

  • chayaruchama: What an evocative post !
    Temple is such a profoundly soothing scent…
    You make me feel like I’m in Mumbai 😉 December 1, 2010 at 6:27am Reply

  • Victoria: @Salwar
    Thank you, it was actually at the one of the Christian churches in Goa, but I don’t recall right now which one. December 1, 2010 at 9:52am Reply

  • Victoria: @chayaruchama
    Chaya, ah, thank you! Today we have so much rain that I do indeed feel as if I am in Mumbai during a monsoon season. 🙂 December 1, 2010 at 9:53am Reply

  • Victoria: @allwomenstalk
    It definitely does draw you back. It is such a strong emotional connection. Plus, oud has always been considered sacred in various cultures. I still remember smelling pure oud at Enfleurage in NYC for the first time, it was almost a spiritual experience! December 1, 2010 at 9:55am Reply

  • Vishishta: Thank you for this beautiful and evocative review. I will definitely try Temple! December 1, 2010 at 11:02am Reply

  • Victoria: @Vishishta
    Hope that you will enjoy it too! It is definitely very unusual, with quite a strong character. December 1, 2010 at 12:24pm Reply

  • all women talk: Perfumes are indeed addictive. Just like drugs or alcohol, you keep coming back for more of the fragrance. The elegance and the fashion sense of perfumes really makes them a person’s extravagance and desire. And as for Anya’s Garden, they really did it again this time. Temple will be an addiction to perfume lovers as did Anya’s Garden with its previous scents. It will keep you coming back for more. December 1, 2010 at 8:05am Reply

  • aotearoa: Victoria I am new to commenting on your writing,but have read for some time – so pleased you have been writing regularly again. I adore oud and have never tried any of this particular line – do you have any other suggestions to trial? It sounds quite perfect although I have not found an orange note I can really love as yet.
    Thank you for your beautiful writing which I read with my morning coffe here in New Zealand. December 1, 2010 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: @aotearoa
    Thank you and welcome! I am glad that you are enjoying my pieces.
    A few months ago I wrote a post on different oud fragrances, where I reviewed about 20 different perfumes. I try to update it time to time with more oud fragrances I discover and try. Here it is:
    http://boisdejasmin.typepad.com/_/2010/08/oud-fragrance-note-perfume-reviews.html
    HTH! December 1, 2010 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Marla: Wonderful review! A friend of mine is a big fan of Anya’s fragrances, and once I smelled Temple on her, I had to have it. Your review captured perfectly why I loved this perfume… as you say, “Fragrances that can make one fall deep into a daydream are to be cherished.” December 2, 2010 at 11:14am Reply

  • Victoria: @Marla
    I think that the greatest value of any fragrance is in the emotional connection it forges. I admit that my days are often so hectic that I appreciate more and more anything that makes me want to slow down and daydream. December 2, 2010 at 11:34am Reply

  • Flora: Temple is a truly lovely perfume, and it’s nice to find an oud scent that does not clobber one over the head – not that I object to that, Montale freak that I am – but Temple can be worn in close quarters without offending anyone, and it’s so well-balanced and refined. December 2, 2010 at 6:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: @Flora
    Donna, I also do not object to being clobbered by oud, which is why I love traditional attars. Whenever I go to India or the Middle East, I stock up. Amazingly, although ingredients tends to be similar, different ways in which they are balanced produce different effects.
    I also like Temple, because it manages to weave different references–Middle Eastern, Indian, Japanese, classical tradition–and still be elegant and unique. December 2, 2010 at 6:56pm Reply

  • Sveta: Wasn’t this a limited edition fragrance? I really loved it when I smelled it about a year ago, so seductive, mysterious. Now I want to find my sample badly! December 4, 2010 at 10:13am Reply

  • Victoria: @Sveta
    I believe that Anya made it a part of her permanent collection. December 4, 2010 at 11:45am Reply

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