Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur : Perfume Review

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Neela Vermeire Mohur is a modern interpretation of a classical theme in Middle Eastern perfumery—the combination of rose with oud. It is one of a debut trio from the Neela Vermeire Creations line.  Ms. Vermeire is an Indian woman living in Paris who weaves the heritage of her native country around personal history to create perfume narratives.

Mohur takes its name from a gold coin minted during the Mogul era in Indian history. It is influenced by the story of the empress Nur Jahan, who not-so-secretly became the power behind the throne of her opium-addicted second husband.  After her husband’s death, Nur Jahan took up the art of perfumery while under what amounted to a house arrest.  Although the perfumes Nur Jahan created are lost to history, the story is not and it is this that Neela Vermeire has taken as inspiration.

The list of Mohur’s notes only begins to hint at the complexity of this perfume:  cardamom, coriander, ambrette, carrot, black pepper, elemi, Turkish rose oil, jasmine, orris, hawthorn, almond milk accord, leather, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, oudh Palao from Laos, benzoin, vanilla, tonka bean. I give them all here because of the element of surprise—pastry?—that keeps Mohur entertaining.

At base level, Mohur is a floral oud with a leathery base.  That is the departure point for this excursion through a deep, shadowy rose/oud central accord that is hallmark to many Arabian fragrances, although lacking the assertively pungent nature of true Arabian attars.  From the notes, Mohur sounded monumental, a veritable Taj Majal of showpiece ingredients, so its lived-in texture and subtle nuances surprised me.  I have tried attars that were unreachable in their fungal qualities, so strange to my Western nose but so common in the Arabian market. It has taken me a few years to appreciate oud and how wonderfully well the note can be used to anchor a composition.

Oud appears immediately in Mohur’s development, but it’s a gently medicinal, woody oud that gives the sense of  wandering through a tour of a centuries-old palace whose furniture and floors still give rise to the scent of aged, polished wood and whose walls have absorbed the scent of a thousand bouquets of roses.  Mohur engages the wearer in powder, leather, wood, rose and what is described as an “Indian pastry” accord featuring carrot, almond milk, coriander, and cumin.  Of these, the coriander is most apparent as it embarks on a leisurely course around the powdery orris and oud. Hints of black pepper and elemi pop up every now and again as little surprises, but the overall impression is of dried rose petals and mellow wood that has been rubbed to a high patina.

Mohur settles gently into its middle stage, where the Indian pastry suddenly appears as a delectable mirage that vanishes as soon as you put a name to the carrot that has been soaked in an almond milk.  The pastry sounds incongruous and perhaps even too quirky for its own good, but it works.  The almond milk further softens the fungal oud and eventually makes the rose into an even creamier one.

While oud might seem overplayed in recent years, Mohur shows that there is still room for a cleverly executed oud fragrance.  Mohur becomes a plump and lightly soapy skin scent several hours into its wear, revealing at this stage mostly rose that has been macerated in the almond milk meant for the pastry.  Its longevity is impressive and its elegant drydown is—there is no other word for it—regal.  It’s also the most distinctive rose scent to come along in ages, and well worth exploration by rose lovers.  The price is itself regal.  I know of nothing else like it, though, so I must approach it with financial caution that will probably be overridden by lust.

Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur is available from Luckyscent or directly from neelavermeire.com.

Photography by Sukanto Debnath, via flickr.com, some rights reserved.

Sample: Neela Vermeire

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45 Comments

  • Christy C: I thought I didn’t like Mohur much when I first tried it–probably because of the oud note. However, I have been sampling quite a number of rose perfumes lately, and this is the _only_ one of those recently sampled that I keep going back to and really wanting to wear. It is now one of my very favorites! I find it extremely compelling, and it makes me feel much, much more sophisticated than I really am 😉 October 30, 2012 at 8:24am Reply

    • Suzanna: I agree. I had to revisit Mohur for the purpose of this review and for writing about rose perfumes, and it really stunned me with how original and sophisticated it is. October 30, 2012 at 9:11am Reply

  • Portia: This is my favourite Neela Vermeire Creation by far and I feel like an Empress when I wear it. YUMMY!
    Portia xx October 30, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

    • Suzanna: I also adore Trayee since I love the spices used. To be honest, if the price were lower I would buy both of them. October 30, 2012 at 10:16am Reply

      • Christy C: I’d get Mohur and Bombay Bling. I need to wear Trayee a few more times. The, uh, accord-one-really-really-shouldn’t-wear-in-the-office (and especially not the police station!), was fairly pronounced on me for a while the first time! Otherwise I loved it, though! October 30, 2012 at 10:58am Reply

        • Suzanna: I had no trouble with that accord, but I like earthy, vegetal smells in general. October 30, 2012 at 12:15pm Reply

  • rosarita: I enjoyed reading the story of Mohur on the Neela Vermeire website and it does sound wonderful. All three of her perfumes sound wonderful, so much so that I’m kind of scared to try them. How’s the sillage and longevity of Mohur, Susanna? Have you sampled NV’s other perfumes? A five star rating from you points to a must try, and after reading your review I’m now left craving an almond croissant. This blog is getting dangerous. October 30, 2012 at 9:52am Reply

    • Suzanna: rosarita, there will be another post about the other perfumes. I like them all. The lasting power is outstanding and the sillage is just right (I do not like a huge blast, however).

      As far as not wanting to try something because of the price, I’ve found that I am beyond that now. It comes with sampling a lot. There are many perfumes I like that I cannot afford, and the NV’s are on that list. If it were only one thing, it would be different. And I have a ton of bottles here that I adore!

      Still, here comes the Big Enable: Try it! October 30, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

      • rosarita: I am sure to get some samples. Trayee, on paper, could be my dream perfume, and I can’t get enough of dark roses. October 30, 2012 at 5:24pm Reply

        • Suzanna: I have a mere drop of Trayee left, and I’m not using it. The spice mix is incredible, the best I’ve encountered. If only this were half the price, I’d snap it up and spray away. Another huge winner. October 30, 2012 at 6:00pm Reply

          • debra_b: Ah, if it were half the price, it would not be the scent that has everyone so smitten! Love your review above, as usual you are very discerning. I just had to chime in to defend Trayee (my favorite) and NVC scents in general. The chief reason they are so wonderful and so distinct from the mass of releases is that Neela allowed – encouraged! – a lavish hand with natural essences. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. November 2, 2012 at 12:40am Reply

            • Suzanna: Debra, I don’t personally feel price has anything to do with whether I like a scent or not. I’m not speaking for everyone on here by any means.

              No need to defend Trayee. I think it’s fantastic and it is considered in a separate review to be published later! November 2, 2012 at 7:36am Reply

  • Ninamar: Not my favorite rose/oud, though very good; actually in feeling it reminds me a bit of Ta’if, especially in the softer development, and I admit to prefer the latter. By the way, all three perfumes by the line are excellent. October 30, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Suzanna: Ninamar, I found Ta’if sweeter, from the date note. I love both of these fragrances. October 30, 2012 at 10:20am Reply

  • OperaFan: Mohur is definitely a beauty. Like you, I wasn’t particularly keen on the first try, but became quite taken the second time around – especially when I found the rose. I still need to wear it a few times before deciding on its value of return on investment, but definitely worth considering. Thanks for the review! October 30, 2012 at 10:15am Reply

    • Suzanna: OperaFan, yes, you have to find that rose under the oud. It does need to be worn a few times. I wish I had a few more drops! October 30, 2012 at 10:20am Reply

  • Zaggora Girl: This is an amazing fragrance, we absolutely love it! Is it your favorite Neela Vermeire Creation’s perfume then? 🙂 October 30, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

    • Suzanna: Mohur and Trayee are my favorites. October 30, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

      • Zaggora Girl: We love Mohur too its smells amazing! 🙂 Do you like sweet smelling fragrances, or stronger ones? 🙂 November 1, 2012 at 10:07am Reply

        • Suzanna: Zaggora Girl, I like both! 🙂 November 1, 2012 at 10:11am Reply

  • cryptic: Thank you for a lovely review of one of my faves! I get a tea note out of the opening of Mohur, which is probably just a testament to the power of suggestion, as the promotional material talks about polo matches and tea parties, lol.

    This is one of the few oud fragrances I enjoy. Oud and I simply don’t get along, and I’ve found that in most oud/rose combos, rose plays a wan second fiddle to Bactine, er, oud. Not here, though. Hats off to Neela and Bertrand! October 30, 2012 at 2:51pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Cryptic, Bactine would be an improvement over what many ouds smell like on me! I don’t notice that impression at all in Mohur!

      Tea note–I can see what you mean, it’s like black tea and lemon note if you translate it that way. Unsweetened, of course. October 30, 2012 at 4:48pm Reply

    • rosarita: I totally get the bactine in oud, although that would be an improvement over bandaids soaked in turpentine that overpowers sometimes. October 30, 2012 at 5:28pm Reply

      • Suzanna: Very colorful description, rosarita! October 30, 2012 at 5:58pm Reply

      • Victoria: What a great description! And yes, I also see that. Most of Montale ouds smell this way to me. October 30, 2012 at 6:11pm Reply

        • Daisy: I agree about the Montale’s. Band-Aids! October 31, 2012 at 6:45pm Reply

      • cryptic: My husband has a pretty average nose. One day, I was testing Montale Black Oud when he walked in and said, “Oh no! Did the dog get skunked again?” Which leads me to believe that oud will never be a big seller in the US. October 30, 2012 at 8:12pm Reply

        • Suzanna: LOL! And yet, watch as it works its way as note-du-jour into mainstream releases.

          When Black Oud was first released, I had a decant and loved it (go figure). But then a friend bought a decant based upon my rec and said, in essence, Are you nuts?

          I moved onto the White variation immediately. October 30, 2012 at 11:49pm Reply

  • Undina: I like Mohur. It’s my least favorite out of the trio but I still think it’s very nice. October 30, 2012 at 6:55pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Undina, last night I used up my Bombay Bling sample and I realized how it had grown on me. They are exceptional fragrances. October 30, 2012 at 11:48pm Reply

  • Poodle: I love Trayee and Mohur really grew on me. I’d love a bottle of either one or both but the price is definitely a bit out of my comfort zone. Mohur takes a few tries to appreciate I think. Once my nose started to figure it out I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist. Someday maybe I’ll treat myself to a decant. October 30, 2012 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Poodle, that is exactly how I felt. Now I love Mohur and I would not turn down a bottle should one become…affordable. October 30, 2012 at 11:47pm Reply

  • Carla: It is my favorite of the three. The other two are also beautiful, but this is the most timeless and complex. I love interesting roses. I would buy it if I could afford. I’m hankering for a whiff right now. Gorgeous. October 31, 2012 at 3:11pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Carla,sometimes a whiff is all we get! November 1, 2012 at 9:28am Reply

  • Kandice: Hi everyone!

    I may have missed where this has already been posted, but Neela Vermiere has a website with an e-boutique where you can buy two sizes of sample sets of her three fragrances. The prices are very reasonable, and shipment seems to be worldwide. Her website is www dot neelavermeire dot com.

    Hope this makes her perfumes more accessible. I know I’m looking forward to trying them. October 31, 2012 at 4:54pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Thanks, Kandice! I’m glad you contributed this information. I hadn’t realized that. November 1, 2012 at 9:29am Reply

  • Daisy: A Neela Vermeire Discovery Set is on the Xmas wishlist. Can’t wait to smell them, particularly Mohur. October 31, 2012 at 6:46pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I hope you love them, Daisy! November 1, 2012 at 9:30am Reply

  • mridula: After getting a sample of Mohur from lucky scent and feeling quite besotted I took the plunge and ordered the discovery set which is 10 ml of the three perfumes – Trayee, Mohur and Bombay Bling. I think the full bottle of 55 ml is much more expensive per ml than the discovery set. The discovery set is comparable to other niche perfumes and not entirely un-affordable. I also became a fan on face book and noticed some special offers have been posted on that page in the past. Free sample set with discovery set etc.

    And I’m so glad you gave Mohur 5 stars. I’ve not experienced a perfume with such a quality of finish, of notes in such harmony they promote harmony in the wearer. December 2, 2012 at 3:40am Reply

    • Suzanna: This is wonderful to hear, mridula, and the info about the sample sets is certainly something that potential buyers might want to know. December 2, 2012 at 8:53am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: What a beautiful inspiration and perfume! So far I never had such a physical reaction to smelling a perfume. There was a feeling of ecstasy going through me and I was close to crying. I take back my words that I don’t like opulent perfumes. If opulence smells like this, then I’m all for opulence! Bertrand Duchaufour really seems to know how to hit all the right spots for me. His Paestum Rose
    charmed me but then Mohur totally blew me away though I can detect some similarities between the two. Should try smelling them side by side. Like Neela Vermeire, I wish I could create perfumes based on Korean culture and history one day. January 24, 2014 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: I really hope that you’ll do that some day, because there are so many unique, distinctive scents in Korea, from various teas to fruit, to incense. Including my elusive pine pollen. 🙂 January 24, 2014 at 2:31pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: 🙂 I’ll find it for you! One of my favourite scents of all times is the scent of mugwort. It’s the scent of spring for me and I love it in soups and rice cakes. And some of the traditional herbal medicines smell so good that I wish I could wear them as perfumes.

        It looks like you’ll be busy during the next weeks. I wish you all the best with your work and safe travelling. And thank you for all the work you put into maintaining this fabulous blog. January 24, 2014 at 3:47pm Reply

        • Victoria: The first time I tried Korean rice cakes with mugworth, I eat the whole lot in one sitting. I can’t even explain what makes this flavor so addictive–bittersweet, herbal, green, nutty. Jujube is another beautiful flavor.

          Thank you very much! 🙂 January 24, 2014 at 4:46pm Reply

  • Surbhi: The dry down smells so much better to me than first 30 minutes or so. Very powdery/ soapy first up.

    Smells very similar to ostara to me after couple of hours. May 26, 2016 at 10:53pm Reply

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