Suzanna reviews two India inspired fragrances
Neela Vermeire is an Indian perfume lover living in Paris whose “creative partner” is none other than perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, king of the travel-themed fragrance. The Neela Vermeire Creations line consists of four fragrances themed around different periods of Indian history: Mohur, Trayee, Bombay Bling, and Ashoka. I’ve already reviewed Mohur, and today I will talk about Trayee and Bombay Bling.
After Mohur, my favorite was Trayee, a fragrance inspired by the Vedic era that uses notes of Ayurvedic medicine and religious rituals. Trayee is a smoky perfume featuring a stunning incense note. Also in there is a “ganja accord” that I will call “green bud” for those who might recognize it, and a sense-awakening jolt of ginger, cinnamon, and clove at the top. Here and there, Trayee reminded me of black tea leaves (this is not listed) steeped plain, without sugar.
The oud note is mild enough to keep me happy (I’m generally not a fan), while the myrrh, vetiver, and oakmoss provide enough friction to start a small fire near the base, and one that kept burning at a low smolder throughout. As a fan of incense fragrances I can only add the word “swoon” to this description. The spice notes at the top are a sure hook. Trayee was both energizing and contemplative and I felt positively detoxified while wearing it. Yes, that’s a big thumbs-up.
Bombay Bling, meant to encapsulate all that is lively and colorful about modern-day India, is a giant sound wave of fruit and flowers. It’s a Bollywood dance in a bottle, swirling its notes around an insistent drumbeat of patchouli. Vermeire didn’t have to hunt far to make this modern perfume; after all, these notes are in constant rotation elsewhere, but it is what she does with them that is different. The mango, the black currant, the lemony cardamom, and the cumin are forces unleashed upon a bouquet of rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and gardenia. If this sounds explosive and sweet, it is.
Despite the long list of notes I smelled mostly frangipani and jasmine and that weirdly wonderful bitter mango note in the top. No whiff of the rotten occurs as it does with other, pulpier mango scents. This one is green and tart to offset the raucous bloom of the core. I didn’t even think about a base until much, much later, when a hint of vanilla showed up against one of those cedar notes that have in their constitution a hint of ripe cheese, a trait shared with the gardenia. It was everything I expected it to be and then some. It’s as audacious a scent as I’ve smelled recently, and, given what it celebrates, it makes perfect sense to have it cranked up to eleven.
Of the three I’ve tried, Trayee wore closest to the skin and is the one I would pick if I only had $260 to pay for 55 ml of scent. Let’s make no bones about that price: It’s eye-popping. On the other hand, the perfumes score highly on all points–luscious ingredients, memorable stories, and artful compositions.
Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee and Bombay Bling are available from Luckyscent or directly from neelavermeire.com.
Top image: Indian actress Aishwarya Rai in Umrao Jaan (2006).
Sample: Neela Vermeire