Elisa on a new perfume from Neela Vermeire Creations.
Neela Vermeire Creations, a small niche line launched in 2012, includes five fragrances so far, all inspired by India and composed by Bertrand Duchaufour. Pichola is the latest release, a white floral inspired by Lake Pichola in the Rajasthan state of India. I’m a white floral lover, and from the great early reviews to the description, the scent sounded enticing: warm, spicy, and complex. But that’s not quite what I experienced.
Pichola opens with a surprising impression of lemongrass – that distinctive sour/herbal/floral note in Southeast Asian curries. There’s no lemongrass listed in the notes; this uncanny effect must arise from a combination of citrus (bergamot, clementine, and neroli) and spices (cardamom and saffron). At first, it’s intriguing; I’ve never smelled a note like this in perfume before.
But the powerfully sharp note of lemongrass (it’s related to citronella) makes the ingredient tricky to cook with, like rosewater – use too much and the dish comes out tasting like perfumed soap. And herein lies my problem with Pichola – though lemongrass is not an “ingredient” here, it nonetheless feels pronounced. It doesn’t help that the centerpiece floral material, orange blossom, can also come off as soapy. As a result, the materials in Pichola, which I don’t doubt are high quality, flatten into a simple association with scented soap, at least for the first hour or so of wear. It’s unfortunate – one feels that there is complexity trapped inside it, like a red wine that hasn’t been breathed properly or is served in the wrong glass.
As it dries down, the soap impression wears off, and I can see the perfume’s intended effect. The creamy woody base is warm but light, a nice finish for a summery fragrance. However, I can’t help feeling that something is missing. Exotic inspiration aside, it mostly smells clean and fresh, rather than lush and heady; I’m not transported anywhere, much less across the globe.
I’ve had a similar problem with the other scents in Vermeire’s collection, finding them often dominated by a single, somewhat unpleasant note – Mohur by a Play-Doh–like almond, Bombay Bling by a cloying, almost medicinal mango. Trayee was my favorite, a successful, layered incense, but Ashoka I actually scrubbed off; its fig and leather combination turned into moldy bread on my skin. It’s possible this line and I just don’t get along. Pichola is not bad, but I personally find it imbalanced, and at these prices I expect something more nuanced.
Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola includes notes of cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, juniper, magnolia, neroli oil, clementine, bergamot, orange blossom absolute, rose absolute, tuberose absolute, sambac jasmine, ylang-ylang, benzoin, sandalwood, driftwood, and vetiver. It’s available from Lucky Scent for $235/60 ml.
A review based on a PR sample