Oud: 23 posts

Penhaligon’s Vaara : Perfume Review

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A perfume fit for a Maharaja, says Penhaligon’s about Vaara, a fragrance inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodphur in Rajasthan. This state in the northwest of India means “the land of kings,” and it’s renowned for its colorful textiles, filigreed palaces and majestic forts. It’s also the place where you can buy opium scented incense (whether or not it includes the actual drug is another matter) and try the decadently rich milk shakes perfumed with pistachios, almonds and saffron. Like most of India, it’s a sensory roller coaster.

penhaligons-vaara-perfume

So, why is Vaara such a wallflower? Etro has already tried to take us to Rajasthan with its recent fragrance, but the violet and rose combination never got past the South of France. Despite its promises, Vaara doesn’t even cross the Channel. It’s soft spoken and mild, a perfume for someone who really doesn’t like orientals or anything richer than frozen yogurt.

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Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling and Trayee : Perfume Reviews

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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, TrayeeBombay Bling, and Ashoka. I’ve already reviewed Mohur, and today I will talk about Trayee and Bombay Bling.

Umrao-Jaan

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.

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Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme : Perfume Review

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I find endlessly fascinating the “stories” created around perfumes; the one concocted for Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme is briefer than many but is still dramatic:  “She turned the dial until the safe opened, revealing the diamond. She had stolen jewels before, but none compared with this one. She left a single rose and the scent of her perfume in its place for him to find. In a moment she’d be halfway around the world and he would be in pursuit. The chase began again…”

rose-anonyme

More useful for someone wondering whether he or she might enjoy the fragrance is a sentence about “a breathtaking seductress caught in a stolen affair between light and dark.”  Forget the seductress and go right to the light and dark part.  This isn’t fiction.  Rose Anonyme contains mostly dark elements that can easily topple a less carefully considered fragrance. But it’s so smoothly blended that the perfume feels like something that one slides into rather than something one sprays on.

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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.

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Aftelier Perfumes Sepia : Fragrance Review

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Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel created Sepia out of an exchange with fellow California perfumer Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio.  This, the third installment of Nathan Branch’s Letters to a Fellow Perfumer project, involved each of the perfumers working with a material they had not used before.  Erickson chose black and blue hemlock spruce absolutes for a perfume that became Forest Walk.

Aftel originally selected natural alpha ionone (a violet-like smell) and a fire tree absolute for an idea she had to depict her feelings about California’s Gold Country and its ghost towns, of “the beauty of what remains after something is ravaged by time.”  Shortly into the project, Aftel abandoned both of these original materials, replacing them with flowering tobacco absolute and blond cedarwood and from this built her fragrant tone poem of both an imaginary past and a present reality.

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