Gallivant Bukhara : Perfume Review


Gallivant is an indie perfume house that wants to make us travel via its scents. Its journeys have previously included well-trodden places such as London, Amsterdam and Istanbul, but however popular the destination might have been, the route was anything but. Gallivant’s creator,  Nick Steward, likes to surprise, and all of his compositions treat their journeys as adventures. Bukhara is easily my favorite for its originality and intriguing complexity.

Let me say that nothing is easier for a perfumer than to take a city on the Silk Road as inspiration and load the composition with enough amber to break a camel’s back. Steward didn’t do that. He worked with perfumer Ralf Schwieger to create a fragrance that is radiant, luminous and modern. It has warm, dark elements, but they’re woven as seamlessly into the composition as the complementary colors of Bukhara’s famous blue mosaics.

Bukhara is an iris fragrance: suave, misty, elegant. The first impression is of radiant green notes caressed by the iris’s classical powderiness. If you like iris, you know that pale grey-turning-pale blue effect that it evokes, but if you are new to this note and are afraid of powder, rest assured that it’s merely a soft accent. Delicate spices brighten up the effect, without altering the beautiful radiance set from the very start.

With time Bukhara becomes darker, evoking to me the incredible blues that are everywhere in Uzbekistan. The shade of blue is deep but vivid, and walking around the city, you instantly recognize the original old mosaics for their unique luminosity. The drydown of the fragrance is woody and musky, and it evokes the feeling of suede. Iris has a natural soft leather facet, and it becomes pronounced as the composition develops.

How does Bukhara compare to the famous iris perfumes? It’s darker and spicier than Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist and more iris-focused than Chanel No 19. It’s also bolder and more long-lasting than Chanel 28 La Pausa.

Steward visited Bukhara shortly after I made my journey, so it was exciting to find familiar elements in his fragrance. While I don’t know when I will visit Bukhara next, I can always travel there in my imagination.

Gallivant Bukhara includes coriander, caraway, bergamot, pear, iris, clove, jasmine, apricot, saffron, benzoin, musk, amber, and woods.



  • Sandra: Ciao!
    Happy Lunar New Year and Valentines Day
    So nice to see you back to your perfume reviews V!
    This sounds very beautiful and I love iris.
    How is the longevity and projection? February 12, 2021 at 8:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy Lunar New Year to you too! The longevity is pretty good, I get decent 8-10h out of it. February 12, 2021 at 9:34am Reply

  • Gretchen: Oh, this sounds delightful. I like iris, but don’t love it. Yet this one really intrigues me…off to sample. The Iris Silver Mist always seems like I’d enjoy it but it just washes out. So far the only iris I like is Orris Noir and this one may convert me to the iris lover group February 12, 2021 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Bukhara is softer than Orris Noir, and less balsamic and sweet. If you feel that ISM is too pale, then Bukhara might be a good option. February 12, 2021 at 9:35am Reply

  • Filomena: Victoria, thanks for this review!
    I love iris notes in perfume. I have a
    Gallivant sample kit and will have to check Bukhara out again.
    r February 12, 2021 at 10:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I’d be curious to hear what you think. February 12, 2021 at 11:06am Reply

  • Shelly: Thanks for this review, Victoria, you captured ny imagination. I love Iris and like the sound of the composition, I am looking to treat myself for my birthday next week so I am going to give it a try. Have a great weekend February 12, 2021 at 11:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think. February 12, 2021 at 12:16pm Reply

      • Shelly: Hi Victoria I received this and thought that you really captured the essence of it in your description. I liked the softness on the drydown , it is very different from any of my other fragrances and a happy addition. February 19, 2021 at 4:23pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m very happy that it’s a worthwhile addition to your collection. February 20, 2021 at 9:19am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Bukhara sounds lovely and i love iris notes so I’ll definitely try to sample it. I love iris with some spicy notes so I look forward to trying Bukhara. Thanks for a great review. February 13, 2021 at 2:53am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re welcome. I like the combination of orris and saffron. February 14, 2021 at 5:18am Reply

  • Peter: Mahalo Victoria, for taking us on another journey. Bukhara sounds like a vacation in a bottle.
    We are lucky to have Doris Duke’s Shangri La, her Islamic fantasy on the foot of Diamond Head. Your beautiful tile photo reminds me of the numerous treasures she collected. February 13, 2021 at 8:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Bukhara and Samarkand both have been restored (some say too much), but you can tell which parts are new and which are old. Either way, definitely worth visiting. February 14, 2021 at 5:19am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Now, Boukhara and Samarkand, those are places I’d love to visit!
    I wonder: In your opinion, as a perfumer, is it a “must” to go visit the place your perfume will be named after? Is a real journey of need? Does it really make a difference? With a palette of olfactory opportunities and a vivid fantasy, might one not travel from home? Perhaps it could be even all the more original?
    I’m thinking of that trip to the Nile of which Jean-Claude Ellena wrote before creating “Un Jardin Sur Le Nil”. Okay, that mango patch popped up. But apart from that?
    On the other hand: You mention those intense blue hues which might not have influenced a juice, had one not been there to witness it? February 14, 2021 at 2:10am Reply

    • Victoria: Not a must, but if you want to capture the atmosphere of the place, it would be a good idea. In the end, it’s your own interpretation and fantasy. I just don’t like stereotypical compositions–an “oriental” city = a heavy oriental perfume, etc.

      Ellena had a wonderful post at Hermès and was able to do this kind of traveling for inspiration. Most of the time, perfumers don’t have this luxury. February 14, 2021 at 5:24am Reply

  • Lathie Poole: I stumbled onto your website by asking a question about sillage and voila! Here you are so I signed up. A favorite memory scent is the original Le de Givenchy. I recently purchased a small amount of “vintage” just to remind me of the wonderful aroma. Do you know anything about this scent in its original formula? Is it available in Europe? February 14, 2021 at 9:58am Reply

    • Victoria: There is a review of Le de Givenchy. Please look it up in the Perfume Reviews section. February 15, 2021 at 1:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Actually, I made a mistake. I’d never reviewed it, only wrote about it in the context of other articles.
      Yes, it’s available, but it smells very different from the original version. Today it is a green floral, as I recall, while the vintage was similar to Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps. February 15, 2021 at 3:20am Reply

  • Carla: This is so exciting, I can’t wait to try it. It’s been a long time since I was interested in a new perfume. Gallivant is a great name and I enjoy nearly all iris perfumes February 15, 2021 at 10:00am Reply

  • Sapphire: It sounds like this could be similar to Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve. February 16, 2021 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Colleen: I wonder how this compares to Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle? February 18, 2021 at 7:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Hmmm, they’re nothing alike, so it’s hard to compare. February 19, 2021 at 12:20am Reply

    • Rashid: Thank you for sharing your review!

      Another composition that would be perfectly appropriate for Bukhara is Terre d’Hermes, in my view. Smelling it reminds me of the fragrant air of the ancient city in the evening, when local women splash water on the ground to cool off the streets and courtyards.

      streets of Bukhara June 3, 2024 at 1:33am Reply

What do you think?

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2024 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy