The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Sultan Pasha Attars: Aurum d’Anghkhor & Irisoir

sultan-pashaI often wondered if being a perfumer only requires a purely scientific skill, like that of a chemist; or if a perfumer holds an innate ability or talent that can be developed and nourished.  I have seen quite of few upstart perfumers who begin their journey with a love of perfume, who then decide to create their own perfumes which then turn out to smell exactly like a scientific experiment; an incongruous mix of ingredients with an end result of a perfume that smells like it was conceived in a lab.  That makes me wonder if being a perfumer requires an ability that can’t be measured by science, but of which comes from within; like an artist.

I had heard a great deal of buzz about a perfumer from Britain who had created some attars that were unique and beautiful.  Kafkaesque had written much about perfumer Sultan Pasha and his creations  and I have seen many exchanges on the perfume feeds in Facebook.  Always wary of trends, I didn’t rush out to find out more about these attars.  And I have to admit, when I hear the word “attar,” I automatically think of heavy ouds.  The wonderful Esperanza introduced me to Sultan Pasha and I will be the first to admit that this “trend” is well deserved.  I received a sampling of 27 of his attars…with not one in the 27 being anything but incredible.  These perfumes have a soul and it makes me believe that you can’t just be a chemist to create incredible perfumes, you have to a god given talent.

Of course, with 27 perfumes, I can’t sing praise on each of them, but will speak to two of my favorites:

Aurum d’Anghkhor

WHAT I SMELL:  Aurum d’Anghkhor goes on my skin with a deep, warm honey and cream, that unfolds with a ripe rose.  It’s so beautifully weighted and almost gourmand.  In short time, an orange blossom, tobacco honey seems to swirl around the rose, which has become a bit decayed with a slight hay like consistency.    The rose is incredibly contained, as it feels like it could burst brightly at any minute, but instead the surrounding notes keep it under guard in the most beautiful prison.  The perfume remains captured in this timeless state for quite some time where the rose,  warmed and rapturous, is wrapped in a cocoon of labdanum and the purest sandalwood.  Aurum d’Anghkhor isn’t a carefree rose, instead, there’s something rather melancholic about it as if it holds an incredible secret.  As the perfume continues to develop, it begins to grow and expand and what was melancholic is now grand and majestic.  Still controlled, the perfume starts to emit this confident golden radiance as if projected like rays from the sun.

Top Notes: Saffron Oil, Jasminum Auriculatum absolute, Persian Rose Otto

Middle Notes: Bulgarian Damascena Absolute, Honey Absolute, orange blossom, Henna, tobacco,

Base Notes: EnsarOud’s Encens D’Angkhor, Beeswax, Hand Macerated Ambergris, Hand Made Shamama(aged sandalwood, 30yr old patchouli, henna, labdanum, Siamese benzoin, musk) raw Persian and Spanish Saffron Strands maceration, Siamese benzoin resinoid, Labdanum, tobacco absolute and Mysore sandalwood

enchanted-roseWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast; kept as a beautiful prisoner until love can set it free.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE AURUM D’ANGHKHOR:  knowing, mysterious, careworn

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AURUM D’ANGHKHOR: Kafkaseque, Take One Thing Off

Irisoir

WHAT I SMELL:  When Irisoir first goes on my skin it feels as if it’s devouring me with its warm and buttery floral cream.  The perfume feels like the most exquisite elixir worthy of any princess or queen.  I can envision a small bowl of this pure heaven being rubbed all over the living deity.  I’m not going to try to pick apart the notes of this magnificent beauty because doing so would be futile and would not provide any justice to it.  Suffice it to say, this perfume has bewitched me.  When I think of iris, I tend to think “cool” and “aloof.”  Here, mixed with other florals it’s warm and caressing.  As the perfume continues to develop it begins to dry and the buttery opening moves to a more deep and radiant amber and sandalwood.  There’s also a slight medicinal smell, which may be the mimosa.  But don’t worry, this is one medicine you will have no problem taking.  Beyond gorgeous.

Top Notes: Iris absolute, violet absolute, heliotrope, lilac, mimosa, peach,

Middle Notes: Orris Pallida butter, carnation absolute, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute, Persian rose Otto, violet leaf absolute,

Base Notes: White Ambergris, mimosa absolute,Tonka absolute, sandalwood Mysore, Cedar, Haitian Vetiver, Orris Pallida butter

Irisoir is my ode, my homage to iris of the yesteryear, from my favourite period of European art and culture… La Belle Epoque.

From the outset, one is greeted with the rooty notes of the finest Florentine iris and violet. Slowly revealing a honeyed fruity woody core with a deft touch of spice, just to tease ones senses with something extraordinary rather than the mundane and lacklustre examples of this genre that one is accustomed to.

This is a composition that even took me by total surprise as it revealed countless facets of the usually shy and timid iris, and now you shall be able to experience them with me! Be prepared for a journey back in time…” – Sultan Pasha

moses-in-a-basket-by-konstanti-f-02015_02_04_23_03_08-0WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Irisoir is less Belle Epoque to me, but instead it makes me think of when the pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in the bulrushes.  She is beautiful, warm and comforting, yet very regal and royal.  The sun and earth shine brightly on the baby Moses and the royal princess.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE IRISOIR:  ancient, majestic, other-wordly

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IRISOIR:  None to be found.

BOTTOM LINE:  It’s clear that Sultan Pasha has an incredible gift for perfumery.  These creations are beyond spectacular and solidify my thoughts on perfumery as an art form.  As these are attars, a little goes a long way, but the way these beauties unfold is a magnificent experience and one that I can say that I was lucky enough to witness.  Beyond the two perfumes, some of my other favorites in the collection are Thebes 1 and Encens Chypre.  Trust me, there’s something for everyone in this collection.


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New Release: Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele

rahele“Rahele (traveller) is the newest fragrance, an ode to exotic travel, an olfactory journey in the company of 17th Century French visitors to the East.”

WHAT I SMELL:  Rahele quietly opens soft but very luxurious, with a dewy green and velvety violet, tinged with the lightest of citrus and spice.  There’s an incredible warmth that immediately draws you in.  Soon after opening, a cinnamon note moves forward making a nice balance between the florals and the lightly exotic spice.  After a few more minutes, a demure, but noticeable osmanthus comes forward.  At this point the perfume feels like a still life painting filled with the most delicate of flowers and fruit.  As the perfume continues to develop it begins to powder and dry.   Even with a projecting powder, Rahele remains incredibly subdued and meticulously blended, where no particular note stands out, but is perfection in the sum of its parts.  In the end, the lightest of leather topped by a layer of oakmoss makes this a sublime ode to French perfumery.

Notes from the Neele Vermeire Creations website:

Top Notes:  Green Mandarine, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Violet Leaf Absolute 

Heart Notes:  Osmanthus Absolute, Rose Absolute, Magnolia, Jasmine Absolute, Iris, Violet

Base Notes:  Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Leather 

17th-century-wigsWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: What I envision a 17th Century powdered wig to smell like.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RAHELE:  powdery, proper, engaging

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RAHELE:  Megan in Sainte Maxime, AustralianPerfumeJunkies, CaFleureBon

BOTTOM LINE:  Rahele strays from the exotic flourishes of the other Neela Vermeire Creation perfumes in the collection, although not completely.  Rahele is all about classic french perfume and as I am a huge fan of the classics…I have to say that this might be my favorite in the collection.  But that’s like stating which of your children is your favorite…it can’t be done.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Woody Musk
  • Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $235 for 60 ml eau de parfum.


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New Release: Lubin Kismet

lubinkismet“Folly!” That’s how the elderly owner of the Lubin Perfume House, Monsieur Paul Prot, described the elephant-shaped perfume bottle that had appeared on his desk. It had been designed for a princess who was believed to be Indian, and so Lubin perfumers had consulted the writings of the famous Indian poet Valmiki. In his work, Valmiki paid homage to Woman by comparing her to the animal believed to be the noblest of all — the elephant. This seemed altogether odd to a well-mannered Frenchman in the early Roaring Twenties. But as for Kismet, the Eastern princess for whom this new perfume was intended, well, she liked it.

kismet-original

An original Kismet Baccarat bottle.

The beautiful Ottoman spy actually laughed when she saw the small crystal bottle of perfume that had been made especially for her. It featured a brightly decorated elephant, alluding to the verse of Valmiki’s Ramayana. Spiritual and multilingual, Kismet cultivated the mystery surrounding her background. She reigned over the Parisian parties of the Roaring Twenties for a time, then one day slipped away, never to be seen again. All that remained was the memory of her intoxicating scent — the scent of the perfume that Lubin had created for her.

Kismet was created in 1921 only to disappear in infamy like many other classic perfumes of the early 20th century.  Thankfully, Kismet once again is available through a modern interpretation.  Is it still worthy of a princess?

WHAT I SMELL:  Kismet unfolds gracefully with a warm, sweet, velvety smooth  citrus that quickly melds into a wonderful vanilla infused rose.  It’s soft and dreamy and it feels like it’s full of quiet whispers.  As the perfume develops, the focus remains on the warmed rose and the labdanum and vanilla, but the projection grows.  Never shouting, Kismet instead weaves a spell with the lightest of opoponax to let you know that it’s veil of beauty surrounds you at every turn.  Kismet is a mystery from the very start, slow to progress, the perfume moves quietly through its intepritive dance, mesmerizing you with every flourish.  Kismet is magic.

From the Lubin website:

Top notes are bergamot, lemon and petitgrain; middle notes are rose de mai, bulgarian rose and patchouli; base notes are labdanum, opoponax and bourbon vanilla.

salome1

Nazimova as Salomé, Salomé 1923.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Salomé’s Dance of the Seven Veils.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE KISMET: seductive, warm, inviting

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT KISMET: Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  Incredibly lovely, the opening is similar to Shalimar, but as it develops, it becomes a softer and more cashmere in its feel.  The vanilla, rose and labdanum mix together like a dream that unfolds while you’re awake.  Kismet is easily full bottle worthy.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Nose: Thomas Fontaine
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $186 for 100 ml eau de parfum.

Sample provided by Arielle Shoshana.  Opinion my own.