The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.

L’eau de Shah Jahan and L’eau de Mumtaz-I Mahal by the House of Haute Perfumerie Nicolas de Barry


MahalJahanIn honor of the love that inspired one of the most beautiful structures in the world, the Taj Mahal; perfumer Nicolas de Barry created two fragrances that embody the personas of the two historical figures, whose love was so great that this magnificent monument was erected in sorrow to memorialize one man’s most beloved.


WHAT I SMELL:  Shah Jahan opens with a sweet rose that is quickly met with a bit of warm sandalwood.  It’s light and rather pretty until around the five minute mark when a woodiness appears and draws down any of the initial sweetness.  The fragrance at this time is quite subtle, but you can tell that bubbling underneath is an unknown presence that will soon make an appearance.  After around 15 minutes, there’s a deep and darkish burning tire note that comes into play.  However, it’s not overwhelming but helps to adds to the depth of the fragrance.  There are still hints of the sweetened rose that rise up and mix with the burnt note and they interplay as if they are sharing a ride on a fragrance teeter-totter.   After some time, the burnt note dissipates and becomes more smoky and the oud in the base is thankfully not heavy, but instead is slightly sweet which helps to keep Shah Jahan masculine and warm, yet rather pretty as well.

From the House of Haute Perfumerie Nicolas de Barry:

For this imperial fragrance, Nicolas de Barry reconstituted an oud attar according to princely traditions of Kannauj’s master perfumers who blends rose with woody scents of sandalwood and aloe.  The rose gives a fresh note to the oriental bouquet and creates a truly Indian masculine fragrance.  To wear the passionate L’eau de Shah Jahan, is becoming a gallant man inspired by love who maneuvers in the glitz and utmost refinements; a man of power who listens to his heart despite of all expectations. 

Top Note – Pink Himalayan India Rose, Middle Note – sandalwood, Base Note – Oud Assam

indiandoorwayWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A doorway to an Indian dream.




WHAT I SMELL:   Mumtaz-I Mahal goes on with a soured oudish like rose.  There’s a strange burnished note that feels like the rose has just been seared.  It sits close to the skin at the beginning until after about five minutes or so, the rose begins to warm and pulsate off of the skin.  I find this fragrance wonderfully different in the fact that it doesn’t feel like it’s for western audiences and I can say that it smells different from anything I have smelled before.   After some more time, the fragrance warms further and it begins to give off a slightly sweetened and light sugared note.  But it’s like a sheer gauze over the exotic base.  At around the 30 minute mark, the fragrance comes into its own as the rose is met with an earthy sandalwood.  This rose is about as exotic as it gets.  I feel that wearing it I’ll be met with some adventure in a far off land.  I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe this, but the best I can do is to say that it’s “sweet and sour.”  The sweetness is earthy and grounded and it’s balanced by this sourish almost plastic composition.  I know that sounds like it wouldn’t be a good thing, but it really works and adds to the exoticness.  In the end, it becomes a surprisingly close to the skin warmish, tender and powdery dream of a fragrance.  I just wish there was more longevity to it.

From the House of Haute Perfumerie Nicolas de Barry:

To pay tribute to this legendary love which inspired the most beautiful monument of India, Taj Mahal; Nicolas de Barry pretended to be the perfumer of this imperial couple.  He dedicated an ode of rose, the favorite flower of the Akbar emperor, that Mumtaz sniffs it often on her Persian miniatures.  To wear the enchanting L’eau de Mumtaz-I Mahal, is to mark your difference by your grace, sensuality and the desire to seduce by your beauty, as well as your intelligence.  A floral, powdery perfume with character for cultivate, aesthete and a little artist person.

Top Note – White Rose, Middle Note – Pink Himalayan India Rose, Base Note – sandalwood tajmahalroseWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  I’ll go with the obvious; an exotic rose amidst the grandeur of the Taj Mahal.



BOTTOM LINE:  Both of these fragrances compliment each other tremendously.  They are similar,  yet are quite different.  It’s like they each start off on their own individual journey, then meet in the middle with similar qualities, but then end their course in a way that binds and ties them together in harmony.

Disclosure:  Product for review provided courtesy of House of Haute Perfumerie Nicolas de Barry.

Author: The Scented Hound

Just a normal guy with the nose of a beagle!

15 thoughts on “L’eau de Shah Jahan and L’eau de Mumtaz-I Mahal by the House of Haute Perfumerie Nicolas de Barry

  1. Never heard of these but very nice reviews Houndy. I’m all for exotic roses these days – I’m still hunting for a new favourite ❤
    Your nose and writing are become more and more beautiful with each post!


    • Freddie – you are too sweet. I don’t know if these come close to being the “perfect” rose, but they are nice. Based on our conversation on Facebook the other day, now you have me wanting to look forward to this new VP rose!


  2. Thank you for sharing, Houndy!
    Nicolas de Barry has some excellent fragrances. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered them a few months ago.
    L’Imperatrice Sissi has become one of my favorite confort scents with its sweet notes of violet and vanilla.




    • Thanks Caro. I do find his historical approach interesting. I own some Sissi and don’t wear it all that often as violet tends to wear me out after a while. But it is nice. Thanks for stopping by!


      • I also remember liking La Marquise de Pompadour very, very much. It was definitely more complex, but Sissi proved more soothing at the time of my purchase.
        All in all, it is a line that I think should get more presence in fragrance blogs.


        • I have not tried Pompadour, but would like to. I think that they have very limited distribution and as such, at least here in the US, they don’t have any presence.


          • They don’t have any presence at all here, but I think they are going to have salespoints in Brazil.
            I was able to sniff and buy those fragrances at The Kleine Theatiner Parfümerie, in Munich. I wasn’t expecting anything, no preconceived notions, and really really liked them.


  3. Are these fictitious ‘fumes? Ha, just joking Mr Hound as I have not heard of these but neither are they on the perfume house’s website. They both sound more interesting than most. Did you layer them (not usually a good idea) but in this case the would seem to be crying out for union. I think this is the perfumer who has his own castle in Blois so I guess that make him a perfume castle rather a house.


  4. Hm, they seem rather simple and minimal in notes for €129. I wonder if the “sourish almost plastic composition” in the first one is the “sandalwood”? Sounds like it to me. On a positive note, I love the photos you found, Mr. Hound!


    • Good lord, what are you doing up at this time of the morning!? I’m not sure if those are the only notes in the fragrance. I believe that there are others, but these are just the main notes used. However, the perfumer develops his perfumes from a historical standpoint using elements that were available at the time and location, etc. So the formulas are going to be a bit more stark. I never think of sandalwood being so sour, but it could be! I really wanted to love these, but I can only get to like.


  5. I have never heard of this line and if it is not readily accessible, I may just not bother. Oud seems to be everywhere!


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