WHAT I SMELL: Chypre Chrysantheme opens with a citrus blend that ebbs and tides off of the skin with the lemon verbena becoming more prominent as the florals dance in the background. The soft and lively florals are indistinguishable at this point as they continue to whirl over a lightly powdered oakmoss. However, it’s not too long before a rose begins to bloom. It’s slightly metallic and it demands attention. What’s really interesting is that at this point the various components in the perfume bounce in a kinetic energy as if the fragrance had been bottled before it had a chance to settle. And that just makes the perfume that more interesting and exciting as you just don’t know what to expect next. As the perfume continues to develop, a base layer that is thickened with beeswax appears and it seems to be infused with just the slightest of of smoke and honey. Here the perfume begins to settle and the kinetic energy makes way for a smooth wave of florals. And when I say wave, it does feel as if they glide in over the beeswax in waves. The chrysanthemum absolute at this point is front and center and it’s beyond gorgeous. But in all, the florals are warm and thickened with just the right amount of muted sweetness. After quite some time, the sweetness begins to settle into a deepened state and a spiced note attaches itself to the florals making the perfume a bit more mysterious. And it’s here where the perfume rests; soft, but not quiet with just the right amount of mystery for the perfect state of grace.
I should note that every time I wear Chypre Chrysantheme it projects differently each time and new facets seem to come forward depending on the temperature, humidity and possibly even my mood. And that makes the perfume even that more interesting and special.
Top: Lime, Lemon, bergamot, Lemon Verbena, Rosa Alba Otto, jasmine Absolute,
Middle: Chrysanthemum Absolute, hyacinth accord, Damascena Rose Absolute, Centifollia Rose Absolute, lily of the valley accord, Coffee absolute, Clary sage, honey absolute.
Base: Oakmoss, tonka absolute, Civet, white ambergris, beeswax, aged patchouli, musk, labdanum, Madagascan vanilla, Siamese benzoin, Seaweed Absolute, styrax, castoreum, olibanum, Sandalwood Mysore, bourbon Vetiver and much, much more
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: The mystery of the chrysanthemum.
THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CHYPRE CHRYSANTHEME: energizing, inviting, divine
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CHYPRE CHRYSANTHEME: CaFleureBon
BOTTOM LINE: Sultan Pasha has a gift from the gods. The beauty that emanates from his perfumes is pure grace. I’ve never really thought about chrysanthemum as a perfume note, but here it is and it’s beyond sublime. Yes, I know I’m gushing, but I can’t help but not.
I 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:
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
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
WHAT 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 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
WHAT 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.