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: 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.


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New Release: Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge

secrets-du-paradis-rougeWHAT I SMELL: Intoxicating is what the opening of Secrets du Paradis Rouge is as it’s sweet and lush with this incredible honeyed rich orange.  It’s also waxy and thick, incredibly gourmand and head spinning pretty.  The thickened orange like a sheen of wax paper feels like it’s covering the skin like a sheath.  After a little while, the perfume begins to warm ever so slightly with an almond hue.  The scent is delightful but at the same time has a very comforting and reassuring edge that makes you feel that all is right with the world.  A lovely understated musk enters and the waxy begins to dry.  The orange blossom sweetness makes way for a sweetened woody patchouli and vanilla.  All combined, the experience is opulent and grand.  The perfume dances between the orange and the amber with a radiance that burns brightly.  This is a perfume that cannot help but be noticed, but it does so in the most benevolent manner.  As the perfume continues it’s journey, the musk becomes more prominent, but still warmed by the benzoin and amber the fragrance continues to radiate a warmth and glow that makes this shimmer on into the night.

From the Jul et Mad website:

A timeless ode to the Orange Blossom, opening on a note of Neroli Absolut and sublimed by the freshness of the orange peel and the Davana essence. Scents of almond, honey and rose accompany us through the mysterious streets in the heart of the Medina.

The gates of a Secret Paradise open suddenly, unveiling a majestic Orange Blossom that blends perfectly with sensual notes of vanilla and Tonka beans; the whole, sustained by a perfectly balanced accord of benzoin, amber and musk.

Head : Orange, Mandarin, Davana, Neroli Marocco, Cloves
Heart: Orange Blossom Absolut, Damascus Rose, Bees Wax, Almond
Bottom: Patchouli, Timbersilk, Tonka Beans, Vanila, Benzoin, Amber, Musk

court-dress-panier-1778WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  18th century French court.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SECRETS DU PARADIS ROUGE:  grand, gracious, sublime

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SECRETS DU PARADIS ROUGE: Persefume

BOTTOM LINE:  OK, I know that the inspiration of the perfume is the beauty of Marrekesh, but to me, it’s full on French court.  The perfume is elegant, big and a bit over the top at the beginning, but in all parts, it’s just perfect.  I would have to say that Secrets du Paradis Rouge is one of my favorite releases of the year!

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent Floral
  • Nose: Luca Maffei
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $175 for 50 ml parfum extrait

Sample provided by Jul et Mad.  Opinion my own.