This review is for the vintage Eau de Parfum.
Top Notes: Basil, Neroli, Ylang-Ylang, Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Narcissus.
Heart Notes: Honey, Carnation, Tuberose, Jasmine, Orris Root, Lily of the Valley, Bulgarian Rose.
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Amber, Patchouli, Musk, Benzoin, Vanilla, Heliotrope, Cedar.
Bijan is a decadently rich, delicious, and quite expensive smelling Oriental that is very well blended with the perfect amount of spice. I have to work hard to distinguish individual notes, but the ones I am able to distinguish smell very natural and lush. Bijan is not synthetic smelling at all. This is how I had hoped Bal á Versailles would smell.
Bijan immediately seduces both the senses and the imagination. The development is rewardingly slow compared to so many of today's fragrances. It develops over time like the slow opening of a beautiful rose. Bijan has a classic pyramidal structure.
The ylang-ylang and orange blossom in the top notes are lush and sweet. Then as Bijan slowly develops, I detect gorgeous notes of sweet honey and fresh carnation with hints of buttery tuberose and orris root. The deep dry down is very warm, rich, powdery, and sensual. All of the base notes meld together so seamlessly that it is difficult to tease the notes apart from one another. They are simply there on one's skin like a soft, rich, silky, beautiful veil. This is a perfume to truly relish smelling either on oneself or on someone else.
I am amazed by the way all of the notes combine to create the most incredibly soft smoothness. They meld effortlessly with one another to form a most intoxicatingly delicious smell. Sniffing Bijan is the olfactory equivalent of running one's hand across the softest most opulent and warm fur one can imagine. This...this is an Oriental worthy of the name!
On top of everything else, Bijan is obscenely affordable--at least in the current EdT formulation. I would expect to pay significantly more for a fragrance of this fine quality.
If you like Orientals, this is one that is worth adding to your wardrobe. It is "dress up" worthy, date night worthy, and special occasion worthy. Sadly, they do not make fragrances like this anymore. Bijan is lush, smooth, rich, warm, sensual, feminine, and dare I say it...sexy. I generally do not relegate any perfume to either day or night wear, but Bijan I think would be best worn in the evening because it is so opulently rich and seductive. A woman wearing Bijan will rightly expect the men in her immediate vicinity to notice her and to gravitate toward her.
The following ratings are for the first five hours or so. Thereafter, Bijan very slowly begins to fade away leaving behind what I envision as the wake of Cleopatra's barge sparkling in the moonlight.
When I first sniffed Bijan I got a big wave of nostalgia - I remember when everybody smelled of more multi-textured scents like this one.
I experience it as a counterpoint between orange blossom and cumin over an amber-y base, the end result being an orange blossom honey-ish smell.
It can be pretty extraordinary if it happens to work with your chemistry.
I first got hooked on Bijan wearing the (very inexpensive) modern EDT, and became curious about the vintage EDP. Now in possession of both versions, I do see why many people prefer the vintage - by comparison, the EDT is thin, and its finish is orange blossom soapy, though I wouldn't have thought to say either of those things about it until smelling the vintage.
Opening the vintage bottle, I could smell first and foremost a big blast of cumin, which doesn't strike me as body odor, just as...cumin, because I cook a lot of Moroccan and Indian dishes! This opening's not "pretty", yet it really does convey spice markets and heat, which I find appealing. As it develops, it's a round and lush floriental that smells of its time, yet I think it translates perfectly well for a woman or a man today.
I've kept my EDT, and now sometimes use it to spray in the house since it's about the only thing I have that complements the lingering smells of fenugreek, cumin, and turmeric from the previous night's dinner!
22nd March, 2014 (last edited: 18th September, 2014)
Sandalwood incense. Period. Those may not be the official notes but that is the combined result. It's gorgeous and very wearable by men. I am a guy and this scent is kind of like my little secret. I get compliments all the time. If you love sandalwood incense then you can't go wrong with this.
A young family member proudly presented Mr cathodera with a bottle of Bijan.
He picked it out all by himself and bought it with his own pocket money. (I suspect his choice may have been swayed by Bijan being the only available fragrance that did not cost more than the pocket money).
But it was an important rite of passage, and to honor it, Mr cathodera wears his Bijan on occasions when the little giver will be present, and I tend to spend as much time as possible, on those occasions, as far as I can get from Mr cathodera.
Maybe it's because I've never been a big amber fan. I don't really like "sweet" fragrances very much, so Bijan probably never had a chance with me.
It reminds me of a long-ago accident incident involving a simultaneous spill of Hove's amber and their carnation.
Though to my knowledge Bijan doesn't have any carnation, there is just that sweet spiciness of carnation there, that with the amber, makes me think of looking down on that oh-so-fashionable avocado green shag carpet, thirstily gulping my two least-favorite perfumes that Hove makes, and frantically wondering how long and with whom I would have to couch surf, because there was no way I was going to sleep in that apartment until it had been thoroughly aired out.
I guess the takeaway from that story is, if you love Bijan, but can't find any, just dump some Hove amber and carnation on yourself, and your nose will never be the wiser.
I think that I derive my appreciation for Bijan from the surprise it causes that it isn’t an over the top, obnoxiously loud super-‘80s bomb as its male counterpart might be labeled. It is a pleasant, rather soft, amber Oriental that is probably too powdery for today’s tastes. More than a few times I have complimented a woman on her fragrance only to be told that it was Bijan. I think it is the kind of fragrance that is appreciated more from the sillage it produces than from direct smelling of the accords on paper or on the skin. This is the type of fragrance that must be applied discreetly – too much is definitely too much, so apply with a subtle hand,
Soapy amber and nothing to write home about aside from the aforementioned cool bottle.