I was going to stick this one with a downer review but I feel the soft, warm spice of elemi saved this composition from just being a party girl's mixed drink. Sure, Bahiana smells playful, sunny, and juicy, but it is very much fleeting, and without depth. There are most certainly people who would just as soon consort with airheads, bimbos, and playful, puppy-like drunks, but I myself usually prefer company with more substance.
If you think Jimmy Buffett is a great songwriter you might like Bahiana just fine.
I was offered this as an "Alternative" to Ananas Fizz. Fresh and citrussy-pineapple fruity to begin with, then dries down to Pina Colada, with a pleasant green afterthought. It does not last for ages, but is very pleasant as a summer fragrance. Smells almost good enough to eat. I didn't detect much flower in there.
Bahiana is a fruity-vanilla scent (perhaps what I call vanilla it's coconut: it smells vanilla to me, though) with zesty fresh head notes and a subtle white breeze of flowers. It is so linear it's basically all there: fruits, vanilla, citrus, flowers. For hours. Decent, but utterly boring and a tad cloying after a while.
Bahiana is an absolute delight from beginning to end. Part of the delight comes from surprise – this is the rare tropical fruity floral that manages to side step all of the “flip-flops and pina colada” associations that usually go along with the genre. It opens on the most realistic note of freshly peeled mandarins that I have ever smelled. It is so good that I blinked in astonishment and then spent the next few hours spritzing it on again to play this part of the show back again.
Of course, the volatile citrus cannot be sustained, but it is a testament to the skill of perfumer Jeanne-Marie Faugier (who did Vespres Siciliennes for MDCI and Caravelle Epicee for Frapin) that what follows is as interesting and well-done as the start. It is basically a light rose and citrus duo resting on a bed of creamy guaiac wood and coconut. The coconut here is not the shouty, suntan oil type of coconut used in everything from Creed’s Virgin Island Water (which I quite enjoy) to Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille (which I don’t). Rather, it is present in the perfume only as a sort of breezy, salty wood accent that calls to mind more the fibrous husk of the coconut rather than the flesh itself.
The dry down is remarkable for sustaining the essential character of the fruit and woods accord right to the end – in my experience, tropical fruity-florals usually verge off into sourness (Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, to give a prime example) or die a sudden death on my skin after a mere two hours (Virgin Island Water). Make no mistake about it – this is no heavy-hitter in the sillage or longevity stakes. You do need to reapply after four hours, which is the most I can get out of it. But the scent is so beautifully light, balanced, and natural-smelling, that reapplying it just makes me happy to be smelling it all over again. If you are looking for a tropical fruity floral that has brains, class, and lasts longer than a traditional eau de cologne, then this one should be in the running. Its genius lies in making you feel like you are relaxing on a beach without actually smelling like a beach. Perfect for people, like me, who work in an urban jungle and who need a shot of sunshine (but not a shot of tequila).
Notes: Brazilian orange, caipirinha limon, mandarin, tagette, green leaf, rosewood, gaiac wood, elemi, amber, musk, coconut
With listed notes like mandarin and coconut, I feared this might be a pina colada for the skin. Surprise! The opening is tropical fruit alright, but the accord comes off more like ripe mango, guava, and perhaps even a bit of passionfruit, rather than suntan lotion. Soon after application I found a buttery-smooth woody note welling up under the fruit. Could it be sandalwood? Checking the notes, I decide it must be the rosewood and gaiac at Bahiana's heart. And a beautifully handled wood it is! It blends with the bone-dry coconut note to form a warm cushion for the exotic fruits.
This is indeed tropical, and strictly for summertime. That said, Bahiana is the richest, most complex, and most lasting fruit fragrance I've encountered in a long time. It persists for at least 6 or 8 hours on me, with a lingering amber, musk, and wood drydown just lightly touched with fruit esters. How MPG gets those citrus notes to last so long is beyond me, but I'm certainly not going to complain.
Thank you, MPG!