Genre: Woody Oriental
Maharanih’s sweet orange rind and warm spice opening leaves no doubt as to where this scent is headed. As befits its name, Maharanih is a rich, sweet, spicy oriental scent in the tradition established by Guerlain’s Shalimar. The foundation of sweet amber, opopanax, and sandalwood supports a heart redolent of rose, orange blossom, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla. The composition is dense and somewhat syrupy, as befits the genre, but a very bright candied fruit accord keeps Maharanih from becoming suffocating. The blend of citrus, cinnamon, vanilla, and opopanax is very close to Shalimar, but Maharanih is a woodier scent, with more prominent opopanax and less vanilla. It shares little of Shalimar’s smoky quality, and has none of the civet that puts the lascivious animalic edge on Shalimar’s eau de parfum and parfum concentrations.
Maharanih is a grand, old-fashioned perfume in the very best sense: it is complex, dense, and sophisticated, yet also beautifully balanced. It projects well off the skin and leaves ample sillage in the air, but it never feels overblown or oppressive. Maharanih’s longevity is quite good, too. It remains intact for six or eight hours, drying down on the way to that deliciously smooth amber, opopanax and sandalwood accord, seasoned with ample labdanum and just the right dose of vanilla. If you’re looking for a spicy oriental scent in the classical mold, but want something a bit cleaner and fruitier than Shalimar, try Maharanih. It’s a well-crafted example of its kind.
Maharanih is a museum piece – its opulence and density are from a bygone age; the first inhale provokes a gasp at its richness. But like those elaborate jewelled headdresses and encrusted and embroidered robes of Indian royalty, this is a bit of a pain to wear, one sags under its weight.
The orange opening is symphonic – bitter, candied, yet touched by something green, while underneath spices and the powdery penetration of a certain kind of sandalwood note provide further volume. It spun me enough to buy a bottle of the stuff. Unfortunately, on my skin a piercing cumin emerges from this cluster of notes and caterwauls its way to prominence. This Maharanih has spent a busy day supervising the royal kitchens.
A few hours in, all the elements settle and a hymn to the perfumer's craft goes up – mild citruses, the powders of a dozen Guerlains, the spice demure – but for me that's too long to wait. It's one of those fragrances I'll try to get friends to wear so that I can enjoy it from a distance. It lasts and lasts.
On the other hand, counterintuitively trying this on during warmer weather worked much better – the cumin registered much less and was gone sooner. And then I remembered, I had tested and bought this one in summer time…
Wow, look at the negative and mediocre reviews, yet Ungaro II is so popular in the BN world! Basically, this is a simpler version of Ungaro II, and it seems more "natural" smelling to me. Every time I wear that Ungaro there is something about it that bothers me, that doesn't feel right. Maharanih, on the other hand, feels just right. If you don't like civet stay away, but if you like "old school" orientals and want a more focused one, this may be one to sample.
The basic sketch of this perfume (orange, lavender, and amber) could be steered in a number of directions. Those elements would suggest harmony to me. But then again I'm not Patricia de Nicolai. Maharanih is all about angles and contrasts. It's loud and actually rather rough. The contrasts are not so much intriguing as unresolved. The notes struggle against one another and never enhance each other.
The ongoing conflict means there's not a lot of development over the course of Maharanih. Loud and constant. Unfortunately, this gives Maharanih more the feel of a parfum d'ambiance than something you'd want to wear.
I find there's something similar both in tone and in composition between Maharanih and de Nocolai's Patchouli Homme. Their effect is that they sit on you, not that you wear them. I've never quite been able to wear them comfortably, though I've worn each a good number of times.
30th August, 2011 (last edited: 08th September, 2011)
This one is odd marriage of cologne top notes on an oriental mid-structure. It opens with the fresh orange burst and then flattens to what I interpret as neroli/petitgrain, but I guess is not in fact if those aren't the listed notes. Then there is a blurry indistinct sweetish vanilla holding it up. The effect makes me queasy. My neutral rating is for the perceived quality of the components. They are not cheap or chemical.