I bought this because I wanted a relatively pure, high quality sandalwood and I love Dominique Dubrana's work so I trusted him to deliver.
On opening the sample for the first time, the opening was very strong ginger, the fresh kind, wet juice oozing as if I had sliced a root in half in front of me. It was overwhelming and I could barely detect the sandalwood underneath. It did not substantially change on skin, having this smoky food side referred to in the other review, but this could be influenced by both having read that review, and living in Asia where fresh ginger is used in a lot of meat preparations.
A week later, I reopened my sample and decided to give it another shot. Somehow the ginger had made peace with the rest and this time, it was a clean sandalwood, still with this wet impression (for some reason I visualise a wet teak deck whilst sailing), much less sweet than usual. If I think very hard about it I can recognise deep, bitter facets from Tabac - it must be the tobacco.
My issue with Chillum is longevity and projection. This is a very muted fragrance, to the extent I could probably spray something else on the skin after a mere couple of hours and not think twice about whatever was left underneath. Also, with Oakmoss and Personna I already have two great woody fragrances from the same line and this one does not reach the same level, I'm afraid... well, I enjoy it at home.
A smoky, fresh or even cold take on sandalwood, this weird fragrance.
The opening is almost foody, with smoky notes reminding me of Tyrolean speck or other seasoned meats- not exactly how I would like to smell in the morning, or ever. The evolution is centred on sandalwood, restrained in its natural sweet and caramelized facets by some astringent, cold notes- I read there's ginger in the composition. The drydown retains some smokiness in the rich, slightly powdery woody base.
In a line of fragrances that I love, Chillum is maybe my least appreciated, though I can imagine a sandalwood lover finding some interest in this fragrance.
Both projection and longevity are moderate.
The opening of Chillum hits you with a sudden, stormy, humid breeze that instantly transports you in a cloudy day in the Mediterranean countryside. Hay, tobacco, an elusive narcotic heart with a camphor/stale structure which I believe is halfway ginger and woods (however never smelled such a free, "rooty" note before), a bag of spices (cloves) and herbs – both aromatic dry herbs, and freshly-cut grass. A subtle animalic base which almost smells like civet, and a number of nuances, aromas, souvenirs: from saffron, to coffee, to aniseed ending in a light breeze scents with balmy notes and honey. Finally a delicate, luminous hint of citrus – or however something equally zesty and refreshing. You'll be surprised to realise this trip to the raw, inner, charming and quiet countryside on a sleepy afternoon following a thunderstorm is played on three simple components: tobacco, ginger, sandalwood. That's the power of natural materials when they're free to bring all the world the comprise. As I said the evocative power is really strong, the tobacco note is simply gorgeous, wet, stout, humid and aromatic like a bed of tobacco leaves left to dry under the sun. As minutes pass it also emerges better a central, really sharp and hard woody note, slightly salty too, with something "archaic" and antique in it, the sort of camphor-waxy-stale feel of a mysterious, old closet used to store scents, spices and secrets for centuries. That's the sandalwood, a real sandalwood note, which smells like none else – waxy, velvety, deep, finally really "woody", powdery, earthy, even soapy and floral... a properly said "realistic" all natural scent. The biggest talent of Dubrana is being able to keep the notes "alive", to treat components with a respectful, almost mystical attitude working to preserve all the suggestions and the stories they can hide in their nature – and which leads him to create more than simple "scents" that "smell" of something. They smell complex, but with the complexity of life: it's all about cooperating with nature and treating it like a real living thing, more than simply using it to obtain smelling molecules. However speaking of the fragrance itself, it's a terrific scent, elegant, versatile, deep, harmonic, and with a great longevity. Also with another peculiar feature of many natural scents: the coziness. It triggers memories of trips, gardens, countryside, which may be melancholic or nostalgic, but makes you "feel" connected to the scent, or better said, to yourself via the scent. Simple and beautiful!
Chilum consists only of three ingredients: Tobacco, Mysore Sandalwood and Ginger. The quality is top-notch! I gave it a neutral rating because it's simply not my style. It smells very old-fashioned to me, not that this is a bad thing, but at the age of 30 I feel like I have to wait at least 20 years to wear it with confidence. It has this "elder man sitting with a pipe in a leather armchair"-vibe! Another thing that is a bit distracting is the Ginger: I can't help it, but combined with the beautiful Sandalwood and the musty-dusty Tobacco, Chilum reminds me of smoked ham!
17th January, 2013 (last edited: 18th February, 2013)
Chilum is a very nice dry sandalwood centered composition enriched by a touch of tobacco and smoky undertones. After the initial fizzy opening the fragrance quickly evolves into an extremely natural smelling sandalwood base that clearly speaks of quality, honesty and no hype. Simple yet not simplicistic. Any REAL sandalwood lover should definitely give this a chance.