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.
If you don't care for the cistus labdanum in TABAC, you should probably try CHILUM instead. This is a dusty lightly spiced tobacco with none of the sweet-savory vibes commonly associated with tobacco absolue. Apart from a little piquancy in the beginning, I don't get much ginger elsewhere but the somewhat exotic smoky-musty note is unmistakably tobacco. Distinctively masculine, in a mature, world-weary man sort of way. Shoring up the somewhat ephemeral top is probably one of the most complex and enduring sandalwood I've come across, with nuances that remind me faintly of charred timber and woodsmoke. Outstanding.
Chillum smells dry, dusty and mildly spicey, like an old shop whose woodwork has absorbed the molecules of its pungent wares. The scent smells foreign to my experience, so I don't have names for the notes. I find them pleasing to encounter in passing, although the scent wouldn't fit my countenance. If I caught a whiff of Chillum from a passerby, I would stop him and ask what scent he was wearing because it's distinctive and unlike what I think of Americans as wearing. I guess the best summation of Chilum's impression on me is "foreign"--and I mean that in positive way. The only other thing I noticed about the scent is that it seems to fade fairly quickly on my skin.