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Elf's Compendium of Notes 2 - Choya Nakh

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Today's note is a new one I've been experimenting with. It's also known as one of the big stinkies. Choya Nakh. It's made in India by roasting seashells (that's right, from the beach) in a clay vessel that's designed with a top lid and a gooseneck on the side. Choyas have been made for many thousands of years, probably before the age of metals. There are several varieties, all dark, mysterious, and smoky as Hades. A long roasting session in the clay pot yields drops of choya on the gooseneck side, which is collected and bottled. A full ounce only costs $10 and I feel that is probably a lifetime supply for me and my friends.
So what does roasted seashell choya look and smell like? It's a light brown, oily material. The smell is smoky, salty, and yes, like seashells. When I lived in the Caribbean, we sometimes started cooking fires with certain seashells, which were oily enough to ignite. The smell is identical. It is intense, and so tenacious I have to keep my bottle sealed in a glass jar, which is kept in a box! I love this scent, but some friends have really wrinkled their noses at it. It's very beachy, notes of iodine, salty ocean water, smoke, and seaweed.
So how do I use this? Mandy Aftel uses it in Tango, and Anya McCoy uses it in Fairchild. It has to be diluted heavily before using, that's for sure. But I notice it works well with amber accords. Takes any cloying sweetness right out and puts in a je ne sais quoi. It works well with other smoky notes for a leather accord, so I think this one's mainly for the masculines. Anyone else tried this one?? I'd love to know what type of seashell is used, and other types of perfume it could be used for.


  1. blupest's Avatar
    Hmm..I've heard about this material but not ordered any yet.From your description I'd say I have to give it a go. I love smokey,masculine materials.
  2. Amit's Avatar
    You're right about it being a stinker --- personally I have no idea how one'd use this. Very interesting nonetheless
  3. Elf's Avatar
    I've found it adds an interesting note to some ambers, and would probably work well with non-ozonic "beach accords". Bvlgari Aqua (the original) has a note like choya nakh, though I don't know if that's what was used. My friends who've been there say Aqua smells like the Black Sea in the morning.


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