The osmanthus comes roaring out of the gate very enjoyably and realistically - reminds me more of osmanthe yunnan (hermessence) than Osmanthus (TDC). The peachiness is quite pronounced as is the lovely seude/leather note that comes with osmanthus. Not synthetic or harsh, but rounded and very edible without being all that sweet or candied. This is definitely not a "fruity" scent.
The tea is quite marked too - almost a tannic quality to it. The whole thing has a delicacy to it and yet some tenacity - especially for an all-natural. The leather/peach/tea carries along fairly linearly. I get some lime? perhaps at the start, but otherwise this stays put. And it is lovely.
I've been thinking about reviewing this fragrance for about a year; more or less since I first smelled it on its release. This is a serious, grown-up fragrance. The niche pricing and marketing make it pretty certain that it will be taken that way, and on the whole I think Guerlain should be applauded for releasing something this mature, even at over $3/ml.
I get a strong opening blast of aldehydes, but the rose and saffron blend isn't far behind, and as drseid mentions there is a certain booziness to it. (Damascone?) The floral heart emerges about ten minutes in and EMd'O's lineage as a classical Guerlain is quite unmistakeable. At this point the saffron-rose and iris-powdery accords do a very genial kind of battle, basically signifying the underlying concept of the fragrance - east meets west. It is such a hackneyed - not to say orientalist - trope, but Wasser does it with such sprezzatura that no-one will be thinking about Said turning in his grave once they smell this.
The ambergris, moss and frankincense base comes to the party after about an hour or so, with a rich, dirty yet bright feeling. The ambergris -as a a blog review says - really does smell like the real thing, or like a very good approximation of it. The frankincense is gentle and there only to play up the contrasts in the composition.
Needless to say, I like this perfume a lot. Very strongly recommended. It's love. It feels like a bold, courageous piece of work in the generally risk-averse fragrance industry. And Thierry Wasser had totally been holding out on us until this was released. Now, if only you didn't have to pay $270 for 75mls.
This is a nice surprise. Nothing like two other Guichard scents I know, Visa and Chinatown, both of which are far too sweet for my tastes. This is austere and dry. Not sure how Moroccan this is, but names don't matter.
The black pepper opens quite strong, but segues into nutmeg pretty quickly. Casbah recalls 1828 for a little while, but the spiciness of the nutmeg seems perfectly allied with the drier or more astringent notes of incense. This isn't a smoky incense, really - closer to SSS's Incense Pure than to CdG Avignon. Which is lucky for me, since IP is my HG incense.
The iris emerges pretty quickly and is iris as in Iris Silver Mist. I had expected iris as in Dzongkha; kind of referred to in passing. But this is a full-on, dominant note. And the mix of a rooty iris and a dry incense is a magical study in contrasts. Quite cognitively dissonant.
I don't get much cedarwood or tobacco - the vetiver is detectable, but mostly the trio of nutmeg, incense and iris just plays out in an undulating and quite beautiful way. Mesmerisinglyly pretty, and profoundly unexpected. Very good indeed.