I have read that 'Sira des Indes' was composed to mimic an Indian dessert. I bought it on a blind buy just because I got a kick from the idea of a banana note in a fragrance. I like this little dessert of a fragrance. Is it in my favorites category, no, but it's a pleasant scent. Vanilla, spices and a banana top note - it's fun!
I put off reviewing this frag for over a year...it is so magical I wanted to wax poetical as several of the earlier reviews did. I wanted to do it justice...but alas, my brain will not cooperate. So I will just muddle through with clumsy words.
It's not entirely my fault. Describing Sira Des Indes with English is like trying to capture an ethereal mist with a bucket.
The heart of Sira is the champaca flower. I'm surprised it's not listed here. I bought a bottle for a great price as a blind buy because of that. I had just visited a local nursery (I was in Florida at the time) that had several trees for sale, so I had the chance to smell this exotic beauty alive and on its tree. Essential oils and absolutes can only capture part of the fragrance of the flower. There are many subtle notes that get lost. In addition, in the native state, you also smell the leaves, the bark...maybe the souring odor of some dying blooms along with the fresh.
Imagine walking into the jungles of India, where the Champaca tree comes from. Not all the way in, just a few steps. You are surrounded by blooming trees. Close your eyes and inhale everything. The ethereal fragrance of the tree surrounds you. It is alive and vibrating with lightness. You almost feel like you could float off the ground, just a little. But your feet remain planted in the ground of course. Your bare toes wiggle in the dirt and decomposing leaves and fallen blooms. It's an earthy smell, it's not unpleasant at all, and it's far below your head. It's supporting you. Beyond this grove of Champaca trees, there are some banana trees. You know they are there, and they belong in this jungle. They are not very close, so they don't distract you very much. The air is hot and humid, this is India. You are sweating in the heat. But you showered just before visiting the jungle. Taking another deep breath, you can smell some of your clean sweat on the moist breeze. You stand and breathe in this magical aroma for a timeless eternity...just as you get ready to leave, you also realize there is a Temple nearby, where sandalwood incense has been burning for hundreds of years, in honor of divine beings.
Well, that was my experience, at any rate. :-)
It's a "rich banana dessert" fragrance that I really like simply for its uniqueness but also because....it drives my dog crazy. She begged to lick my arm and, when I denied her vial, cried. She hasn't done that with any other fragrance. Therefore, this belongs firmly in the foody camp, even though the notes might suggest gourmand.
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Just tried this one for the first time - I've always preferred Guerlain.
It goes on like a fat dowager in old furs and made me gag at first - it's eyewatering stuff even in dilute format.
But an hour later, it's sweet and warm with a prickle at the back of the nose I haven't the specialist vocabulary to describe. I might use this again for it's novelty value, but is it more of winter scent than a summer one?
This fragrance goes on strong and doesn't relax much but that's not a bad thing. Sira strikes the ideal note between sweet and spicy but the overall strength does not go over the top. For everyday use it's only for the "all eyes on me" types but at night, let yourself go.
The previous reviewers have done a great job of describing all the aspects of Sira des Indes, so I won't do that. I'll just add that even though I despise most of the fruity/floral offerings in recent perfumery, I actually like this one because it has a little something that separates it from the rest. It's really subtle so the sillage doesn't project much, at least not on me. Most men may find it a little too fruity-floral-feminine, but personally I'd love to catch a whiff of this coming from a guy standing in the hot summer sun. I have the EDP and my only complaint is that it doesn't last long enough. I find myself having to reapply it an hour later.
I love all of the Patou fragrances and only wish they'd come out with a few more. They use the finest quality Grasse jasmine which smells totally different from other jasmines and I can always pick it out. In Sira des Indes there is also natural red champaca, which smells similar to ylang-ylang, and orange blossom. This adds up to a sweet, nectar laden floral, with a divine natural sandalwood drydown. It rarely gets recommended to people looking for tropical florals, as tuberose is in fashion these days, but this is much more the ticket for me. Bliss. I hope they keep making it and you grumpy guys continue to stay away!
If "Guerlain" has a gift for designing scents to suit dusk and sundown, the house of "Patou" excells at capturing the essence of dawn and early morning. Permeating through every Patou potion is a burst of shimmering sunshine---not like the loud, bleaching beams of midday, necessarily, but the quiet freshness of a new day. "Sira des Indes", the last magical inclusion in the house of Patou, wears with the same quiet optimism as "Joy" but where "Joy" develops into nylon-stocking, powdery-musk-smoothness after an initial burst of floral notes, "Sira Des Indes" develops into something richer in texture. The bulgar/wheat protein notes lend an air of rolling beads of honey and oil, while a subtle banana adds tart creaminess. It all actually reminds me quite a bit of Serge Lutens "Douce Amere", with that same fascinating contrast between savory and sweet notes; however, "Douce Amere" has more of a dry "cut" between cured fruits and sweets, while "Sira Des Indes" remains liquid and honeyed throughout drydown. It's intoxicating, highly sensual, carnal...but with a freshness that will never allow it to be described as "dirty" (something of a relief to modern noses; those trained to find disinfectant and surface cleaner to be the smell of "sexy"). I loved how this wore on me, so well, in fact, that it's earned "signature scent" status in my collection. Can't beat Patou!
Rich sweet floral, no matter the claims of gourmand accords, the opening is all classic Patou.
However, in the process of drydown, towards the middle and finish - I swear it's the aroma of an ice cream parlor. Not just the fragrance of ice cream alone .... it's the fragrance of the whole entire parlor: fruit, marshmallow whip, sparkling clean floors, over-working a/c, everything is there.
Vanilla is here, oh yes, but so definitely an ice cream vanilla - it's chilly! how can Patou convey temperature? I can only guess.
And the fruit....these are not the ripe, heavy bananas flecked with brown from the top of your kitchen counter, nor are these the classy caramelized delicacies found in a Bananas Foster. Instead these are quite indeed the fresh, perhaps even slightly green, chilled, subdued, bananas of an ice cream split. Other fruits mix in, with the florals still shouting quite loudly, making the banana even less prominent. But they are there.
Between the heavy floral notes, the icy cold fruit, chilly vanilla, and the hints of mildest white musk anchoring things, a more appropriate name for this fragrance would be "First Date at the Ben & Jerry's". Which is actually a compliment. A great summer scent, very fun.
A generous BNer sent me a sample of this and I was on the computer ordering a full bottle before you could say Jean Michel Duriez. Just LOVE it. The berries pop out on me right away, followed by a hint - and only a hint - of banana milkshake. I definitely get the jasmine (which will make an appearance on my bod whenever it is present - in however small a quantity) and a not-too-sweet shimmery drydown of musky amber.
And interestingly, it lasts forever on my older, dryer skin!!
Until I had the dessert (Banana Sheera) I couldnt' really see the connection... But even though it has a reference to food, this is neither a typical modern gourmand nor one of those excessive fruity florals. Rather, it's a classic floriental, with a ripe fruity accord (I smell mostly cooked bananas, poached bosc pears and cardamom as the top notes), and with a shamelessly indolic heart of jasmine, champaca, narcissus and ylang ylang. The base is almost like a Guerlinade, with sandalwood and vanilla in almost as high a dose as Samsara, with a soft, musky powdery amber dryout. It's a refreshing thing to see a perfume that has a classical structure, yet with some new combination of notes. Tastefully done.
Sira des Indes is completely different from what I expected it to be, and I enjoy it enough to be the proud owner of a large, beautiful bottle of it. I expected, from the notes, a rich gourmand like Serge Lutens Arabie, Keiko Mecheri Gourmandises, or even Angel, but Sira des Indes does not fall into this category for me. It's definitely pleasant smelling, and I'd surely like to taste something that smelled like it, but it's not oozing with spices, or sweetness, or vanillas, as is typical of scents known as being "gourmand." SdI reminds me of both Joy and EnJoy in its top-notes, and the base notes echo Joy, but I don't know why. SdI starts with a burst of citrusy-fruit that's very clean smelling, and it warms into a floral, ambery, woody scent. It's highly unusual, though. The notes don't sound as distinctive as the actual fragrance. It's exotic, very sexual, and it has a certain "dirtiness" I notice in Angelique Encens. SdI would be outstanding if it had better lasting power. Unfortunately, on me, the lasting power is lousy. I spray on enough to asphixiate a small village, and it still fades very quickly. An interesting aspect of its staying-power is that it smells more like it comes from my skin rather than something applied to my skin, but I wish it had sillage. I will enjoy this often, and I really look forward to seeing what it does on my skin in hot weather.