Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Casbah by Robert Piguet

Casbah is very much in the same family as Avignon (Comme des Garcons), but it is simultaneously - and perhaps paradoxically - richer, more lighthearted and intriguing than the latter, without Avignon's stentorian "churchiness." I am glad to have both, as sometimes I welcome the dusty incense-and-old-wood ambiance of Avignon, and at others I want the insouciance and spicy chatter, the joie-de-vivre, of the marketplace.

Casbah's life on the skin develops in subtle layers: at the 12-hour mark, with all of its notes singing in unison (and still going strong), I'm reminded more of Havana by Aramis than Avignon - even though those two fragrances, by themselves, have little in common. Casbah is a mesmerizing blend of notes, smelling of curry and nutmeg and incense, and it warms my heart.
02nd October, 2015 (last edited: 03rd October, 2015)
I just got a bottle of this one thanks to a generous base notes member and have only worn it twice now but thats enough to know I like it very much. Casbah is a bold nutmeg and incense centered fragrance that is made expansive with a dose of black pepper, and cooler with angelica and vetiver. There is tobacco and cedar for a leafy dryness. There is confrontation and contrasts within Casbah from hot and cold, expansion and contraction of notes as these character notes add density. The opening pepper and other mid notes are reminiscent of Clive Christian "V" while not quite as leafy as V but could be its little brother. Incense fragrances resolve themselves into categories depending upon the primary base scent it settles into: (1) amber, (2) frankincense or, (3) woods. After lots of charming foreplay from pepper, nutmeg, vetiver, angelica, tobacco etc. Casbah is frankincense, with some cooling wood aspects but at its core is a frankincense scent. After several hours on a scent strip or on skin it smells very much in the same family as Bois d' Encens or Copal Azur both incense fragrances of some austerity and dryness. I would rate it 4 of 5 stars and is one of my favorite incense fragrances.
18th December, 2014 (last edited: 19th December, 2014)
The best incense perfume ever made.

The incense in this beauty "compresses" the entire composition just like a musical effect an audio engineer uses on a track to keep it as loud as possible without crossing the 0 db and eventually hurting the listener's ear. It's perfectly balanced and compressed to the max.

The fumigating incense is present from start to finish, joined by slight hints of black pepper in the beginning until the lovely angelica and orris join in to give the smell a much needed bright slightly colorful lift while keeping the woody undertones present.

I feel that there is something about this composition that is waiting to blossom: Something earthy, "alive", ripe and addictive that seems to be constantly "moving" along the incense throughout the development. I know the nutmeg can create such effect but there is also something else in there added as an "extra". Brillant.

A must have for incense lovers.

WARNING: Do not overspray because this will fill halls and buildings for an entire day and turn them into a church. People will be asking who called a priest in to fumigate some incense, literally.
21st July, 2014 (last edited: 02nd October, 2014)
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Casbah opens in fact with a Polaroid picture of a casbah, bags of cinnamon, ginger, narcotic spices, sweet notes, flowers (geranium?), something "sparkling" that may be a side-note of ginger, frankincense, the smell of dusty streets, merchants, the sweat, the sun, the mysticism. Superb. Extremely fascinating, powerful, vibrant, colorful, with a cozy side of vanilla and white musk, perhaps liquorices or anise too (everytime I get this feeling it's because of patchouli), a bold mossy feel – the Mediterranean breeze, a balsamic cloud in a suk near the sea. And of course, the incense, sharp and pungent but still hiding below the initial blend. Extremely strong but with a great balance of notes, and a base that perfectly shapes and round this bag of notes, with a stout dusty base of tobacco leaves, perhaps oak moss and patchouli too. The blend slowly softens, becoming sweeter, more cloudy, calmer, balmy, settling on a mossy/hay/chypre accord somehow close to Corticchiato's style, and a majestic incense fog arises – until now you just got a subtle note of olibanum stuffed in a bag of spices, now "the market has closed" and it's time for the ritual. The incense accord is beautiful, spicy, rich, balsamic, vibrant, evocative, with "something" mellow and aromatic, sparkling like hot gold amber, at the same time bold but delicate. It just "arises" until you realise you are surrounded by incense. The evolution is perfect. A dry, aromatic, half-mossy half-liturgic elegance, a superb trip to the mysteries of the Mediterranean sea, rich in unpredictable and elusive nuances. The incense is just brilliantly crafted in a diamond of spices, balsamic-medicinal notes, cloves, dusty tobacco leaves, subtle floral notes. Extremely fascinating, distinctive, with a monster persistence. A Byzantine majesty and a must try for all incense lovers.

23rd May, 2014 (last edited: 02nd January, 2015)
One of the best incenses out there, very churcy vibe...
02nd January, 2014
Casbah is a great take on the nowadays striking theme of incense as performed by this glorious brand and i have to admit my great expectations on this new Piguet's concoction have been widely supported and confirmed by soon after the first spray on the skin. Casbah is a mysterious and voluptuous exploration of the main resinous note in object which in this case appears by soon green, spicy and vaguely rooty. You detect at the beginning a blast of spices as pepper (really notable), nutmeg and probably cloves swirling around the incensey storm, a real tornado in part reminiscence about the DKNY Black Cashmere's first approach (in a less dark, juicy, sophisticated and fruity way) and with elements in common with fragrances as Encense Epice' by il Profvmo (i would say the tobacco influence, the cedary woodiness and a final touch of musky soapiness). I even detect by soon a more than vague association with the new and overly synthetic Oud Pour Lui by Alyssa Ashley which unfortunately ends to become cloying and unbalanced along the dry down. The note of tobacco is discreetly performing throughout and is one of the main olfactory keys of this wonderful scent (as well as the incense and the spices). I'm able to catch some rootiness and green (slightly aromatic) accents supported by sweet tobacco patterns and probably patchouli in the air. All the previous elements provide a subtle touch of virility notable also along the dry down despite this fragrance can be labeled as unisex. Casbah appears boisterous and chaotic in this initial phase, fully deserving such an evocative oriental and mystic name. The aroma is indeed enveloping and esoteric, absolutely compelling and sombre. Going on down the way of the development the spiciness turns out tamed while the woodiness jumps on the stage with its notable cedarwood/vetiver accord. While the previous woody element is detectable almost by soon the latter (as usual for the note of vetiver) expresses later (in a second final phase) its elegant olfactory generosity and appears rounded by a touch of amber ad may be myrrh (which do not turn absolutely the aroma out too much or particularly dense of sticky). In this phase Casbah is less compelling, sharper, clearer, silkier and more subtle (in a more "occidental" way, with some floral accents, some musky/cedary soapiness, a vague airy accent and a more stable woodiness), despite holds on to come out soft, "still oriental" and balanced for sure. The quality of the elements is undeniable, the projection is in the average on my skin while the longevity is simply unbelievable (i detect traces of it on the skin two days later the application and after some showers). A great alternative for the lovers of the sophisticated spicy incenses on the market. Vaguely musky, peppery, natural and finally soft you can proudly wear this fragrance even during the daily time around if you want to appear elusive and enigmatic. Expensive.
28th November, 2013 (last edited: 04th December, 2013)
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
North African sinusitis remedy

A dry, dusty, spicy incense. Rather pungent and medicinal. Lots of cloves, anise and pepper. Imagine Opium pour Homme's spices, minus the sweetness.

This may well evoke Morocco for some, as intended, but it reminds me of childhood smells of medicated bandages, chest rubs and kaolin poultices [i](shows age)[/I].

Overall, not too far in scent from CdG's Jaisalmer but much pricier. Very potent and unrelenting. Pass.

Pros: Good longevity
Cons: Pricey, not very nice

27th June, 2013
Heavily spiced creations can be too much for me, even in cold weather. It’s their dusty, pungent, staleness that becomes too great a weight to be carrying around. Combining heavy floral notes with spices is sometimes redemptive in a knock-out way, more often it just envelopes the wearer in a miasma.
Casbah takes a different route and I was surprised at how much I liked it when I first smelled it on a card. On my skin it quickly scattered pepper and nutmeg but with a green marigold-like vibrancy that complemented and lifted the spices. The incense is not smoky, but sharp. The iris provides a vegetal cushion. Were it not for the overall dryness, this would convey a spice forest mood, one I could quite happily visit from time to time. In its animation and its array of sharp notes it offers a different turn to the spice route.
However, flattens considerably after a couple of hours into a subdued, almost floury, nutmeg which is a bit of a yawn.
14th December, 2012
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Marrakesh in a bottle. Very spicy -- bit of a nose botherer.
15th August, 2012
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.
30th May, 2012