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Curiously for a perfume that was supposedly revolutionary, the first impression is of something from a bygone age – a mysterious and dusty flask in a dark antique shop, which when opened releases a rich odour from a time of mysterious rites and different mores. The impression is largely, I suppose, created by the absence of signifiers of ‘modernity’ – aquatic notes, metallics, exotic flowers or fruit, solar accords or salt, look-at-me chemicals...
On the other hand, this is so firmly a spicy oriental that it has immediate familiarity – it teeters on the edge of a gourmand cliff but pulls away. With its backbone of sweet wood (mainly cedar, but without the nostril clearing sharpness) and unguent spices (notes of cinnamon, clove, cumin – all things I’d normally not care for), this has a radiance which earns it a place in the hall of greats. The intense sweetness is held in check as just one element of a magical potion. And magic it is – for instead of being heavy and dreary, it glides on like a tailor-made garment of the finest material.
12th July, 2012