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I think Luca Turin was right when he said that some of the best Etro scents "achieve a Guerlain-like symphonic richness". This is a good one and it does have that Guerlain feel about it. He compared it to Vol de Nuit, but I don't really get that. I have a vintage bottle of VdN so maybe he's comparing Shaal Nur to the current reformulation of VdN, which I've haven't smelled.
Many reviewers have also compared this to Shalimar, but other than the name, Shaal Nur doesn't come of as an oriental composition to me. Instead this opens with sharp citrus notes, which I'm not a big fan of. Thankfully, that phase passes very quickly on me and the scent mellows in to a very ethereal combination of warm vetiver (Luca was also right about that), with faint florals, spices and woods weaving in an out in the background like they're playing hide-and-seek. They come and go but the big vetiver note is the constant. This scent is all about the vetiver and that's fine with me because I LOVE vetiver.
Strangely, many women who have reviewed this say it's too masculine, while many male reviewers say it's too feminine. That should tell you that it either falls somewhere in the middle or this scent is one of those shape shifters that do different things on different people's skin. Maybe it's those mischievous notes that I mentioned before that are playing tricks on people, rearranging themselves according to your chemistry...who knows. Anyway, for an eau de toilette, Shaal Nur has pretty good sillage and longevity. I liked this enough to own a full bottle but couldn't afford it. Instead I used my 1 ml vial, then graduated to a 5 ml decant from the PerfCorurt. All the while I was searching Ebay for a larger bottle. Then I found one with 6 hrs to go in the auction. By the end of the day it was mine and was one happy lady!
I walked into an art opening wearing this last night and the gallery owner said "Wow...what is that you're wearing!" Enough said.
10th October, 2012