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Sometimes a perfume of such concentration and so resolutely un-modern requires a degree of daring from the wearer, the vogue (admittedly only among the perfume cognoscenti) for smelly ouds notwithstanding. Opens with a strong desert spice trader vibe – plenty of smoke, incense, sun-baked wood, dry myrrh, and what seems like a cinnamon-cumin combo lurking at the fringes. This is parched and powerful – the floral notes are pretty muted on my skin, but the smoke is glorious, harking back it would appear to the origins of the word ‘perfume’. I must admit initial wearings left a not entirely favourable impression. At first I thought it edged a bit too close to the souk territory of Lutens, but over the day Guerlain’s Mitsouko seemed a more persistent shadow. However, that addictive smokiness and the bitter-sweet myrrh kept calling me back and I made my peace with its contradictions: the call to spiritual purging that the temple ingredients seem to be offering, which exists side by side with an almost opiate luxuriousness.
26 October, 2012