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  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on Samsara

    This scent seems to inspire widely divergent impressions among Basenoters. It also seems to be unusually dependent on skin chemistry - the notes are almost impossible to define, because they smell so different from person to person.

    On me, Samsara opens on a captivating note of tuberose with a lightly spicy edge. Regrettably, this top note dries away within five or ten minutes. After giving the scent a chance to evolve, I smell a very pronounced vanilla and jasmine accord, which reminds me a bit of the base notes of Lolita Lempicka, with its interplay between warm vanilla and cool floral notes. This is supported by a dry sandalwood, which is so faint as to be almost subliminal, and a delicate, lacy filigree of ylang-ylang. Oddly, although this drydown seems very simple, I find myself surprised by it several times over the course of the day - the ylang-ylang, jasmine and sandalwood seem to shift and shimmer within the vanilla, revealing new facets every hour. I haven't smelled any of the gardenia, orris or spice mentioned by other reviewers: if they're there at all, my skin intensifies the vanilla note so much that they are completely drowned out.

    The sillage, lasting power, and sweetness of this fragrance are all extremely intense, and I can see why it might be an acquired taste. Still, I find it very a very comforting, almost domestic fragrance, with a subtle underpinning of sensuality, and a complexity that keeps it interesting for the entirety of its very long life span.

    So, what are your thoughts on Samsara?

  2. #2
    moondeva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Quote Originally Posted by djuna
    This scent seems to inspire widely divergent impressions among Basenoters. It also seems to be unusually dependent on skin chemistry - the notes are almost impossible to define, because they smell so different from person to person.

    On me, Samsara opens on a captivating note of tuberose with a lightly spicy edge. Regrettably, this top note dries away within five or ten minutes. After giving the scent a chance to evolve, I smell a very pronounced vanilla and jasmine accord, which reminds me a bit of the base notes of Lolita Lempicka, with its interplay between warm vanilla and cool floral notes. This is supported by a dry sandalwood, which is so faint as to be almost subliminal, and a delicate, lacy filigree of ylang-ylang. Oddly, although this drydown seems very simple, I find myself surprised by it several times over the course of the day - the ylang-ylang, jasmine and sandalwood seem to shift and shimmer within the vanilla, revealing new facets every hour. I haven't smelled any of the gardenia, orris or spice mentioned by other reviewers: if they're there at all, my skin intensifies the vanilla note so much that they are completely drowned out.

    The sillage, lasting power, and sweetness of this fragrance are all extremely intense, and I can see why it might be an acquired taste. Still, I find it very a very comforting, almost domestic fragrance, with a subtle underpinning of sensuality, and a complexity that keeps it interesting for the entirety of its very long life span.

    So, what are your thoughts on Samsara?
    I agree with much of your description, djuna, and have experienced much of what you describe - especially the way in which he base notes seem to dance and shimmer throughout the day - like light upon the water. But I believe diffferent aspects / facets come to the fore depending upon which perfume strength is tried. This can also explain why some people love it and others hate it.

    I originally fell in love with the EDP formulation which has all the intense indolic jasmine and tuberose and depth of vanilla sandalwood that is found in the parfum plus the floating sillage present in the EDT. I consider this the best 'general' formulation for Samsara for those who love to waft.

    I then made the mistake of buying the EDT - I couldn't believe that this was the same scent! All sharp and 'citrussy' with little depth or sensuousness. By the time it began to resemble anything close to what I remembered the scent had all but disappeared.

    I now own the parfum and love that to bits. I just dab on the teeniest bit and get ready for the ride. At first it is all heady indolic florals - sometimes sharp, most times divine. And then it seems to disappear. When I think it is gone all it takes is a soft breeze or my going to do something else and I am enveloped in the most hauntingly beautiful cloud of scent. Ylang-ylang and sandalwood dominate on my skin with jasmine, tuberose and vanilla supporting and enhancing the blend. Many times I have looked around for the 'lady' wearing the most amazing scent - only to realise that the wonderful smelling lady is me!

    Guerlain L'Heure Bleue has a similar haunting sillage but is more abstractly floral and complex. Samsara is a much more earthy, sensual blend.
    Favourite (Winter) Crazy Combos

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I loved Samsara when I first tried it, although its a bit sweeter than the orientals I usually go for. Sadly, despite what I've read about the lasting power of this one, it faded very fast on my skin and none of the notes really stood out for me after a while. I find the opening sweet and sharp with lots of Ylang Ylang and spice, which I adore, and for me this is as good as the fragrance gets - after about half an hour all I have left is what smells like a dry, woody male cologne.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Samsara is definitely a chameleon, on me (EdP), I get no tuberose whatsoever, just a little jasmine, lots of ylang ylang, vanilla, and sandalwood, and that's it. No spice at all. It's quite linear on me, but also very lovely, quiet, and comforting. Close to the skin and lasts a long time. A great evening at home scent, or for meditation. Shiseido Zen Pearl has a similar place in my collection.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    My vainglorious use of Samsara: I use it to mask the smell of self-tanner, a job to which it is well suited.

    I have had a one-ounce bottle of the EDP for four years. During the summer, camouflaging the tell-tale aroma of the tanner, I wonder why I don't wear it more often. I think about getting a much larger bottle for fall.

    And then I wear it without its "base" and I can't handle it. One of the florals doesn't suit me. There is a sharpness, some jagged edge that turns "oniony" (a favorite complaint of mine) and ruins it, or perhaps I am the oniony one, but I do like the copious sandalwood in the base and the way the ylang-ylang increases the expansion of the scent in all its flexible glory. Most of all, I like that it hasn't been tainted by spice.

    If it weren't for the mysterious sharpness, I'd find this quite mellow and inviting. I am afraid it needs the addition of the chemical chocolate from my tanner.

    (Note: Several other Guerlains, including new-debut Insolence, do this same nasty trick on my skin. So it's me, not the scent.)

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Samsara is one of my very favorites and it must certainly be a chameleon. It is the perfume that made me fall in love with Sandalwood. I have always loved vanilla and the way the vanilla melds in with the Sandalwood creating the softest creaminess is just dazzling. If I put this on at night, it is still there in the morning. Any flower notes are so subtle as to be almost unoticable. I do not get the spiciness some people talk about and I do pick up spicy very easy. So, again, skin chemistry is definitely a biggy.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I loved Samsara and bought the edp in the early 90's. Then a co worker chose it as her signature and wore it everyday, in the end I just could not stand the smell of Samsara at all. Even today when I smell it, and trust me I can spot it quite easily in shops or on the street. I just think YUCK!
    DONNA

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I like it but don't love it. It's a comfy casual Oriental but no great shakes. Nice relaxing sandalwood & jasmine combo. I usually wear it only at home when I'm lounging about in my worn-out red tracksuit...
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255
    I loved Samsara and bought the edp in the early 90's. Then a co worker chose it as her signature and wore it everyday, in the end I just could not stand the smell of Samsara at all. Even today when I smell it, and trust me I can spot it quite easily in shops or on the street. I just think YUCK!
    I have a co-worker who wears it frequently too (I have never asked, but I am pretty damn sure), and even if I still like it, I could possibly see the same happening to me in the long run..... The sillage of Samsara can turn a little bitter, especially in small spaces. It smells best closer to the skin. I much prefer the EdP, or even better the parfum.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I think I may be a little nostalgic about Samsara. I used to LOVE it! And as an optimist that I am; I still believe that I can feel about it the way I once used to. Adore it, dream about it, crave it and long for that lingering sensual scent to caress me. In fact I've made a deal with my sister to not wear it until the first snowfall of the season... now looking at it however, I’m not sure that was such a great idea, who knows how longs that may take. But a deal is a deal nonetheless.

    I’ve always thought of Samsara as a fabulous masterpiece; something that blends contemporary with Eastern tradition, something warm and inventing, smoldering and volcanic. I’ve reviewed it on a few different boards, but the review I’ve written on PE is one of my favorites.

    “The composition of this fragrance is so harmoniously blended together, so unmistakably rich, so incredibly timeless! … Samsara is art! Samsara, like its name suggests, is ongoing! It's deeply mysterious! It's sensual! It's intoxicating! It's magnetic! It's euphoric! My experience with Samsara has been ongoing indeed. I wore it for a few years and then gave it a rest... then I went back to it and so on. I will always love and wear it! And it always gets the same attention from both males and females... Samsara never fails to create a very passion-charged ambiance. It lingers and grows more alluring with every moment. …”

    Those are just some of my reflections on Samsara…
    "Of the five senses, the sense of smell is incontestably the one that best conveys a sense of immortality."

    Salvador Dali

  11. #11

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255
    I loved Samsara and bought the edp in the early 90's. Then a co worker chose it as her signature and wore it everyday, in the end I just could not stand the smell of Samsara at all. Even today when I smell it, and trust me I can spot it quite easily in shops or on the street. I just think YUCK!

    Just a question... Do you dislike this scent now because you dislike the actual smell of it, because you dislike this co-worker; or because you thought that the way it smelled on her was just wrong?

    I ask only because one of my favorite fragrances of all times was ruined for me by a co-worker who has the most awful natural scent and this comes out even through the fragrance she wears... in fact I think it’s highly amplified by it to my horror… (This I believe happens to people who never eat fresh fruits and veggies; and instead only eat processed foods and meat. But I digress ).

    Scent of Burberry will never be the same for me. Every time I smell it now, I think of the curdled way it smelled on her and it turns my stomach.

    I guess, I’m just curious as to what instigated this whole experience for you. And by the way, these days when anyone asks what I’m wearing, unless I can live with them smelling the same way I do, I tell them it’s either Cabotine or Stella; both beautiful but neither works for me, and that way we’ll never have another tragic Burberry experience. Perfume smells different on everyone, so just because it does not smell the same way on them that means nothing … Anyone think that’s a little evil?
    "Of the five senses, the sense of smell is incontestably the one that best conveys a sense of immortality."

    Salvador Dali

  12. #12
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    Quote Originally Posted by Goddess_Dreams
    “The composition of this fragrance is so harmoniously blended together, so unmistakably rich, so incredibly timeless! … Samsara is art! Samsara, like its name suggests, is ongoing! It's deeply mysterious! It's sensual! It's intoxicating! It's magnetic! It's euphoric! My experience with Samsara has been ongoing indeed. I wore it for a few years and then gave it a rest... then I went back to it and so on. I will always love and wear it! And it always gets the same attention from both males and females... Samsara never fails to create a very passion-charged ambiance. It lingers and grows more alluring with every moment. …”

    Those are just some of my reflections on Samsara…
    Goddess Dreams,

    Great review, as are many of yours. Love that enthusiasm. It's good to see. Keep it up.
    Last edited by pluran; 23rd November 2006 at 07:32 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I love Samsara but now wear it every now and then...most of the times i used it to held me sleep.
    On me it lasts forever, and i like that, and it also has a very prolonged and very attractive sandalwood base, wich is the part i like the best since i am a big fan of all things sandalwood (i have many sandalwood oils also).
    In a way, it's serene in its strengh and sensuality.
    I have had bad encounters with Samsara as well, mostly with women who smoke and drink and wear it and find it to be almost repugnant: the sillage gets very "damaged" and it becomes what i call a soiled bouquet that turns me off completely. There's nothing more pleasing than to smell samsara on a healthier woman! (IMHO)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Thoughts on Samsara

    I've been wearing the EDT as a workday fragrance off and on for a few months now. I've noticed the unlovely top note other's have mentioned, but it usually fades quickly enough to ignore. The drydown on me is powdery sandlewood, with some vanilla (not at all heavy or cloying) and a hint ylang ylang -- it stays fairly close to the skin and lasts all day, which is exactly what I look for in a work fragrance.

    One thing I have noticed is that the vanilla is more pronounced when sprayed on a drier area of my skin (and that sharp topnote lasts longer), while the sandalwood and spicier notes come out when I spray it on a pulse point. It can smell completely different on the back of my hand than on the inside of my wrist. I'm really tempted to try the EDP now, but I'm hesitant about the extra sillage.
    Last edited by coumarin; 24th November 2006 at 03:20 PM.

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