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  1. #1

    Default Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    Today I sampled a most interesting fragrance, Shaal Nur by Etro. I have fallen in love with it, and so has my husband (he issued an unsolicited "That's really nice. What IS it?" comment, LOL).

    Of course, I looked up all the reviews I could find, and they are ALL different. Luca Turin calls Shaal Nur a "warm vetiver", others peg it as an incense fragrance, and still others go on about the citrus, flowers, and/or herbs that stand out for them. My take on it is fairly close to Luca Turin's. To my nose, a nutty and warm vetiver is the standout element.

    Truth be told, Shaal Nur is a combination citrus-floral-herbal-spicy-woody-incense-vetiver fragrance. Here are the listed notes:

    Top: Citrus floral (lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, tangerine, rosewood, coriander)
    Heart: Aromatic floral (thyme, tarragon, rosemary, karo karoundé, rose, petit grain)
    Base: Spicy, woody, amber (nutmeg, patchouli, vetiver, cedar wood, opoponax, incense, musk)

    This experience has me thinking about other fragrances I've experienced that don't fall neatly into one or two categories. Another that comes to mind is L'Artisan's Dzongkha, which is an incense fragrance, right? But wait: It's fruity (lychee) and it's a very fine iris fragrance as well!

    I am a relative newbie to all of this, but I can tell you that I find these hard-to-classify fragrances among my favorites. They stimulate the intellect as well as the senses.

    Any thoughts? Other fragrances that you would place in this special category?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    For me, Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie. It is very classical and womanly, but also a bit skanky and at times smells disturbingly of urine to me. Many people also comment on how naturalistic it is. I think it just doesn't fall easily into a category.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    Yes! There are quite a few fragrances I've tried that don't seem to "fit" in any one category. Poison, a recent discovery for me, attracted me for just this reason. It's such a colorful mix - fruit, musk, flowers, spices - that while it could be broadly classed as a floriental that word hardly covers it. Lutens' Mandarine Mandarin does something similar, being a blend of fruity, floral, herbal and oriental elements that refuse to fall into one category or another.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    This may come as a surprise, but Fracas is that way to me. Fracas is almost immediately all base vetiver, alternating between damp and dry. Yes, it's a giant white floral, but that vetiver is so strong on drydown that one loses the sense of the earlier strength of bouquet. It is as if tuberose is being trampled in vetiver, with the brown edge of rot just beginning to creep along the petals' boundaries. This is a fragrance of decay that sits alongside other white floral classics like No. 22 and hides its true nature.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    This may come as a surprise, but Fracas is that way to me. Fracas is almost immediately all base vetiver, alternating between damp and dry. Yes, it's a giant white floral, but that vetiver is so strong on drydown that one loses the sense of the earlier strength of bouquet. It is as if tuberose is being trampled in vetiver, with the brown edge of rot just beginning to creep along the petals' boundaries. This is a fragrance of decay that sits alongside other white floral classics like No. 22 and hides its true nature.
    Orion, I love your writing! I haven't yet tried Fracas, but you've certainly piqued my curiosity. And Sucrose, I really need to try the Une Fleur de Cassie one of those days! Ditto the Mandarine Mandarin that Galamb mentioned.

    Interesting little list we have so far. Another multifaceted and hard-to-peg gem is a Neil Morris fragrance called Hologram. It's one of several NM fragrances that I've been testing -- in fact I have it on now. It starts with an amazing (and gorgeous) bright blast of yuzu, moves into a rich round purple-y juiciness, and has a lovely warm, dry finish. Look at these interesting notes: Yuzu, Black Currant, Violet, Fig, Sea Moss, Amber, Incense, Musk.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    This thread seems to have tanked before it got off the ground. And that is quite OK, but I thought I'd bump it once.

    I really am curious if there are other fragrances that folks find unclassifiable. Or maybe the problem is that there are too many such fragrances???

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    One of my favorite puzzlers is the designation Citrus Oriental. So far, I've only come across one Ho Hang Club.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fragrances That Can't Be Pigeonholed

    Haunani, I love the question! I am totally in favour of genre-blending things, whatever they may be. It is just that every time I try to think of something that would be a good example of such a scent, I draw a blank.
    OK -- bearing down on the issue... a DRY/austere oriental. Czech&Speake Frankincense and Myrrh. I like that very much. All of the intrigue of incense and exotic spices, none of the tiresome head-achy richness of amber and excessive patchouli or vanilla.
    I'll keep thinking about it. Sometimes a good question needs to germinate for a while... be patient.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

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