True to form, once the brutal opening loosens up and dissipates somewhat, Zahd gets much better. Well, more bearable, at least. The smell is very red and fruity – the notes say cranberry, which makes sense, because of that sweet-sour balance, but I also get grape and cherry aspects. It is simultaneously tart and sweet at first, but the scent soon sheds the sour accents and becomes ever more syrupy. At this point, it smells both tooth-achingly sweet and medicinal, like cherry cough syrup. It is a “cure-for-what-ails-you” type of smell, and one that will surely bring back slightly nauseous memories to anyone who has struggled through colds and coughs as a child.
It dries down to a base similar to the one in Ore – all creamy cocoa and beige woods. After the Bollywood explosion of notes in the top notes, the general drift towards these blond, creamy accents provides relief, like stepping into the darkened doorway off the side of an over-crowded souk. This is the bit I liked the best about Zahd, and if there was some way to get me here quicker, I’d take it. Mind you, since the base is strikingly similar to Ore, maybe I should give that one another try.