Perfume Review – Trayee by Neela Vermeire Créations: A Vibrant Kaleidoscope

In Rig Veda Psych4u  blogspot

I lost my heart to India many years ago. At the end of 1990, I spent about a month touring that magnificent country with some dear friends. India captivated my mind, overwhelmed my senses, and held me hostage. She brought me feelings of serenity, joy, amazement, and peace — a sense of having come “home” which was quite strange for someone utterly new to the country and who had lived the life of a wandering nomad. India was, quite simply, the most intoxicating, fascinating place I’d ever seen in my long list of travels. I fell in love and have never stopped. Among the many places in that gloriously dazzling country that stand out in my mind is Matheran. It is a hill station on the Western Ghat mountain range and a few hours outside of Mumbai. Every part of Matheran — and my trip up it — is etched indelibly in my mind. After a long drive, we arrived at the base of a giant mountain.

Source: BrooklynMeetsBombay Blog

Matheran. Source: BrooklynMeetsBombay Blog



Before us lay a vast, curling, climbing road covered in bright, terracotta-red dust. An endless phalanx of dark, leafy trees on either side provided shade and a green canopy above our heads through which peeked a bright blue sky. The trees were gnarled and twisted, their enormous, beige roots visible and clawing at what little remained of the dusty earth surrounding them, a victim of the battering monsoons. Everywhere, small taupe monkeys scampered around, chattering and talking a mile a minute as they ran ahead of us or leaped up on the trees.

Source: Trip Advisor

Source: Trip Advisor

Source: VirtualTourist.Com

Source: VirtualTourist.Com

You can’t drive up Matheran as it is one of the few places in the world where cars are completely forbidden, so you take donkeys or horses. Gingerly, you place yourself on their bony bodies as you slowly ride that long, winding, red trail up, up and up.

Matheran. Photo: Reza Ahmed Flickr

Matheran. Photo: Reza Ahmed Flickr

Eventually, you get to the very top to behold a canyon that seems as vast as America’s Grand Canyon — only this one is a sea of green trees and golden earth that stretches out as far as the eye can see. My friend had a large summer place at the very top, overlooking the canyon, and the sight at dawn and dusk rendered me utterly speechless. Words simply cannot convey any of it. Not even for one as verbose as myself.

Matheran. Photographer: Peter Akkermans. Site:

Matheran. Used with permission from the talented photographer: Peter Akkermans. Site:

Matheran is what flashed before my eyes when I first smelled Trayee (pronounced as “Try-ee’), a brilliant, complex, rich perfume from the Parisienne Indie line, Neela Vermeire Créations, Parfums Paris (“NVC”). The niche perfume house was founded in 2011 by Neela Vermeire, a lawyer born in India and educated in the UK who now lives in Paris and is a self-taught nose of enormous talent. She collaborated with the famous perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, to launched three perfumes paying homage to different phases in India’s history and each has garnered enormous praise. (They sent perfumistas chattering like those monkeys on Matheran!) One of them, Bombay Bling, was chosen by the prestigious perfume website, CaFleureBon, as one of their top 25 fragrances for 2011. The greatest recognition, however, came for Trayee with what would be the equivalent of a perfume Oscar when the Fragrance Foundation recognized its creative excellence and nominated it for a Fifi award in the Indie category. Trayee

The vibrant kaleidoscope that is India is at the very heart of Trayee — and it is amply demonstrated by the perfume’s long list of notes:

Madagascar blue ginger, elemi, cinnamon, ganja accord, blackcurrant absolute, basil, Sambac jasmine absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute, cardamom absolute, clove, saffron, Javanese vetiver, Haitian vetiver, incense, Mysore sandalwood oil, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, cedar, amber notes, oudh palao from Laos, and oak moss.

The Three VedasThe complex notes are quite intentional because Trayee is a concrete evocation of India’s Vedic period (1500 BC to 500 BC), a time of great antiquity shrouded in mystery but known to be the source for what eventually became modern Hinduism. As Luckyscent (Trayee’s exclusive U.S. distributor) explains, the perfume’s name is:

an allusion to the sacred origin of the first three Vedas, the most ancient sacred texts in India. The notes are drawn from the ingredients used in religious rituals and Ayurvedic medicine during the Vedic era. Rich in incense, myrrh and oud, the fragrance is a poignant blend of smoke, spices and resins that harks back to the very origins of perfumery – a burnt offering to the gods and an aid to meditation.

Trayee opens with a rich, potent burst of saffron, cardamom and oud. The oud was, as is often the case with agarwood, entwined with strong notes of rose. It was never synthetic or screechy, but true to the faintly medicinal, camphorous, chilly aspects of real agarwood. The combination of beautiful sweet saffron with the faintly nutty, aromatic sweetness of the cardamom provide a perfect counterbalance. Following on the heels of those notes is incense whose peppery, smoky accords provide a bit of a bite to the richness of the other ingredients.

That opening was the only consistent element in the two times that I tried Trayee. It is a perfume that is so magnificently blended that different elements peek out at different times, undulating like perfumed waves of richness, woodiness and spice. There is so much depth to Trayee that trying to pick out consistent notes is a bit of a hard task. In an interview with Bois de Jasmin, Ms. Vermeire summed up in one sentence much of my experience: “Trayee’s notes appear and reappear, keeping the wearer guessing and creating a memorable olfactory experience.” It is absolutely true. Equally true is Ms. Vermeire’s comment that:

Trayee is one of the most evocative fragrances for me. It is a rich woody composition, with sandalwood, oud, vetiver and incense lending it many facets. On me, it changes all the time.

Udaipur Market. Photo: Amos Rojter or "Brother Amos." Source:

Udaipur Market. Photo: Amos Rojter or “Brother Amos.” Source:

The very first time I wore Trayee, the opening was followed by hints of cassis (which is how I’ve always known “black currant”), cloves, and ginger. There was smoke that stemmed from either the incense, the myrrh, elemi, or the cedar, along with some woody elements, black pepper and sweetness. As always with Trayee, it’s hard to know what scents stem from what ingredients but it always evokes the rich kaleidoscope of India.

Saffron. Source:


All the notes were subsumed under the veil of saffron which is one of my favorite spices. There is a lovely floral nuttiness to the saffron due to the cardamom, and the combination calls to mind the richness of L’Artisan Parfumeur‘s Safran Troublant with its evocation of Persian Sholeh Zard or Indian Kheer desserts. Trayee, however, is like Safran Troublant heightened to the max and with a thousand more elements added to the mix for a richer, more intense, more spiced and luxurious experience.

The second time I wore Trayee, the usual beginning was followed by hefty doses of creamy, rich sandalwood mixed with the earthiness of vetiver. The sandalwood is absolutely real Mysore sandalwood, a rare thing in perfumery today given its prohibitive cost and the Indian government’s protection of this over-sourced prized wood. The expert perfume critic, Luca Turin, has often bemoaned the use of a synthetic replacement in “sandalwood” perfumes or the reliance on the very different Australian sandalwood, and he’s right. Real sandalwood is usually too expensive for most perfumers, especially if used in any significant quantity. Here, there is a significant amount of absolutely genuine, lovely sandalwood in Trayee. I smelled copious amounts of it during the dry-down in my first go-round, and even more of it in the opening hour on my second attempt.

It is remarkable and supports everything Ms. Vermeire has said regarding her goal of using only the finest raw materials and expensive essences in her perfume. In The Perfume Magazine, Ms. Vermeire said: “Trayee has a high concentration of pure Mysore sandalwood oil, nearly 1% pure oud, and two different types of jasmine.” And elsewhere, in a comment quoted by Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies (in a glowing review of Trayee for the Perfume Posse), she elaborated that the perfume was made without regard to cost:

I did not give a budget cap so Bertrand Dachoufour never had a budget – Trayee is one of the most expensive perfumes he has created. We made sure there are lots of high quality natural ingredients…. Most niche companies want to spend 150 euros or so max per kg of essence. We went more than 7 times that so the essences are expensive (and hopefully exceptional).

It shows. It really, really shows. The richness of the scent, the use of the most concentrated “absolute” form for many of the ingredients, and the pure smoothness of the notes seep out from every moment that you wear the perfume.

The quality of the ingredients is matched only by their superb blending, the sure sign of an expert hand like the famous Bertrand Duchaufour. The development of the perfume in its later stages differed on both occasions I wore it. Sometimes, the dominant note was Elemi, a tree from the Philippines that is related to those from which we obtain frankincense and myrrh. (You can read more about elemi in my Glossary but, in a nutshell, it opens with a lemony note that thereafter turns into spicy, peppered pinewoods.) At other times, one notices the tobacco leaves which combine with the patchouli and earthy vetiver to create a vaguely chocolate-mocha impression. There are times when the perfume is predominantly sandalwood and vetiver, followed by cardamom, jasmine and sweet amber. On occasion, the spices take on a dusty, earthy quality, like that red road up Matheran mountain. It’s a perpetually shifting mystery that makes Trayee intoxicating, endlessly sniffable and always entrancing.

Source: Fractal ArtistFlickr:

Source: Fractal Artist
Flickr (Click on photo for the link)

As a whole, however, the middle to end stages of Trayee are much sweeter than the dryer, spiced early stage. The perfume warms up in a way, evoking colours of soft burnished bronze and warm copper. The unctuous, creamy, luxurious sandalwood and deeply resinous, smoky amber rise like waves of molten gold and red, enveloping you in a scent that is deeply sensuous.

Trayee’s richness impacts its projection and sillage. This is heady, potent stuff! The perfume projected strongly for about 4.5 hours before becoming softer and less pronounced. It didn’t become close to the skin until around seven hours in — something I found to be utterly astonishing. Trayee also had remarkable longevity. On my skin which voraciously consumes perfumes and on which very little lasts for an extensive amount of time, there were very faint traces after 12.5 hours. I think that’s a new record, and one which left me utterly stunned. Granted, I did go a little crazy in the application (which is what tends to happen when I smell saffron) but, nevertheless, that ecstatic application has happened before and the perfumes never lasted anywhere remotely close to Trayee’s duration. On Fragrantica and Basenotes, however, I have read of shorter longevity with some saying Trayee lasted approximately eight hours. So, clearly, a lighter application will impact the perfume’s duration.

My one dilemma when it comes to Trayee is its cost. It is not cheap. It costs $260 for a small 1.8 oz/55 ml bottle. I was lucky to obtain my sample from a friend and fellow perfume blogger, The Scented Hound, who generously provided some from his own collection. He fell in love with Trayee, calling it “luscious, joyous, fragrant” — “like a magical day in the heart of India” — and eventually succumbed to a full bottle. I worry about the price (especially when I think of how beloved the other two perfumes in the India series are and how I’m bound to be tempted by Bombay Bling, in particular), but there is no doubt in my mind that I will try to obtain some Trayee — even if it’s only a decant. (You can read my Beginner’s Guide to Perfume to learn about perfume splits and groups that offer decants for sale.)

Summer palace on the lake Jaipur

Jaipur – Summer palace on the lake.

Despite Trayee’s cost, I honestly think you are getting what you pay for. There are many similarly priced perfumes out in the luxury market (albeit, usually for a larger sized bottle) but the quality of Trayee’s ingredients make it truly stand out. To me, it is the equal of perfumes from Ormonde Jayne and the uber-luxury perfume house, Amouage, and far surpasses those of several other prestigious houses.

Jodphur - Temple at Mandore. Source: Travel Pictures

Jodphur – Temple at Mandore. Source: Travel Pictures

At the end of the day, though, Trayee is more than just decadently sumptuous. It is elegant and evocative, mysterious and seductive, complex and quite mesmerizing. Wearing it, I was transported back to India. I was back on Matheran, but I was also in the palaces of Jaipur, the ancient temples of Jodphur, and the bustling markets of modern Udaipur. Trayee represents each part of the mysterious, complex, ancient beauty that is India. It is, very clearly, a work of love.


Cost & Availability: In the U.S., Trayee is available exclusively at Luckyscent where it costs $260 for a 50 ml bottle. Luckyscent also sells a small 0.7 ml sample for $7. (And the site ships world-wide.) In addition, Trayee can also be purchased as part of a Discovery Set which includes, Bombay Bling and Mohur, Neela Vermeire’s other two India collection perfumes. The set is available exclusively on the company’s website and costs €21 for three small 2 ml vials, or €85/90 (depending on your location) for three larger 10 ml decants. Shipping is included in the price and, apparently, Ms. Vermeire writes a personal note for each order. (How lovely and rare is that?!) In Europe, Trayee costs €200 for the 55 ml bottle and is available at Jovoy Paris, the Swiss Osswald Parfumerie and Munich’s Sündhaft. You can find a few additional retailers from the Netherlands to Moscow which carry Trayee on the store’s Points of Sale page.

83 thoughts on “Perfume Review – Trayee by Neela Vermeire Créations: A Vibrant Kaleidoscope

  1. ‘Beautiful review. I enjoyed this one too and although cost is an issue I cannot help but applaud the decision to sell samples at a very reasonable price, not many houses do this.

    • Thank you, Christos. I’m glad you liked the review. 🙂 And you’re right, very few houses sell samples at such a reasonable price. Which was your favorite of the India series? Trayee?

      • I admit I got distracted while testing them and I have not crystallized an opinion but I think Bombay Bling because I love mango notes so much. The other day I smelled L’Occitane mango hand cream and I wanted to bathe in that stuff 🙂

        • Ha, how sweet. I couldn’t imagine you throwing all caution to the wind and just splashing things on with abandon, but I’m glad to know you do! (I know the feeling. It’s what happens to me when I smell saffron or orange blossom. Or Pink Grapefruit cream.)

          People’s love for Bombay Bling is going to drive me a little mad, as that is the only one I don’t have a sample of and it’s the one I think I may like as much as Trayee. Dammit. The life of frustration. 😉 I suppose I should get myself off to Luckyscent and order a vial now.

  2. Great review! When I got India trio samples from Neela the scent that was most appealing to me was Bombay Bling! which I reviewed as first. Actually I’m thinking about taking care of Trayee and writing something about it in some closer unknown future.

  3. Trayee is my favorite of the three. It’s definitely full bottle worthy. The price is higher than I’d like but sometimes you get what you pay for like you said, and Trayee could be of the rare scents worth saving your pennies for. I enjoyed my sample but I’d love a bottle that I could really give myself a good spritzing with. Someday…

  4. Trayee is my favorite of the three. It’s definitely full bottle worthy. The price is higher than I’d like but sometimes you get what you pay for like you said, and Trayee could be of the rare scents worth saving your pennies for. I enjoyed my sample but I’d love a bottle that I could really give myself a good spritzing with. Someday…

    • Me, too, Poodle, me too…. One day. As one of my friends said a while back, “why must I be a pauper with such bloody expensive tastes??!” LOL. My secret hope is that I only really fall for one of the 3 because then, it’s faintly manageable. But if I love all of them, then I’m pretty much screwed. 😀

  5. I simply cannot wait to get my sample set! I’ve heard so many great things about her creations. Pricy, pricy juice but I suppose some indulgences in life are worth it! 🙂

    • This is definitely worth the cost. The quality far surpasses some similarly-priced perfumes that I’ve smelled lately — though again, those bottles are larger. Did you order the small sample set, Kevin, or the 10 ml one?

      • Small sample set! If you haven’t yet ordered a sample of Bombay Bling, I’d be happy to send you what I have left (and Mohur, too) after I use a bit. Of course, that might mean waiting a while, but perhaps you’d be willing to wait to save a few pennies? Let me know, because I’d be happy to do that, especially after you were so generous to me!

        • That’s incredibly sweet of you, Kevin. Thank you, but I will try to order a vial of Bombay Bling from Luckyscent. I have Mohur, thanks to the kindness of Mr. Hound. I hope you love all three scents — even if your wallet ends up protesting at the end. 😉

  6. What a Spectacular review!! A great hook in the story of your trip to India set it all up for a really good read. A GREAT read in fact. I really loved it. And as for Trayee, well now you have me sold (at least for a sample for now) This perfume is beginning to sound like my holy grail! Anyway my dear job well done. Brava bellissima!

    • Thank you, darling Lanier. I feared that — at times — it was as much an ode to India as it was to Trayee itself. 😀 But they are one and the same, I suppose. I really hope you get a sample because I think you’d adore its luxurious, sensuous nature. And that sandalwood, my heavens, that sandalwood!!! Absolutely stupendous, especially during the dry-down.

    • Thank you, darling Mr. Hound, for your kind words and for giving me the opportunity to try Trayee. It is definitely worth every drop. My dilemma is: what happens if I like all 3 of them?! 😉 A mere 10 ml large sample from the website won’t do, I’m afraid. Not for Trayee. LOL.

  7. I’m also a big fan of traveling in India and my heart near skipped a beat when I first read your words about the trip up to Matheran and than looked at the pictures. It must have been so spectacular, I can’t even begin to imagine!

    About Neelas scents, I can’t say which one is the best, each one of them has been my favourite at some point 😉

    • Thank you so much, sweet Sigrun. 🙂 India was such a breathtaking place and there are so many places that are vividly etched in my mind, so many places that made my jaw drop or just made me happy. But Matheran…… Matheran….. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m rarely at a loss for words, but it made me silent in awe. The view at the very top… there are simply no words.

      What was your favorite place(s) in India? If you miss it, or would love to see some really spectacular photos of it, you may want to give a peek at Peter Akkermans’ photo gallery on his website: He has some spectacular shots of Ethiopia and Nepal too! He’s an extremely talented photographer.

      As for Ms. Vermeire’s scents, you seem to share the consensus of many who can’t choose a favorite amongst them! What an amazing achievement for one’s very first line of perfumes! I can’t wait to try the rest of the line. 🙂

      • India is such a big place it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite, I have to say it’s a tie between the gentle pace of life in Kerala and the majesty of Rajastan with it’s forts and deserts. I’ve been to India twice, first I took a few months off uni and backpacked from south to north,just doing the classical backpacking thing, trying to live as cheaply as possible. Then, 6 years ago, my husband was stationed outside Delhi for work for 6 months and I went there for one month to visit. He worked mostly with Indians, we made Indian friends that could show us around, invite us home, explain religion, beliefs, why things were like they were etc. This was a very different experience and it brings a smile to my face whenever I think if it 🙂

        Those pictures in the link are absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much for the link!

        And, on a sadder note, the little box on my site for receiving follow up mails on comments does not seem to working, at least no mails are going out (there is a longer explanation after your comment over at my blog about this). I hope to be able to find another component that can do this soon!

  8. I feel happy every time you write a great review for one of my favorite perfumes: most of us, your current readers, have tried them already or will do it soon. But I hope that potential customers will find your review one day, read and decide to give this great perfume a try.
    My favorite in the trio is Bombay Bling with Trayee going close second.

    • Aww, you’re very sweet, Undina. Thank you. I hope future readers end up being swayed to try the perfume too. As for Bombay Bling, that seems to be everyone’s favorite or second favorite out of the three. I can’t wait to try it. I have a sample of Mohur, thanks to Mr. Hound, so that one will probably be next. 🙂

  9. I am absolutely in love with all three in the line.Like Undina, Bombay Bling is my favorite, with Trayee coming in at a close second. It’s hard to say though since they evoke such different moods for me. Bombay Bling made my eyes pop open and I think I said, “Oh WOW!” really loudly in my empty apartment. It made me smile and want to dance around. Trayee may have elicited a moan. It is that beautiful.

    And thank you for sharing your lovely memories to India! What a lucky friend (and lucky you)!

    • I was very lucky. Getting to see India was one thing, but getting to see so much of it and through the eyes of someone who was Indian themselves — even luckier. I’ve been to vast parts of the world that I thought were spectacular but India was in a class by itself and truly stole my heart.

      As for Ms. Vermeire’s perfumes, we have one more vote for Bombay Bling! And an actual “Oh WOW!” out loud, no less! I suspect — nay, I *know* — I’m going to be in deep trouble when I finally get to smell it. 😀

  10. Beautiful, beautiful review of one os the most spectacular launches and lines I’ve ever been introduced to. They are each of the three so unique, so complex and so multi-hued as perfumes you can never quite be entirely sure of what the journey will be this time – only that it will be – unforgettable! 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by, Tarleisio, and especially for your kind words. 🙂 I can’t wait to take the journey through the rest of Ms. Vermeire’s creations. I have no doubt that each of the remaining two will be as complex, luxurious and lush as Trayee was. “Unforgettable” is quite the appropriate description. 🙂 All the best, Kafka.

  11. What an amazingggggg Review Kafka … I will never be tired of singing praises for you but am sure you will get bored one day….
    Each and every word is so well written and from the heart … I could feel how much effort you have made to write a post… not only this but all your post speaks volume 🙂
    I can’t thank you enough for being here and sharing all your knowledge with us: d
    Being an Indian and your fan I was overwhelmed to read a review of Trayee … although it was only you… who introduced me to this 🙂
    You know Kafka, I am from Jaipur and here is open invitation to you and your family … whenever you plan a trip to India please oblige me dear 🙂
    I am currently in Bangalore and my hubby’s family is from Mumbai…
    So basically we have covered “West and south” 🙂 🙂

    On that note – am going to get all 3 ….. sooner or later 😀 samplessss i mean

    • Sweet Rashmi, I’m so glad you liked the review. It was partially a tribute to your beautiful country. Thank you for your very generous offer. You can be sure I’ll let you know if I go back to India and am staying anywhere close to you. I’d love for us to meet. We would wear nothing but NARS, and chat about your hubby’s perfume tastes. 😉 xoxo

      • Kafkaaa … even if you are not anywere cloe to me , I will come down to meet you 🙂 no matter what .. as hubby knows you soooo well he will not fuss about it .. he never does actually but still I am just telling you 😀 he would be more then happy to make me smile as he knows how much I loveeeeeee you 😀 happy valetines day sweetie XOXO
        and finally when he came and i saw the USHER it was Men’s only 😛 hahaha 😀 😀 he was trying to convince me hard that is is for HER 🙂 ahhah

        a reallyyyy small request to you 🙂 do share your fav. shades of makeup and your fav and must have skin care stuff … if not here in about me section pls 🙂 🙂 I would love to read it and the magical words you create with your absolute must have products 😀 😀 you bring LIFE to lifeless things .. ahhhhh why i feel short of words when am here ?? 🙁 🙁 🙁

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  14. Wowzers! Nice review and even nicer perfume. You already know I bought L’AP Safran Troublant almost blind based on Lucas’ review (although now I know I had smelled it before at Henri Bendel) and you also know that even my scent glue skin was no match for how fleeting it was. Now comes Trayee which is an amped up version, lasted 12 hours + and stayed lovely just about the entire time! It started HOT and SPICY for me and for the first 10 minutes, I almost broke into a sweat because it was HOT. I was prepared to hate it (because I do not like hot/spicy foods) but the hotness actually became breezy and cooling and never got back to that initial too hot stage. I have Bombay Bling left to try and I am convinced that I must acquire the Discovery Set and perhaps even FBs of one, two or even all 3 – it is, after all, my birthday MONTH 😉

    • Ohhhh HURRAH!!!! Trayee is my absolute favorite of the 3 and simply magnificent. In fact, I would fully describe it as an EPIC perfume!! From the stunning scent to the superb longevity, to the sheer luxurious depths of it, it is truly spectacular. I think a birthday month (lol!) would not be complete without the Discovery Set, though you may want to go straight for a full bottle from Lucky Scent instead and cut through the chase. It sounds like love on your part, so why delay the inevitable? 😉

      P.S. – I’m glad you liked the review and thank you for the kind words.

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  19. Dammit, Kafka, I ordered a sample of this after reading your review, and I’m so entirely smitten that I don’t quite know what to do with myself. Gorgeous review of a gorgeous fragrance, wow…

    • Scent Twins activate! LOL. It’s incredible to me how much our tastes are alike. Nay, not alike. Identical! Did you order a sample from LuckyScent or straight from NVC in Paris with the 3-part Sample set? I’m just trying to assess if you have other NVCs to test out as well. As for Trayee, it is really something, isn’t it? Such depth, such complexity, and sophistication…. it’s almost like a galeforce wind of intensity. I love how you’re so smitten that you don’t know what to do with yourself. I’m SO happy!

      • I ordered it from Luckyscent when I bought my Absolue Pour Le Soir, along with samples of Puredistance M and Jubilation 25. Trayee’s notes appealed to me the most of the three NVC scents. And yes, so much depth and complexity and those fascinating shifts! I do love some fairly linear scents if they’re just right, but that prismatic effect you’ve spoken of previously is a sure way to stun me into silence. Scent is so like music for me, and has the power to break my heart, send me within, cause me to be buoyant or enchanted or seduced….

        And oh my god, Mysore Sandalwood!

      • And yes, I’m so pleased we have nearly identical fragrance preferences, it makes your writing even more fun to read!

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  25. mmm. I got my samples of Trayee, Bombay Bling and Mohur today. Unfortunately, the Trayee leaked in the package. But the package smells wonderful! Can’t wait to try them all out but I got some samples of vintage Opium in today as well and I doubt I could accurately smell anything through the Opium cloud I am currently in 🙂

    • Bah at the leakage! Was it the whole vial? If so, perhaps you can drop Neela Vermeire a note and see if she may be kind enough to send you another one? It would be a shame not to have enough to test out properly.

      Vintage Opium?!?! Where did you get samples of that? I’m so happy! You know, it’s funny that you mention “Opium cloud” because that is exactly how a few other people describe it too. A cloud. Serious sillage, no? Did you get the EDT? I guess we should talk about Opium in its own thread, but I’d love to hear more as it develops on your skin and to see what you think of it. And Alahine, too, if you tried it again after your plumbing problems ended. It does take a lot of time with that one given its strength at the start.

      • Oh yes. I emailed Neela and they immediately sent a replacement. I have enough to test but I have overdone the Opium so I need to wait. I will give an update on it in its own thread. And Alahine too now that the plumbing fiasco has been fixed 🙂

        If it is the Trayee I’m smelling, it is really attractive. Can’t wait to really try it. Exotic.

        • Oh my. I tried Trayee yesterday and Mohur today. They are so luscious. Silky smooth like a high-end dessert. Neela Vermeire has some winners here. I thought Trayee was so beautiful that Mohur and Bombay Bling couldn’t possibly compete, so I wasn’t expecting much. What a surprise. There is no way Bombay Bling can be in the same class, is there? The only problem is the price, but they are so lovely.

          • Re. the price, you can always get a set of the 10 ml travel minis. The perfumes are rich and powerful enough to make a little go quite a ways, if one is careful with application. As for Bombay Bling, it’s not my favorite out of the three simply because I adore Trayee so much. But BB is actually the preferred one of a number of people who find it to be utterly joyful. I think it’s definitely in the same class in terms of quality, but it really comes down to personal taste as to the type of scent one finds more compelling. For me, fruity scents can never quite compete with hardcore spices. LOL. What does your wife think of the two that you’ve tried thus far? And does she have a favorite?

          • She didn’t smell Trayee yesterday but she smelled Mohur today and she gave the look of “this one is special”. The sandalwood in both of them is just divine. They each have a base of sandalwood which is like a soft comforter on which spices are piled for Trayee and Roses for Mohur. I have to agree with you as far as fruits. I like to eat them, not smell like them.

          • It’s actual, genuine Mysore sandalwood — and it really, really shows. For me, that makes all the difference and it’s part of why I love the NVC line so much. You simply can’t find that smell in many things today because the cost would be completely unfeasible for most commercial perfumers. As for Mohur, it truly is beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. You know, it’s sadly overlooked by many in the face of Trayee’s forcefulness and Bombay Bling’s sunny, joyful exuberance. Poor Mohur is like the quiet middle sister whose beauty is missed. But, for me, Mohur was always my second favorite. Until I tried Mohur Esprit, the concentrated Pure Parfum extract and….. Holy Cow!! When that one hits the market this Fall, there is no way the scent could possibly be overlooked. Absolutely stunning and jaw-droppingly sophisticated. It’s like Mohur decided to put on a diva, haute couture dress and go to the gala! Better save up for that one, Cohibadad, because I suspect it will blow your wife out of the water!

  26. A mesmerizing review and beyond the review a fantastic travelogue. I was told decades ago that I really had to experience India – based on my love of Indian Sufi and traditional music – but so far I haven’t made the hajj. Your description does, however, transport one to the sub-continent and you tie Trayee so well with the journey – it almost makes one believe to have visited in person.

    I purchased 10 ml sample set and have been trying out the fragrances – slowly. So far my favorite is Mohur which surprised me. I already have so many Micallef rose – oud combinations, that another rose was unlooked for. I also find the middle and dry down of Trayee extraordinary, though I have a little trouble with the opening – as I did with Reminiscence: Noir Reminiscence – I think it’s the elemi which has some visceral effect which I can’t define, but is consistent. Still, I find the saffron and other spices intoxicating and the sandalwood is unbelievably refined.

    I haven’t been able to get around the mango opening of Bombay Bling just yet – it smells so real and fresh that I find it beyond anything I’ve experienced outside of a fruit stall. Not that I’m giving up, but it reminds me of the crazy Neil’s Puppet Dreams – Bollywood: in being over the top.

    • LOL at that video! I can’t stop laughing. Not only is Neil Patrick Harris utterly adorable (and insanely talented), but it’s truly well done. And the flashes of orange…. I can see how the whole thing may remind you of Bombay Bling. Thank you for sharing your impressions and reactions of the trio, Two2ahorse, and I’m really glad you appreciate the quieter, more elegant beauty of Mohur. It’s sadly overshadowed by its more boisterous siblings.

      As for Trayee, that sandalwood is the real, true thing — none of this crap called “sandalwood” in most perfumes today. It’s the sandalwood of my childhood, of all the fragrances I tried and smelled then, and the *sole* real, true sandalwood, in my opinion. Rare, impossible to find, astronomically expensive Mysore sandalwood. I’m SO glad you can see and appreciate its beauty! With regard to the elemi, do you think the addition of that powerful Laos Oud is what makes it so difficult for you in the beginning? For me, the oud is more noticeable than the elemi and I know it’s the one thing that makes some people struggle with Trayee. One person said it best when they described Trayee as a force of nature, akin to a hurricane, that is best left to go on its path, and sweep over you without resistance. LOL. It’s when you cease to struggle that its beauty becomes more approachable. *grin* 😉

      Let me know how you go on in testing or adapting to the fragrances, and if Mohur remains your favorite. If so, you may want to look up the review for the upcoming Mohur Esprit de Parfum which will be out in September or so. It takes Mohur to a whole new level, and is simply staggeringly beautiful.

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  33. Loved your story, made me want to buy a plane ticket right now !
    I am awaiting very eagerly for my Discovery Set, and I went ahead and got the India Trial Set,
    very reasonably priced I might add.
    I was curious if anyone had tried out her NEW scent called Ashoka yet ?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the review. And the India Trial sets are a great way to explore the line. I hope you find one that you like. 🙂

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  37. Hello Kafka,

    I finally got around to trying this perfume, and was incredibly excited about it – real Mysore sandalwood with sweet saffron and spicy ginger!

    I purchased a decant of Trayee from a fragrance forum splitter with a good reputation. Upon smelling it, I am almost wondering whether he made a mistake and mislabelled the decant. To me it smells very, very sweet in an almost rotten way – a bit like boiled, rotting carrots. There is also this slight fizziness to it, like soda pop. I do not know what real sandalwood smells like, sadly, but I did not get any woods at all in the drydown. *sigh* Now I’m just wondering if my nose is broken, because I want oh-so-desperately to smell what everyone else seems to be smelling!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Septimus Hodge. Second, what a disappointing, terrible experience with Trayee! Established fragrance splitters rarely make a mistake in decanting the wrong scent, so I doubt that is the problem. But I have never heard anyone recount an experience with Trayee that is remotely like yours, so I’m at a bit of a loss. If you had said it smelled overly dusty and dry, that I’ve heard. If you’d said the incense took on an ashtray-like vibe, one person told me that too. But excessively, ridiculously sweet? No. Nothing about rottenness or rotting carrots, either. Sandalwood certainly doesn’t smell like that. Neela Vermeire’s Mohur definitely has a carrot note, as well as sweetness, but that is primarily a rose fragrance.

      I wish I had an explanation for which note or combination of notes could have triggered such a ghastly scent on your skin. Skin chemistry can be a very funny thing, but overly sweet, rotten notes that resemble carrots?! With no woods at all?! Baffling. And really, truly unfortunate. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

      • Hi Kafka, sorry for responding very late but I didn’t think you would respond to my late comment (and I did not turn on the email notifications)! I appreciate that and have been enjoying your reviews very much.

        I even went out of my way to purchase a sample from a verified retailer (First in Fragrance in Germany) and the sample smelled just like the decant … rotting, sugared carrots. Yes, it must be just my skin after all, which is so disappointing! This is not the first time I have had odd reactions to perfumes though – for example, Noir de Noir by Tom Ford smells to me like bananas, of all things.

        With that said, I suppose it’s a good thing I was not too enamored, because it has stopped me from falling down the vintage Sandalwood rabbit hole and saved me money I really shouldn’t spare. I also purchased a sample of Xerjoff’s Richwood (I know you said in your review that you did not think it smelled like pure sandalwood, but it seems to be one of the few “modern” perfumes around with any real sandalwood in it) and while I liked it quite a bit, I didn’t fall head over heels.

        However, I tried a few other perfumes on the basis of your recommendations – Oriza LeGrand Chypre Mousse and MDCI Chypre Palatin – and love them both! Chypre Mousse is particularly fascinating, it should be stomach-churning – I get almost chocolate-y earth, candied chestnuts, and mushrooms – but somehow it smells so cohesive and almost magical. I think of the dancing mushrooms in the Disney movie, Fantasia. 🙂 And Chypre Palatin is just… I cannot pick out the individual notes well but it is so well-balanced and cohesive. I actually admit to not liking the “classic” vintages I have smelled much (possibly I have had bad luck with them, and they had all degraded? who knows) but Chypre Palatin is what I was looking for in a wearable, complex, somewhat unisex chypre. I am glad I found your blog review, or else I probably wouldn’t have found it.

        Wow, this was a long comment! Sorry for rambling on. But I enjoy your blog very much (even though I don’t comment often, because once I start I can’t stop… as you can see…) and look forward to reading new reviews 🙂

  38. I am a bit late to the party that is Trayee, but I finally got to sample this one! I absolutely adore everything from NVC, I have a big decant of Ashoka, I own a full bottle of Bombay Bling and after finishing two decants of Mohur, my full bottle is finaly on it’s way 🙂
    What does strike me about my sample of trayee is that it smells sooooooo much like Bombay Bling to my nose! It’s a slightly incensy and more smokey Bombay Bling.
    I got it from a reputable sample service, but I wonder if the owner mistakenly did put Bombay Bling in there. The bottles all do look the same…
    Any one else feel they are in any way similar? My sample doesn’t smell at all like what I had pictured Trayee to smell like.

    • Hello Ellen
      I’m also NVC bonkers with a full bottle of BB and Mohur 🙂 BB and Trayee to me smelt very different with the former being quite fruity and the latter being a spice market explosion. I know the quality of the ingredients are in common so there might be echoes but definitely to me different scents. Hopes hat helps

  39. Wonderful review. I tried Pichola during my visit to Tiger Lily in San Francisco and was so smitten that I ordered a full bottle. It arrived with samples of the other NVCs. I love my Pichola, but wow, the Trayee is so beautiful, variegated. I feel myself being seduced.

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  41. Hi there,
    I tested quite a lot of scents while I was in Rome and this is my favourite. I have a small sample here at home so I am testing again and again…until it lasts 🙂
    Anyway it is difficult to describe its evolution, it really changes from test to test and not by small degree; also spray vs dabbing makes a huge difference.
    There is no rose listed on the notes but what i detect at the opening is a rose-centric fragrance with some oud infused with saffron, saffron and again saffron accompanied with some cardamone; then i may be crazy but i smelled in one of the test a veil, a very light veil of cinnamon. This opening is hardly innovative but again it smells pure luxury to me.
    As time passes, trayee becomes smoother creamier and what i called more rounded conjuring up the image of a very rich very beautiful self conscius woman trying to seduce doing anything but smile ( a very reserved smile) and this is what i meant when i say this scent skews more femenine to me so I will probably not buy a full bottle but who knows
    Btw at the two hours mark another flower appear but it is difficult for me to isolate the notes.

  42. One thing that I learnet from this blog, is that I should wear what I like and what makes me feel good. And so my full bottle arrived last week and I am so so happy.
    All NVC are really a good interpretation of India and Trayee is my favourite;now that I did various full wearing, I can say this scent puts me in a very meditative mood, it helps me relaxing as well and so pure luxury for me( the real,sandalwood?)…
    Yes this is my best 2016 purchase!

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  44. Hi Kafka! Just received my bottle today and I am in looooove.
    Thanks for your detailed review. I very much continue to appreciate reading your older posts. Take care!

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