Reviews En Bref: Six from NISHANE Istanbul

NISHANE Istanbul is a fragrance brand that seeks to bottle Turkey’s ancient scent traditions along with Istanbul’s cosmopolitan style in a mix of the modern and the classical. Nishane was founded in 2012, which is probably why the company says it is Turkey’s very first niche brand. At that time, they put out colognes and scented candles, but they recently launched a 16-fragrance collection of extrait de parfums.

The Nishane Extrait Collection. Photo via Nishane's Facebook page.

The Nishane Extrait Collection. Photo via Nishane’s Facebook page.

I’ve tried six of them: Duftbluten, Spice Bazaar, Patchuli Khoza, Tuberoza, Munegu, and Afrika Olifant. Unfortunately, none of the six worked for me and none of them had sufficient complexity to warrant spending several thousand words analysing each one individually. Perfume reviewing is a subjective thing that is dependent on individual tastes, experiences, and skin chemistry, but it’s not easy to write exhaustive, detailed reviews on things one dislikes all in a row. So I’ve chosen to write what essentially amounts to blurbs by my (admittedly skewed) standards rather than skipping reviewing the fragrances entirely. In each case, I’ll eschew quoting Nishane’s full description for the scent and all the background information. Instead, I’ll simply give the company’s general categorization, the notes, and a link to either Fragrantica, Basenotes, or a positive review where you can read different perspectives as a counterbalance.


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nishane describes Duftbluten as a “time machine” and “take no prisoners floral chypre.” According to Twisted Lily, its notes are:

Magnolia, Gardenia, Osmanthus, Patchouli, Incense, Oakmoss.

Duftbluten opens as a generic citrusy-floral-clean musk bouquet that feels virtually indistinguishable from a mall or department store floral. Its individual notes are wholly faceless, as though Photoshop had blurred and wiped out all identifying characteristics.

There is absolutely nothing on my skin that resembles actual gardenia or magnolia in any concrete, natural or defined way. According to the bible on raw materials —  Arctander‘s Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin gardenia is almost never extracted “for the isolation of essential oil, concrete or absolute” but is typically an artificial synthetic in perfumery. In the case of magnolia, he says flat-out: “To the best of the author’s knowledge, there are no true, natural Magnolia flower products commercially available for perfumery use.” Whatever synthetics have been used in Duftbluten, they don’t smell like magnolia or gardenia to me.



Even worse, they feel like mere abstractions of generalized floralcy. The totally generic notes all overlap into a Sephora floral soup, tied together with clean, soft musk. There is absolutely nothing green or chyprish about any of it. There is a thin layer of something generic and white in the base that — for lack of any real identifying characteristics or a better word — I’ll call “vague woodiness,” but it feels more like a hazy blur of clean, beige creaminess more than anything resembling an actual wood note. In fact, it’s not even really creamy, either, but I can’t describe it because — like everything else with this scent — it has zero shape or character.

Duftbluten changes a little over time. After 30 minutes, there is a vague spiciness that appears that slowly turns into something resembling a heavily filtered, diluted, clean patchouli. It’s not the fruitchouli sort, that is certain, but a hazy suggestion of spicy warmth. It helps to turn Duftbluten into a moderately pleasant, clean, barely spiced floral that makes me think of an Estée Lauder fragrance. It’s an utterly harmless, wholly commonplace floral concoction, but this phase doesn’t last. After 3 hours, even the abstract, amorphous floralcy fades away, leaving a ghostly echo amidst a sea of creamy softness.



This is a quality I’ve noticed in several of the Nishane fragrances, a layer of vague, nebulous creaminess that has no actual aroma but is more like a generic textural softness. It can’t be the magnolia, since that isn’t an ingredient in some of the other Nishane fragrances with the same creamy softness, so perhaps it’s some sort of white musk. Whatever it is, it imbues the scent with a plush quality more than anything else. It slowly takes over Duftbluten’s main focus. In fact, from the start of the 4th hour until the 9th hour when I finally washed Duftbluten off, all that is left is this generic, creamy softness. A ghostly hint of floralcy pops up once in a while in the background until the 6th hour when it stops completely. There is no actual oakmoss, incense, or osmanthus on my skin at any time.



On Fragrantica, there is only one review for Duftbluten at this time. “GreyDove” calls it a “Strange, cool, vegetal fragrance,” saying its slightly sour opening morphed into the smell of freshly steamed vegetables before the scent improved through a light touch of leather and oakmoss. She writes:

I got a lightly sour almost fruity opening which must have been the magnolia which morphed into the smell of freshly steamed carrots or snap peas? The gardenia doesn’t read as its usual vanillic diva self, instead it imparts a creamy milkiness to the composition. I was going to write it off at that point but then it shifted into a light leathery hum and the oakmoss tied everything together. It is lovely and having tried some of the others from this line, seems to be one of the better realized compositions. I got no patchouli or apricot or incense[….]

Magnolia. Source: Kathy Clark via

Magnolia. Source: Kathy Clark via

The blogger, Pierre de Nishapur, loved Duftbluten, as he did almost all the Nishane fragrances. In his very positive overview post on the collection, his assessment of Duftbluten reads, in part, as follows:

the notes are assorted in the most possible brilliant way to create a super dandy creamy dreamy aroma of saxophone sound of summer sunset romantic magnolia! […][¶] The opening is based upon magnolia with its realistic skanky smell of its nature that is mostly ashamedly masked in many other perfumes, but not here (I’m talking about magnolia’s teasing part). More than what gardenia can do, oakmoss and incense are early comers to the party before all the guests come and they are hippie dancers in the middle of saloon! [¶] I called it a modern chypré at first, I still do but I want to call it a modern opening highly affected by chypré foundation.
The following layer when we approach to the core, the soapy side of magnolia comes up with semi musky gardenia and pseudo apricot smell of osmanthus. This is very sensual and I strongly think that it’s sort of those fragrances that performs super sexy on redheads cause it has a hidden milky accord inside which plays awfully perfect on that type of skin.

Perhaps I’d have more luck with Duftbluten if I were a redhead. As it is, I think the fragrance smells like a moderately better quality version of some generic, indistinct floral soup that I’d find at a mall department store. Given that Duftbluten costs $195, €180, or £120 for a 50 ml bottle, I’ll pass.


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Spice Bazaar is an extrait that Nishane describes as the scent of the Grand Bazaar. According to Twisted Lily, the notes are:

Juniper, Yuzu, Rosemary, Ginger, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Cumin, Black Pepper, Saffron, Vanilla.

Spice Bazaar opens on my skin with a generic, indistinct bouquet dominated by citruses, a hint of something vaguely and indistinguishably floral, and clean musk. The amorphous bouquet is then doused with dry, powdered cumin, followed by a handful of faceless spices, and a pinch of something that is slightly peppery.

Photo: David Hare via

Photo: David Hare via

The spice mix stands out for how little they’re blended in; it feels as though they’re a solid, concrete layer upon a wholly shapeless blur of something vaguely citrusy, clean, and generically floral. None of the notes are easy to pinpoint or identify except for the cumin. The end result doesn’t feel like a niche oriental to me at all. I keep having images of a Madison Avenue focus group who decided to toss a few bags of spices onto a generic cologne-cumin blend.



Still, all of that is better than what Spice Bazaar eventually turns into on my skin. Roughly 90 minutes into the fragrance’s development, the cumin takes over — and I do mean, takes over. There is almost nothing else emanating from my skin after that. By the end of the 2nd hour, Spice Bazaar turns into the smell of bad body odor and stale, ripe, unwashed armpits on me, all dusted with more cumin powder. The bad sweat aroma is joined by stinky feet an hour later. In the base, there is a small streak of that vaguely creamy plushness that I noticed in Duftbluten, but it’s merely a sliver in the face of the rank cumin blast on my skin. By the start of the 6th hour, I gave up and fled for the shower. There are a number of scents with a strong cumin note that I like or absolutely adore, but none of them skew into fetid, rank, unwashed body odor on my skin. That is an absolute deal-breaker for me.

Spice Bazaar has no reviews on its Fragrantica page, but you can read Pierre de Nishapur’s full review if you want. He liked the fragrance’s spice mix combined with its “fresh vibe,” but didn’t understand the use of saffron or pepper in the mix. He found Spice Bazaar to lie between two designer “masterpieces,” Kenzo Jungle Pour Homme and Issey Miyake l’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, and he appreciated the way that Nishane “deliberately encapsulated a fresh misty bombastic creation for spicy lovers.” For the ending, he found Spice Bazaar “settles in semi misty dry dramatic immensely attractive vibe of spicy wet paper smell.”

I didn’t find Spice Bazaar interesting even at its start when it had citrusy freshness. It felt like a generic, mainstream cologne infused with a poorly blended spice mix dominated primarily by cumin. If I’m going to go for the designer, commercial style for this genre, I’ll stick to Dolce & Gabbana’s The One or Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb. I think they’re a better value on the price/quantity ratio than a $175, €160, or £110 fragrance that makes me smell of bad body odor and unwashed armpits.


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nishane classifies Patchuli Kozha as a “floral aromatic/ woody/leathery” scent that has a “libertine sexuality” through its “voluptuous composition.” According to Twisted Lily, the notes are:

Hyacinth, Ylang Armoise, Camomicle, Patchouli, Black Pepper, Leather, Honey, Incense.

I was excited to try Patchuli Kozha not only because I’m a die-hard “Patch Head,” but because almost all its notes are favourites of mine. Alas, it was not meant to be. Patchuli Kozha opens on my skin with patchouli and amorphous spices, followed by a synthetic woody aromachemical note. There are none of patchouli’s many facets that I love so much to give it depth or richness; there is no chocolate, no booziness, no tobacco, no minty camphoraceous greenness, no ambery warmth. At no point are there any florals or honey on my skin, either.

"Anger" painting via Artist unknown.

“Anger” painting via Artist unknown.

There is only an extremely dry, extremely woody patchouli that is infused with abstract spiciness and a smoky, leathery note. The latter feels either like cypriol or cypriol mixed with a very sharp, smoky woody-leathery aromachemical. After 10 minutes, the fragrance grows smokier and more arid in feel. The whole thing feels extremely synthetic to me, and is one of the least appealing patchouli fragrances I’ve tried in a while. The strange, amorphous creaminess I’ve mentioned with the other two Nishane fragrances appears here as well, but it’s too indistinct and minor to counterbalance the main notes. By the start of the 3rd hour, Patchuli Kozha is mostly an arid, smoky, synthetic patchouli fragrance with a few spices and a lot of woody aromachemicals. It remained that way without any changes until I finally gave up with the scent just before the 8th hour.

Patchuli Kozha has no reviews on its Fragrantica page at this time, but there are a few passing comments about it in a Basenotes thread. “Leto” writes: “This is grrreat for admirers of Coromandel style pachuli! One of my favorites in the line.” “Buzzlepuff” describes it as “patchouli and cocoa with strong cedar and animalic notes.” I don’t think Patchuli Kozha is remotely similar to Coromandel, a personal favorite of mine, because it has no gourmand or sweet facets to it. In my opinion, the Nishane fragrance strongly resembles Tom Ford‘s Patchouli Absolute. I think Patchuli Kozha will appeal to those who prefer a very dry, very woody take on the titular note and who don’t mind a lot of synthetics.


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nishane describes Tuberoza as a “floral ambery” scent centered on Mexican tuberose but with a “[s]trong ambery base” to give it distinctiveness. Twisted Lily gives the full note list as:

Ylang Ylang, Orange Blossom, Armoise, Tuberose, Jasmine, Marigold, Amberwood, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Musk.

Tuberoza opens on my skin with something that smells like a blast of pure ISO E Super, followed by a thin, green, very synthetic tuberose atop a base of synthetic woodiness. The ISO E or ISO E-like chemical retreats quickly to the sidelines, leaving only the tuberose and its woody base.



The flower is fresh, clean, and non-indolic, but the word that comes to mind is “limp” in a sort of laboratory-sterilized way. Tuberose is my absolute favorite flower both in nature and in perfumery, but absolutely nothing about this fragrance evokes its heady, rich, narcotic floralcy for me. Instead, the opening has an emasculated, neutered, almost tinny, floral cleanness. After 20 minutes, the limp, scrubbed-out contours of tuberose began to fade, leaving something that is vaguely “tuberose-ish.”

Much more problematic are the other things that are starting to seep up from the base. There is a distinct whiff of something resembling insecticide or bug spray, and it is followed by stale, synthetic woods and a laundry musk. All three join the ISO E Super in curling around the increasingly abstract tuberose. In the background, there are glimmers of the same generic, creamy, textural softness that I’ve mentioned earlier, and it reminds me here almost of shea butter mixed with white musk.



By the start of the 2nd hour, Tuberoza is primarily a mix of nebulous, slightly green, non-indolic, fresh, abstract “white florals” laced with creamy, clean musk and slivers of woodiness, then sprayed with insecticide and something ISO E-ish. Over the next few hours, it doesn’t change enormously from that bouquet. It merely grows more shapeless and indistinct, with fluctuating levels of synthetics. I gave up after 6 hours, and washed it off. It hurt my tuberose-loving heart to wear this concoction.

There isn’t much out there on Tuberoza, but what there is seems mixed in nature. On Fragrantica, there are no comments for the fragrance, but there are 4 dislike votes and no “like” or “love” ones. Even the blogger Pierre de Nishapur who has generally given very positive reviews to the full Nishane line seemed to like this one less than the rest. He writes, in part:



In fact Tuberóza is a not very premium case for this flower [as compared to others in the genre]. It’s an un-indolic type of tuberose. It’s more like a perfume dedicated to floral category but coincidentally tuberose became bolder than any other element. The fragrance opens with fresh newly cropped teenager tuberose with metallic early morning air presented by ylang ylang that is used in slight amount to halt the perfume to incline to Amarige but it still has the facial structure of Amarige like a granddaughter of her. Orange blossom finds no opportunity to show up and it submerges in marigold which delivers kind of powdery wilderness to the overall composition.
The first layer is so delicate and satisfying, but only satisfying and not beyond, however, the core of the performance is much better yet, Tuberóza is not a perfume to die for nor an appropriate signature scent but it is a very nice and potent tuberose icon that can take a VIP sit in every floral feminine collection occupied by top seller designers suggested by salespersons who newly admitted the job!

I’m not sure what any of that last part means, but I agree that Tuberoza is most definitely “not a perfume to die for[.]”


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nishane classifies Munegu as a “citrus woody/floral/ambery” scent “where the main note [is] patchouli” amplified by spices and floral elements. All the other Nishane parfums were created by Jorge Lee who used to work at Givaudan, but Munegu apparently was created by Sylvain Cara. According to Twisted Lily, the notes are:

Orange, Cedarwood, Cumin, Cardamon, Nutmeg, Geranium, Ylang Ylang , Patchouli, Labdanum, Frankincense, Tobacco, Ambery Notes.

Munegu is consistently my favorite of the Nishane line in terms of its opening, though the rest of the fragrance doesn’t live up to the lovely first hour and heads down hill from there. Much of the reason why I found the opening to be so appealing is because it smells enormously of one of my favorite Hermes‘ scents, Elixir des Merveilles, albeit in much sheerer, sweeter, brighter form.



Munegu opens on my skin with sweet oranges infused with amber, spicy patchouli, and tonka-ish sweetness. There is a whisper of spices in the background that are most distinct when I apply a larger quantity of the fragrance: 2 large, wide smears roughly equal to 2 very big sprays from an actual bottle. In those instances, the spice rapidly develops into something robust, wafting cumin at the head of the pack, followed by the tiniest suggestion of bitter nutmeg, woody cinnamon, and dried lemon peels. When I applied a lesser quantity of Munegu (roughly equal to 1 large spray from a bottle), the spice blend was the merest dusting in the background and very indistinct.



In all cases, however, the star of the opening is always the juicy, bright, sweet oranges infused with various forms of sweetness and goldenness. The amber here never smells like either labdanum or ambergris to me but, rather, like a mix of labdanum that has been heavily diluted by vanilla and tonka. The overall result is incredibly similar to Hermes’ Elixir, except it lacks the dark, balsamic, resinous, chewy undertones of the latter and is both sheerer and less sticky in feel. Munegu is also fractionally woodier in the opening minutes, thanks to the spicy, brown patchouli that emits curlicues of quiet smokiness. The lightest hint of cedar trails behind it, but it’s a minor thing. Munegu’s focus is purely on sweet, fruity, spiced golden warmth in these early moments.

Dried Medjool dates via

Dried Medjool dates via

The rest of the fragrance’s listed notes are either a blur or nonexistent on my skin. There is no floralcy of any kind, no aromatic or piquant greenness from the geranium, no tobacco, and no frankincense. Instead, there is something that distinctly resembles sweet dates that appears, as well as a praline, nutty note.

Roughly 25 minutes in, Munegu shifts and changes. The date and nutty praline accords grow stronger, the orange weakens, the patchouli melts into the amber, and the cumin fades away to leave behind only an amorphous spice mix. Something about the overall combination now reminds me more of L’Erborlario‘s Meharees with only a few slugs of Hermes’ Elixir. Meharees is a spicy oriental with sweet, dried dates atop woods, small wisps of incense, and semi-dry ambered goldenness. Nishane’s Munegu isn’t identical, though. It’s less heavily spiced, and those spices that it does have are both different and very clearly defined at first. Munegu is also not strongly musky, has no civet or white musk, and doesn’t feel overtly synthetic, at least not at first. Yet, Munegu does feel like a related cousin at this stage.

Things completely change as the 1st hour draws to a close and the 2nd one begins. Munegu grows woodier and woodier, with increasing dryness, and smokiness. They quickly erode the ambered sweetness, fruitiness, nuttiness, warmth, and softness. Roughly 75 minutes into Munegu’s development, there are no longer any resemblances to either Meharees or Hermes’ Elixir. This is now an increasingly dry, dark scent that is all about the spiced woods and smoke. Unfortunately for me, each of those elements is now beginning to manifest some definite aromachemical qualities.

Photo: Francisco Negroni, Agence Uno. Source:

Photo: Francisco Negroni, Agence Uno. Source:

Munegu settles into what seems to be its long drydown phase about 1.75 hours into its development. It’s an extremely dry bouquet of woody patchouli, spices, and smokiness blanketed by woody-amber aromachemicals. The fragrance no longer feels so airy and sheer. Instead, it’s quite raspy and scratchy, and there is a pointed sharpness to some of its notes. The whole thing gives me a headache whenever I smell my arm up close for too long. I lasted as long as I could with Munegu, but eventually scrubbed it off after 7 hours. There had been no change whatsoever in its development on my skin, and my headache had turned into a migraine.

Munegu generally receives very good reviews and seems to be a number of people’s favorite in the Nishane line. The one exception is on Fragrantica where the lone review at this time is very negative. “Zaetown” writes in full:

This will be brief and here is why. I CANNOT TOLERATE THIS SCENT ON ME at all.

If sour spicey nutty arabic scents is your thing than by all means try this, you might like it. I dont have many scents that I have sampled to be scrubbers but this is one of them and I really had high hopes for this one. 🙁




In the Basenotes discussion thread that I mentioned earlier, two people list Munegu amongst their favorites in the line, though they don’t provide extensive details on what they smell. “Buzzlepuff” writes: “warm cumin coriander and incense notes – dry finish. Very hard to categorize this one, but was intriguing.” The second poster, “Leto,” puts Munegu as one of the 5 Nishane scents that he’d like a full bottle of but only describes it as: “I am quite sure that this one will have its dedicated lovers! Orange and not-so-sickly spices is this one, very good masculine.”

The blog, Best Smelling Perfumes, calls Munegu “the masterpiece of Nishane İstanbul” on the basis of some comments that they reference but don’t explain. They state:

According to the comments; we can say Munegu for women and men is the masterpiece of Nishane İstanbul….:)) It has a really good ability on smell persistance and noticeability.

As I state again and again in my reviews, I have a sensitivity to large amounts of very strong aromachemicals that most people don’t share. Since Munegu seems to be very popular, you may want to give it a sniff for yourself if you love patchouli, spices, amber, and woods. It’s a total pass for me.


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nishane categorizes Afrika Olifant as an “amber/animalic/musky” scent that “stimulates hidden desires” through an animalic opening that settles down to leave leather and oud “to dominate the battlefield. Timid and audacious at the same time…” According to Twisted Lily, the notes are

Ambergris, Frankincense, Myrrhe, Labdanum, Castoreum, Civet, Leather, Oud, Muscenone, Thibetone, Muscone, Civetone.

Afrika Olifant opens on my skin with smoky aromachemicals infused with sour and urinous civet, as well as animalic, musky notes, over a base of tarry, raw leather and woody-amber aromachemicals. It reminds me enormously of what Nasomatto‘s founder does in his Orto Parisi line: super-strong aromachemicals on steroids in a bombastic, loud style. Afrika Olifant’s bouquet is essentially a sharp, intense blast of sour, raw, smoky, musky, animalic, and raw notes in precisely the same style. There is no finesse, but I don’t think there is meant to be.

Photo: "Controlled Burn" by Kevin Cooley. Source: or

Photo: “Controlled Burn” by Kevin Cooley. Source: or

Afrika Olifant shifts at the end of the first hour. The animalic notes weaken, smelling mostly of a musky sourness now. The aromachemicals radiate with ever-growing intensity, and the fragrance becomes excessively arid, scratchy, raw, and leathered. There is no ambered warmth or sweetness at all. The overall scent smells extremely similar to Brooklyn Euphorium‘s Cilice which shares many of the same notes.

I had a bad reaction to Afrika Olifant. The chemical soup made my throat seize up and tighten right from the start. Roughly 15 minutes in, I had a painful sore throat and it felt as though sharp needles were going up my nose. By the time the 2nd hour rolled around, I felt physically unwell and scrubbed the perfume off.

It was much the same reaction I had to Cilice because, again, the two perfumes are extremely close on my skin after the opening. The only difference is that there is no civet in Cilice (though there is castoreum), so there is nothing urinous in its opening bouquet. For a few people, Cilice seems to start with a bit of a boozy side to its ambered leatheriness instead. Yet, after that, particularly by the end of the 1st hour, the two fragrances are extremely similar on my skin.

Painting by Moon Beom via

Painting by Moon Beom via

There are only a handful of reviews for Afrika Olifant on Fragrantica, but they’re all very positive. Snippets of two comments read as follows:

  • Wow. ..Was my first reaction to Afrika Olifant, not because it was the best smelling thing I ever sniffed but because of the combination of cloyingness with a blast of animalic notes in the opening. [¶] Its dark, bold, and so daring. I would say its a polarizing scent. I happen to love it! As it dries down a fruity note is very detectable mixed with leather, myrhh and incense. Incense not listed but I smell it in there dude.
  • WOW it dazed me with its eloquence! [¶] If I have to describe it with only 3 words they are – audacity, uniqueness and erotica. [¶] It is sharp, strong intensive and extremely provocative scent with unique presence and weight. I would call it wild and shameless. Perfume for real machos, cause pleasure and lust.
    At me the scent opens with explosion of animalistic ambra, civet and bitter smoke, which softens after about 2 hours and on the scene come out well processed expensive leather and incense. They interweave elegantly and turn it into a seducing dance of pleasure.
    Extraordinary durability – more than 24 hours and even after the 2 showers taken, the scent on my wrist still emits puff of gentle incense.

For The Scented Hound, Afrika Olifant was “smoldering, sexy, primal.” His positive review reads, in small part, as follows:

Afrika-Olifant opens like an interesting incense and smoky mystery. I can’t help think of a wrestler walking through clouds of smoke at a WWE event as they walk in the arena. It’s spicy, rather sour and in your face without being heavy-handed. However, there’s a primal male sexuality that’s powerfully overt. The perfume screams SEX.

To me, Afrika Olifant didn’t smell of sex. If you’re looking for that scent, I would strongly recommend that you try Papillon‘s beautiful new Salome which, like Afrika Olifant, contains civet, castoreum, musks, leather, amber, and spices, in addition to hyraceum and oakmoss chypre accords. I would recommend Afrika Olifant instead to people who are fans of the Orto Parisi style (Nasomatto on steroids). Those who enjoyed Brooklyn Euphorium’s Cilice may enjoy it as well, if there isn’t too much overlap on their skin. I should note, however, that Cilice costs $120 for a 30 ml bottle of extrait, while Afrika Olifant is $230 for 50 ml.


Nishane is a brand that confuses me. I find a disconnect between how they describe the fragrances and what appears on my skin. On their website, their History section talks about the “naturals” and expensive “raw essences” that underlie their creations:

it took nearly two years to accomplish the rare essences of the 16-scent Extrait de Parfum Collection created to amaze the niche perfume lovers all around the world. […][¶] Under the inspiration of glamorous aromas of Istanbul and numerous precious cultures prevailing in different parts of the world; the main struggle was to achieve a distinctive formula by deliberately blending the most admirable fragrance notes of highest quality natural sources [….] [Emphasis added by me.]

That’s not what appeared on my skin. Last month, I attended a perfume seminar with AbdesSalaam Attar where I explored some of the most expensive raw materials in the world, including many of the precise ingredients in the Nishane fragrances I’ve reviewed here today. Take, for example, the incense in Afrika Olifant. It does not smell like any of the forms of either the Omani or the Somali incense that AbdesSalaam gave us, not in smoked, resin, resinoid, essential oil, or blended versions. Or, consider Tuberoza. To me, it does not resemble the real, natural essence of tuberose at all, while its woods and amber smelt completely lab-made. In the case of Duftbluten, it can’t contain a real magnolia natural essence according to Arctander’s bible because he says that it really doesn’t exist. Frederic Malle had to turn to “headspace technology” to try to replicate its aroma via alternate means for his Eau de Magnolia. By the same token, real gardenia essence is such a rare, artisanal exception that I’ve only encountered it in Mandy Aftel‘s Cuir de Gardenia, an all-natural fragrance. I certainly don’t detect gardenia of the “highest quality natural sources” in Duftbluten.

Ultimately, though, what a company says in its hyperbolic copy doesn’t matter one bit if their fragrances actually smell good. In the case of the 6 Nishane fragrances, I don’t think they did, in my opinion. In addition, I thought even the ones that were moderately fine (really just Duftbluten) were way over-priced for the scent in question. The cheapest Nishane fragrance begins at $175 for a 50 ml bottle, going up to $230. Duftbluten was totally harmless and moderately pleasant in that generic department store way, but I would never spend $195 for something with less character or distinctiveness than one of the Estee Lauders at Macy’s or a Tocca floral at Sephora.

At the end of the day, I can only write about what I smell on me, and how I feel about it. If any of the scents interest you, you should try them for yourself.

Cost & Availability: Each of the fragrances discussed here is an extrait de parfum that only comes in a 50 ml bottle. Prices vary depending on the fragrance. Spice Bazaar, Tuberoza, or Munegu are $175, €160, or £110. Duftbluten is $195, €180, or £120. Patchuli Khoza and Afrika Olifant are $230, €210, or £150. In the U.S.: you can find Nishane at Twisted Lily, along with a sample set of 11 fragrances for $39. Twisted Lily ships worldwide. Outside the U.S.: You can order directly from Nishane Istanbul. (Click on the design card for the scent that you’re interested in to be taken to its retail page. There is also a Discovery Set of all 16 parfums in 2ml spray vials for €80. Elswehere, Nishane is available at Canada’s Indiescent and London’s Bloom Perfumery. According to Nishane’s Twitter page, you can find their creations at the St. Regis hotel in Istanbul, Harvey Nichols Istanbul, Barcelona’s The Perfumery, and the Creme de La Creme perfume shops in Tallin and the Baltic. Nishane’s Points of Sale page has nothing on it at this time for me to give you other names. Samples: several of the sites listed above sell samples.

27 thoughts on “Reviews En Bref: Six from NISHANE Istanbul

  1. Uh boy. You poor thing. You suffer so the rest of us with sensitive noses don’t have to! I don’t know why at all but I suspect this of this house. I have no idea why. Perhaps the bombastic descriptions? The more nonsense I read, the more suspicious I am that a scent is not what it’s supposed to be. Oh, and I left a comment on your old Rudis post. Finally got my nose on it. Now THAT is an awesome fragrance that I could wax poetic and hyperbolic about (with justification, however)!!!

    • Rudis is fantastic!!! I really hope you enjoy the rest of the development in addition to the opening. As for Nishane, some of the fragrances seem to be very popular. Afrika Olifant and Munegu get a lot of love, and I think Spice Bazaar was sold out on Twisted Lily at one point. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out well for me. Given your growing aromachemical sensitivities, I think you’d struggle with a few of them as well.

  2. Oh. ISO-E. Mooooooo. I have a sampler set of this on its way. Oh well. I’ll try them anyways and we shall see. Thanks for the serependitous review

    • You’re welcome. I hope you have better luck with them than I did, Paskale. You’ll have to let me know how you fare.

  3. Oh dear, now I’m afraid to try my samples of these Nishanes! Maybe I’ll try a couple. But now I’m scared…. Don’t want to get a sore throat from smelling perfume! Thanks for these wonderful reviews!!

    • If you have the samples, you should try them! Start with Duftbluten, and then see. Who knows, you may not be bothered by the aromachemicals, and they may work very well on your skin. I hope so, my dear! 🙂

  4. I’m glad I didn’t waste any money on samples. I actually got to smell these at Twisted Lily and I HATED My favorite picture on this post is the guy smelling his pits as that epitomizes what I think of this line.

    • Every single one, eh? I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one who didn’t like the line! I’ve felt rather like an outcast in that regard.

      • The Orto Parisi line was just as bad. And by the way, I almost choked when I read “Maybe I should have been a redhead” – still laughing 🙂

        • I found the Orto Parisi line to be utterly unbearable. Pure chemical soup. Urgh. The worst part is that many seem to be overly similar to his Nasomatto creations, only amped up in strength and in even greater “beast mode.” Not my thing at all.

  5. Kafka, thank you so much for your Reviews En Bref as I’ve been
    prevaricating over these ones from Nishane for several months; you know how I sometimes throw caution to the wind where I think something sounds exotic because of the hyperbole. I did think they may have been a bit pricey, though if the quality is there that’s a different story. I’m waiting for my samples, Salomé especially, to come this week.
    I know I’ve left you comments everywhere the past week(OK longer lol). You should smell my good deal from Al Rehab, whose perfumes get very good reviews on Fragrantica. 5 bottles of edps of surprisingly good quality scents, some really awesome smelling (IMO). I emailed that retailer that has Shiseido’s Basala to verify authenticity because, as far as I’ve read, it’s hard to find. Oh, I found Ho Hang by Balenciaga too. The only place I’ve seen it. Plus Kiehl’s musk I see raves of.

    Anyway, thanks for saving my
    wallet from unnecessary fiscal stress over Nishane. I must say having dated a Turk, Good Lord I love Turkish food though!!! LOL 😀

    • I love armpit guy too. Cumin is good for me in small doses and I hope you don’t think I smell of b o. :O

    • I’m glad you’ve found some things from Al Rehab that you’ve enjoyed, Don, and I hope all the samples you’re awaiting work out for you as well. With regard to Nishane, since you love cumin so passionately, you may want to order a sample of Spice Bazaar regardless of my experience. It may well be different on your skin and to your nose. 🙂

      • Maybe I will. I forgot to mention that although the Al Rehab(s) were ridiculously cheap at $5.95 each and obviously I think synthetic, even you may like some of them K. They are potent. I will let you know about those samples. I’ve
        just rolled out of bed since I didn’t fall asleep until 4am so I will check my mail soon. 🙂 Hope you have a great Tuesday.

  6. I was curious about Nishane fragrances, so thank you for this post. I absolutely love it. I smiled and almost actually laughed out loud at some of your descriptions. There are beautiful fragrances to be found, I do not want to waste my time on those that are mediocre at best. For example, I recently discovered Opardu. Beautiful. I’d rather spend my money sampling the rest of the Puredisance line

    • Opardu has an utterly exquisite opening! I found it to be a real head-turner. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long on my skin, and the rest of the fragrance was overly clean for my personal tastes, but I do think it’s one of the lovely ones in the Puredistance line. I can absolutely see why you’d fall for it passionately. Nice choice, Maya!

  7. Once again spot on, Kafka.

    I made it through Tuberoza (ugh. Petrochemical floriental. Seriously people??) Bozporous (sorry. no. Just no.) and Pasion Choco which I rather liked but dear god, not at THAT price!

    As for the others, I just couldn’t bring myself to continue. I think I’d rather wrap my head in a towel, douse myself with Meharees (which I love, btw!) make some strong coffee, and let my imagination take me to Turkey!

    I do have high hopes for “Ruh” by Pekji, which is on it’s way to me. Have you tried that one? Also looking forward to Noir Exquis. Well, hope springs eternal as they say……

    • Heh, your response to Boszporusz (or however you spell it) made me choke on my Diet Coke. You were brave to try it; the note list put me off. I haven’t tried the Pekji line, but I’ve heard very, very positive things about it. I had written to the chap some months ago to ask about the pricing for the sample set, but never got around to ordering anything as I suddenly had a massive pile of vet bills when the Hairy German got sick. I’ll order them eventually. 🙂

      • Choking on a diet coke is worth 5 points. laughing and blowing it out your nose is worth 10. We all need a goal, right?

        I ordered a FB of Ruh from Pekji (the name “Ruh” annoys me for some reason, maybe b/c I just KNOW I’m going to call it “Duh” one day), so fingers x’d. Lots of rave reviews so far….

  8. Oh my, it appears this brand is not for you! I’ll have to pull out the rest of my samples and give the others a try, but Afrika was certainly primal on me. Now, I will tell you that it’s not a scent that I would probably add to my wardrobe, but boy it did make me feel a bit hot and bothered. I do feel for your tortured experience….I certainly have been there myself. Thankfully, not lately!

    • Oh, I completely believed you when you said you found Afrika Olifant to feel primal. 🙂 An animalic blend of civet, castoreum and musks would get anyone hot and bothered, my dear. I’m glad the scent worked so well on you, and I wish I’d had a similar sort of experience. 🙂 As a side note, I hope you’ll try Salome because I think that chypre-ish approach to similar notes may be even more your personal thing, assuming the Hyraceum and cumin behave on your skin.

  9. Can’t say I disagree with you because I didn’t work through the entire line. I did however recently purchase suede & saffron as well as their vetiver composition. I like them both. I especially like the “cigarette ash” vibe the dirties up the suede fragrance. The vetiver feels very classic with a thick neroli base. With the later I need to experiment with “dosage” because it is strong stuff!! Interested in your thoughts on these two.

Comments are closed.