Review en Bref: Puredistance Sheiduna

Puredistance‘s newest fragrance is called Sheiduna, a spicy, woody oriental that was created by Cécile Zarokian in collaboration with the company’s founder, Jan Ewoud Vos. It is a pure parfum or extrait with a 27% concentration, and it will launch worldwide at the end of October. I’m afraid this won’t be a proper or full review for the fragrance, because my experience with it was a difficult one.

Sheiduna via Puredistance

Sheiduna via Puredistance

The press release materials that I was provided describe the fragrance, in part, as follows:

SHEIDUNA is a rich and intense Perfume inspired by the panoramic views and feel of golden sand dunes in the desert during sunset – soft, female curves changing from deep gold to warm, orangey red – embodying a promise of sensual comfort and silent seduction. Wearing SHEIDUNA, one wafts sensuality, and intense colour waves of Persian rugs touch the senses. The perfect marriage between Sensuality and Style.

Ingredients: lemon, tangerine, blackcurrant, aldehydes, Bulgarian rose essence, geranium, clove, vetyver, patchouly, amber woody, incense, benzoin, myrrh, tonka bean, vanilla pods and musks.

Norlimbanol. Source:

Norlimbanol. Source:

Sheiduna opens on my skin with a bucketful of Norlimbanol, the super-strong aromachemical that smells smoky, spicy, leathery, amber-woody, and industrial. Dark, woody, bitter, and earthy cloves follow suit, then woody patchouli, incense, buttery vanilla, and a light sprinkling of lemon, tangerine, and blackcurrant (cassis). It’s a bouquet that is primarily woody, spicy, and smoky, in that order, with the vanilla creamy sweetness and citrus fruits trailing at a far distance.

The cumulative effect reminds me a lot of some fragrances from LM Parfums, where hefty amounts of Norlimbanol are supplemented by other amber-woody synthetics, in addition to spices and smokiness. However, I don’t think I’ve tried any LM Parfums with as much Norlimbanol as there is here.

In fact, I cannot recall the last time I encountered so much Norlimbanol on my skin from any brand. Not LM Parfums, not Orto Parisi, not Nasomatto, and not even one of the low-end Ajmal orientals, Amber Wood. None of them made me feel as nauseous and ill as Sheiduna did.



The quantity is really profound on my skin, and it simply grows stronger and stronger as time passes. Within 30 minutes, it’s turned all the other notes a blurry haze, an indeterminate mix of spices, woods, and smoky woody-amber that have been blanketed to the point of suffocation. The patchouli is clear if I smell my arm up close, smelling extremely dry, woody, and smoky, as though it had been supplemented by some cypriol, but the citruses and cassis have vanished, while the vanilla is merely an elusive, ghostly wisp in the distant background. Everything else is impossible to pick out amidst the billowing gales of smoky, leathery, spicy, and amber-woody aromachemicals.

I tried to test Sheiduna properly and fully because I knew this review would be useless to you otherwise, but I couldn’t manage. The first time I sprayed the fragrance, I had to scrub it after a mere 15 minutes. The second time, I tried to last as long as I could but, after 2.75 hours, I felt dizzy, light-headed, and completely nauseated, in addition to experiencing a bizarre ringing in my ears that has never occurred before with any scent. At that point, I gave up and scrubbed. I had to. Continuing was not an option.

In all that time, Sheiduna’s bouquet did not change at all on my skin. What wafted from my arm smelt as though it were 80% Norlimbanol, with the remainder consisting of an indeterminate cedarish woody-amber synthetic, a bit of woody patchouli layered with cypriol, and a ghostly, elusive wisp of vanilla. The cumulative effect reminded me of Ajmal‘s Amber Wood mixed with a slug of Tom Ford‘s Patchouli Absolu.

I know this curtailed review will be of little use to the majority of you, and I apologise in advance for being so unhelpful. I did the best that I could, but I know it’s not enough. The simple reality is that most people do not have my physical sensitivities to very large quantities of strong aromachemicals. Most of you will have a very different experience with Sheiduna, and I’m very glad for that.

[UPDATE 9/30: Puredistance has objected to my characterization of the woody-amber aromachemical in question and has written to inform me that they used Amber Xtreme in Sheiduna, not Norlimbanol. I stand by my opinion that, on my skin and to me, it smelt like Norlimbanol on steroids. It may actually be worse if they used Amber Xtreme, even if Puredistance argues that it was only a small quantity. Luca Turin wrote a few months ago about the strongest new aromachemicals on the market in a post entitled “Power Tools.” He went through them, seemingly in order of strength, and ended with the Amber Xtreme which he called “nuclear” and said “outguns them all.” He described it as even more powerful than “Ambrocenide from Symrise, one of the most scarily powerful materials in memory”:

woody ambers are now everywhere, mostly in masculines but also used as a sort of fluorescent black light to illuminate feminine fragrances from the inside. The old materials (by old I mean twenty years ago) were not shy. Cedramber, Amberketal and Spirambrene were solidly powerful stuff. Then the chemists got busy and Karanal came along, discovered accidentally by Karen Rossiter at Quest. Karanal took no prisoners, and smelled wrong to a fraction of the people. Edouard Fléchier, a brave man, used it memorably in Malle’s Une Rose, recently reformulated. Then came Ambrocenide from Symrise, one of the most scarily powerful materials in memory, the sort that you can easily smell on the outside of the sealant around the cap of a never-opened bottle. By then every Guido on earth was strutting around smelling of Godzilla isopropanol, and it seemed things just could not get worse. Then IFF released Amber Xtreme, a nuclear-powered woody amber chemically related to Galaxolide that outguns them all. [Emphasis to names added by me.]

Yes, I was mistaken and incorrect in terms of which specific power aromachemical was gushing from my skin. To my nose, it still resembles like Norlimbanol in massive doses. However, the fact that it was actually Amber Xtreme doesn’t make it any better, in my opinion. It makes it worse. It also doesn’t make a difference that, according to the company, only a small quantity was used. Even in small amounts, Amber Xtreme is “nuclear” stuff. Luca Turin described it as stronger than even “one of the most scarily powerful materials in memory,” and he is not someone with my sensitivity to synthetics, so don’t just take my word for it.]

Disclosure: My sample was provided by Puredistance via the Pitti fair. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

Cost & Availability: Sheiduna is an extrait de parfum that comes in three sizes. There is a 17.5 ml travel spray for €175; a 60 ml/2 oz bottle for €295; and a 100 ml bottle for €490. I don’t know its American pricing. Upon its release, you can find it at a number of retailers, and I’ll provide the links for you to use later. In the U.S.: Luckyscent carries Puredistance. You can also pre-order directly from Puredistance itself, as their prices include shipping. Outside the U.S.: you can order from Puredistance. They also have a sample set of their fragrances, and Sheiduna will probably be included in it at some point. Elsewhere in Europe, Puredistance is carried at Paris’ Jovoy, Harrod’s Salons de Parfums, First in Fragrance, Italy’s Sacre Cuore, Spain’s Nadia, and the Netherland’s Lianne Tio. Canada’s Perfume Shoppe has some (but not all) of the line. For all other countries or additional retailers, you can use Puredistance’s Store Locator which lists sites from Australia and New Zealand to Russia and the Middle East. Samples: As a general rule, several of the sites above sell samples. Surrender to Chance will probably get it once the fragrance is released.

21 thoughts on “Review en Bref: Puredistance Sheiduna

  1. This review was very helpful to me. I expect I would have the same reaction as you since we both have strong reactions to Iso E Super and this is another strong aromachemical. I love Opardu’s Puredistance and White but I’ll pass on this one!

  2. “….I felt dizzy, light-headed, and completely nauseated, in addition to experiencing a bizarre ringing in my ears that has never occurred before with any scent.” Poor Kafka, I am sorry about that. You did well to scrub it off!!
    And don’t worry, the review is very useful: more aromachemicals than LM and NasoMatto?I can’t believe it!!!At least now I know Sheiduna is made of a high percentage of norimbanol, so it is a pass and thanks to you I could save time..and think that I read an astonishing review of it somewhere, “a very beautiful and interesting oriental rose” but I can’t recall if itwas on fragrantica or extrait…

    • Most people can’t detect aromachemicals at all, so people without sensitivities should definitely try it for themselves if they find the notes interesting. On their skin and to their nose, it may well turn out to be “a very beautiful and interesting oriental rose.” 🙂

  3. Same for me. I love M and White, but it feels like I would have to pass due to all the aromachemicals. Thank you for sparing me feeling nauseated 🙂

    • “M” is a gorgeous fragrance, one of my favourite leathers, perhaps my very favourite of all.

  4. I sampled 2 days last week and found Sheiduna to be a beautiful oriental rose. In fact while I was sampling my wife said, “you’re wearing another rose scent, rose always smells good on you”. So we both think it smells like rose to us. I’m so glad I have no issues with Norlimbanaol like you. I can’t smell Iso E Super, so I feel lucky I may not be able to detect the Norlimbanol either, or at least smell it in a negative way. I think very very few people will have the reaction you did, and a majority will agree with my experience. I hope your experience doesn’t stop people from sampling this beautiful fragrance. I do appreciate your honesty and always enjoy, and learn from your reviews.

    • First, welcome to the blog, The Beck. It’s nice to see you. Second, I agree, few people will have my experience, and I said as much in the review. 🙂 I’m glad most people don’t have my Norlimbanol issues, for their sake, and I mean it when I say that I hope Sheiduna ends up on everyone else the way that it did on you. 🙂

  5. While most people won’t have issues with heavy amounts of aroma chemicals, I, for one, would prefer that pressure is put on the industry to stop taking the cheap synthetic route. As someone who has used essential oils for healing, I know what these chemicals can actually do. You may not smell them and be fooled by what they are supposed to smell like, but they are actually (without going into a diatribe/consciousness-raising lecture) doing you a bit of harm.

    It’s a matter of principle, this is not what perfume should be, this avenue is not what our money should be supporting. I understand the art and science that is brought to bear to create a scent-based work of art and I do support the (limited and expertly crafted) use of the minimal amount necessary since restrictions have made these steps somewhat necessary; however it will be up to the consumer to become educated and encourage the perfume industry to return to its great heritage and deliver the best products it can.

    Thank you Kafkaesque for blazing the trail with your honest and detailed review.

  6. I just don’t understand the attraction of norlimbanol , I actually quite like ISO e in certain contexts , but this one is an immediate retch inducer , persistent like the plague and even when you scrub it it won’t come off . However I did notice lots of dead cockroaches in my office basement where I had inadvertently dropped a bottle ….I never knew they were there …but voila

  7. You are by far my favorite “Fume” reviewer. Your creativity in your writing is fascinating.

  8. Hi, I have the same experience with Sheiduna. Too much strong aromachemicals which makes me headache. There is Amber Core also, I guess.
    I’m not able to wear Sheiduna. I’m completely disappointed, because I love older fragrances by Puredistance. And I have no idea what Jan Ewoud Vos and Cecile Zarokian meant with this.

    • Welcome to the blog, Mirkau, and thank you for sharing your experiences with Sheiduna. I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t a pleasant one.

      • Hi, did you try Draco by Tiziana Terenzi? There is the same aromachemical asi in Sheiduna, imho. My reactions are quite similar. I can smell only this one part of fragrance, no any other ingredients.

  9. Fyi – I’ve been lurking for ages, don’t know why! This review’s aftermath is just craziness. Now that I know it’s ONLY Amber Xtreme I’ll run out and buy a bottle of this one! If Turin calls it nuclear it’s gotta be horrifying!!!

    Some days I wish I did have that anosmia to aromachemicals that others do, but thankfully we have you to review for those of us who don’t!

  10. I had a very similar experience. Usually I can smell woody amber aromachemicals right up front and know to either scrub or buckle up for a bumpy ride. With this one, it started out pleasantly fruity and resinous but then the Amber Xtreme became more pronounced as time passed. An hour in, and it has drown out all of the other notes. Disappointing.

  11. I detect a strong petrol fumes/ turpentine/ mosquito coil undertone in the fragrance. Is this the amber extreme you might be referring too? Its VERY nauseating and my nose hairs are twitching. I don’t think i have that sensitive nose and i don’t mind iso e super but this was really bad. I am sure there are some beautiful parts to this perfume but those petrol fumes… 🙁

    I also get the same mosquito coil facet when I smelled some of Andy Tauer’s perfumes particularly Lonestar Memories and LDDM. But it works beautifully in LDDM. I didn’t like Lonestars but it wasn’t aggravating to my nose at all.

    I recommend trying Masque Milano’s Tango for those who like Sheiduna. I feel like Sheiduna is just a repackaged Tango with petrol fumes. Not exactly the same but Tango is more floral and I suspect Sheiduna is more gourmand. Tango also doesn’t hurt my nose and i bathed in the stuff if i could. Tango is significantly cheaper too.

    • I should probably add, i feel like Sheiduna has an uncanny resemblance to MFK Grand Soir (minus the petrol fume). I wonder if anyone else feels the same?

    • Yes, your “petrol fumes/ turpentine/ mosquito coil” is undoubtedly the Amber Xtreme.

      Andy Tauer typically uses something different in his Tauerade base, a mix of creosote tar, ISO E, and slightly, relatively, comparatively milder woody-amber aromachemicals. When he did his LDDM back in 2011 (?) or thereabouts, I don’t think Amber Xtreme was on the market and it really is a nuclear aromachemical, as Luca Turin’s spectrum of synthetics analysis explains.

      MFK’s Grand Soir is filled to the brim with Ambroxan, an intense “ambergris” substitute that, for many people, has a nose-searing quality. So, it’s a different aromachemical than the Amber Xtreme in Sheiduna but, for a number of people, it can be similar in terms of its feel or impact.

      Hope that helps a little.

  12. thank you for your review. yesterday i sprayed a little bit of this sheiduna perfume from the tester which i received with the order of M from puredistance. while i liked White (grew tired though in a few hours, from musk i believe, it happens to me) and could easily wear Black, this sheiduna I had to wash away pretty soon (wasn’t able to get rid of it completely, btw). i simply can’t understand how people can wear such things, it doesn’t matter what else they put in it while main synthetic keynote makes one cry. this is a smell of bed linen which wasn’t properly rinsed and just a sniff makes me itch. unfortunately, we encounter this sarin weapons every day, and people who wear it tend to spray so much that i think that they do it for purpose out of misanthropy

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