Ensar Oud Santal Sultan (Parfum)

The original Santal Sultan oil stole my heart and was my Holy Grail sandalwood scent. Heck, as far as I was concerned, it was THE Unicorn sandalwood that nothing else came close to in terms of notes, smell, opulence, smoothness, or quality.

My total adoration of Ensar’s Santal Sultan oil was no small thing; a long-time reader teasingly called me a “Sandalwood Snob” almost a decade ago and that moniker is so true that I adopted the name for myself. (I’m still waiting on those “Sandalwood Snob” t-shirts that were promised to me, “Hajasuuri.”) Whether it was an Amouage santal attar or something from Tom Ford, Rising Phoenix, or Killian, nothing was the perfect fit for my personal tastes or impressed me much.

Nothing until Ensar Oud’s (original) Santal Sultan oil.

And now he’s made a sprayable pure parfum version of it!

Ensar Oud Eo Santal Sultan parfum. Photo: my own.

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Masque Milano Dolceacqua (La Donna Di MASQUE collection)

Dolceacqua is one of several recent releases in Masque Milano‘s separate and new collection line called La Donna Di MASQUE. All the fragrances in this new line have female names, city names, or female city names and also, if I recall correctly, are all made by female perfumers as well, at least thus far. (The prior Masque fragrances with which you and I are accustomed have belonged to The Opera Collection.)

Source: Pinterest and Wallpapers.com

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Masque Milano Lost Alice: Whimsical Fun & Comfort

Masque Milano‘s Lost Alice is a lovely, fun, whimsical olfactory escape and comfort scent for a pandemic world where most of these things are in short supply.

Richard Emil Miller, “Woman Reading in A Garden.”

Creatively inspired, original in notes and ideas, and (mostly) successfully achieved, it is one of those fragrances that epitomizes, in my opinion, what niche is supposed to be, the reason why we seek it out over more easily accessible fragrance brands, the reason why we’re willing to pay more money, and the reason why we expect so much more from other brands that claim to be “niche” only to offer the most tired, downtrodden, generic retreads of stale ideas instead. When I write scathingly about the latest rehash of tobacco, vanilla, and amber (or worse still, Ambroxan), when I lament about Serge Lutens’ loss of original ideas and pioneering spirit, it is fragrances like many of those from Masque Milano that come to mind as alternatives where the brand is genuinely making a constant, years-long effort to put something new, interesting, or creative out there. Like Lost Alice.

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Francesca Bianchi Tyger Tyger

In Tyger TygerFrancesca Bianchi Perfumes seeks to contrast but also balance a post-apocalyptic darkness with refined, sophisticated brightness and seductive floralcy. The whitest of flowers are juxtaposed, in theory, with oud, animalics, and the darkest and smokiest of leathers. But as writers going back to Sophocles have made clear, there is a chasm between theory (appearance to be specific) and reality. Skin chemistry made my reality quite different from the intended objective. 

Source: shutterstock.com

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