VintageShalimar, Opium, and Lagerfeld cologne, modern Salome, Ambre Precieux, Tom Ford‘s Tobacco Vanille, eau de parfums versus eau de toilettes from all eras — these may not seem like automatic choices to combine with Indian-style soliflore attars from Areej Le Doré‘s new History of Attar Collection, but that is what I did. And the results were fascinating! In fact, they were significantly better than my experiences in layering various Areej attars with each other — to the point where I’ve discovered a few new fragrance loves.
Based on my experiences, I’d strongly argue that layering the Areej attars with Western mixed or blended fragrances is successful in a way that layering the attars with each other is not. I think the latter is a mistake whereas the former demonstrates how the attars can either fix major structural and raw material problems in a bad scent formula, provide positive olfactory additions to a good fragrance, significantly improve the concentration and body of lighter scents, or some combination thereof. Today, I’ll share with you my various experiments in both genres.
Photo: my own.
Areej Le Dore History of Attars Collection. Photo: my own.
Gulab rose attar and Motia jasmine attar will be the focus of Part II of my look at Areej Le Doré‘s Indian Attar Collection. As a side note, for the sake of time-management, length, and brevity (to the extent that I can muster such a thing), I’ve decided to move the scent descriptions and results of layering four attars, three attars, and various duos into a separate Part III to be posted another day.
Kannauj attar producers in India. Source: bbc.co.uk
Areej Le Doré has released a five-piece Indian Attar Collection, each focusing on a single flower combined with Mysore sandalwood and prepared in the centuries-old Indian bronze pot method of distillation.
Today, in Part I, I’ll provide a broad introductory overview to the collection, cover the particular methodology and raw materials that were used, then share an olfactory description of three of the attars. They will be the tuberose, champaca, and marigold attars. Part II in several days time will describe the rose and jasmine ones, Gulab and Motia. Part III will cover different attar layering combinations, including with Western fragrances, and what the result smells like.
Areej Indian Attar Collection. Photo: Areej Le Dore. [Photo cropped by me at the top.]
A look at random things from perfume news to some of the things occupying my attention this month.
Training Your Nose: This should be in the perfume news section below, but I wanted to devote more focus on an article in The Telegraph called “How a ‘nose workout’ can unlock the power of smell.” The significant part is this: “The average person is capable of recognising around 10,000 scents and women generally detect more than men. So how can you improve on that? “Smell and write at the same time,” says Fairley. “That’s what you do in perfume school. Words fix the smell in your brain. Make associations.[“…][¶] Fairley quotes Prof George Dodd, who set up the Olfaction Research Group at the University of Warwick, and who affirms that with this practice “you actually strengthen the neural pathways in the brain itself and in turn that helps you to become better at smelling things”.”
This is essentially what I do when I test a perfume, and I think it makes a significant difference. I don’t jot down cursory descriptions, key words, or summations; I take pages of detailed notes in full sentences on a large, yellow legal-pad. For a recent review, there was 8 pages of analysis. Now, I am NOT saying that you should do anything as intense, OCD, or extreme. However, I don’t think the sort of analysis that consists of something like a simple Excel spread-sheets with keywords (something I know a lot of people do) is sufficient if you want to really hone your nose for the finer nuances and to lock the details in your memory. In my opinion, to expand your mental and olfactory Rolodex, the best way to “strengthen the neural pathways” is to take detailed notes on the finer points so that your mind locks in the connection between an ingredient and a particular smell. Not simplistic keyword summations, but full sentences just as you would do in school when analysing a book or science project. It’s just a thought for the most obsessive amongst you if you’re truly keen on developing your sense of smell.