10 luglio 2011

Dzongkha, the peaceful dragon

"Though a man may strive, a knowledge will not be perfect while fear and worries cloud his mind. While perplexity robs his mind of peace, his knowledge will not forth the perfume of happiness" Buddha


Bhutan: Kyichu Lhakhang Temple
I adore to travel, I like it so much that just thinking of it puts me in high spirits even before leaving, while the path is still only a embryo in my mind. Sometimes it becomes real, sometimes is just a fantasy but it doesn't really matter because even travelling with your mind can bring an intense pleasure. Senses help doing this of course, tasting an unusual flavour or listening to a particular music is enough to be carried away in another place. Also a redolent smell holds the same power and for sure  who knows how to exert it is Bertrand Duchaufour, one of the perfumers I keep in high estimate for his impressionist ability to sketch a place with few olfactory details, whether they are plants, buildings or atmospheric conditions. In fact in 2006 he concocts for Artisan Parfumeur the third fragrance of the travel series (after Bois Farine and Timbuktu), to me one of the masterpieces of the last five years, Dzongkha.

This name that sounds almost like an exclamation derives from ancient Tibetan and is the language spoken in the Dzongk, fortified buddhist monasteries among the mountains of Buthan. I found this choice brilliant instead of other thousand names conjuring up faraway landscapes and mysterious places. It's not by chance a perfume has many characteristics in common with a language: invisible like the sound of a word, it gets inside us and makes us resonate and like a language reveals the spirit of a population, so a fragrance should reveal the character of who wears it.
Certainly dominated by woods, it's difficult to set Dzongkha into an olfactory family because it's a complex juice: it's about wide and silent valleys, woods after the rain, temples, rites and ointments but also about inner spaces and silences. Yet before all this awesomeness my senses got ravished by the summa of some of my most favourite notes. Peony is there with its dewy freshness, almost liquid and medicinal, then there's a subtle fruity tone lurking through all the development of the fragrance but it has nothing to share with the cheekily sugary litchee stated in the pyramid, it's rather the mellow sap of an exotic tree. Again cedarwood is there, imposing and dry, a lively leather freshly tanned with its rough touch, the greenery of age-old forests drenched in rain and finally a blaze of dusty, aloof and meditative iris almost petrified by vetiver and papyrus.

Bhutanese mandala (XIX century)
The official pyramid features notes of peony, litchee and cardamom on top, spices, Chai tea, vetiver, incense and cedarwood in the heart and finally leather, iris and indian papyrus in the base. If from one hand can be noticed an direct connection to Duchaufour previous works like Timbuktu and Eau d'Italie's Paestum Rose, from the other hand the result is very original with great lasting power and good sillage but not dense and after the weird stingy opening with cold spices conjuring up the rarefied air of Tibet, it stays luminous even with the milky tones of Chai tea making the heart of the scent comforting and peaceful.
Duchaufour doesn't fail to put in a precise way all the colours of the palette in a particular mandala, as bodily as translucent, to wrap it then with a thin incense trail that fills the fragrance with mysticism and suspends it through the time, carrying me away in a primordial inner place where thoughts stay still as the breath flows.

1 commento:

memoryofscent ha detto...

Beautiful review. It captures the essence of this fragrance which combines the sensuality of rose, the austerity of woods, the volatility of incense and the introversion of iris. One of the irises I like wearing.

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