Neela Vermeire, who's she? That's what I was wondering about the first time I read her name on the web. I hardly remember names if I don't connect them as soon as possible to a face, so the first thing I did was just to look for a picture of her.
Neela is the face of contemporary India, globalized yet proud of its traditions and what strikes you is the disarming smile she shows in the pictures.Born in India but trained as a qualified silicitor and in law in the United Kingdom, as she confesses in her website she's passionate about fragrances since ever so long time ago she started getting interested in natural raw materials. Judging from the massive usage she put in her creations it's not hard to guess she felt in love with them, specially the ones coming from such a varied land rich of sensations and so abundant of essences like tuberose, sandalwood and spices hugely implied also to colour and spice up foods. The creations Neela imagined take inspiration right by the colours of her childhood memories and the smells she treasured during the frequent travels to get back to her family. In fact the guiding thread of these very tactile fragrances concocted with Bertrand Duchaufour who also spent long periods of time in India, is a flash back in the three eras of this millenary culture starting fron the vedic period, going through the more recent Moghul epoch signed by the british domination and ending with the character of nowadays India, with Bollywood and its technicolour movies and the life in the crowded metropolis.
Trayee (the triad in sanscrit) speaks about the most ancient rites and traditions at the base of indi wisdom and spirituality as found in the first three sacred Veda: Rig, Yajur and Sama. The fragrance opening is radiant with green cardamome and golden saffron giving light to the incense rising from the gloomy pavement of a temple to mix up with the smell of spices through beams of sun. The cool aspect of olibanum introduces the intense and slightly acid greeness of blackcurrant absolute, one of Duchaufour's fetish raw materials. Despite being subdued, the fruity oiliness of jasmine sambac permeates the heart and base of the perfume making it more gluttonous and enveloping (also with a touch of dew fruits, a tropical fruits accord maybe) . The heart notes echo with a thick counterpoint of woods where here sandalwood plays with its mellow milkiness and there dry cedarwood amplifies the smoke. This beat lifts up the earthy and medicinal aspect of oud which invisible animal trace marries with the indolic white flowers and the slightly urinal pungency of blackcurrant making the harmony warmer and vibrant. Decidedly the most masculine and my favourite of the trilogy, Trayee has a smooth sillage and a lasting power for more than six hours on my skin and only in the end a pleasant shade of oil-seeds comes out hovering between toasted cashew and a relaxing ayurvedic massage oil to lose themselves.
Mohur takes its name from the rich Moghul period where namy arts flourished and takes inspiration from the emperess Noor Jahan known as Mehrunissa, such an influent and feared figure that was forced to live the rest of her life in a secret place when her husband died. While in her shelter, she finally could dedicate to the secret passion her mother passed her: the art of perfumery.
|Safdarjung Tomb -New Delhi|
Mohur evokes this mythological princess with a very elegant complex juice dominated by rose rendered as Duchaufour never did it before. Topnotes start with a swirling windmill of sensations in rapid sequence among which over a floral base pops up the biting coolness of pepper opposed to the earthy sweetness of carrot forewarning the orris root in the base. Then quickly blooms the turkish rose, airy and humid with hawthorn and violet touches shading its petals from pink to lilac. The flower blooms, ruffles, grows to its full volume revealing soapy accents typical of the english roses maybe a reference to colonial India. The rose strips off petal by petal falling through the vapours of bathtub with silky almond milk honeyed by May rose absolute and Mohur becomes a princely bath so luscious and evocative you don't know whether to dig it or drink it. Just a touch of iris and suddenly you almost feel the finest almond powder mixing up with cardamome and conjuring up laddus, the typical indian cakes ready to eat whyle you soak into the roses.The pyramid mentions also a leather note I didn't get on my skin. Instead the development reveals a modern chypre effect where the floral verdancy of sandalwood echos to the rose while patchouli extends the humid gauzy sensation. A pinch of oud literally gives body to the fragrance with its erbaceous poignancy wrapped up in a soft ambery base with vanilla, benzoin and tonka that glue it to the skin for more than six hours making it for sure the most elegant in the line.
Say Shava Shava! This is Bombay Bling, extravaganza, overwhelming rithm, joy and energy of the new India that makes of Bollywood the emblem of a constantly growing economy, a lively modern country that knows how to enjoy life. The opening shines euphoric with fresh fruits, refreshing sugary litchee but also green mango and blackcurrant, as juicy as just picked and astringent to the point of recalling a ripe grapefruit. A soft green spiciness makes the topnotes even more energizing and plays a good balance to the winning crescendo of white flowers, above all jasmin sambac and ylang-ylang singing cheerful with their pulpy voice. Frangipani makes the bouquet even more exotic pushing it halfway between a fragrant flower, a succulent fruit and the warm skin of a woman sunbathing in Juhu Beach. A touch of cumin warms up and amplifies sensuality in the base but the real leading role is played by vanilla, caressing and powdery, just tinged with tobacco with its almondy vibe. Soft patchouly and cedarwood smoothed by a whisper of sandalwood give body and staying power to the fragrance, the most longlasting one, for more than eight hours on the skin.