Monday, May 4, 2015

From Istanbul with love

A general scoop

Living for five years in Turkey, visiting many places from traditional east to multicultural paradoxical pattern of Istanbul, sunny moist south, rainy green misty north and Aegean cultured west... finding friends in this country, learning almost everything in detail, I've been a part of this culture and these people, unconsciously. One thing in the topic of perfume and fragrance is interesting for me and that is although it'd always been a cornerstone in Middle Eastern perfumery, today Turkey suffers from lacks in this filed, however today I'm witnessing the glimmers of birth of Turkey's first niche house in the realm of perfume and luxury and I really wish for them the shiny horizon I see.

Nishane has been established in Istanbul in September 2012, conceptualizing to exhibit the magnificent vision of Istanbul bottled by wonderful emblematic smells representing Istanbul's multifaceted culture. Officially they started their journey in 2014 while they have experienced and worked on their long portfolio years before they've launch. In this collection which includes 16 50ml extrait de parfum they encapsulated all known olfactory groups with touch in almost every known fragrance category from floral to leather and from spicy to woody. Nishane appeared for the first in Esxence 2015 in Milan.
This review is efforts of several testings on each perfume in several days and I don't know the time I'm writing the actual paragraph how many perfumes I can go through but I try my best to continue till I finish the whole line!

Pachulí Kozha

Top notes: hyacinth, ylang-ylang, camomile    
Heart notes: patchouli, black pepper       
Base notes: leather, honey, incense

I had high hopes upon hyacinth and ylang-ylang serving for the first layer but they barely show up while Pachulí Kozha is a leather patchouli neighborhood. This sexy opener is dense, aromatic and potent with great luxurious wilderness that is presented in Le Labo Patchouli 24 and Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut but both in different styles yet in similarity in overall appearance. Pachulí Kozha is a success bringer combination. An easy to construct sorcery that amazes everyone who has not been introduced to this category which is quite commonplace nowadays.
Pachulí Kozha is a creamy incense dark floral opener that is quickly rendered with leather which itself is affected by patchouli. The opening on deep aromatic wave is so glimmering and enchanting, however the show ends quickly and what remains is an intrigant leather patchouli exhibiting mystically warm incense based creamy semi-gourmand light darkness.

Mūsīqá Oud

Top notes: grapefruit, amyris, nagarmotha
Heart notes: oud, saffron, amber
Base notes: oakmoss, sandalwood, guaiac wood

Here's a play on words. It's titled after oud as wood and oud as musical instrument, and I love both.

Maybe the opening of Mūsīqá Oud is a bit annoyingly punchy and the paradoxical combination of two insisting sides (citrus aromatic juicy vs oudy dark oriental) makes it like "acid and oil on mad man's face" with Montale'ish juiced rose-like amyris charged and greened with grapefruit and nagarmotha against woody accords. This provides a strong unity in the opening based on citrus realm albeit the opening layer subdues to completely off-topic basic layers. Saffron is soft dry powdery like Turkish saffron, but I'm not sure. Then nuances of oud appear from beyond dust and clouds scattered by the battle of beginning and it performs like the winner of the fight; bright and almost pure. Mūsīqá Oud is a soft MFK'ish type of oud, humanized and urbanized but not that luxurious as MFK's oud collection yet original and notable.
What a game of dynasties is going on here! Each layer has its own winner with no stability and promising of future. Oud actually in this fragrance is limited to the heart layer and then it mingles down and solves into guaiac and sandalwood.
Mūsīqá Oud is interesting fragrance that deserves several testings if you're looking for an oud and you're not satisfied by the varieties in the shops..


Top notes: seagrass, galbanum,sage, cypress
Heart notes: jasmine, gardenia, seaweed
Base notes: oakmoss, patchouli, musk, amber

This one is way green aquatic with seaweed prominent play that reminds me a sort of springy and aquatic works with designer attribution in niche format. To give a name maybe James Heeley Sel Marin and Diptyque l'Ombre Dans l'Eau edt; half a way of this and that; can ring a bell.

Boszporusz opens with vibrant yummy seaweed pickle vibe! It's happy comfortable smell of metropolitan resort imitated by salty accord on aquatic platform! I mean it's tranquil while active and adventurous. The beginning layer is on saline sea water saturated metallic feel, green and unusually herbaceous. The core is less active, less watery. It settles in dry metallic seaweed sage salad juiced by soprano chords of musky galbanum without bringing any possible resinous vibe to the combination. Logically there must be vibes of floral and chypre nuances looking at note pyramids but the dual marine notes are that stubborn that each of the elements hardly finds opportunity to utter a word! It's may be unique but it definitely trick you to remember a name for it. Yet, I assure you if you love salty aquatics; which are not so commonplace; this one is a fine choice.
I like the way salty aquatics play on my skin! Unlike most of summery marine fragrances, they surprisingly stay for long!


Top notes: magnolia, gardenia
Heart notes: osmanthus, Indonesian patchouli
Base notes: oakmoss, incense

Although I'm not a fan of this type of modern chypré fragrances, Duftblüten left me speechless! Considering very simple row of modest notes I was ready to give it a meh! but seems the notes are assorted in the most possible brilliant way to create a super dandy creamy dreamy aroma of saxophone sound of summer sunset romantic magnolia! I love magnolia and its uncommon bulky flower that is in contrast with its innocent bridal color. It smells like a love affair that ends to "love hurts" with attractive but teasing manner!
The opening is based upon magnolia with its realistic skanky smell of its nature that is mostly ashamedly masked in many other perfumes, but not here (I'm talking about magnolia's teasing part). More than what gardenia can do, oakmoss and incense are early comers to the party before all the guests come and they are hippie dancers in the middle of saloon!
I called it a modern chypré at first, I still do but I want to call it a modern opening highly affected by chypré foundation.
The following layer when we approach to the core, the soapy side of magnolia comes up with semi musky gardenia and pseudo apricot smell of osmanthus. This is very sensual and I strongly think that it's sort of those fragrances that performs super sexy on redheads cause it has a hidden milky accord inside which plays awfully perfect on that type of skin.
This was the maximum impose of the classical foundation. They don't penetrate more and the whole combination stays still modern and free from any classical hint, if we don't consider the vintage basic elements.


Top notes: ylang-ylang, sweet orange, artemisia, orange blossom
Heart notes: marigold, tuberose, jasmine, gardenia
Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, vetiver

It is believed that no perfume house is complete without releasing at least one perfume on tuberose; however, in this old realm there are famous prestigious masterpieces that achieved the utmost level of tuberose: FracasCarnal FlowerTubéreuse Criminalle, and Amarige.

I don't mention this idols to give a clue and prepare platform to compare them to Tuberóza. In fact Tuberóza is a not very premium case for this flower. It's an un-indolic type of tuberose. It's more like a perfume dedicated to floral category but coincidentally tuberose became bolder than any other element. The fragrance opens with fresh newly cropped teenager tuberose with metallic early morning air presented by ylang ylang that is used in slight amount to halt the perfume to incline to Amarige but it still has the facial structure of Amarige like a granddaughter of her. Orange blossom finds no opportunity to show up and it submerges in marigold which delivers kind of powdery wilderness to the overall composition.
The first layer is so delicate and satisfying, but only satisfying and not beyond, however, the core of the performance is much better yet, Tuberóza is not a perfume to die for nor an appropriate signature scent but it is a very nice and potent tuberose icon that can take a VIP sit in every floral feminine collection occupied by top seller designers suggested by salespersons who newly admitted the job! It has a plain sexy and modest way of presentation that show gorgeous springy fresh air mood when it pulls musky notes up in the dry down.
Good longevity and strong sillage.


Top notes: ambergris, frankincense, myrrhe, labdanum
Heart notes: castoreum, civet, leather, oud
Base notes: muscenone, thibetone (probably thioketone), muscone, civetone

Afrika-Olifant is my most beloved one. An inevitable animalic-lover trap and a mandatory for any who loves Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khân and Mona di Orio Cuir and that type of brutality.
The fragrance has a very frightening fetishist arrangement of notes that may seriously halt one to give the perfume a go since it opens with surprisingly brutal notes that play the other perfumes' basement.
Aftika-Olifant initiates with soft hint of resin-infused labdanum that immediately call the animalic level of the heart notes; civet and leather. This instant introduction-less phenolic assault leaves no place to debate; you love it or you hate it. 
The first nuances of musky accords sounds quite natural and filthily annoying which I'm crazy for. It's the very type of composition that Serge Lutens has encapsulated in Muscs Koublaï Khân with a luxury glaze on it. Afrika-Olifant presents it wilder and blatantly unurbanized. Normally it supposed to be the ultimate step in animalic perfumery but after about two hours since application, seemingly, it tends to shift again. I was detectively noticing every slight facet of this alteration and trying to predict "till where it can move?" and counting animalic alternatives in my mind that suddenly an extreme leather came to mind and the perfume eventually and unexpectedly reached what I guessed correctly: Comme des Garçons Synthetic 6 TarExactly the same dark sad gray leather executed in Tar to emerge the smell of asphalt.
Now here's the story: the base of Afrika-Olifant is bare play of highly integrable synthetic musky odors that charge the middle phase's protagonist: leather. This immense impenetrable animalic realm is constructed by a sort of nitromusks and soft musky accords as basis for irritable Gothic depression of leather. However, this animalic long time dynasty does not survive forever and it finally surrenders to agarwood who brings sophistication and fluffy woody musky aura to that brilliant epoch of terror. The leftover after about 8 hours is pure and fresh powdery dry misty track of Iso E Super.
I'm fond of animalic and dark creations and I seriously adore brave combination of Afrika-Olifant. The only matter makes me concern is its randomly shifting behavior which I'm not sure actually is bad or good. I know a solid play of an animalic carnival is exhausting, so maybe it's not that bad actually if we have a chameleon animalic perfume with good quality! Specially, the longevity and sillage factors are both high.

Rosa Turca

Top notes: Ispartan rose, ylang-ylang
Heart notes: Sadinian Jasmine, Egyptian Jasmine
Base notes: Ispartan rose, musk

Rose is my phobia so I wish I could skip over this one but since I start a task I'm gonna completely finish it so I tolerate all the efforts on this perfume and take my notes but I don't guarantee that I'll be merciful to this. Unfortunately I couldn't go though it more than twice, however, this perfume has no more hidden facets to dig down to discover. I think two testings is pretty enough!
There are varieties of rose in the perfume industry one of the famous ones is Turkish rose which misnamed Istanbul rose cause it's vastly planted in palaces of Ottoman empire. Turkish rose is originally form Isparta; a central south region. Isparta rose, for its juicy smell and watery petals is mainly used in confectionery and candy making. 
Rosa Turca, as the name suggests, solidly presents this type which has pink and watery fresh musk-intimating upset smell and believe me combining with musk it turns to a zombie!
I know roses are respectful flowers reminding romantic love and all and many people all around the world love roses but I'm a middle eastern guy based on a Muslim majority culture in which rose and rosewater is vastly used in religious rituals and burials so this is an acceptable excuse that this flower evokes sad feelings of death and losing a dear family member.
Rosa Turca is full pinkish musky rose soapy metallic solid floral fragrance with dense composition, high longevity and sillage, yet, I don't strongly suggest to any rose lover to give it a blind buy. No, this is type of fragrance you have to try and keep in mind Serge Lutens has already a developed version: Fille de Berlin.

Wūlóng Chá

Top notes: bergamot, orange, litchi, mandarin
Heart notes: oolong tea, nutmeg
Base notes: musk, fig

Wūlóng Chá is a simple tea/bergamot appetizing combo which is a commonplace yet interesting accepted crowd-pleasing duet. Surely in this cologne it is fused with more summery attributions.
Litchi which I haven't seen the fruit yet (I feel being so urban and fast food life addict) but I somehow know its smell from several different olfactory experiments: one is YSL Elle which is a mass pleaser nice modest beautiful fragrance with litchi not in majority, and the other one is Jacques Bogart Silver Scent which is bottled aromatic chemical bomb! For such oxymora that occur in every single two litchi included perfumes I seriously cannot figure out how precisely this weird fruit smells!
Anyway, I talked a lot to say I'm capturing a fruity feel in Wūlóng Chá that I'm not sure if it is that or not! Wūlóng Chá opens with pure bergamot creamy side and a type of bitter leafy fruity but not yummy air which I though must be litchi. A bit later tea leaf, green and freshly cropped and ground appears with its all the time concubine: nutmeg! Am I the only one this around who thinks tea leaf always is performed with nutmeg or it's just an illusion?! Leafy tea is not as green and acrid as in Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate. It's soft and sensual, specially when it loses bergamot sharpness, it turns to one of the most delightful green tea colognes. With tiny differences in bone structure, Wūlóng Chá is sister of Teo Cabanel Hegoa without rose vibe.


Top notes: ylang-ylang, bergamot
Heart notes: sandalwood
Base notes: tonka bean, vanilla

Above, I talked about some floral chypré modern creations, now this one is exactly late 80's, 90's chypré: a now classic sandalwood based aromatic floral creation.
Santalové is a feminine fragrance, or at least for its pure similarity to some iconic feminines of its family it looks more feminine. Now writing down a review on such concoction is much easier than finding a true reminiscence since this composition has covered a vast area on shelves out in markets. This is not a hard to find fragrance, not an unique one but again it is interesting and eye catching.
Santalové opens without any possible romance upon ylang-ylang which if bergamot has not been there to impose, it would be a romantic sexy floral opening but alas, citruses are too silly to understand romance and they affect everything participating a sexy mood! Bergamot apparently reduces seductive vibes of ylang-ylang and makes a serious and tight floral edition.
Happily, this would not stay for long and gradually signs of tonka bean and vanilla and soft sandalwood join the composition. Although tonka still tries to do what bergamot did but vanilla and sandalwood envelop the composition with warm velvety air.
Santalové is not a bad work not a perfect work. Something in the middle with high quality of ingredients, however personally I would like to add more sandalwood and reduce bergamot and make it a super sexy sensual 90's romantic.

Pasión Choco

Top notes: passion fruit, coffee, caramelized grapefruit
Heart notes: dark chocolate, linen flower, orchid, coriander
Base notes: vanilla bean, benzoine, patchouli, dark musk

Pasión Choco is on 90's aromatic coffee fruity air. Nishane nailed it to the middle of target and evokes the very senses of perfumes of that era. I hardly can give a similar perfume name right now but there are too many spinning in my head which one clue might be Parfum de Marley Pegasus but not very bold. Coffee actually plays the role of Pegasus' vanilla bolder, however mixing with passion fruit and orchid they come in a hypothetical deal of half happy tropical half artistic mellow bitter drama.
You don't have the fruity side solidly and clearly. It is blended within the composition. On the other hand, coffee visibly exposes crunchy and roasted bitter puffy smoked. Beside its dry crispy coffee, vanilla and chocolate bar (surely the same chocolate employed in Histoires de Parfums 1969 Parfum de Revolte) play hilariously and amusing! The base of this perfume is vanilla's old friend: benzoin. Benzoin and vanilla with another friend who's not playing in this game; almond; has conquered the summits of success in 1998 in Givenchy's unforgettable masterpiece: Givenchy Pi.
Pasión Choco is a nice aromatic dry waxy vanilla modern oriental fragrance highly capable to mellow and fresh weather. But it is way raw and incomplete and not that satisfying.

Sultan Vetiver

Top notes: Java vetiver, absinthe, bergamot, Peruvian pepper
Heart notes: Bourbon vetiver, Haitian vetiver, neroli, tonka bean
Base notes: amber, leather, Brizilian vetiver

Efforts in vetiver perfumery needs considering the nobles of this platform specially Guerlain VetiverCreed Original VetiverCarven VetiverTom Ford Gray Vetiver, etc. cause they already chewed all the science and innovation in this realm and what is left is a tiny room for very brilliant artistic creations as Bruno Fazzolari Lampback.
To be honest, Sultan Vetiver is not an artistic or twisted mood of vetiver, rather it's a legitimate replica of what Guelrain has offered in new edition of his Vetiver in 2000.
Sultan Vetiver opens with high dose of vetiver assault frozen and delighted by neroli and bergamot. The vetiver is so wild and naturalistic with its dusty spoiled-gourmand nature that comes from its muddy lifestyle. A bit fat, a bit creamy, crispy and a bit dusty and frosty, monotonic and dangling between freshness and warmth. Here the vetiver is somehow neutral in temperature, it is neither warm nor cool. Gray greenish metallic and citrus-infused.
Personally I prefer the dry down level when linear constant play of woodsy vetiver eventually lingers with some leather and amber accord which make it a bit twisted. It leaves tracks of decent dose of Iso E Super in the very depth just like all creations of Nishane which gives it a favorable safe dept. For such creation just as I had the same problem with Carven Vetiver and Guerlain Vetiver back in days, monotone constant automatic gear drive in highway exhaust me, no matter how enchanting my car is. For that I had sold Carven and over applied Guerlain to finish! So I personally prefer to smell such creations on others than all day long on myself. And Sultan Vetiver, more or less, is as strong as those other vetiver fragrances are: long lasting and projecting.


Top notes: orange, cedar
Heart notes: cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, geranium, ylang-ylang
Base notes: patchouli, labdanum, frankincense, tobacco, amber

Excellent! Múnegu is what I should stand up and clap for. This is much beyond other releases from the house, even much higher than my beloved one: Afrika-Olifant.
The opening of Múnegu reminds me Puredistance M; irrelevant but that comes to my mind! It opens with smoldering fresh cedar notes cured deeply with spices and orange that bring metallic sweaty-joyful dry vibe to unwoody cedar (I say so cause cedar to me smells like an unique type of wood that is not a wood, it's something else). Maybe because of this "hot water on frozen fingers needling sense" of cedar is that I resembled it to leather in Puredistance M and in this play don't have to neglect patchouli's performance.
The core of the fragrance with tracks of spicy wood remained from opening, incense and amber on patchouli carpet with its persistent presence, is now blowing my mind. Boy, this one if by far a ground breaking launch that for sure will take place in my "top rated" woodsy category; woody and floral. This level of patchouli is seriously rare. It's damp and hot, burning and dark spicy without exhaling solid wood or oud play. A mandatory for every one who digs for dark ones. Addictive, enchanting, and mysterious.

Spice Bazaar

Top notes: juniper, yuzu, rosemary, ginger
Heart notes: cedar, cinnamon, cumin
Base notes: black pepper, saffron, vanilla

Very brilliant simulation of an identical place as the grand bazaar of Istanbul where for loads of stuff it smells quite complex and this complex natural coincidentally-made fragrance is what invites perfumers! The opening of the fragrance like the very moments you step inside the grand bazaar is fresh. The smell of spices is still under control of fresh air of cold stone masonry of ancient body of the bazaar's arches and vaults.
Nishane deliberately encapsulated a fresh misty bombastic creation for spicy lovers. This is way niche quality but reminiscent of some fourhand-works in designer realm which I always insists that they are misnamed "designers" when they offer niche quality: Kenzo Jungle Pour Homme and Issey Miyale l'Eau d'Issey Pour HommeSpice Bazaar stays somewhere in between these two masterpieces.
The main theme of Spice Bazaar is still somehow fresh and cold but not a summery cologne. There are varieties of such fragrances that offer fresh vibe but they are not really wearable in summer; Angel Schlesser Homme Oriental Edition, for instance.
I like the way they illustrated the smell of bazaar with non spicy elements. Anticipatedly, cedar for its smoldering smoky manner play the first role. Rosemary, juniper, and yuzu sing the first chore and then call the cedarwood and cinnamon and cumin; a complete trio to make a pseudo-spice bazaar ambiance. The fragrance settles in semi misty dry dramatic immensely attractive vibe of spicy wet paper smell.
What I don't understand is use of saffron and black pepper in base notes. There's no surprise that the fragrance stays with cedar and never develops in sweet saffron layer as the elements of base notes, instead of vanilla, are unstable and mainly used in top or heart layers. For such strategy the fragrance stays quite linear with cedar and juniper and cinnamon. However, it doesn't even lack an epsilon in longevity. Spice Bazaar has enormous longevity and great sillage on my skin.

Ambra Calabria

Top notes: bergamot, galbanum, leaf notes
Heart notes: jasmine, coriander 
Base notes: amber, musk, vanilla

I've been totally occupied by the eloquence of first breezes from Ambra Calabria. What a charming babe is this! The first shut is on unripe mandarin/bergamot smell, juicy and zesty yet acidic and unripe. Plus galbanum this citric cozy play becomes a bit fluffy. This green all-happiness immediately emerges coriander and cutesy fresh jasmine out to the main theme. I get very nice vibe of amber from right now shining like half fiery sun rising in fresh cold summer dawn, dangling between cold and warm.
Boy, plus amber, this is one of the nicest citric amber resort type of fragrance. A typical pick for evening out in a Mediterranean town vacation when the cool breeze of the sea waves in your hair. Jesus del Pozo has also an unjustifiedly underestimated Ambar dedicated for feminine shelves of perfume shops that gives me the same damn happy mood!
Wow, the more it deepens the better it becomes! Ambra Calabria loses citric side a bit when it comes to its grown form and presents on galbanum and green leaves charging fresh mellow smoke tendrils of amber. It's very calm, welcoming and kind. I seriously cannot stop sniffing my wrist each time I sprayed to write this review which I already know does not describe my passion.
Ambra Calabria may not be so satisfying in the matter of lasting power and projection, anyway I deeply enjoy its performance.


Top notes: tuberose, violet, marigold, lily of the valley
Heart notes: jasmine, magnolia, rose, iris
Base notes: vanilla, honeysuckle, immortelle, heliotrope

By far Vjola is the flower crown of Nishane. It's a sumptuous flower bomb, fresh, immensely powdery, dusty and airy.
Electrically, it captivates in the opening layer when boozy and muddy violet and marigold start. Jacques Guelrain would have like it. I'm strongly sure that it rings a bell and I can't tell to what perfume Vjola looks like. Vjola is a retro modern piece with Victorian art manner that reminds some forgotten iconic designer masterpieces of first half of 20th century which has been considered modern back in days: violet, marigold and tuberose; the rascal time machine that pulls back to decades ago. But what is interesting is not tuberose; it is actually so normal to sit beside violet at top. The interesting is that iris smells exceptionally muddy dusty with sort of similarity to tolu balsam and it intensifies as it goes deep in the middle phase. Vjola represents sort of uncommon rare and precious floral aura orchestrated by inviting top and out-of-this-world core.
I adore violet and iris in this composition. So as vanilla in the base notes to ease the supernatural floral society. Vjola is so naturalistic, so real, so punchy and extrovert fragrance with more than 4 hours on my skin and higher than arm length radius projection.

Suède et Safran

Top notes: ambrette, Iran saffron
Heart notes: suede, ginger
Base notes: musk, leather

Once again this signifies that the ironically named Private Blend line that Tom Ford have introduced in 2007, brought him that success to whom many perfumes owe their fame. To give some names, identical and prestigious Tuscan Leather (which I still believe is top targeted by the clan of replicas) is the forefather of Montale Aoud Leather, Dueto Golden Boy, Monotheme Leather, Clive Christian C for men, Mark Birley Charles Street, Parfums de Marley Godolphin, and now Nishane Suède et Safran.
Actually my expectations on this one vanished all in a sudden after first whiff. First because I was so excited that somebody eventually extravagantly uses Iranian saffron which is; in my humble opinion; the sexiest, but there's hardly a detectable saffron sign in the composition. Then, for that I regret all the time why I bought Montale Aoud Leather and not Tuscan Leather, and now Suède et Safran tends to Montale's rather to Tuscan Leather.
You may say ok, there's a hint of metallic tea-like ambrette within the composition merged into every single molecule of the perfume but believe me no one will capture it from beyond 20 inches. All they get is a bit bitter and less creamy version of Montale Aoud Leather.
Suède et Safran opens with juicy vibe of saffron that immediately suffocates by suede which treats more grown than suede. Happily, since suede is not as stubborn as leather, it cannot dominate the entire progress. After about two hours (don't worry about lasting power, it's sticks like leech!) caraway start to infuse the leathery side and brings kind of spicy add to it. Yet, it's not that bold to tell off who's wearing Suède et Safran and who Montale!

Carpe Odor!

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