In September 2013, a 2012-founded French niche perfume house of Neela Vermeire Creations will show two new fragrances to the world. One of them will be Mohur in higher concentration simply named Mohur Extrait. The other one is a completely new perfume project inspired by an Indian Emperor Ashoka, who ruled between 269 and 232 BCE. He reigned over most of present-day India.
The very moment I apply a tiny miny dab of Ashoka on my skin I am immediately greeted by a pretty and unusual iris accord. This is not a typical iris, it’s the one of many faces. There’s something slightly carroty about it on one hand and on the other hand it has the undeniable rooty charm. 5 minutes later a voluptuous buttery texture appears. It’s delicious, mouthwatering and addictive I think. I know many irises but neither of them had such a complex personality. After another 10 minutes the wonderful iris stage slowly subsides and Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka turns into warm and spicy being.
The moment iris hands over the leading role to tonka bean the entire perfume immediately warms up and gains a delicate spicy sensation. There’s also something creamy about the use of tonka bean in NVC Ashoka. I tried to figure it out what kind of creaminess it reminds me. It definitely wasn’t a whipped cream. Then, suddenly I got enlightenment. Tonka was just like a kogel mogel here.
After a while the creamy softness becomes a tender sweetness with a light yet noticeable smell of caramel or melting sugar. It shortly turns into something a little bit more woody. A quick look into the notes of Ashoka suggests vetiver and I think it is the right one. It’s woodsy, without a rotten roots context which is a great thing for those who are usually not lovers of vetiver, just like me.
At 1st hour mark the perfume starts to shift a little bit. The first proof of this is a green and sappy milkiness. It comes from a fig, or actually a fig leaf that was used in the process of perfume creation. The smell of this note is really lovely and it lacks those bitter, tanine-like smell that sometimes pairs with such materials like fig and its leaves. On my skin Ashoka remains in this stage for over than hour. Then other chords appear. After around 4 hours of wearing I start to notice the hints of aromatic ingredients. There’s definitely some fir balsam along with a transparent smokiness of incense.
In the drydown some floral aspects of the perfume come forth. There are delicate, velvet rose petals, paired with a sweeter osmanthus blossoms reminiscent of a light-brewed tea. Something powdery also emerges from the underneath. I believe these would be white and pink lotus flowers which are listed in the notes. Come to think, can a powdery feeling come from mimosa? I’m not much experienced with this note but I think it can sometimes be like a powder.
Another two hours into fragrance development lets Ashoka from Neela Vermeire Creations reach it’s final form. In this stage I sense a light dose of sandalwood – smooth and polished one. There’s also a tiny touch of myrrh (yay, it doesn’t bother me here!) plus a balmy scent of styrax, with its resinous but also a little bit sweet aroma. Just like this the fragrance lays on my skin for next 6-8 hours. In summary the fragrance features the following notes:
- leather, fig leaf, pink lotus, white lotus, mimosa, osmanthus, fig tree, rose, vetiver, water hyacinth, styrax, sandalwood, incense, tonka bean, fir balsam and myrrh.
Ashoka the fragrance was developed in collaboration of Neela Vermeire and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who is also responsible for other scents in NVC line. The fragrance wasn’t released yet. It is expected to be officialy introduced in the Fall, probably in September. The sample I used for this review was sent to me by Neela as a prize in a Facebook draw at NVC page.
Astonishing 14 hours was the time NVC Ashoka lasted on my skin. I bet it would last longer if I didn’t have to take a shower in the evening. The sillage of this perfume was moderate and going low after a few hours. The perfume is really easy to wear. I won’t be surprised if Ashoka will become a bestseller when it’s launched later this year. Well done Neela Vermere and Bertrand Duchaufour.
The perfume will be available in 60 ml flacon of a new design. The column bottle has 24 ridges to match a NVC logo (inspired by Ashoka wheel), which is embossed in the cap. The new flacon was designed by Pierre Dinand specially for the brand.