If a year ago someone told me that countries will be literally ‘closing down’ because some nasty virus is spreading across the world I wouldn’t believe them. It would’ve been a great scenario for a catastrophic movie thought. Except it’s became reality. At times when easy travelling is not that easy anymore, fragrances that evoke the atmosphere of distant places are even more sought after. At least in my case. Thanks to brands like Gallivant, 2020 can be a year of armchair travel. Perfume can be both a journey and the destination. And you can experience it from the comfort of your home.
Gallivant Bukhara announced itself with a wave of spicy goodness & it’s a soft reveal rather than abrupt burst. Dry coriander mingles on the skin giving off a light piquancy with a noticeable earthy undertone. It is followed by caraway that gives the perfume more warmth and sensuality of the body heat. It’s a sophisticated, light touch. The spiciness here is structured and feels kind of grainy, like a surface of an old parchment. There is also bergamot and pear, both briefly noticeable for me. The opening here is like a quiet seduction, an invitation to stay longer & see what comes next.
I mentioned the earthy undertone of coriander for a reason because I think that’s what takes us to the roots of this perfume in both literal and metaphorical meaning. Iris is a shining star in Bukhara. On my skin the top notes are almost skipped, letting me smell the orris almost immediately after applying. It received a grand treatment from a perfumer and the result is a wealth of various colors and textures that come one after another. At first it’s cold, like a marbled stone inside of a temple. After a minute or two it warms up, becomes vegetal – giving you an impression of a carrot.
Immediately washed with the running water, the perfume feels kind of fresh. That is until it makes us reach deeper into the ground. At this point Bukhara turns into a rooty iris, blending the smell of dry and wet soil with a raw richness of the orris rhisome. It’s a dense aroma with a little bit of dirt. But the waxy & buttery facets that come up later give an impression of something luxurious and very valuable as a gift of nature. At times I can pick up a little bit of something smoky, like an incense ash. That ashy vibe takes me to the faint eugenol scent, the smell of clove – spice with a bit of warm, caramelized sweetness.
When Gallivant Bukhara takes us above the ground the smells to experience are slightly different. Iris becomes more mellow & floral with its characteristic smoothness of silk. It has a slightly chalky, off white feel in the back too, that could be a nod to white buildings in the city of Bukhara. There’s a flash of jasmine and a fruited scent of apricoty osmanthus that enrich the fragrance in later stage. It’s quite a prominent element thanks to its fruity ripeness and a lovely floral aspect to it. In my opinion it’s due to this note that this composition feels more playful and with more youthful energy.
I get to enjoy the play of numerous orris facets for many hours before Bukhara shifts towards the base. Foundation of this perfume is build on warm, soft-almost-like-a-plush saffron accord that provides a cuddly & comforting feel. It plays so well together with the luminosity of resinous benzoin and bright, balsamic amber tones. Some woody tones are revealed later and last but not least there’s a soft musk that binds everything together with an invisible thread. It’s a harmonious journey of iris reflected in various dimensions and structures. A real treat for all the orris lovers out there. I’m telling you!
Bukhara by Gallivant is a beautiful perfume that had me with its intricacy & complexity of numerous facets it posesses. Some real treasures used to be exchanged via Silk Road between East and West world, with city of Bukhara being an important stop. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger really captured the uniqueness of each precious ingredient and he turned iris into a true diamond that reflects all the colors of the rainbow. You can smell the same precision and attention to detail in Bukhara as in Aedes Iris Nazarena even though both are quite different on skin. New Gallivant Bukhara is an eau de parfum and comes in neat 30 ml bottle size. I think it’s their best fragrance up to date.