When I was a school boy, history classes were a bit of a torture to me. I never liked memorizing the dates and places of uprisings, battles, wars or entronements. With one exception – as I was fascinated by the ancient history & old civilization. The oldest times there were to remember. I love mythology, studying about Egyptian or Greek gods. I still have a soft spot for learning about that era. When in late 2020 a perfume named after Sumerian goddess of social justice, fertility and water was launched by Nishane, I only had one thought in my mind – please be good and don’t disappoint.
At the beginning Nanshe smells of tart and acidic bergamot rind, a little bit on the dry side of the spectrum. After a minute or two it is joined by a tangy, fruity-citric scent of yuzu. The latter one is not overly juicy but it feels fleshy, plus the balance of sour & sweet elements compliment the opening so well that my mouth decided to get to work and water a bit. A tad later the top of the composition surprises with a mild vegetal twist due to use of the carrot seed note. It kind of tempers the first citrusy impression and adds something that feels moist, watery, yet in a tiny aspect earthy at the same time. Cardamom warms it all up, adds a tingy flavor and a grainy texture to the scent.
The warm feeling coming from cardamom lasts for a majority of this perfume’s lifespan however the form that it takes changes. At the top of Nishane Nanshe it’s textured, grainy, more compact. Over time the structure loosens up, becomes more spacious and airy. Through those ’empty spaces’ it’s the floral notes that start to emerge. Flowers with their silky petals covered with morning dew smell fresh, breezy and aquatic. Coming next are watery fruits. They are in the 2nd or 3rd line from the front, slightly more hidden in the perfume but when I inhale slowly I can notice hints of something that smells like watermelon or guava. The smell is intriguing and definitely not the banal kind.
Continuing its steady evolution the watery facets become less important and some more substantial flower notes start leading. There is a lot of rose in this perfume but describing it comes with a bit of difficulty. It’s not a pink, ethereal scent, nor is it a rich smelling flower with crimson red petals. It’s kind of beige, with some streaks of tan. I definitely recognize it as creamy, veering towards cosmetic fragrance registers. Jasmine sambac which joins with some delay gives Nanshe an intensity boost and while it doesn’t smell even slightly indolic, it does give a characteristic shift to the floralties. Ylang-ylang is what actually makes the creamy, almost buttery feel on my skin after few hours.
Speaking of buttery, it seems that Nishane Nanshe couldn’t do without iris and its generous portion appears in the drydown of the composition. It started on more creamy side thanks to ylang but when it dissipates the more silky and powdery facets come to the fore. The composition seems to lose that moisture and reveal it’s dry side as after some time I find orris to become more earthy and closer to talc in its smell. This feeling of dryness is confirmed through the woody notes. Sandalwood that appears is soft and subdued by the iris powder. Even patchouli seems to be stripped of its dirtiness and is incorporated in the powdery accord. The same happens with a fluffy musk note.
When I first smelled Nanshe, one of the two latest fragrances from Nishane that were launched in 2020, there was a smile that instantly appeared on my face and I knew I’d enjoy wearing this composition. It’s a complex creation that relies on subtle changes and I appreciate the fact that it’s beauty is hidden within, in its details. It’s a perfectly composed & well balanced elixir with easily visible skill and talent of a perfumer, Cecile Zarokian. I can’t omit the fact that I also like the tan beige color of the bottle and the visual. Nanshe is an extrait de parfum, it comes in 50 & 100 ml bottles.
This sounds like something I would like – starting with cardamom which is one of my favorite notes. Hopefully i will have a chance to sniff at some point!
I hope so too! It would be nice if you could smell it 🙂
This sounds really interesting – that’s quite a complex mix of notes! As always, your writing inspires me to want to try this.
Btw, have you ever watched the American series “The Power of Myth”? I had the same experience as you with history lessons in school, and this series brought so many events to life for me. It’s absolutely enthralling!
Complex for sure and thank you for your compliment.
No, I don’t know this series but now that you mentioned it I might try and check it out.
Sounds intriguing, Lucas! I am looking forward to when we can sniff these again in person, no mask!
I think you’d really like Nanshe, it’s a very nice perfume.
Yes, let’s hope we can forget about the masks sooner than later.
I wish I had your nose! The ability to track all the notes as the symphony rises and falls … lovely.
I too loved reading about ancient civilisations and myths and legends when I was little. Even now, I am hooked by documentaries about Egypt and Greece. I believe you can watch some of my favourite historian’s (Bettany Hughes) TV programmes on YouTube.
Since it was created by Cecile Zarokian I know it has to be really good. I have been wanting to try some of the newer Nishanes for a while. I’ve been waiting since the sample sets are $80.00, pretty pricey, but you do got 12 or more samples. I’ve seen some rave reviews about other newer Nishanes. My favorite of their earlier scents is Wulong Cha.
It’s the best tea fragrance I have found that works with my skin. I also like Ineke’s Jaipur Chai, but it turns too sweet on me in the drydown. Thanks for the wonderful detailed review!!
So far, I tried just 3 perfumes from this line, and as you know, I liked Ambra Calabria. So, the fact that you liked it AND having Yuzu in it is a good sign 🙂 I’ll try it when I get a chance. Thank you for the review – I would have missed this one otherwise.
Since I have this bottle pictured in review I’ll be more than happy to send you some the next time 😀
Ambra Calabria is one of my Nishane faves.