Tag Archives: Cecile Zarokian

Bronze Shimmer, Nishane Ani

If you looked at the old maps you’d have found a city of Ani, located almost at the borderline between Turkey and Armenia. Over the years the city has been grabbed and witnessed many conflicts between these 2 nations. Nowadays it’s just a shadow of itself, a ghost town forgotten by many. Today Armenia and Turkey are at peace. To show that in modern world there are no real boundaries Turkish nishe brand Nishane teamed up with Cecile Zarokian – perfumer of Armenian roots, to create a fragrance that cements this friendship but doesn’t forget of a turbulent history of these countries. In the collection titled ‘No Boundaries’ a scent named after the city was born.

Upon spraying on skin, Ani opens with a zesty & tart bergamot that has an aromatic and rather mouth-watering effect on my nose and taste buds. Its juiciness is rather distant and subdued but its there, staining the canvas of this intricate composition. I like the way bergamot is showcased here and that it’s not just a citrus on top of the scent. Ginger creates a fizzy and effervescent facet that combines tingly spiciness with this kind of lemony smell of ginger flesh. When pink pepper joins the composition the scent gets more intense, vibrating. There’s a hint of a metallic undertone to it but the warmth emanating from Ani keeps this impression muted and restained from going wild. Official press release of Nishane Ani mentions blackcurrant and Turkish rose in the heart of the perfume but to be honest my nose was not able to pick them. I didn’t smell a tart and bitterish aspect of the fruit or a lush & rich, red rose bouquet. I would be curious to know if others smelled them.

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Going further into its development the most interesting and vivid part of the scent as I think it’s the base of Ani that has the most to offer. Oriental bouquet of the fragrance simply overflows with vanilla. But this vanilla ain’t cheap. It has a realistic and luxurious feel – there’s a bit of resinous darkness of the pod, custardy and slightly gooey smell of vanilla beans and a depth and booziness of a bourbon. Balmy richness of benzoin create strings that interlace with vanillic tones. It’s a perfect match comparable to how good caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream go together. Earthy & slightly animalic patchouli adds an interesting ‘noir’ twist to Nishane Ani, without being too dominant. Woody accords of creamy sandalwood and powerful, dry cedarwood add more refinement and sophistication to this perfume blend. Ambergris and musk give Ani its final form – that of amazingly soft, addictively intense yet unbelievably sensual and cosy amber. You’ll feel its warm embrace.

Nishane Ani, being an oriental fragrance, a resinous & vanillic amber at that, doesn’t break the ground of today’s perfumery. There are many vanilla ambers on the market. But what it does is that it masterfully combines the power and opulence of raw materials and tweaks them so that the perfume has nothing offensive but is full of gentleness. Powerful and gentle don’t come along so easily. Ani is a strong fragrance – with its extrait concentration a restrain in applying is recommended. Little goes a very long way. The fragrance was composed by Cecile Zarokian and is available in 50 ml bottles. I see Ani as a big cat, as a lioness – it can be dangerous but in the end it can also purr with content.

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Walking on Air, Jul et Mad Stairway to Heaven

I have a special connection with Jul et Mad since my early days as a perfumista. I remember receiving one sample in a swap and I liked it so much that I decided to send an message to a generic contact email of the brand. I got a reply from Madalina who was so sweet to send me travel sprays of their first 3 releases. When I first went to Esxence in 2014, they were one of the first brands I met. I also fell in love with Aqua Sextius then. But Jul et Mad haven’t released a new perfume since 2017. One wonders what Julien and Madalina could’ve been doing during this silent time in perfume universum. Recently they’ve been hiking in the Himalayas, on their way to conquer Annapurna they found happiness, inner peace and also inspiration for a new fragrance.

Stairway to Heaven opens with a peaceful and quiet manner. Aldehydes are the first to make way to my nose as the most volatile. They quickly start to fizz on the skin creating the impression of cleanliness. During the next couple of minutes the aldehydic fizziness becomes stronger surrounding the wearer with airy purity. Lurking far in the background is a slightly sweet scent – something like maltol, evoking candy floss. This delicate sugary facet blends in nicely with the aldehydes, giving this perfume a twist that nobody else could’ve expected from a fragrance that starts like this one.

Through its entire lifespan new Jul et Mad composition remains a clean scent however at different stages some different interpretations of clean are being revealed. After some time orange and bergamot join Stairway to Heaven at the top to mix things up. They create very specific feeling on my skin. I get no juice or fragrant peel at all. Instead I recognize a citric fruitiness that is exceptionally dry. It’s a muted note that to my nose feels powdery and starchy. Even thought there’s a bit of fatty undertones, I know it’s clean. But it’s dangerously close to a fabric detergent powder territory.

stairway-to-heaven

Close to 1 hour mark the perfume starts to shift and floral notes rise to the surface after the aldehydes dissipate, making more space. I can smell a nicely balanced orris accord that maintains a constant equilibrium between powdery purity & buttery richness. When I smell this particulat phase of Stairway to Heaven and think of the most suitable color to represent it, only white or light grey come to my mind. Rose note appears later and adds some color but nothing more vibrant than light pink. But this hue goes well with red berries accord that follows. They are somewhat frozen and they make me think of cranberry or blueberry – it’s not as full of flavor as blackberry or raspberry.

Delicate flowery facet of heliotrope blends with its own milkiness to create a fragrant cotton sheet – plain canvas to paint on with scent. Flossy maltol feeling comes back to me like a boomerang but now it’s more vanillic, sweet in a smoother, more sensual way. Jul et Mad Stairway to Heaven in the drydown is like a soundless explosion of clean fluffs of cotton, linen. Thanks to 8 white musks used in the composition you can feel as if you were surrounded by soft clouds. Cashmeran and Ambroxan make everything more cuddly and warm. Modern patchouli fraction provides long-lasting effect. A gentle hint of smokiness comes from frankincense and Dynamon molecule (gunpowder).

Stairway to Heaven from Jul et Mad is an unexpectedly good new release from this brand. I’m not a fan of white musks in general but to own surprise I like it more than expected. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that musks and aldehydes here become more sheer, translucent over time and they have a fruited and honeyed effect that I find appealing. Coincidentally I liked another musky overdose released this year – my impressions of Chanel 1957 were also enthusiastic. This neo-musk fragrance was composed by perfumer Cecile Zarokian who also did my favorite Aqua Sextius. Stairway to Heaven lasts all day and after initial pungence becomes a calm skin scent. This extrait de parfum is available in 50 ml bottles of 2 formats (luxury or basic) and in 7 ml travel spray.

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