may15 sahara

Let me preface this by saying that I don't belong to the orientals clientele, I am very very blonde at heart and stereotypes aside, I am the stereotype: I'll always favor a drop of fig milk over a cloud of smoke. I never understood Donna Karan Chaos; I can do Shalimar and that's as far as I stretch.

But this one is different.

The affair started in Selfridges I believe when I came accross the gleaming mirror gold bottle that winked at me, coupled with the slogan "exclusive" - apparently it was available nowhere else at the time. Ah, the allure! Nothing is more magnetic to me than that which is scarce and unpractical. I managed a sample and then waited, consumed it, and went back for it at Duty Free two weeks ago. (I'm very proud of myself for this display of self-control)

So anyway, the introductions now over, let's get down to business: Sahara Noir, whatever that name aspires to conjure, is all about frankincense. To me, it evokes magic because you use frankincense in rituals and meditation, and I burn incense at home all the time (usually more of the nag champa variety, though I am partial to that John Galliano candle that's all "church").

My mom the other day made a very curious observation: She said I smelled like wax, like the old wax her grandma used. To anyone else that might have been a dealbreaker, but for me that's such a compliment, I love wax, I am always on the hunt for the scent of wax. I guess that contributes to evoke a temple..the incense, the wax...I find it quite soothing

Description from Fragantica:

"Sahara Noir is an oriental-woody scent based on incense. Bitter orange, Levantine cypress (known as one of the plants growing in the gardens of the 1001 Arabian Nights) and cistus essence Orpur® (Orpur® are high-quality natural ingredients of extraordinary purity, developed by Givaudan) open the composition. The heart blends frankincence essence Orpur, cinnamon, cool papyrus extract, rose absolute from Morocco and Egyptian jasmin with honeyed and animalic shades of beeswax from Burma.The base centers around warm amber notes - made of labdanum absolute and ambreinol (an intense natural labdanum fraction), cedar, frankincense resin, benzoin, vanilla, oud and balsams."

The base of vanilla, balsams and the jasmin/rose heart makes this otherwise hazy fume a little more carnal, more in tune to something I feel sexy wearing, it's very beautiful. And even though it is strong, just like anything Tom Ford is bound to be, it is not overpowering like Black Orchid, because incense is pleasant no matter how strong you make it, it's not jarring.

It's a good one for when I'm feeling a little rebellious, a little special, because it's not your typical spicy amber/candy floss floral. It's just not that sweet. I probably wouldn't choose to wear this when I'm wanting to lure a man over to my cave, but then I prefer simpler, gentler things for that. I totally wear it to bed.

My main gripe with this juice is that it's very recognizable, and if everybody starts wearing it it's gonna be a real bore. The other day the cosmetics area of Selfridges smelled of worship, and it was immediately obvious why. It stands out because it's not a scent we're used to smelling in mass-market perfumes, or anywhere outside a cathedral, really. But at the same time, this might be a good thing. After all, I thought White Patchouli was genius and in a similar vein, and it could have been over-exposed but you really don't smell it around that much.

Sahara Noir is available from Nordstrom in the US, Space NK in the UK amongst others.