It surprises from the off and isn’t what you expect. Vaara (which simultaneously means both ‘blessing’ & ‘breeze’), Penhaligons new fragrance release inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodhpur in Rajastan is a scent that juxtaposes its appearance with its intent. What you’d think would relay a highly spiced, over indulgent, heady slice of Indian incense & amassed florals may not be quite the polar opposite, but it’s certainly trying.
This juicy, squelchy squirt of quince, rosewater, saffron and coriander makes the wearer sit up and take notice. It’s not what one normally associates with the land of (archetypal Merchant Ivory) heat and dust and Raj palaces with jaw dropping sunsets. Penhaligons assure us that’s not so. Commissioned to capture the scent of Jodhpur, esteemed perfumer Betrand Duchaufour was sent to explore the feel of this Indian region and to reflect the aromatic world of the Maharaja.
Duchaufour picked up his valises and travelled to Jodhpur to explore the city markets, the historic forts, the family palaces and the lush exotic gardens, taking in the main feel and breathe of the city and its mass of life, sketching his travels as he went.* (*Duchaufour is a skilled artist by all accounts having seen the etchings). What we have is a fruity spicy floral that injects cool to an over hot climate.
Its bitter hit of quince and coriander jolts the senses and acts as an alternative to the usual lemon, bergamot tinged Summer scents. After the first spritz, bitter head notes die-down, and what you’re left with is a profusion of florals – Moroccan rose, Bulgarian rose oil, freesia, magnolia, peony and iris. It’s the latter’s dryness that feels soft and stamen like against the skin. Almost like whispery dry petals brushing the skin and leaving a faint scent. Then comes the warmth as an opposite to its opening fanfare. White musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, tonka bean and honey are all used to give Vaara deep roots. Its the latter that the grower in terms of appeal. What begins as a shout for attention becomes a much more grounded and stable personality with piquant appeal. Possibly the hope for the little Princess it’s named after.
Vaara launches in Penhaligons boutiques on 8th July 2013 priced £85 (50ml) and £120 (100ml) EDP. Vaara will also be available in India at the Umaid Bhawan Palace Collection Shop.