One of the great success stories in independent perfume has been that of Neela Vermeire Creations. The success is borne from its namesake Neela Vermeire. As an Indian living in Paris the hallmark of her brand has been the fusion of a French and Indian aesthetic. Mme Vermeire has chosen to work exclusively with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. The original three releases, Trayee, Mohur, and Bombay Bling laid down this marker in 2012. Over the ensuing years it has become more assured in its execution. The latest release, Niral, is another outstanding perfume from this creative team.
Mme Vermeire looks for her inspiration this time to Sir Thomas Waddle. Sir Waddle was the first to figure out how to dye the silk harvested from the silkworms of India; known as Tussar silk. This silk was prized for its texture, but it was resistant to the typical dying procedures in the 1870’s. Sir Wardle would attend the Paris Exhibition, in 1878, with a full-spectrum of dyed Tussar silk. It was such a breakthrough Sir Wardle was not only knighted he was also appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France. Mme Vermeire evokes this colored textured fabric as a perfume in Niral.
M. Duchaufour uses a fantastic opening accord of spicy green angelica paired with a champagne accord. The champagne accord has a slight fizz of aldehydes which effervesce through the slightly musky green of the angelica. This captures that textural golden sheen endemic to Tussar silk. The raw material becomes dyed with iris and black tea. Every bit as compelling as the opening accord; the shimmery powdery iris crossed with the pungent tea is another textural pairing. M. Duchaufour uses one of his subtler leather accords to provide a transparent animalic effect underneath the heart notes. This all comes to rest on a woody base of cedar and sandalwood.
Niral has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is the most assured perfume for this brand to date. There is not a piece out of place. It flows like a bolt of fine silk over the skin. I have worn it three times and each time I find more nuance to admire. It is my favorite new perfume of 2018, so far. It is the culmination of everything Mme Vermeire and M. Duchaufour have been doing for the last six years.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.
During the 17th century the explorers were the seafaring adventurers unafraid to sail over the horizon to see what was there. I get a thrill stepping off a plane to visit a new country; imagine what that would be like after being at sea for weeks? Without a travel guide to help you translate. The concept of that kind of exploration has always been a source of wonder for me. What generally happened when they returned was the stories of their travels were told. Of course, these tales were told through the lens of their culture which meant the first glimpse of Asia and the East came through this process. The new perfume from Neela Vermeire Creations called Rahele got me thinking about that.
Neela Vermeire has imposed an Indian vision on European-style perfumery through her first six fragrances. It was as if France was being interpreted by Indian eyes. Rahele reverses that process. It is clearly intentional because Rahele was inspired by the voyages of three French explorers; Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Francois Bernier, and Jean Thevenot during the 17th century. They came back and translated what they saw through their French prism. Mme Vermeire working once again with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has also done this with Rahele. The keynote for Rahele is a fabulously fulgent osmanthus. It becomes the heart of this story of travel to exotic places.
The opening of Rahele is the story of spices which were brought back as proof of the voyage. M. Duchaufour uses cardamom and cinnamon as if he was offering it as verification. Handing it out among the listeners. He then uses violet leaves to begin the transition into the fantastical part of the narrative. That is where the osmanthus comes out. Boy, does it arrive. This is where India comes alive. It is wrapped up in rose, magnolia, orris, and violet. This is where the audience leans in to experience more. This heart accord is where Rahele soars. Then a leather accord appears before the patchouli, sandalwodd, and oakmoss triptych of chypre provides the French vision. The floral accord becomes enmeshed, translated, by this accord. It becomes ascendant as the French overtakes the Indian.
Rahele has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Rahele was eye opening for me because it feels like a logical evolution for Mme Vermeire’s brand. It succeeds in feeling like a first-rate tale told well.
Disclosure: this review was based on a smaple provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.
The collaboration between Neela Vermeire, of Neela Vermeire Creations, and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has been a pretty spectacular success. Over the course of five fragrances they have explored much of Mme Vermeire’s Indian heritage. There is a lot to like about the collection but four of the first five releases definitely are on the deeper, more intense side of the perfumed spectrum. My personal favorite of the line is the one which plays against this, Bombay Bling. When I first wrote about it I described it as a Bollywood production number in a bottle. Bombay Bling wears its infectious spirit on its sleeve. I’ve been wondering when Mme Vermeire and M. Duchaufour might feel like getting a bit more playful again. The sixth release, Pichola, is that return to joy.
The name comes from the lake at the heart of city of Udaipur. There is a lot of talk, in the press release, about reflections on the lake and regal flowers. Reading that I expected to get another deep white floral like most of the rest of the collection. While the imagery is functional it does not describe the way Pichola wears on my skin. There is a moment in the very earliest going where Pichola does seem like it is going to be serious perfume. Just like every Bollywood production you’ve ever seen all of a sudden huge handful of flowers explode through the hard shell and the dance number is on. The transition from tight green opening into explosive transparent white flowers raining down is beautiful.
M. Duchaufour creates a hard green barrier consisting of cardamom, juniper, saffron, cinnamon, and, clementine. The early moments are wound as tight as an accountant’s nerves during tax season. This lasts a very short time before a troupe of white flowers come dancing through the stiff upper lip of Pichols forcing it to break into a smile. The winsome star of our show is a fabulous fresh tuberose absolute. Most hear tuberose and expect intensity. Of late there have been a lot of wan pretty tuberoses scrubbed clean and made insipid for the effort. The tuberose M. Duchaufour employs here has an incredible expansive quality without becoming overwhelming. You are never unaware of its presence but the other florals like orange blossom, ylang-ylang, and jasmine have plenty of space to dance happily alongside. It is in this phase of floral fandango where Pichola settles for hours. When it finally starts to move on it is time to rest from our exertions on a sweet woody bed of benzoin and sandalwood.
Pichola has 8-10 hour longevity and below average sillage.
I am so happy to see Mme Vermeire return to a lighter style of construction. There is so much positive emotion on display it is infectious. I was uplifted each day I wore Pichola. Yes I want to smell good but some days I want to also have a barely suppressed laugh to go along with that, Pichola does that for me.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.
One of the things that can be very difficult for a writer on perfume is when you get a sample and you are told to wait until it is released before writing about it. Last March, at Esxence in Milan, Neela Vermeire of Neela Vermeire Creations, spritzed a little of her more concentrated version of Mohur, simply called Mohur Extrait on the back of my hand. I was a big fan of the “rose in a fisted glove” intensity of the original Mohur Eau de Parfum where perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour took us through a spicy opening before rose and leather combined for that incongruous connection. As it goes with the best of extrait level versions M. Duchaufour doesn’t just up the volume with higher concentration he also varies the tune so Mohur Extrait is a much more intimate experience.
In the original EDP formulation the numerous ingredients all seemed very distinct and played their role to create a fantastic whole. In Mohur Extrait that is not the case. Now the carrot note is more prominent but as a modifier for the three rose sources used. In the EDP the spices breeze across the top leading to the rose. In the Extrait the rose is out in front with the carrot and it is very steadily changing on the periphery. The violet and the orris eventually take over turning things slightly powdery.
One of my favorite parts of the EDP was this almond milk accord M. Duchaufour uses which is sort of creamy and nutty at once. As in the EDP it is the bellwether to the arrival of the leather accord. One of the things about M. Duchaufour that has been fantastic to watch over the years has been his evolution of an accord. This leather accord he has been using recently is one of those where he has achieved a near perfect balance by itself and now depending on what it is paired with it feels like something new. If any single accord can be said to be a Bertrand Duchaufour signature this leather accord would have to be in the discussion. For Mohur Extrait it is very prominent and together the “rose in a fisted glove” is more nuanced while having greater depth. This is what I want in an extrait version and Mohur Extrait gives me all I could ask for.
The final phase of Mohur Extrait is where you find some of the spices that were up front in the EDP paired with some amber and other resins along with a tiny pinch of oud. The backloading of the spices works very well in this extrait version because the Turkish rose used has a prominent spicy character which is more pronounced later in this extrait version. All together it adds an extraordinary amount of warmth to the final stages of Mohur Extrait.
Mohur Extrait has overnight longevity and very little sillage. It is very much a skin scent and only you and those you allow to get close are going to notice it.
Mohur Extrait is a limited edition of 450 bottles that are sadly only available to those in the EU. If you want a bottle you need to contact Neela Vermeire through her e-mail found at her website and request a bottle. The price is 340Euros for 50mL.
Mohur Extrait is another example of the pleasures a higher concentration can reveal about a fragrance you thought you knew well. I wore Mohur EDP a lot and while it is still a wonderful fragrance I am all about “loving the one you’re with” and when I want Mohur these days it is always the Mohur Extrait I reach for. It is a fantastic perfume and easily my favorite of all of the Neela Vermeire Creations to date.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample of Mohur Extrait provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.
Editor’s Note: Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka is a finalist in the 1st “The Art and Olfaction Awards” in the Independent Category.