Perfumers bring their entire bring to creating fragrance. Their childhood. Their heritage. Their appreciation of the arts. The list is long. For my favorite independent perfumers they sometimes wear it right on their atomizer. Dana El Masri shows her Arabic heritage in Jazmin Sarai Fayoum.
One of the most interesting pieces of the perfumes Ms. El Masri makes is she was trained at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. Which tends to create a classic European fragrance sensibility taken to a new place. All her previous releases have been inspired by music. Fayoum is the first to break that trend.
Fayoum is based on the oasis of the same name west of Cairo. Unlike most oases which have their water fed by underground springs Fayoum is fed by the Nile. Along with the water comes the silt and mud which has supplied the renowned pottery business. Ms. El Masri captures the intersection of green in the desert and the creation of pots.
Violet is one of my favorite perfume ingredients, but most perfumers like to enhance the sweeter floral quality. There is another face which is astringent. That is what Ms. El Masri uses to begin Fayoum. She provides just a bit of relief through mimosa and jasmine. They seem to be there to keep it from being so cutting to be off-putting. What comes next is a wet clay accord that anyone who has ever tried to throw a pot will recognize. It is a humid density of packed earth. It sits on the wheel ready to be formed. Our potter is taking a break while contemplating the shape as twin fruits of the oasis, fig and date, appear. These are the lush versions of these fruits. They provide a compelling contrast to the clay accord. There is a stronger vegetal green which appears over the later stages while the clay accord dries out a bit.
Fayoum has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The clay accord at the center of this is worth the price of admission by itself. It finds a scent space somewhere between geosmin and iso e super’s dusty earth. I have enjoyed it every time I put it on skin. It is easy to feel like I am looking over the shoulder of a potter at the oasis.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Jazmin Sarai.