I’ve spent a lot of time in the American southwest hiking in the desert. It remains one of my favorite places to have experienced. Over the years my impression of the desert as a place lacking life was changed to one of the most dynamic places I have spent time. When you come to the desert with that mindset it rewards you with some of the subtlest pleasures of nature if you look for them. The Different Company Al Sahra is inspired by the most famous desert.
Al Sahra is the local name for the Sahara Desert. I’ve never visited, and it might be fallacious to extrapolate that all deserts smell alike. When I tried Al Sahra it was the desert which greeted me. Perfumer Emilie Coppermann forms a perfume of shifting finely-drawn accords.
Creative director Luc Gabriel turned to Mme Coppermann for the ninth time. They have formed one of those creative director-perfumer collaborations which has created some memorable perfumes. Al Sahra is among the best of their concoctions. They wanted to make a perfume style they dubbed “mineral Oriental”. While I was waiting for my sample to arrive, the perfume that phrase promised in the press release piqued my interest. It is because perfumers have been given a set of new materials with which to form these mineralic scents. Mme Coppermann is one of the more innovative which further heightened my expectations. What is in the bottle is a creation which moves as the sands do on the desert. Allowing the wind to bring you the scent of things in the distance. Making you find the life that is on the sea of sand.
Mme Coppermann opens with an accord of sun heated sand. She uses some of those mineral ingredients as well as violet and salt. It is the salt which takes the mineralic accord from dried earth to flowing sand. The ingredients used for mineralic effects tend to be concentrated like hard-packed earth. This top accord has the flow of sand carrying a languorous kinetic aspect. Then a transparent lily rises gaining strength as you notice it growing. A fantastic sizzle of cinnamon reminds you the sun is still high in the sky. It all cools down as night falls. The woods bleached by the sun are represented by sandalwood. Incense and labdanum give a resinous tint to the evening. Patchouli assists the transformation from mineralic to earthy. As you lift your eyes to the sky the evening zephyr blows across it all.
Al Sahra has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Al Sahra fits with the series of colognes Mme Coppermann produced in her first The Different Company releases. This isn’t as heavy as Oriental might make you believe. It should be a great choice in the summer months. Al Sahra found the beauty of the desert within its shifting sands.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by The Different Company.