There are certain perfume effects I enjoy in smaller quantities. These are the ones which generally have fans of restraint and ones who love as much as they can get. I am on the side of restraint when it comes to powdery ingredients. I think they can have a dramatic influence when used in judicious and balanced quantities. When they are overdosed it is like being lost in a giant powder puff. Nishane Nanshe takes the path of restraint.
Mert Guzel (l.) and Murat Katran
What powdery ingredients can do is provide a stark contrast to more flamboyant ones. It can soften some of that extravagant nature. Creative directors Mert Guzel and Murat Katran collaborate again with perfumer Cecile Zarokian on Nanshe. Their last perfume together was 2019’s remarkable Ani. This heads in an entirely different direction. The name comes from the Sumerian goddess of fertility among other things. The symbol of that was rose. The creative team uses the rose as the core of a powdery accord which is wrapped in earthiness.
On top the grounding comes through carrot seed. Mme Zarokian allows the sweet, rooted quality to be contrasted with yuzu and cardamom. The tart citrus finds a potent contrast in the carrot seed. The heart is where the powder accord is constructed. Using rose absolute and orris the potential for a powderstorm is here. Instead Mme Zarokian dials back on the natural ingredients and titrates in small amounts of synthetic powdery notes. When you use the naturals exclusively you kind of get what you get. When you do what she has done here you create a powdery foundation with rose and orris which is given a shimmering expansiveness through the synthetics. What makes Nanshe so enjoyable is what fills in that space. A very earthy patchouli and an austere sandalwood. The patchouli is as present as the central powder accord. It fills in underneath as it expands to keep it firmly planted in the sandalwood foundation.
Nanshe has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.
The balance in Nanshe is ideal. Each accord makes space for the other. In the end you have the earth covered in a gentle fall of powder.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.
There are brands which confound me. They can play it safe so much of the time and then truly amaze me when I am not expecting it. I ask myself why they can’t work this way all the time. One brand which continues to do this to me is Istanbul-based Nishane. When they find a unique perspective, they have a way of turning it into magic. It happened again with Nishane Ani.
Mert Guzel (l.) and Murat Katran
Nishane is the brand co-founded and creatively directed by Mert Guzel and Murat Katran. They have been around since 2015 and have made some of my favorite perfumes in Afrika Olifant and Pachuli Kozha. For the last few years I have been disappointed in what seemed to be the choice to take a safer route. Every brand must make the business decisions which are correct for them to survive. I was disappointed because I know there was the ability for more. Ani is what I mean when I say that.
The name comes from a medieval city currently in Turkey. In its time it was a place known as the “City of 1001 Churches” as well as sitting at the crossroads of many trade routes. It was a multi-cultural metropolis. It holds a pride of place for Armenian and Turkish people. This is of interest because Messrs. Guzel and Katran asked perfumer Cecile Zarokian, who has Armenian heritage, to create a perfume version.
This is the first perfume Mme Zarokian has composed for Nishane. It is focused around vanilla. It is also another of Mme Zarokian’s recent perfumes which continues to explore the boundaries of the gourmand genre. She is putting together a group of releases which show how much room there is to expand within this style of fragrance.
Ani opens with that vanilla out front. What takes place in the early going is a reminder that vanilla comes from an orchid. The top accord is like finding that flower in the jungle as she fashions a humid green accord. She uses a set of green notes to create a green strand within the vanilla. Baie rose is used to give it an herbal infusion. The keynote to this accord is a fabulous ginger which creates a kinetic vibrant version of vanilla. The ginger persists into the heart as the vanilla rises in intensity. Mme Zarokian uses a green cardamom to re-establish the green. Damascene rose and blackcurrant add a floral fruity frisson underneath it all. As the vanilla comes to its full intensity it finds an equally intense sandalwood waiting in the base. They swirl together in a sweet duet which is warmed by benzoin and patchouli.
Ani has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
A warning I am writing about Ani in the summertime. This is not a warm weather fragrance. It is a powerhouse which is going to be awesome when the weather cools off.
Ani is the best perfume Nishane has ever produced. It is also one of my favorite new perfumes of this year. It is a triumph on every level. You can feel that the creative team wanted to find something as regal as Ani, the city, was in its day. Ani, the perfume, rekindles that glory.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
I have never been a smoker although I love the smell of tobacco. I think pipe tobacco in all of its various scented forms is one of the simple pleasures. My father smoked a pipe and I would tag along when he would go shopping for tobacco. It was one of the first places in my young life I attached with a specific smell. I think this is a common experience explaining why tobacco perfumes are as popular as they are. I am always interested in a new tobacco fragrance. When I visited the Nishane Istanbul stand at Esxcence 2016 their latest release Fan your Flames is a new take on tobacco.
Mert Guzel and Murat Katran
The name comes from a saying by Rumi the thirteenth century Persian poet. The saying reads, “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” It is a statement particularly apt when applied to founders and creative directors Mert Guzel and Murat Katran. For all of their perfumes they have chosen perfumer Jorge Lee to fan the flames of their vision and bring it to life. This vision was of a Turkish hookah café. It is a simply constructed fragrance that lets the tobacco do the heavy lifting throughout.
M. Lee opens this visit with an almost outlandish mix of coconut and rum. Every time I wear Fan your Flames my very first impression is pina colada. Which is sort of appropriate because to cater to the young clientele the tobacco has become more flavored in recent times. I’m not sure if there is a pina colada flavored tobacco but I wouldn’t be shocked to discover there is. That is what Fan your Flames becomes as that tropical boozy accord matches up with tobacco within minutes. It does have that fun quality for about an hour until the tobacco becomes more prominent and the fanciful flavor dissipates. It is almost as if the kids have left and the older men who don’t need anything added to their tobacco have arrived. To really confirm the turn M. Lee uses oakmoss and cedarwood to form a bitingly woody accord in the base. Almost as if the discussion has turned into a debate.
Fan your Flames has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
From the moment I smelled this on a strip I knew this was my kind of tobacco fragrance. The early frivolity replaced by the earnest nearly tobacco soliflore in the end was very appealing to me. It really is an entire evening sitting in Istanbul breathing deep as the night moves through its paces.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nishane Istanbul at Esxence 2016.