Post by Val the Cookie Queen
Namaste Fragrant Friends!
It is hard not to be influenced by what you read, especially regarding a keenly anticipated new perfume, as Ashoka surely was. The fourth fragrance from Neela Vermeire Créations. I was so impatient to try it that I dropped Neela Vermeire herself a message, asking if I could beg, steal or have a sample. I was thrilled to receive a positive answer and in no time at all Neela had packed me up a small fragrant package and sent it on it´s way. It is clear to see that Neela herself is a perfumista, because she enclosed not only a spray sample, but a dab sample too! That really thrilled me. It offers me a much more intense impression of perfume. Top notes are so beautiful, and often fleeting and they linger on a little longer when dabbed.
Ashoka by Bertrand Duchaufour for Neela Vermeire Creations 2013
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Surrender To Chance gives these featured accords in one line:
Lotus, rose, water hyacinth, fig leaf, parsley leaf, Osmanthus absolute, cassie absolute, iris, incense essence, Jasmine sambac, fig milk, geranium, ylang-ylang, Fir balsam absolute, myrrh, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla accord, ambre gris, birch, Haitian vetiver, leather, styrax, heliotrope
Readers, as Jane Eyre would say, it was not love at first sniff. Exactly my point. The general impression that I had picked up was that it was, hmmmm, simpler, more approachable, soft, user-friendly …… Absolutely not. In fact, the exact opposite. It is so deep, and multi-faceted, that I have not been able to put pen to paper until nearly three weeks after starting to wear it. I have drained both samples. Love at first sniff, is of course, absolutely exciting and creates an instant lemming. This is a little like listening to music for me. If I love a song on the first hearing I find that I tire of it quite quickly. Instant perfume love does´t always last. I am generalizing of course, but it is often the case. What follows are the feelings I have after wearing the perfume until empty!
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Ashoka opens with an incredibly beautiful and bright burst of fig which is heavenly. It does´t take on a milkiness until about ten minutes in, if not more. There are so many other things going on, that I don´t have the words to describe them. Nor doI wish too. I don´t really care to dissect perfume. Firstly, I cannot do this, and secondly it takes away from the seductive pleasure, which is why I wear perfume. Suffice it to say though, I can detect a an enduring rose, especially with dabbing it. A soft leather accord slowly creeps in, mingling with it all. Now I am only just learning to detect leather notes, and had I not seen this listed, I don´t know if I would have noticed it for what it was. It is voluptuous and sumptuous, and makes the complete perfume an absolute delight. Indeed a fulfillment, which is what I believe Emperor Ashoka discovered on his road to conversion journey into Buddhism. How magnificently Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour managed to convey this emotion.
My parents split up in 1970 and my siblings, mother and I went to live with my grandmother for a few months. (London) My grandmother was an incredibly amazing, open-minded woman, who spent most of her life as a single-parent, divorcing back in the early fifties. She had a lodger living in her home at the same time as we were there. This lady was married to an Indian gentleman. He was a businessman and spent a lot of time away, visiting every few weeks or so. We never went into their room, located on the upper floor of my grandmother´s home. It was a great mystery to us kids! We would occasionally pass them going up or down on the stairs. Mr Ray, for so was his name, always smelled wonderful. Naturally I have no idea of what he used to smell that way. Whatever it was, some of it is in Ashoka. I can see myself as a ten year old small girl, captured by this elegant gentleman´s bouquet. He used to bring me sandalwood figures. How I wish I had kept them. Ashoka awoke a slumbering memory. I can only say thank you, and the three week journey was a trip!!
I have slowly grown to love it.
Thank you Neela Vermeire Créations for the opportunity, and the magic it created.
H. G. Wells wrote of Ashoka in his book The Outline of History, “Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and sereneties and royal highnesses and the like, the name of ASHOKA shines, and shines, almost alone, a star.”
A perfectly named perfume.