Eau De Nyonya by Auphorie 2016: So Singapore lah!

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Kate Apted

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Dearst APJ people, I send you my fairest greetings.

I am about to go to Singapore with my youngest son. I lived there in 2003 and have wonderful memories of the place, its people and THE FOOD! Now and then, I visit Malay hawker style food outlets to get a bit of a fix of nasi lemak. The key to the rice is coconut milk and pandan leaves. Oh, pandan…  I even go so far as to buy the leaves and just scrunch them in my hand to release the scent. It has a milky green feel to it, with a definite high note that is inexplicable. The other things I simply adore about Singapore are Singlish and Gurmit Singh, the actor who has immortalised Singaporean comedy with Phua Chu Kang; a sit com about a construction business owner who pokes fun at the nouveau riche.

Eau De Nyonya by Auphorie 2016

Trawling Fragrantica last year for Asian specific scents, I found Auphorie and their Eau de Nyonya (EdN). I contacted the Au brothers to see if they still had it in stock, which they didn’t. Earlier this year, I received a very welcome message telling me they had a limited number of bottles for sale again. Naturally, I blind bought EdN on the spot and received it just days later.

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Hand on my heart, EdN totally exceeded whatever expectations I had about it. I knew nothing of Luca Turin’s praise for a few of Auphorie’s scents, so I had no preconceived notions to guide me. My only concrete hope was that it wasn’t going to be a pandan kaya on toast kind of smell. I am not overly fond of gourmand smells; food smells belong solely with food. The brothers Au have done a brilliant job taking strong gourmand notes and made a wearable perfume that is a work of art.

On the Auphorie website, the notes are listed as: tapai pulut (fermented glutinous rice dessert), pandan leaf, violet, orris butter, jasmine sambac, cinnamon, chocolate, sandalwood, coconut milk, gula melaka (coconut sugar) benzoin, suede, smoke, ambergris and musk. Have I made you dizzy yet?! Together, the notes make for a heady, rich mix of all that Malays love about sweet food, YET EdN isn’t a sugar overdose to cause diabetes. It isn’t sweet at all. There is a dry, soft, almost salty element simultaneously. I think the jasmine, suede, ambergris and musk bring the composition to what we know as fine perfumery, rather than leaving EdN as a roadside sweet treat.

I work alongside a Filipino and two Malay men. The grew up in their respective countries until adulthood, so are incredibly familiar with pandan, tapai pulut, sandalwood, coconut milk and gula melaka. I asked them to smell EdN and they all had faraway looks on their faces as they breathed in deeply. They all went in for a second smell and said it reminded them of life back in the village, when life was simpler. They all found it hard to believe a perfume could be made with food notes, yet it is recognisably perfume.

As EdN is a thick extrait, I really only need one spray to my torso. I move around a lot, so my torso heats up the scent and I get suggestive wafts for hours. I did over spray the first time and realised I could not smell it! The other thing to keep in mind is that I may never get another bottle, so this baby must be nursed for a long time. There is absolutely nothing else I have smelled fragrance wise that resembles EdN. I am fortunate to have found Singapore in a bottle. EdN is old school kampung life and it brings to mind Changi as it might have been in the 1950s, long before the fast paced developments it has undergone since. May Singapore never lose what makes it charming under its veneer of wealth, modernity and desire to be taken seriously.

Have you been to Singapore? If so, what did you love about it? Have you a perfume that reminds you of the food of a place you love?

Until next time,

Kate XX

 

 

19 thoughts on “Eau De Nyonya by Auphorie 2016: So Singapore lah!

  1. Oh yes, Singapore holds a place in my heart…my father was posted there for a few years when I left school. I will always remember the tropical incense/floral smell when you get off the plane. We used to go to the Night Markets to eat, and then Bugis St to party!
    But the food is the best in the world, I had to learn to cook it! I am trying to imagine your beautiful perfume…yeh, Singapore lah!

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    • Jackie b, I would love an invite to a feast, please! Bahahaha! How marvellous you cook this stuff! What are your favourite dishes?

      My son is half Balinese and he is very picky with his food. His last trip overseas was to Bali to see family etc. He HATED the local food. I am a tad nervous at how he’ll find the food this time. There is always Kenny Rogers Roasters…!

      Oh, that smell of getting off the plane! Yes, can’t wait!

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  2. Hi Kate. Never been to Singapore.
    I get regular emails from Auphorie – but have not yet tried anything. I know Luca raves but careth not one iota. You nearly have me reaching for my credit card. Sounds 100% worth a deep sniff. Have a great trip. Xxxxx

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  3. I absolutely love Auphorie fragrances and am a big fan of the Auphorie brother’s work. My favorites are Binturong and Mayura, and I purchased back-up bottles. I also love Red Crown which sadly has been vaulted, L’Anima Della Rosa, and Lanterne Rouge. All of their fragrances are very unique and well-done. I just re-sampled Eau De Nyonya after reading your review. I’ve never visited Singapore, and your review made the fragrance more meaningful with this sampling. The dry down is stunning and I thank you for helping me understand this fragrance.

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    • Hey Kathleen, you are right! The dry down is exquisite. The starchiness of the rice comes out to play more.

      I am extremely keen to try more of the Auphorie range. I did get a sample of Lanterne Rouge and really liked it. Smart mve getting back up bottles!

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  4. Hi Kate, loved reading about this. I loved Singapore but not for the food. I simply could not get enough of the tropical gardens everywhere. The smell after a tripical rain is also formly implanted in my brain. Next time I visit I will be sure to try some of the food. Your perfume sounds intriguing.
    Sandra xo

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  5. Hello Sandra. I guess it depends upon what sort of food you like. Singapore has so many culinary, cultural and religious influences that it has a little of many styles available. Geylang tends to have more Malay style foods, so any hawker centre would have to have pandan infused foods.

    The gardens and storms are legendary!

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  6. I’ve not smelled any Auphorie perfumes, but I have been to Singapore. It was the shortest visit–just a couple of days for a work thing–but I’d love to go back. I love that sense of dropping into a new place and just _breathing_ the differences in the air. That said, the overwhelming smell when I visited was of smoke. It was during the huge fires in Indonesia, and the air was pretty thick with smoke, almost like fog one morning. Other than a set of endless boring work meetings in a windowless room–ugh!–I did get to do a little bit of exploring with my colleagues, and, even better, escape for a wee outing to train with the local para-powerlifting team well away from downtown. Huge fun!

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