PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF INDIA BY CREATOR NEELA VERMEIRE AND PERFUMER BERTRAND DUCHAUFOUR…
I had the pleasure of meeting Neela Vermeire at an event hosted by The Perfume Society and the lovely Lawrence and his team at Roullier White a few weeks ago.
Since their launch, I have tried all the perfumes and was amazed by her inspiration and Bertrand’s embodiment of it but I really wanted to meet her in person and of course I was not disappointed at all. Neela is the warmest person, curious and inquisitive, warm and attentive, asking questions one after the other, sharing stories and within minutes you feel like you’ve known her for ages. We were a lovely multicultural crowd and the conversation went from our home countries, to India with all the colours and smells, life in Paris, London and other cities, family and so many other things that now slip my mind. By the time the presentation begun we all felt part of the story.
While sipping Bombay Bling inspired gin slings with actual golden leaves and snacking on delicious hand cooked vegetarian Indian delicacies and sweets we heard Suzy Nightingale from The Perfume Society interview Neela about her collaboration with Bertrand Duchaufour, who has an unlimited budget while creating each perfume, the inspiration and evolution of her brand and the future perfumes which we all hope are coming soon!
I’d like to give a brief overview of the perfumes and especially my favourite, Bombay Bling:
The first three that were released in 2012 and were:
TRAYEE, representing the Vedic Era and the tradition that suggests that wisdom is eternal.
With notes of blue ginger from Madagascar, elemi oil, cinnamon bark, ganja effects, blackcurrant absolute, basil, sambac jasmine absolute, egyptian jasmine absolute, cardamom absolute, clove, saffron, sandalwood, javanese vetiver, haitian vetiver, incense, mysore sandalwood oil, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, cedar, amber notes, oudh palao from laos and oak moss it is a truly complex perfume releasing its notes on my skin like a symphony, perfectly balanced and rich in spices.
MOHUR, representing the Moghul and British-Raj era and inspired by Mehrunissa, the most powerful Empress of the Mughal dynasty.
With notes of cardamom absolute, coriander seed oil, ambrette seed, carrot, black pepper, elemi oil, turkish rose oil, morrocan rose absolute, rose accords 11 percent, jasmine accord, orris, aubepin flower, almond milk notes, violet flower and orris effects, leather, sandalwood, ambre, white woods, patchouli, oudh palao oil from laos, benjoin siam, vanilla and tonka bean it is a rose based perfume so wonderfully balanced with the spices, powdery iris and excellent quality oud that has redefined the way I see rose perfumes and created new standards for me.
BOMBAY BLING, representing contemporary India
With notes of mango, lychee, blackcurrant, cardamom, cumin, cistus, rose accord, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac absolute, Madagascar ylang-ylang, white floral accord of tuberose, frangipani, gardenia, patchouli, tobacco, white woods, sandalwood, cedar and vanilla it is an absolute joy to wear. It is a truly joyful creation that embodies every aspect of the very modern, colourful, eclectic, esoteric, ecstatic, liberal, happy side of buzzing India
In 2013 ASHOKA representing BUDHISM was introduced, named after a legendary ruler, a tribute to an emperor who was conquered by his own compassion at the moment his victory was assured.
The notes are: 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. His evolution from ruthless conqueror to benevolent emperor is reflected in Ashoka’s journey from the fierce opening to a softly floral heart and the gentle embrace of its richly complex drydown.
PICHOLA was introduced in 2015 representing the majestic reflections of Lake Pichola, the crown jewel and central focus of the princely city of Udaipur.
The notes include cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, juniper, magnolia, neroli oil, clementine, bergamot orange blossom absolute, rose absolute, tuberose absolute, jasmine sambac, ylang-ylang, benzoin absolute, sandalwood, driftwood and vetiver from Haiti are all blended together to give layers and perspective to the abundance of the flowers used, hypnotising and blended with precious woods and spices reflecting the beauty of nature on the calm waters of the lake.
I am looking forward to the next releases, hopefully soon, so I can travel to India’s history and landscapes through perfume!