If you´d like to read some interesting information about the brand, Carmencanada at Grain de Musc has forgotten more than I´ll ever know, so here´s a link to her Myrurgia blog post and another to her great post about Carmen Tortola
So. There I was in our local Perfume Discount Mart, sniffing around with the proprietress, who has the patience of Job, as far as I´m concerned. I saw the bottle of Maja and sprayed it on absentmindedly while sniffing two or six other things.
Every now and again a cheap, fun fragrance dances into my life when I least expect it. Maja does smell like the kind of fragrance that should exist as soap (which is the only way I´d thought of it). It smells like good carnation and jasmine soap, not “soap” as in Clean Laundry. It smells lightly spicy and gently floral. There is a touch of green and citrus, and nothing “fresh,” thanks very much. It is a skin scent with surprising longevity. It´s the sort of thing I´d use in warmer weather instead of cologne.
I bought an older bottle of the original Maja EdT on eBay for comparison. I can see what people are complaining about – it´s a different scent. It still smells like soap, but it´s darker and spicier and almost masculine. The older version smells sour, in a nice way; it is muskier and smells of incense. The vintage version really wins in the drydown — the guest-room carnation and spices gives way to a honey-soaked richness that the new stuff just can’t match. The newer version has been gourmandized a bit, with a creamier, warmer base. Smelled side by side the contrast is fairly striking.
The older Maja EdT is stronger, although it´s not a fragrance powerhouse. Neither of them is the stuff of genius, but both of them are welcome, simple fragrances when I want my sillage to be minimal and uncomplicated. The original is the obvious classic, and the drydown is delicious, but I have to say, I rather like the new one too. They smell nice layered. I cheerfully shelled out $14 (!) for a 1.7 ounce bottle of the new stuff and the vintage can be found pretty regularly on eBay. And now I need to try the actual soap.
PS. You can friend Patty and me on Facebook. There’s a Perfume Posse group you can search for, and we (and some other people you will recognize) are attached to it. I’m a newbie on Facebook, I joined recently along with a bunch of my friends from college. Come find us, we’d love to meet you!
Maja perfume poster: allposters.com