Tigerflag Attars

Are you feeling the heat?  Today it was 102F (39C) 105 at BWI! (I just looked at the paper)  in D.C.  I went for a walk after the sun went down.  At 9 pm the temperature had plummeted to … 93 (34C).  I like the heat, a lot, and even I am struggling with this one.

I’m posting on the Tigerflag attars today, since Masha’s around this week and not next week, and since she hooked me up originally, it only seems fair to post on a day she can read the blog.  For those of you who are now clueless, here’s a link to my original post on the majmua attar, which I was (and still am) completely enthralled by.  Attar perfumery is an entirely new style of perfumery to me.  Also, stating the possibly obvious:  these attars seem made for extreme heat.

None of the additional attars I ordered from Tigerflag thrilled me as much as the majmua, which is actually a blend of four different attars: kewda, kadam, mitti and ruh khus (vetiver).  But they were interesting enough that I wanted to revisit them and, I hope, get feedback from those of you who placed orders, either from Tigerflag or White Lotus.

These attar samples were hard to test, because to get any kind of decent read on them, I can’t just dab them on my skin – they have to be diluted in jojoba oil to a lower concentration.  I’ll use a painterly analogy – if a single drop of pigment at the tip of my brush is an impenetrable reddish-black to the naked eye, and I dab it onto a large-ish drop of water, what I wind up with afterward is a glorious, rich, pinkish-red that surprises me.  Are you following me?  The undiluted attars on the skin tend to be killingly condensed, medicinal, and bitter.  You really need to open those things up; they need to be diluted somewhere between 1:5 to 1:9 to bloom.  Also, a good ten-to-fifteen minute wait on the skin is worth it.

Kewda – “a smooth, refreshing balsamic scent. Floral but not too sweet, with hints of hyacinths and honey.”    This is what provides the green/floral top notes in the majmua, I think, but I find it less enthralling on its own initially, although it’s definitely honeyed.   If you’re willing to wait three hours, the balsam-y drydown is wonderful, like walking in a grove of evergreen trees, with plenty of resiny sap, only more foreign, with unfamiliar dirt/mineral undertones.

Kadam – a deeply peculiar murky smell.   If there’s a “masculine” flower this is it.   Quasi-medicinal.

Mitti – I know a couple of you have said you’re not crazy about this.  It’s the attar that is actually made from baked earth from the Ganges.  I think it’s the coolest thing.  At the same time, like the smell of, say, hot asphalt, it’s a smell I am wild for without actually wanting to wear as a fragrance.  It is both earthy and slightly bitter/peaty, with a hint of something fecal, if I’m being honest.

Night-blooming jasmine –  Uh, speaking of fecal.  There must be folks who read this blog and think, these people are sick.  But that stank in jasmine?  It’s the most glorious thing on earth.  Some jasmines are much cleaner (aka less indolic) than others, I don’t know which varieties.  The clean ones smell more banana-jammy.  But for someone like me, the point of jasmine is the indoles.   All you sick jasmine freaks feel free to de-lurk now and list your favorite indolic jasmines, the ones that aren’t just heady – they’re unapologetically garbage-y and/or fecal.  Mine?  Montale Jasmin Full, now there’s a bottle you don’t want to spill in your car.   Anyhow, Tigerflag’s night-blooming jasmine is a smell-my-finger inside joke – a laughably ripe jasmine that puts a smile on my face.

Champa attar – “Golden Champa flowers, with the fragrance of magnolia.”  I can’t decide about this.  A hot-buttered-feet smell that disturbs me the same way hawthorne disturbs me.  Does not smell remotely like Ormonde Jayne Champaca (which is why it wound up in my cart.)   Can I use the word fecal again, or have I reached my limit for a single post?  I wish one of you magnolia-lovers would smell this.

Genda – marigold.  Green, almost too bitter/sap-like at first, and then wow, and I don’t even particularly like grassy-green scents.  It’s awfully medicinal at first and smells a little bit like weed at full strength.  Give it time to stretch its legs.

Gulhinathis. An attar of henna and sandalwood.  I don’t know what henna smells like; I just ordered it because it sounded interesting – “a deep, rich fragrance, with hints of tea and the smoothness of bittersweet chocolate.”  To that I’ll add an enthusiastic yes, with an additional smell-note that reminds me of Hatch chiles on the smoky air during the fall chile-roasting season in New Mexico.  So:  chiles plus chocolate flower = win.

Masha sent me some of the White Lotus product, the choyas — because I was so curious about choya nakh, the distillation of roasted seashells on which Aftelier Tango is based.   I will note here with a smile that these scents are so potent that I could smell them easily through the sealed mailer, although they were double-bagged inside, each inside its own sealed plastic bag and then in a larger bag.

Choya nakh is exceedingly strange to my western nose, the way one might suppose distilled, roasted seashells might be.  I wish I had a sample of Tango to compare it to, to see the way it’s working in that scent, but I don’t.   Choya nakh is a brittle, iodine-ish scent that simultaneously attracts and repels me.

Choya loban – “distillation of frankincense.”  Okay, I’m not afraid to admit it.  I cried.  As in, I sat at my keyboard and wept until I had to get up and go find the box of Kleenex.  Distillation of frankincense?  A lightly, strangely smoked/roasted version of my favorite smell on earth?  Like, the angels all got together and decided to have a beachside cookout in Bali, and they built themselves a frankincense fire, and there’s the slightly salty aroma of the sea in the background?  Yes, like that.   Then I waited 48 hours to get a grip on myself and took a break from watching the World Cup and went upstairs and tried it again.  BTW the stuff in the vial is almost black.  And I cried again, because how could something smell that beautiful?  Go ahead, laugh.

I’m not really into the touchy-feely aspects of scent.  I’m not a “natural perfumery” gal.   I sniff perfume because I like to smell things, and I’m more or less indifferent to its origins.  The whole natural vs. synthetic argument bores me.  There, I said it.

But Majmua left me feeling both calm and unusually focused, which is something I struggle with.  Majmua was like my own tree-huggy Adderall.  I’ve mixed up two larger vials of majmua from my little attar bottle and I’ve worn it all, including an overapplication after which I shrugged at everyone and got in the car, because, hey, I wasn’t washing it off.   I’ve decided part of the smell of the majmua I like so much is the beeswax in the solid base Masha made (beeswax + jojoba, melted) to send it to me, so that’s my next experiment.   And the choya loban shook something loose inside of me that I don’t understand at all.

Full disclosure:  I paid for my order at Tigerflag, including a larger bottle of majmua and a bunch of samples.  When Amrita, the woman who runs it, figured out I was the blogger who drove some customers her way, she threw in some additional free samples.  I’d guesstimate that half my samples were bought and half gifts.  Masha’s samples were from … Masha.

image: gulhina, white lotus aromatics

  • mary says:

    March– you influenced me to stop at Bombay Spice House on University– I found some tiny samples of attars– Majmua, Milap, Champa and Zafran. Inexpensive, gorgeous and deep. Thanks!:)>-

    • Masha says:

      OOooo, the Bombay Spice House- I wanna go shopping there!

      • mary says:

        Masha– I know you wrote on Tiger Flag attars– I plan to order a couple of her samples, but I could not resist the temptation to check out Berkeley’s little India district. And yes, it was a lovely experience to shop at the Bombay Spice House. The attars are kept under the counter, and the proprietor was gracious in allowing me to explore the trsy. A few doors down thwere are stores selling an incredible array of sarees, salwar kameez, sparkly sandals. All the rich decoration is just fun to be around. :)>-

        • March says:

          I want to visit! That sounds like so much fun, and i can imagine that the stores smell just glorious, don’t they? I love visiting neighborhoods and stores with unfamiliar smells — like going to a Vietnamese grocery, etc.

        • Masha says:

          Drool drool drool….

  • Ninara Poll says:

    It was around 98 today where I live (NE TN), oppressive enough that I didn’t even bother checking the heat index — I can tell you it felt like it was about 105 or so out there. The tolerance for unpleasant summers I developed while growing up in Louisiana has disappeared. *wilts*
    Attars are something that have fascinated me for practically a lifetime (I first encountered the word “attar” at about 8 years old, looked it up in a dictionary, and began daydreaming about what they must smell like) but I have never had the opportunity or funds to even contemplate trying any. Thanks to this incredibly evocative and lovely review, I am now writhing in agony with my NEED to try some attars.


    • March says:

      Hey, you’re welcome! It was fun for me to experiment with an entirely unfamiliar style of perfumery. The temperature’s dropped a bit here, it was unbelievable last week. I hope it’s better for you. Although it’s great for the attars…

      • Ninara Poll says:

        Oooh, i can just imagine how those attars bloom in heat. *happy envy* We’re supposed to be in the upper 80s this week, but with a chance of rain practically every day. I think we’re technically supposed to have been in the 80s every day of our heat wave so far, though….


  • Rosiegreen says:

    Beautiful post about the attars. It’s definitely making me crave them, especially the choya loban, frankincense is wonderful, also the majmua, would love to have a centering scent instead of chemicals. Thanks for the great reading.

    • March says:

      That smoky frankincense smell is amazing. I’ve never smelled anything quite like it. And the centering part was interesting.

  • Louise says:

    Hmmmm…..the Choya Loban is $10 for 1 ounce. So 10 x $10=$100. Right?

    Just saying…. ; )

  • Kyra says:

    Also chiming in to ask March or Masha for more details on the process for diluting in beeswax, like what grade of beeswax and proportion and adding a caution for anyone who is more used to paraffin. Beeswax melts at a far higher temperature, so be careful.

    • March says:

      From Masha’s email:
      Here’s the recipe–
      1 Tablespoon grated beeswax (from a candle is fine, just as long as it’s not a perfumed candle! 😉
      2 Tablespoons jojoba oil, or fractionated coconut oil (I prefer jojoba)
      1/2 to 1 teaspoon attar (depends on desired strength)

      Melt the wax and jojoba together on low heat, then stir in attar, then pour into perfume container of choice. Let cool at room temperature.

  • minette says:

    the whole natural vs. synthetic thing bores me, too. like you, i just like to smell everything. from jovan to amouage and everything in between.

    you have totally convinced me that i need to try the choya loban. i love frankincense, and if this is as amazing as you say, well, wow. you know that frankincense makes you relax and breathe deeper and more slowly, right? try sniffing some frank from an essential oil bottle and watch your breathing. you can’t help it. that may be part of what you’re getting in touch with…

    the jasmine sounds delightful, as well.

    should i thank or curse you for intriguing me enough to try them? i have been trying (for about a week) to not spend on anything not necessary, to save for a possible move. but hey, samples are okay, right? ha.

    • March says:

      Louise looked at the website and laughed about the choya loban, I guess you get a lot? Like, for $100 we’d have enough to scent everyone in NYC. She really liked it too — we live near each other, so she put a dot on and was happy.

  • karin says:

    Had to get in on the hype. Despite all the warnings to DILUTE! DILUTE! I took a trip over to our local Whole Foods and dabbed a drop of Majmua by Nemat onto my wrist. HOLY &^%$#! Trying to imagine what this would smell like diluted, but straight out of the bottle, this stuff is potent! Now I’m wondering how you’re really supposed to test these things in the store. All of those attar sampler bottles lined up with dabbers, ready to try – what do you do with them? Sniff the dabbers? Hope they don’t drip all over your hand and onto the floor?

    Really curious to make some solids with jojoba oil and beeswax now. Granted, it’s a bit of work, but not too bad if the result is heaven, right?

    • minette says:

      in think the whole foods attars are already cut. i have a bunch of of nemat, attar bazaar and kumba made “attars” and they’re wearable as-is. strong at first, but they fade a little in time. i find i lose track of them, then someone will compliment me on them. i think the key is to apply a dot here and there and not slather them on.

    • March says:

      I thought those were cut already, but what do I know? I’ve dropped the beeswax recipe on here elsewhere (in other comments) btw. I was cheating a bit on some of the vials simply by putting a slick of jojoba on my arm and then a dot of the attar and mixing it up right there. I think un-condensing the attar in oil gives it more sillage and lasting power.

  • Flora says:

    Oh boy. Gotta try me some Choya loban!!!!

    Everything sounds just overwhelmingly wonderful!

    My favorite indolic jasmine so far, other than the obvious A La Nuit, is vintage Le Galion Jasmin in the PDT strength – in Parfum it could probably clear Grand Central Station, but is it ever gorgeous. I agree, it can’t be too skanky for me either. I can wear the EDC strength of Jasmin to the office, but not the other one. It’s not THAT kind of office…:d

    • March says:

      Jasmine (like gardenia?) I think is one of those notes that it’s worth being careful with. Yours sounds lovely. But you’re right, it can be room-clearing. And probably not office-friendly if, as you say, it’s not THAT kind of office.

  • sweetlife says:

    Hey there–too tired to chime in with all my impressions today, but loved reading about everyone else’s. As a general public service announcement regarding DILUTION, I’ll say that I bought a bottle of jojoba oil from my local health food store for about six bucks. Then I got out some 5 ml bottles, dumped the contents of the attar vials in each one, and then used the vial as a measuring device to add approximately nine times the amount of the attar to each bottle. (That way I got the rest of the precious sticky attar out.) Shake gently until dispersed throughout the oil. Voila.

    The only one I was sorry (just a little) about was the Saffron, which I think could have been left at 1:7 or 1:6. The rest of them could stand even more dilution, I think. Am very curious about how perfumer’s alcohol would lift these and give them, I’m sure, a different vibe.

    And I want more saffron, and to try the jasmine!

    • Musette says:

      thanks for the Mellow Yellow earwig! :-D


    • March says:

      Hey there. I’m just getting back on here. You are WAY more organized than I am! I need to get some more larger vials. Also, weren’t you scared to spill them? I was terrified.

      The saffron … I can see that. The others it’s hard to imagine over-diluting. Have you come to any further conclusions?

  • Kym says:

    The most interesting part of the post: “But Majmua left me feeling both calm and unusually focused” I need this!! But, how can I learn more about how Masha distilled with beeswax and jojoba oil?

    • March says:

      Hi, March
      Here’s the recipe from Masha’s email to me–
      1 Tablespoon grated beeswax (from a candle is fine, just as long as it’s not a perfumed candle! 😉
      2 Tablespoons jojoba oil, or fractionated coconut oil (I prefer jojoba)
      1/2 to 1 teaspoon attar (depends on desired strength)

      Melt the wax and jojoba together on low heat, then stir in attar, then pour into perfume container of choice. Let cool at room temperature.

  • Cheryl says:

    these sound so compelling and intriguing
    real scent journeys

  • Disteza says:

    I was all prepared to resist the lemming urge on this, but you’ve killed me with that Choya Loban description. Killed me, I tell you. I’ve lost of hope of not caving.

    I can’t wait for the heat to break–next weekend I’ve got 2 full days of outdoor fencing demonstrations in colonial clothes at Claude Moore, and I fear the heat shall be kicking my sweaty behind. Last time I did one of those, I lost a solid 4 lbs EACH DAY. It took 2 weeks to recuperate. Worst. Diet. Ever. 8-x

    • March says:

      ALERT ALERT — dammit, I forgot they have a $100 minimum order, I should have put that in my post. Tigerflag doesn’t, but they don’t have the choyas.

      OMG two days of fencing in Colonial clothes? Made my stomach flip flop.

      The choya loban … gah. I think my teeny vial has five drops in it? Literally. And I can smell it, capped, across the room.

      • Disteza says:

        You say that like there’s a problem with $100–like maybe ONLY spending $100? Who wants to pay that durn HOA bill anyway?
        –Insert whistling guy emoticon since the emoticons are on strike–

  • Sariah says:

    Damn, will need to try some of that Chaya Noban when I get back. Have been wearing some jasmine oil I got in Damascus almost exclusively. It fits here. I’m in coastal Turkey, it’s hot and humid – like DC but with awesome blue and aqua water to go swimming every day! There are jasmine bushes growing all over, I blend in. I love it – skanky and sweet.

    • March says:

      Oh! I haven’t checked your blog! You didn’t go to the world cup?!?! Turkey sounds like a fine alternative, and you are missing nothing good here.

      • Sariah says:

        Hey. I did go to the World Cup, just the beginning. Have been in the Middle East for a few weeks.

  • Nava says:

    Hi March,

    Yeah, the heat up here in the Great White North is pretty oppressive as well. Thank goodness for the brand new a/c. Hopefully, the power won’t crap out.

    I’ve recently read a couple of amazing novels that took place in India: “Shantarum” by Gregory David Roberts and “Sacred Games” by Vikram Chandra. Both are huge, sprawling love letters to India and I recommend them highly.

    That being said, I am fascinated by India and would love to play around with some of those attars (not to mention actually going there one day). I didn’t know you had to dilute them; sounds like quite the chemistry experiment to us Westerners, but from everything I’ve read, the complex scents of India – the food, the landscape, the people, are wondrous. I placed an order at Tigerflag a few years back, but not for any of the attars. From everything you wrote, I definitely need to re-visit. :)

    • Masha says:

      I think you’d like some of them, Nava. You might try the paper strips they offer in order to screen what you might like from what you definitely would not enjoy!

    • March says:

      Absolutely, it’s the sheer “foreign-ness” of the scent that’s part of its allure. And I appreciate the book recommendations.

      I should have maybe made the DILUTING PART IN ALL CAPS since they smell much, much better diluted.

  • Style Spy says:

    I got a little quivery reading about that frankincense dealie-bob. And so did my credit card. I’d resisted going to the website, but that combined with your talk of the skanky jasmine has undone me. Here I go…

    • March says:

      Bummer alert: since I didn’t buy it, I forgot White Lotus has a $100 minimum order (they’re a wholesaler.) Tigerflag doesn’t, though, but they don’t carry the choyas.

  • Louise says:

    It seems time for me to dip into the Attars-several sound fascinating-especially the Choya Loban-I’m afraid I may shed a tear, too, it sounds so beautiful.

    Is the Guhlina reminscent of those lovely choco-chile bars? I may be tempted to lick….

    Rju Khus and the Majmua sound equally appealing.

    This is a Whole New World-and an earbug for y’all now ; )

  • Shelley says:

    I am fascinated by the idea of these…the playing (mixing up potions in the lah-bore-ah-tory), the smells, the…did you say “tree huggy Adderall”?…sure, the potential for centering. Incidentally, *I’m* going to go ahead and say I’ve played with aromatherapy in my past, and did find value in certain settings/applications. To this day, I still mix my own house cleaning products. Have been enjoying hearing about your adventure.

    “Natural vs. synthetic” still seems like a universe I am far from schooled on. On the one hand, the voice of a scientist saying “It’s ALL chemicals.” On the other, the undeniable difference between the smell (and effect) of essences created from plant products and molecules bumped together in the lab–and yes, the potential cognitive hurdle I raise in prejudice against compositions.

    I loves me some perfume perfume, though. Not all. Some. Which is true of the “naturals,” too.

    I would like to get a bunch of these you discuss myself. Will have to wait for wallet’s sake. Just before your original post on the topic, I had gone in on a split of the Amouage attars…a flight, if you will, including the white musk (Abiyadh), jasmine, rose, and sandalwood. And have been playing with those–including daring to cart them, unexplored, along on a road trip. They are called “attar,” but much different from what you are describing. Linear. And not for diluting. (Right???)

    BTW, I have long kept a solid of nag champa available. Cheap fun, easily available pre-made, and often in fun little containers (like carved wood). And I treasure the beeswax I have remaining from my soap and unguent making days…fabulous smell, that. Now, it awaits the next adventure. :)

    • March says:

      Well, you’re getting ready to take a trip where there will be PLENTY OF PERFUME and hopefully not as hot as here. The Amouages I’ve not even tried, I think they’re rose-infested? 😉

      I reeeeally need to bust out some beeswax and get melting. That’s what inspired the choice of Miel de Bois for SOTD.

      • Shelley says:

        You know, it never dawned on me until just now…there was one day I was setting up to make something, and got so distracted by just smelling and playing with the beeswax I decided I ran out of time for the intended project. Shoulda been a sign, eh? Who knew; at that point in my life, I still looked at perfume and thought “headache-in-a-bottle.”

  • sherobin says:

    I ordered samples of the Majmua (who didn’t?), White Lotus (cause I’m still searching for the gorgeous Lotus oil my hubby brought back from Egypt long ago), and both vetivers (part of my summer vetiver kick). Amrita kindly sent a teeny couple of drops of the night-blooming jasmine, and of course, some scent strips.

    Well. That is the most beautiful jasmine I have ever smelled. I only find it slightly indolic, but incredibly fruity, deep, and cool. My husband pronounced it mysterious. I wish I knew a way to give this one a bit longer stay on my skin. Any ideas?

    I haven’t given the White Lotus a good test yet, but it is very strange undiluted. Something really rooty and wet (duh!) that I never noticed in another lotus oil.

    The majmua is magical, and I can’t add anything to what March has already said, except a big thanks for that. I love every phase of this one.

    The Ruh Khus (deep green hydrodistilled vetiver) is weird and awesome. They say it is used in India for cooling and to induce tranquility. So that explains the summer vetiver cravings… Might try this to scent the bedroom. It is peace in a bottle. Did not care for the Indonesian Vetiver.

    From the scent strips, I loved the Champa and the Black Musk. The Champa is indolic, but thank goodness, not like butter or feet to my nose (!), but just some strangely golden and ethereal flower. Lovely! Thanks March and Masha! Great summertime fun!

    • Masha says:

      The Black Musk Shamama is YUMMY!!

    • March says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you and your husband like it! I’m worthless at “stay on the skin” tips, everything lasts on me until I am practically begging it to leave. I got a good 12 – 14 hours from the jasmine. And I’m glad you liked the majmua too! I forgot to order the ruh khus (duh) but smelling it on the scent strip, it’s glorious. So it’s not just me getting indoles from that champa?

      And Masha sent me vetiver mitti I didn’t even talk about.

  • Olfacta says:

    I got mine (attars) last week and haven’t had time to really play with them yet, although I got some jojoba oil at TJ and diluted them 5:1 — although they could be diluted double that easily! The Mothra, um, Majmua could easily be diluted even more — the saffron too, even the jasmine. There’s a little bit of sandalwood, some paper strips soaked in others. So interesting. I want to get the rose and some other ones and really experiment with them.

    • March says:

      The Mothra. Hahahahahaha. That’s like The Nazgul. Is that thing ridiculous? When I got my (undiluted) bottle from Tigerflag I thought, whoa, nelly. That is some concentrated scent. I’m doing somewhere between 1:5 and 1:9 for most of them, haven’t “overdiluted” yet. I have a few more here to play with as well.

    • Masha says:

      The Mothra??? ROFL!

    • Shelley says:

      Okay, now that others are chiming in with their giggles, I have to say that I will now forever imagine Majmua being conjured forth by a pair of miniature singing girls. (Were they singing? What was that noise they made??)

  • Catherine says:

    Fingers crossed… please, gods, do not let it be this hot on the coast next month.

    All right, prayers aside, these sound incredible. I must have missed the initial posts because I haven’t a clue what is being talked about here, but it sounds like the posse perfume sluttery has started gyrating to a whole new tune.

    Need to investigate….

    • March says:

      Yeah, go back and reread! This one should be labeled “Masha’s Fault.” She sent me the majmua and I fell head over heels in love. I now need to figure out how to do the beeswax mush. Also I ordered a pair of those Cork-Ease.

  • Musette says:

    Great gravy!

    that heat sounds stifling and like you, I like heat! I think it’s the perfect opportunity to test attars. I’m intrigued by these….

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      They’re … they’re a little groovy. I can’t decide for you. I mean, if the whole essential-oil thing makes you laugh, and you’re Lelong and Femme through and through, well … these, maybe not so much. But as a pure olfactory experience, they’re fascinating.

      • Musette says:

        Oh, no – I have a lovely collection of essential oils, which I use frequently, They are stored in a heavy wooden storage box, etc etc. I used them to de-flea the dogs (pennyroyal), wash the wood floors (bitter orange and a touch of jasmine) – in this heat (nothing compared to yours!!!) I wet my hands, add a drop of vetiver (just a drop – it’s sta-ronnng) and make the bed. Vet’s also good to mix in with baking soda and spread into your carpets prior to vacuuming (the pennyroyal is good for this, too, if you are have flea-ish dogs)

        I burn them in Lampes Berger and use them in steam. It’s my love of essentials that’s got me all a-flutter about these attars. You make them sound a bit more wearable than your basic oudh, which can be a bit challenging.

        I’m being olfactorally challenged today by crop dusting. eeech. I am wearing Guerlain Vetiver,

        • sherobin says:

          Oh my…what great info. I am going to try the vetiver on the bedsheets thing tonight!

        • March says:

          Crop dusting, blech. Where Kate lives, they spray all the fields with liquefied chicken sh!t. There’s a smell that’s got to be sniffed to be believed. It travels for miles. It’s borderline unbearable.

          Thanks for the recipes! My vacuum cleaner could use some freshening.

  • tmp00 says:

    I still want to try these and I have to write good on you for sampling them in that gawdawful heat. I’ve been getting reports of RealFeel of 109 in Central Park. I can imagine how pleasant it is in DC.

    Well there was no point to this other than to hope that you’re swilling cold drinks and have access tp a pool…

    • March says:

      I rechecked the weather, it was 105 at BWI yesterday at 4. 😮 No wonder I felt like I was going to puke after being outside for 25 minutes, just running an errand. And we go to the pool in the morning, but to be honest I can’t deal when it’s this hot. I feel like I can’t breathe. The air quality is terrible.

  • Francesca says:

    What a great, informative post! Plus loved the “hot buttered feet”description. Question: do you dilute the choyas, too?

    • Masha says:

      The choyas are so strong that I have to keep them triple bottled (in a bottle which is in a jar which is in a bigger jar) so their odors don’t take over my tiny aromatherapy lab. I was careful sending a few drops to March, and as you can see, she could still smell them a mile away by the time they’d crossed the Pond! 1 drop in 10ml perfumer’s alcohol would be a better way to try them. I think I diluted March’s 1:3, still terribly strong.

    • March says:

      What Masha said. As I said above, the loban looks like motor oil and she’s diluted it! And I still diluted it further on my skin (I cheated and spread a drop out on a slick of pre-applied jojoba.) That’s probably not the best way to “blend” it, but it’s worked okay for me as a lazy shortcut. I put a blob of oil on my arm or in my hand and mix it right there.

  • Masha says:

    Well, I’m one of those jasmine sambac freaks, and fortunately, my family is OK with that. Must be growing up in the lower latitudes that does it. And the gulhina, yummy chocolate with chilis is exactly right! I didn’t get the fecal note in the mitti, just dirt (maybe there was something extra in the dirt from your batch, each batch is a little different), but it’s very grounding (ha ha!), and I love it with vetiver. And yeah, kadam is just plain weird, huh?
    So you loved the loban? Your description is perfect- I’d thought of it as, “The best Beach BBQ EVER”, and I’m a frankincense junkie, too. In the Caribbean, seashells are sometimes used in firepits like peat, and so the nakh reminds me of those days. I love it. And finally, DILUTE DILUTE DILUTE, people, just like March said. It makes all the difference.

    • March says:

      Yes, I should have said that in my post. Given the way these are made, I think we can expect differences from batch to batch, rather like wine.

      That loban. Holy cow. You probably didn’t know how much I liked frankincense. I’ve never smelled it rendered quite like that. The green/resiny quality that sometimes grates … as if it hasn’t been aged enough, if that makes any sense? It’s like it’s been cooked to its perfect state. And I’m laughing that it’s DILUTED. It looks like motor oil in the vial.

  • Divalano says:

    Speaking as one of the customers you drove, herded & sent stampeding & panting to Tigerflag …

    After reading your review I realize I did it all wrong. I put a dot on skin & a couple I refused to even do that with because the smelled so bitter in the vial. Righto, I should have diluted, duh, duh I say, since that was in your 1st post on this. And I can’t try now because I’ve swapped them away.

    HOWEVER. I retained the jasmine because it’s AMAZING, best jasmine I’ve ever smelled. If that’s fecal, so be it. It’s intoxicating, pure joy. I’m also really taken with the saffron. It’s a leetle much but now that I’ve been reminded to dilute it with jojoba I think it’s going to be juuuuuuust fine. It’s earthy & spicy & just delicious.

    Darn & drat about the Gulhina & the Majmua. These frightened me so in the vial I never gave them a chance.

    • Masha says:

      I’m so sorry about the Gulhina and Majmua!! They are a little scary straight up, but so nice once you dilute them and get to know them…maybe you can write your swap friend and get them back?? ;-)

    • March says:

      Isn’t that jasmine gorgeous? And the saffron I can’t decide about, even diluted it’s a bit much for me. Definitely cutting these things seriously with some oil or alcohol is called for.

      I’m sorry you didn’t get more of a chance with the gulhina and majmua. 🙁 They are way, way too much straight out of the vial. I think I’m doing 1:9 on the majmua, more or less.

      • Divalano says:

        I may need to buy the jasmine & get another sample of the majmua … I’d do it if I hadn’t just splurged on some Cologne Blanch that I couldn’t afford (being d/c’ed dontchya know, they said …) & don’t need a full vat of …