Power and Beauty


I stole this from Wikipedia:

Begum Nur Jahan was the twentieth and favourite wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who was her second husband. The story of the couple’s infatuation for each other and the relationship that abided between them is the stuff of many (often apocryphal) legends. She remains historically significant for the sheer amount of imperial authority she wielded – the true “power behind the throne,” as Jehangir was battling serious addictions to alcohol and opium throughout her reign – and is known as one of the most powerful women who ruled India with an iron fist.

I am already in love.

I love power.  Power, handled wisely, can be a great force for good.  And since I am, by nature, somewhat despotic I am convinced that power and I are the perfect pair.  Alas, I am also indolent and have no interest in wresting somebody’s throne out from underneath them, nor am I clever enough to be “the power behind” .  But I do like how this turns out for her.   Upon her husband’s death, sequestered in majestic comfort away from the throne (her husband’s male relatives must’ve feared her mightily, which is something else to love),  she devoted herself to the much-valued art of perfumery, a talent she inherited from her mother.  One can only imagine what beauty emerged from that forceful combination of intelligence, taste and refinement. Begum Nur Jahan personifies the beauty of power – and Mohur, by Neela Vermeire Creations, via perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, was created to celebrate her life, both as Empress and perfumer as well as embody the essence of the best that the Moghul Dynasty and the British Raj offered to Indian culture.   I imagine her strolling through her pleasure gardens, in jewel-encrusted saree, free from the trials of daily Court life, with her perfumers and attendants trailing behind her.   Learning more and more about distillations, tinctures, new and unusual plants…and then having her second (or third) massage of the day.  Well, that is the way I would’ve done it, were I her.

Interesting thing about Mohur is what it isn’t – at least what it isn’t for me.  Everybody yarks on about the rose – and for the longest time I couldn’t write about it because I didn’t ‘get’ the rose.    And because I couldn’t ‘get’ it, I figured I was ‘getting’ it wrong.    Then one early morning (literally – it was 2:30a) I had an ‘aha!’ moment.  Who cares about the rose~  it doesn’t matter.  I stopped obsessing about that and, instead, focused on what I did get.  I realized that I’d been looking for a Bulgarian rose otto-type.  Instead, what I got was a deep pink, pearl-encrusted silk ribbon infused with a  spicy rose attar, suspended over steamed almond milk with a hint of cardamom and coriander – a combo that only seems to work in Indian food.   And maybe a touch of black tea.  But  with all those food references, it’s not a gourmand – at least not in the way I have come to think of gourmands.  Everything is a steam distillation of itself, which only adds to the mystery.


It is one of the most confusing, compellingly beautiful scents I have encountered.  It resists definition.  I was going to say it gives up its secrets, layer by layer but I’ve worn it now at least 10 times and it has yet to coalesce into anything I can readily define.  I doubt it will ever fully reveal itself – and that’s just fine by me.  The world needs a bit more mystery and allure.  And maybe another Nur Jahan.  In the interim, we have Mohur.  I’m extremely happy about that!!!.

Notes from  Luckyscent  which carries the Neela Vermeire line: Cardamom, coriander, ambrette, carrot, black pepper, elemi, Turkish rose oil, jasmine, orris, hawthorn, almond milk accord, leather, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, oudh Palao from Laos, benzoin, vanilla, tonka bean


I won a 10ml bottle awhile back from a Neela Vermeire giveaway, from whence this review sprung.  I would’ve reviewed it earlier but I was still trying to figure it out!  Then I quit trying…and just enjoyed its beauty.  Funny how that works, innit?


Photo is from travel.kashmironline.net

  • mim says:

    whoa this sounds amazing, i really want to try this line!

  • nozknoz says:

    Musette, I’m sure the world would be a better place if you were the power behind the throne (on which I’m imagining The Rock, since you’d have your pick of the world’s masculine talent)! For one thing, I know we could count on you and The Rock to dispense with those silly IFRA restrictions!

    Nonetheless, we do indeed live in an age of miracles, blessed with not one but THREE India-inspired perfumes by Bertrand Duchaufour. I’m glad you took your time with Mohur. So often the initial internet enthusiasm dies down, and samples get pushed to the back of the drawer before they’ve been fully appreciated. Your review has reminded me me to get these NVs out again and enjoy the heck out heck out of them in this monsoon season worthy heat. 🙂

  • FragrantWitch says:

    This sounds very sample-worthy-onto the list it goes!
    Begum Nur Jahan sounds like a fascinating woman, I’ll have to look for a biography of her and then read it in my copious (NOT) free time. More likely it will join the ‘ I want to read (and need 3 lifetimes to do so) list. :Sad:

  • Teri says:

    I haven’t gotten around to trying Mohur yet, but definitely plan on doing so as I am a fan of Trayee.

  • Undina says:

    I like all three perfumes from this line but, as of now – it might change – Mohur is my least favorite out of them. But I still have probably 8 ml left in my travel bottle to see if it grows on me.

    I’m sorry to bring it up here, disregard if somehow it was an intent, but the font, especially in italics but the regular one isn’t much better, is almost unreadable (I checked in both Internet Explorer and FireFox on PC) and it contains random pipe symbols here and there.

  • Lisa D says:

    Hey, I can read the text! Thanks for the change-up; that’s much easier on the eyes. Mohur sounds gorgeous – a steam distillation of spices, rose and milky almond – not to mention scrumpdillyicious. I’ve been wanting to try all three of the Vermeire line since they launched, but have refrained from sampling, for fear that I’ll need a full bottle, or three.

    • Musette says:

      Yay! But I don’t know what we did, if anything. You know how ‘new tech’ is – when Patty switched that thingamajig (server? host? velociraptor?) all sorts of things went sideways for a little while, like it is wont to do. Glad it smoothed out.

      Mohur is exactly as you describe it. You might as well get a sample. :Whistling:

      xo :Devil:

  • Eva S says:

    Oh, I love Mohur too, it’s my favorite of the three from Neela Vermeire! Sadly my sample is all used up…

  • Janice says:

    I love this one too. Actually I love all three from Neela Vermeire (including Bombay Bling, which I thought would be so not-my-kind-of-thing and now I’m tempted to buy a bottle). It took me the longest to really appreciate Mohur, though—it really does resist definition.

    • Karin says:

      I love all three, too. They’re fantastic.

    • Musette says:

      Whew! Glad I’m not the only one to find it so! I always feel I should be able to parse perfumes out and ‘know’ more, y’know? Mohur wasn’t having it.

      xoxo :Devil:

  • Karin says:

    I’m in love with this one.

  • dinazad says:

    That’s ALL I needed! A good reason to waft by my favorite perfume store. Especially since they’re having a sale…..

    Mohur sounds lovely, thanks for reviewing it!

    • Musette says:

      It is a real beauty. Very well crafted and consistently beautiful, even as it eludes parsing.

      And you never need a reason to waft by your favorite perfume store, do you? I wish I could waft by a perfume store. Alas, I get to waft by corn, cows and metal…

      oh, well. At least I get to waft!

      xo :Devil: