Thursday, 27 May 2010

Le parfum du Maharajah de Kapurthala

part II
(part I to be found here)

There's a technical issue with vintage perfumes. For some reason, at the first sniff, they tend to smell weirdly and pungently citrusy - I don't really believe that all of them contain a bucketful of neroli, petitgrain and whoknowswhat aldehydes. It needs quite a considerable time to decipher a really old fragrance, at least that's what my experience says.

I kept wearing Le Parfum du Maharajah de Kapurthala for three days in a row. I expected an oriental. Cinnamon, sandalwood, something like that. The odd citrusy top notes didn't fit into this preconceived idea, possibly introduced by earlier testing of Route Mandarine so I was somewhat disappointed. Not for long, upon closer scrutiny, that neroli, along with carnation and possibly rose developed into a lush green accord and I started to purr because it was a a thing of pure beauty. It only takes a while and the fragrance shifts elsewhere, to spicy floral accord (pepper, ylang-ylang, jasmine, some such). At this point, the whole thing could remain a lovely green floral but it is a true chameleon, changing to... wonderful soft leather.
I'm still learning to understand leather fragrances and I probably started from the tougher end, I really like leather scents which are so pungent that they make paint flake off. The realm of the less aggressive ones is yet to be explored but after a short flirt with Guerlain's Derby (okay, I would be glad if someone gave me a bottle but when I run out of my sample, I won't regret) or the famous Knize Ten (just fine but where's the leather? It's chewing gum and a hint of spices...), I was left rather surprised by the tendency towards blah. Until now.

Le parfum du Maharajah de Kapurthala is one of the great abstractions - a few ingredients can be guessed. And every time I try, I find something different, just now I opened the bottle and it was all cinnamon, vanilla and pepper. Great olfactory toy, I would say.

This perfume is long discontinued and hard to find so I'm afraid you have to trust me on the description. I at least threw in more pictures.


  1. this sounds fabulous! I hope to could smell it someday. I know what you mean about 'the vintage problem'. it does take a while to get past those weird opening notes, and sometimes it does seem strangely wired toward citrus and aldehydes. Although I guess that's the beauty of them as well--they take a while to get to know and love.

    Great blog, glad I found it. I am now a follower.

  2. Bonne Vivante, thanks for your appreciation, there will be much more on vintages so keep your eyes open.

    Also, I'll take the liberty and mail you.

  3. wow... Thats awesome...