Russian scarf A LA RUSSE - Kristina Bazan (KAYTURE), a photo by MagnifiqueLilly on Flickr.
The lovely Muza has generously sent me samples to enjoy, including Russian perfumes which I have never been exposed to. It's wonderful to explore fragrances that I don't normally have access to. And among them, Patchouli Magique immediately grabbed my attention. If it wasn't for this, I would have continued to believe that the prime purpose of perfume in Russia is a vodka back-up.
Patchouli Magique is not a Bolshevik perfume. I'm still stumbling to find out when it was actually created - before or after the revolution or the perestroika or whatever the crumbling of the Soviet Union is referred to. All I know is that it's a fine patchouli fragrance that won't put to shame even the most niche houses out there. I wish I had it earlier when I was running the patchouli series - consider this a latecomer to the patchouli party!
Patchouli Magique enveloped me in a plush wrap made of soft yet rustic fabric. Like a hand-woven alpaca poncho. Or a woolen Russian scarf for that matter, with big roses printed all over it. Patchouli Magique is indeed magical - it's soothing yet sophisticated. Welcoming you with warm earthy notes of dry patchouli leaves; yet develops into warmer, sweeter notes of aged patchouli mingled with amber and sensuous musk. And a trail of sweet incense smoke weaves its way through - not the heavy resinous church incense; but rather a blend of sandalwood and flowers, reminiscent of the famous Nag Champa. Patchouli Magique is a delightful discovery in the patchouli genre, and is unusual in that it is simultaneously luxurious and sophisticated yet easy to wear and not in the least pretentious or overbearing. Being centred around a base note, its structure is not nearly as complex as classic French perfumes and such; but it is still dynamic rather than static; and provides something to ponder upon as you just immerse yourself in all those alluring notes and surrender to their powerful yet quiet beauty.
Patchouli Magique is made by Novaya Zarya, and being Russian, there got to be some fascinating history behind this house: originally Henri Brocard's company (a French perfumer that moved his business to Russia)*, it was renamed "Soap and Perfumery Factory No. 5" in 1917 (after the revolution); and then "Novaya Zarya (New Dawn) in 1922, under which title they first released Krasnaya Moskva (Red Moscow) - the first Soviet perfume.
* The story of this brand is kinda like the reverse of Ernest Beaux, whose family's perfume business, A. Rallet&Co. before the revolution; and "Soap and Perfumery Factory No. 7" in 1918, and eventually - Svoboda (Freedom)