Sunday, 5 February 2017

Song of India Kama Sutra

The Lion & The Lamb, Heather Cooper

You crouch, hidden in the garden bed. The smell of leaves and stems, bitter and green, kicks up with each small movement. Your heart pounds. You are shake. Sweat beads on your forehead. A small bird lands on nearby tiger lilies; you startle. Your mobile rings. You fumble in the leather messenger satchel around your neck but cannot find it. The sound of footsteps on gravel come closer... and the clapperboard snaps: "CUT!" The director wanders over.  You stand, stretch. Five takes of that scene were MORE than enough.

Later that day, you sit by the hotel pool, with a mai tai and watch seagulls dodge the incoming surf...

Song of India Kama Sutra (KS) opens bitter, green, leathery, like an extract of some innocuous looking but incredibly toxic plant, like the threat in a storm. It is the kind of scent that triggers panic attacks in the original Ancient Greek sense of the term. All this makes the Moth Woman seriously wonder whether her take on the classic Indian text that shares this scent's name, is all wrong…

Upfront, KS is very sharp, crushed stems and leaves combined with paper money in a leather wallet and strongly reminiscent of the leather chypres of the seventies like Lentheric Tweed. In the background is a quiet but distinct note of stargazer lily. This is not your standard lily though. The perfumer broke down the bloom into it component parts, boxed the petals, stems, leaves and stamens separately then arranged for them to arrive at the observers nose at different times. They also kindly left out that screechy note that tends to dominate lily based scents.  The Moth Woman does not normally enjoy lilies due to the screech factor but she loves this one and wishes more perfumers would take this approach. There is also a hint of green capsicum lurking amongst the stems. Overall, on first impression, KS is an intimidating and foreboding fragrance.

Things change though and KS drops the moodiness and becomes light open and breezy after about half an hour.  Hints of spice emerge, primarily the clove from the deconstructed lily note and overlay the softening greens. The lily phases in and out, different facets emerging at different times.

The final phase arrives two hours in, heralded by citrus note very much like the opening of Lush Karma, a bright citrus with sherbet/fruit tingles angle. By four hours it is very close to the body but it will abruptly reappear in gusts as you move or your skin warms. Toward the end, there is also a suggestion of salt, marine air/chlorinated pool. It is faint and strange but not unpleasant—and rather clever the Moth Woman feels—because such a small note works hard, powerfully evoking summer holidays and lazing by the pool at dusk.  By eight hours, all that remains is a faint marine note.

It should be noted that as well as its dichotomous nature, KS displays other odd behaviour. Every time the Moth Woman wears it, it seems little different. The notes shift around. The longevity differs. The fragrance cycles too, changing intensity and top notes and back again. Unaccountably the fragrance also occasionally becomes stronger again around five hours.
Much to the chagrin of the Moth Woman, this is becoming harder to get. Because it is outside this manufacturer’s core group of scents, she suspects KS is about to be discontinued. Enjoy it while you can.

Key Notes: bitter greens, leather, lilies, citrus

  • Good longevity for a green scent
  • Decent sillage in the first hour
  • Total seventies chypre flashback
  • Cheap
  • Very different

  • Too weird for some people
  • Short opening compared to a lot of oils
  • Hard to find a seller
  • Possibly about to be discontinued

Available on Ebay and here.

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