Saturday, 11 March 2017

Al Haramain Salma: Review

And she comes softly, veiled in pink, rukuku

Backstage unnerves you after closing, too echoing-empty. You only have a few minutes before the security guard comes back your way. The search for her dressing room is taking too long.  “Safa Singh, India's Girl Next Door in one show only…” all the posters say. You have been a fan since before anyone in the West had ever heard her name. Footsteps are coming from behind you. You locate the door. Luckily it is unlocked.
The dressing room is just as you would imagine a Victorian woman living in India would style her boudoir. As rumoured, it is pink but not the shade you were expecting—shocking fuschia—instead the kind of melancholy blue pink you see in lilacs, played out in a multiple of tones. A haze of strawberry vanilla incense smoke completes the sugary effect.
You flop down at Safa’s dressing table, read the names of her lipsticks and poke about in various boxes, trying on her jewellery. Then you notice it. A Louis Vuitton trunk, peeps out from under a settee, almost hidden by the dressing screen.  With a grunt, you drag it out. It takes a moment to figure out how to open the lid. Inside, there is a mass of black leather and brass. Eyes widening, you pull out a ball gag and cat o nine tails...

Al Haramain Salma (AHS) is something of a marvel. It is listed as being a tuberose fragrance. Other reviewers suggested this was a VERY different tuberose. They were correct. Against expectations, is not white flower scent. This thing is PINK and incense doused, sweet with rounded out edges, in a va, va, vhoom, May West feminine style.

As rumoured, AHS is also a very dirty girl. This is also the only perfume the Moth Woman can recall that includes four entirely different dirty/animalic notes. Miraculously, even with them, she is not in the least skanky.  

AHS opens with pink bubble gum, underneath it, a slight sour milk note and a dash of cumin. Once it warms, around the five-minute mark, truly massive sillage appear; it will fill the room. At this point, incense, night scented jessamine and a powdery aspect all emerge. Not a distinct element in itself, the powder creates the olfactory equivalent of viewing colours through a snowfall. Before the first hours ends, the duel between clean and dirty sweetness that is the hallmark of this fragrance commences with the arrival of a touch of soft indole. At about an hour, you get the sudden materialisation of what can only be described as a barbie head note. This evocative of childhood and Christmas for the Moth Woman, so she finds it nostalgic rather unpleasant. This is accompanied by a grape fanta accord. Two hours on and the bubble gum tuberose reappears, only hints of the incense linger. Three to four hours in and projection is only two inches from the skin now but the scent in still intense. The pure tuberose and incense dominate again but now haunted by a fourth animalic note, the somewhat infamous diaper pail/barnyard note. Do not be put off by this as it is subtle and just enhances the other elements. At the by 7-hour mark, it is very strong at skin level but no longer projecting. The animalic/dirty note is nearly equal to the tuberose and this remains unchanged till the scent vanishes, 12 to 24 hours later.
AHS is that big, bolshy and totally inappropriate friend you have, the one that tells dirty jokes at the wrong time and flirts with your grandfather, who is also it utterly dependable and blameless. It is nowhere as confronting as you would expect and quite cuddly in its own way. The one is a strong recommend.

Available on Ebay and here.

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