Rahele is a perfume that works as both a comfort and a veil. The restraint is that of sophistication and an elegant erect posture, a backbone. It is quiet yet full of detail, tradition, refinement and radiance.
|Portrait of a Woman, Mughal, c1640|
about the time Tavernier visited India.
She is wearing the legendary amounts of
jewelry the court was known for.
On first encounter, it is an experience of ultra radiant osmanthus. Several floral elements harmonize their wildness into an opulent Indian ornamentation. At the same time, there is a fine point of bright lively green (green mandarin) through the the initial floral phase.
|Gardens of Versailles|
Gardening as a reflection of an orderly mind
The radiance is bound within a cultivated French aesthetic. The brightness of nature adjusted with disciplined rigor. The notes build a memory palace or map to a distant, unfamiliar mythic place, India. Mughal Indian opulence translated into the French language.
As it dries down, the space within opens up, reaching out from an intimate space to high vaulted spaciousness. Hints of spices emerge, cardamon, cinnamon, the coolness of iris, violet and cedar, a soft fine glove leather. Smooth intermediaries of magnolia, rose and sandalwood, and touches of patchouli and oakmoss. The mood shifts to a calmer, more mindful awareness.
This is the kind of perfume you enter into, you must open its door with attention. It is meditative. To focus on it brings you back from distraction, into a richness of detail with an edge of precision. The glow is contained by disciplined formality.
The delicacy is based on a solid foundation that makes it last. It holds close to the skin, and melds into your own persona. You can wear it anywhere at any time.
It is similar to one of those perfumes that people used to choose for their one signature scent. It can carry every mood. You could go to the opera or you could stay at home and read a book beside one lit lamp. Perfect for both a ballgown and a nightgown. It would follow you all day long and reach into the classic sense of fragrance beauty to keep you company along the way.
|Shah Jahan 1616|
holding a turban ornament gem
Builder of the Taj Mahal
|Louis XIV 1653 as Apollo.|
Builder of Versailles, performer
of French majesty
The perfume story references a legendary gem. Early French travel to India brought an immense glowing blue diamond back to France. Acquired by Louis XIV, later stolen, recovered, cut and re-cut, a part of it remains to us as the Hope Diamond.
The brilliance of such extraordinary gems represent pure beauty, concentrated wealth and focus. It is possible to get lost within the radiance, faceted to bring out the pure cold fire.
|Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian with red glow|
When Louis XIV wore it, it was much larger and cut so
there was sun like glow from the center.
The perfume's pure spirit, while it holds so many classical references, keeps it modern. There is no heaviness. The quality of the materials makes for a jewel-like aura. One of those perfumes that invites you to live up to it.
Rather exalted, and a good counter-balance and contrast to whatever the current chaotic state of affairs may bring. Breathing in such high standards are a way to enhance the beauty of personal life.
Notes are listed as green mandarin, cardamom, cinnamon, violet leaf, osmanthus, rose, magnolia, jasmin, iris, violet, cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli, leather.
This is the latest work by Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour, together creating a series of perfumes that express facets of each other's aesthetic refinement. They incorporate through these fragrances a nuanced understanding and expression of each other's cultural history. They have connected us to this interplay of the cultures of India and France, through scent.
Disclosure: I received my initial sample of this perfume from Neela Vermeire, and have discussed the perfume with her.
Images above as credited in the captions. The links in the captions under Shah Jahan and Louis XIV go to information about their aesthetics and their strong influence on the arts of their culture and time.
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Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.