Only the sunlight moves. As it rises above the bamboos and the white rooftops, it casts everything it touches into immobility. Even the waters of the lake appear to quieten, grow still and rest in tranquillity.I'm not sure if Indian literature has an equivalent of a haiku, but it is that form's ability to crystallise a moment in time which finds an echo in Bertrand Duchaufour's latest creation for Neela Vermeire, Pichola. Named after the lake in Udaipur, it sits comfortably next to the brand's earlier offerings - thanks to the repeat use of opulent jasmine, rose and sandalwood - but it also appears to develop the narrative explored in the oeuvre. If the debut trio was an explosion of Indian vitality and the follow-up, Ashoka, combined assertiveness with introspection, then Pichola continues the inward journey. Its soul may be based on two of perfumery's most attention-grabbing materials - orange blossom and tuberose - but it's no diva. Indeed, it is a testament to Duchaufour's skills as a perfumer and Vermeire's vision as a creative director that ingredients which normally come across as egotistical have here been persuaded to behave with dignity and self-control. When linked to cardamom, saffron and that sweet almond accord we last saw in Trayee, they radiate contentment, balance and, above all, complete serenity, just like those rays of sunlight nudging the night away. Beautiful work.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Neela Vermeire Creations in 2015.]