Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Persolaise Review: Niral from Neela Vermeire Creations (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2018)

In recent weeks, I’ve had cause to think about Apres L’Ondee and the famously heartbreaking manner in which it combines iris and violet. With that seamless magic peculiar to perfumery, the Guerlain classic sees both materials augmenting each other’s characteristics and concealing some of their more dubious traits: the iris becomes less austere thanks to the youthful exuberance of the violet, which itself becomes less cloying because of the seemingly magnified woodiness of the iris. It is, without question, one of the most compelling interplays in scent creation. So it was with great delight that I discovered it in Neela Vermeire’s new Niral, composed by Bertrand Duchaufour.

Taking its inspiration from the work of Sir Thomas Wardle - who helped raise the prominence of Indian silk production in Europe - it uses the iris-violet combo as a core around which to weave a characteristically vibrant fabric, rich in the luminous details we’ve come to expect from this most opulent of brands. A rose note lends an air of luxury. A suggestion of magnolia introduces a supple creaminess. A sandalwood facet links the whole to the wearer’s skin with smooth sensuousness. More importantly, the expert use of well-chosen embellishments achieves the trait to which so many brands aspire but few achieve: a soul that is both western and eastern. Like most of the other gems in her range, Niral convincingly showcases Vermeire’s bridge-building, culture-spanning philosophy - as well as her awareness of the historical factors that have shaped her world - while managing to smell absolutely beautiful.

As it reaches its drydown, some may find its vanillic quality too mono-dimensionally feminine, but perhaps that’s part of the point. In an Indian context, silks of course equate to sarees, and it is their multi-hued elegance that echoes what is perhaps Niral’s most enduring, final effect: a riot of iridescent colours, quite possibly making it the most visual feast Vermeire has offered us so far. Prepare to be dazzled.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Neela Vermeire Creations in 2018.]

PS Please try to tune in to the year's final regular episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 21st December, at 3:30 pm UK time (10:30 am New York; 8:30 pm Dubai) on my Facebook page. After Christmas, I hope to broadcast an episode showcasing my Top 10 perfumes of the year; as soon as I set the date and time for it, I'll let you know.


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