Oriental Splendor and Sensuality: Sheiduna by Puredistance
“Duna” on the other hand is directly orientalized, recalling the sand dunes resembling butterscotch, or “a mountain curved like a woman’s back”, as the script for Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient immortalized for us. The “a” is of course the par excellence feminine suffix. “Sheiduna” then rolls off the tongue, soft and seductive at first, clipped in the end. I was meticulously guided into the naming of the new fragrance by Mr. Vos who explained how he arrived at the sonorous name (he names everything in the line himself). “Shei” evokes a sensuous chord, the “s” rolling out like silk taffeta, like seduction, as in “she” (since it’s a feminine concept to begin with), extending the sensuality of the sleek packaging and the rusty-coppery color into the tones of mystery.
I was honored to be invited to smell the newest fragrance, Sheiduna, by Mr. Jan E. Vos himself and the meeting is fodder for further discussion on the erstwhile brand and the principles that guide it, but for now I’m going to take advantage of the privilege to be among the very first people to really delve into the newest creation, a collaboration with perfumer Cecile Zarokian that will be launching in the fall of 2016.How many times have you gone “ahhhh” smelling a new fragrance thinking it’s taking the best of the past into the future? The first oriental fragrance in the Puredistance range has produced just this reaction from me upon first sniff.
The scent is a complex amalgam that at once beguiles and intrigues with its spicy oriental melody which recalls the splendor of orientals proper of a bygone era. At the same time it’s very Middle-Eastern in feel, seen through the porthole of sophisticated French perfumery. Despite the Dutch origins of the Puredistance brand, their sophistication is like a magpie, collecting the most ecclectic elements of a cosmopolitan aesthetic.
The opening of the new Puredistance Sheiduna is relatively sharp, with the citrus, blackcurrants (I think) and clove-y spicy peak that we associate with oriental fragrances that have created an iconic or cult following, such as Opium, Cinnabar or Asja.
Super talented, rising star perfumer Cecile Zarokian, a statuesque woman of immensly expressive dark eyes, explained that the concentration of 27% in extrait de parfum is the highest possible grade due to the latest directives from IFRA regarding skin sensitizers. I’m deducing that the clove components, namely eugenol, which are rather heavily rationed in fragrant compositions coming into contact with the skin, are the culprits, and this is one reason why you don’t see many traditional spicy “carnations” in recent years, besides the trends, of course.
The real skill lies in the undulation of the notes as the fragrance develops luxuriously on the skin. The attention to good materials and craftmanship comes through in the heart where a delicious Bulgarian rose absolute peeks, in unmistakeable terms, to conquer the field like a strategist in the stakes of fragrant seduction. A queenly rose, a rich extract, is coupled with resins and patchouli that give it a subtly dark sheen that is as intriguing as peeking through the veiled doors of a woman’s inner sanctum.
Bittersweet myrrh, incense and rich woody notes, which tilt the composition into making it fit for the daring gentleman as well, make for a very rich experience, satisfying and addictive. The lasting power is very good, not only because the extrait de parfum concentration, in which all Puredistance fragrances come into, but also because the resinous backdrop is so sticky and just plain goooooooooood…
Being an ardent fan of spicy orientals I wasn’t very hard to be won over. I am a longtime fan of Puredistance’s fragrances as well, with the leathery M and the lilac etherealness of Opardu being my firm favorites, so Sheiduna had little fight to fight; she spoke and I was conquered. I believe you will be, too!
Sheiduna will make its official apparence in the Pitti exhibition in Florence, September 2016, and will launch internationally through select Puredistance selling points later in the year.