I wanted to start by saying that I couldn’t quite separate perfumes (as well as anything else) from social and political events. Then I realized that while I might be able to, I don’t want to. Therefore, in the current situation, I looked at the Turkish brand Nishane with some distance. But then a friend asked me to smell the wonderful scents of Santalové and Tuberóza and – yet careful – love was born. And when I discovered that this year they issued a fragrance in honor of the abandoned Armenian city of Ani, which is located in Turkish territory, and invited Cécile Zarokian, a famous perfume with Armenian roots to create it it, they got all my fondness.
The Nishane brand claims to be the first and the only niche brand that is based in Istanbul and is internationally known. Well, in fact they are right in this combination. All the other Turkish brands I know either cannot be labeled as niche or are not internationally known, or at least do not reside directly in Istanbul (big smile.)
But in what they are definitely different, there is a clear interest from the beginning to penetrate the international market. Immediately in 2014 they started with 16 different scents, which got each name in a different language (apropo, the name Santal comes from the Czech name for sandalwood).
It is not just a simple attempt to “flow” with a stream of similar scents as they are produced everywhere. Nishane fragrances have their own atmosphere, trying to connect the old with the new, oriental with the European, just like the Bosphorus connects the European and Asian parts of the city and the country.
On top of that, they are not afraid to experiment by inviting experienced well known parfumeurs, and indeed, the most of their scents (of course not all of them) are atypical, at least a little beyond the mundane.
Another clear characteristic of their scents is their strong concentration. All fragrances are in the Extrait concentration with over 30% of perfume essence, except for the Extrait de Cologne Collection, which has “only” 18% fragrances, and the Muskane and Florane fragrances with 20%. And you can smell it in those scents. Not only in terms of strength and stamina (and yes, they are strong), but the fragrances concentrated in this way behave differently on the skin, they excel more.
The brand was founded by Mert Güzel and Murat Katran, who also play the role of creative directors and to create individual scents thry collaborate with famous noses – Chris Maurice, Jorge Lee, Sylvain Cara, Miguel Matos, Christian Carbonnel, Cécile Zarokian.
They came to the market just recently, in 2014, but they do stand on the shoulders of powerful ancestors. In Turkish culture, fragrances have an irreplaceable role, and to this day, brands established in the 19th century are still active. Even in welcoming guests there is a habit of greeting them by their hands with a light cologne. This tradition is celebrated by the Colonisée line of Nishane perfumes.
Since then, more fragrances have been added included currently in 8 lines: the Miniature Art Collection, the Blossom Collection, the Signature Collection, the Rumi Collection, the Shadow Play Trilogy, the Imaginative Collection, the Extrait de Cologne Collection (Colonisée) and the latest No Boundaries introduced in 2019.
I tried the following:
No Boundaries Line
Prague in the Czech Republic might have hundred towers, Trnava city in western Slovakia has a plethora of churches, but in Turkey there is Ani! Ani is the capital of the former Kingdom of Armenia, mentioned first in the 5th century. It used to be an important center, still known as the city of thousand and one churches. It has gradually declined and has been abandoned since the 18th century, leaving only a beautiful, romantic scenery of characteristic clay-brick masonry walls emerging from the green plains nostalgically reminiscent of its faded glory. … and since 2016 it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Cécile Zerokian, who is of Armenian origin, was invited to create a fragrance to embody Ani.
The fragrance itself is based primarily on ginger and vanilla. But ginger is very noble and vanilla is not pudding-like. If you’ve ever eaten a good candied ginger, or ginger lollipops, you’re close … but it’s not that simple. Ani is a complex and balanced fragrance, warm, slightly gourmet with spicy tones of cardamom and pink pepper, with gentle whiffs of Turkish rose, and with a beautiful creamy sandal-labdanum base. It has something oriental in it, something ancient and yet timeless, yet somehow keeps me in a good mood. Unique as the city itself.
So, there is no question this fragrance belongs to the No Boundaries collection, at least not when it comes to an interesting combination of ingredients that, very unexpectedly, give the impression of a particularly ripe mandarin orange. The mandarin will come in a moment and spicy and especially herbal ingredients with oregano on the forehead – but beware, this is no variation on the Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic from Guerlain, this is a heavy, well-ripened to almost overripe mandarin with distinctive herbs – into resinous tones that eventually pop-out something that I would identify as a very decent incense, if it were there. I guess this is a very interestingly used smoky vetiver.
It started with something that reminded me of naphthalene and the surroundings of kerosene. Later, a quite interesting, quite typical oriental fragrance, perhaps a bit unnecessarily complicated, but wearable melange, reminiscent of oriental bazaars, came out of it.
If it is not a white Christmas, you can make it with this scent. It is basically a strong white musk soliflor, evoking Viloressi’s Teint de Neige, but without its warm undertones. Actually without any undertone. It’s snowing…
Florane is a sister of Muskane. Just as Muskane is just an intense white musk, this is the essence of flowery. Despite some indicated flowers in the composition, it is not some distinguishable flowers, rather a single clear-floral tone, which does not change much.
This collection is a tribute to the famous 13th century Persian poet Rumi, who was also a philosopher and founder of the Dervish Whirling Order. The scents are inspired by his verses. I had the opportunity to try this one:
Fan Your Flames
I like coconut in scents. I even have one coconut soliflor, using it sometimes to improve some scents (especially I like to combine with wood). So this smell fell in my eye … uh, nose. Here someone decided to make a men’s version of Habanita and then add a coconut to it. Very well. Coconut and tobacco do not seem to be very compatible ingredients at first glance, but the opposite seems to be true. Tobacco is obviously a central ingredient, but at the beginning there is more coconut that complements something like a rum baking aroma, and the tobacco that grows stronger until it absorbs everything else. But a small pinch of coconut sometimes peeks to the end and that the end is far away …. it holds over 12 hours.
A collection of two fragrances inspired by the beautiful book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
So, I have one good news – not one baobab on the horizon – and one worrying news – there is no rose. Well, rose. They wouldn’t promise her, but I suppose she should be in the perfume named after the Little Prince. Let’s conclude that it is so well protected that it cannot be smelled.
How does it smell? It is a very airy scent of wooden notes with lavender that gently evokes the old nostalgic fougére. But it is much more modern, not so cumbersome, and easily dreamy. My son says he feels a strange dusty tone in it. So I decided it would be the scent of a space dust
Despite the lightness and clarity, it can be felt it in the space and it holds on me for more than 12 hours.
Vain & Naïve
Here she is, found finally! Rose I mean. The second fragrance inspired by the Little Prince is dedicated to her. The glass hatch opened and the rose loosened. The little prince cared. It is preceded by the delightful aroma of citrus and accompanied by supporting notes of other flowers and fruits, but in the center is a light, delicate, fragile rose. Even with a little damp clay (yes, you need to water) and that cosmic-dusty tone that is a little smell in the B-612. The smell is light and joyous, and yes, maybe a little self-centered and a little naive.
Extrait de Cologne Collection
The Extrait de Cologne Collection pays tribute to the Turkish tradition of washing the hands of our guests with a fine Cologne, originally mostly lemon, now in a wide range of fragrances. And yes, that is why in Turkey you can see Cologne (kolonyasi) in stores available also in large, several-liter bottles.
A very classic-looking and high-quality aroma of the type, a distinctive and juicy blend of bitter citrus, and very concentrated, after all, like all the brand’s scents.
I do not know why this fragrance is included in the No Boundaries collection, I would expect it in line with the Colonisée fragrance. It is a cologne with a strong but smooth and pleasant tone of suede saffron.
Shadow Play Trilogy Line
Very interesting scent, slightly sharp, more men’s. The combination of citrus, oak moss and the tone of immature pineapple evokes a bit of Creed’s Aventus, but this may also be due to the fact that Creed was the first with this concept of the pineapple smellss and there is not too many pineapple fragrances. In any case, this one is much more concentrated and has a lightly oriental flair.
Miniature Art Collection
She immediately took me to a tea shop where you couldn’t resist smelling to one glass hatch after another, to teas of different qualities and provenance, distinctive, even less distinctive, pure and aromatized … until you looses yourself, and especially could not remeber the reason that originally brought you in. Then the smell takes me to my mom’s tea. When Mom cooks, it seems to her that if she adds more of each ingredient, the result will be somehow better. And since she adds from everything, she only comes out twice of the planned. This is somehow similar. A lot of tea, a bit more sugar than necessary, and a little more lemon, so that it was not too sweet … yet the overall result is excellent, even when the aroma of tea is unusualy expressive. It reminds me a bit of Philtre Ceylan from Atelier Cologne, but with an oriental twist.
Beautiful, gentle, creamy sandalwood, tender and feminine. With a tiny drop of ylang and vanilla to promote the femininity of the scent. Like soft satin. The name is from Czech language – santalové means made of sandalwood.
Very nicely and well used tuberose with a little fruity undertone, which by its power practically overwhelms any other ingredients. It has its potential – like all strong fragrances based on white flowers – should be dosed with caution. In any case, one of the best tuberoses I know.
Beautiful violet with tuberose. It is interesting how the tiny and inconspicuous violet in this case would not let the tuberosis to railroad it, as I originally expected, they actually are in very nice proportion. Violet is there complete, with her floral-fruity tinge (the tuberosis really complements very nicely), including the powdery aspect (perhaps iris here rushed-in to help), and with the green (tagetes). . There is a slightly earthy undertone and a bit of a sweet vanilla. But it’s not just one of a series of violet semi-soliflores, it’s a nice complex scent, I wouldn’t even rank it as pure floral scent.