Answering the call and response in the European fragrance world for elaborate, Arab-styled perfumes, Yves Saint Laurent have launched their Oriental Collection. Following on from Armani Privé La Collection des Mille et une Nuits, Christian Dior La Collection Privée, Guerlain Les Deserts d'Orient, and way after By Kilian's gorgeous and comprehensive variations on an oudy theme, the Arabian Nights collection, YSL's easterly-tinged trio provides three respectable tries to woo the lucrative Arab market.
Majestic Rose eschews the crash bang wallop of bludgeoning rose ouds from Dior (Rose Ispahan), Armani (Rose d'Arabie) and Bond No. 9 (Signature). YSL's take is smoother and creamier, heading in the direction of By Kilian Rose Oud (the most beautiful and nuanced Euro-Arabian oud perfume I've ever experienced).
Majestic Rose isn't as buttery and burred as the By Kilian, but they share a dusting of saffron and a honeyed nuttiness that makes it soothing to wear. The oud in Majestic Rose glows of warm latex, rather than the industrial-strength oily bleach stank of many commercial oud fumes. Majestic Rose does a wipeout in the drydown, though, when a monolithic sweet wood smell asserts itself.
Supreme Bouquet is boisterous bunch o' flowers with lashings of bright, syrupy jasmine and candied fruit. Out of the Oriental Collection's three offerings, SB provides the best “halo” in the air around the wearer: it's a festival of sweet florals and heady femininity. It's too beyond-Fracas sweet for me, but if Miss Lady Flower Power is your bag, then Supreme Bouquet will be your bag, too.
Noble Leather lingers on the skin like a hug of spicy earth, and is the corrective to Supreme Bouquet's floral flibbertigibbety-ness. As sober as it smells next to the other two members of the Oriental Collection, Noble Leather is still a busy little bonanza of elements: a dried fruit/tobacco deal plushed out with amber and arid vanilla. It develops at a stately pace, is coherent to the end, and wears like a less cloying version of Serge Lutens Chergui.
Painting: The Beloved ('The Bride') by Dante Gabriel Rossetti