Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parfums Nicolaï - Maharanih

A "fruitchouli" for the more refined palate

According to The Perfume Shrine, the perfumista term "fruitchouli" was coined sometime in 2009 to describe a flood of unoriginal perfumes on the market that combined sweet, fruity notes with patchouli. In a similar post, Grain de Musc adds "patchrose" (patchouli + rose) to the list of overused perfume accords of 2009. The patchouli frenzy may have had something to do with the popularity of 1992's Angel. It may also have been a result of new EU restrictions on the use of oakmoss in perfumes - making perfumers look to patchouli to add depth to their perfumes.

So what makes this fruity rose and patchouli a great perfume and different from the run-of-the-mill? I think Patricia de Nicolaï's Maharanih, released in 2006, is gorgeous and classically composed because of the way all her notes are perfectly balanced. Maharanih starts with a sweet juicy orange that is combined with a bitter orange peel. In the heart, a deep wine-red rose is combined with a lighter, creamy carnation. The spiciness of the carnation is reinforced with cinnamon - a note that also compliments the jammy rose and holds the two flowers together. There is an earthy patchouli in the base, but I also can actually smell the sandalwood. A smudge of civet makes this a woman's perfume, not a little girl's.

As much as we who sniff whine about boring "fuitchoulis", I find one annoying fact inescapable: the men we love seem to love it. Well mine does. I can be certain that anything in that category will be instantly deemed "sexy" by him. So, if I want to indulge him once in a while, why not do it with a beautiful and sophisticated perfume like Maharani? Plus, it's such a happy perfume! It makes me smile too.

House: Parfums Nicolaï
Nose: Patricia de Nicolaï
Notes: Top notes : Citrus : sweet orange oil, bitter orange zest
Heart : Spicy and floral : rose oil, carnation, cinnamon
Bottom notes : Woody : patchouly oil and absolute, sandalwood, synthetic civet

Picture: Lucy Nieto


  1. "Synthetic civet" - eek, they actually name it!

    Flittersniffer aka VM I hate civet : - )

    I don't mind patchouli myself, in judicious doses, and I love rose, so I would gingerly give this a spin.

  2. Beautiful photo.

    I'm gradually finding out, by reading other people's reviews of this, that I am the ONLY person who gets well-worn jockstrap out of Maharanih. I mean, it's lovely for three hours, then it's all, well, balls. (Did I just say that?) There are other scents with civet that I love - Ubar, Climat, Parfum Sacre, MFK Lumiere Noire pour femme - but this one gets too hyper-realistic Boys' Locker Room for me to love.

    Like I say, though, I must be alone in identifying that particular note...

    I have great difficulties with patchouli - I tend to dislike it, and really only do well with very, VERY small quantities - unless it is tempered with a goodly dose of either rose or vanilla. I don't notice a lot of patch in Maharanih, actually, although I might simply be distracted by the boxer shorts.

  3. Flittersniffer: Mme. Nicolaï may have been catering to the more sensitive animal-rights crowd when she specified "synthetic" civet. Watch out, museinwoodenshoes seems to get a lot of civet in this.

    Museinwoodenshoes: I'm not a big patchouli lover either. I don't like it much dirty or in it's cleaned-up chocolatey form. But if it's just used as an anchor, to add a little depth, like here, then it's ok. Maybe it's the civet that makes this all "balls" for you? I'm not as sensitive to it as you and flittersniffer seem to be. I really didn't smell a lot of civet. Maybe I like it a little "personal."

    Hmm, I wonder if that's what makes it sexy to my husband?

  4. I'm a patchouli lover.So these fruitchoulis and patchroses were refreshing for a bit. So sick of the fruity-florals and pink peppers on the market.
    I can guarantee that the civet is making this "schweaty" balls on some people :)
    My husband loves what I call "primitive" jasmines and gardenias, obnoxious soliflores. I wished he liked more skanky scents like this because that's what I like to wear. But, I know what you mean about "indulging" him once in a while. Yes, I'll wear Michael Kors EDP or Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia just for him.

  5. EauMG: I like a good jasmine or gardenia soliflore, but I agree they're not sexy. If only mars and venus could agree on perfume.

  6. Maharanhi sounds gorgeous. Orange, rose, carnation and cinnamon - all notes I love, but I'll have to sniff this one from the sidelines. I have a feeling this would go urinous on me.

    I love how you identify it as perfume for women. I have been in mourning for adulthood as the world is taken over by teen obsessions, such as that Bieber kid and smelling like candy. What's wrong with being a "grown-up"?

  7. JoanElaine: The teen obsession of our culture is annoying but there are some glimmers of hope for us adults: like the way Christina Hendricks and Mad Men have crept into style this fall. I'm waiting for skanky perfumes to make a big comeback.

  8. You had me completely until the cinnamon...

    Unfortunately, I just can't do that note in perfume - it makes my nose ache.

    Great review, though.

  9. Josepine: Thank you. And I thought you might say that about the cinnamon. You mentioned having a problem with it on my Gardenia review. For me it's clove.


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