Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random rave: Azahar, Madini

If you asked me to name just one perfume to lift a dark mood, it would be Madini Azahar. This simple orange blossom fragrance is good cheer in a bottle, and it won't leave a hangover in its wake. In fact, one of the nicest things about Azahar is its slow, smooth fade. Unlike many of its natural sisters*, it doesn't disappear in seconds, nor does it slide into the nasty metal-and-vinegar stink that seems to be the trade-off for the greater lasting power of synthetics.

Azahar lacks the high-pitched clarity of that queen of all orange blossom soliflores, Serge Lutens' Fleurs d'Oranger; but it compensates with a depth the Lutens scent lacks. Fleurs d'Oranger has the kinetic joy of a honeybee buzzing from flower to flower; Azahar suggests the bee's ecstasy as it settles into the blossom's embrace. Azahar's quieter presence lets you enjoy its sunny sweetness even in midwinter, without feeling that you're screaming out your discontent with the season.

Perhaps it's a little crass to mention money in a random rave, but with Azahar affordability is part of the pleasure. You can get a 3ml roll-on bottle--which will last a long time--for well under $20. Tigerflag Natural Perfumery carries Azahar and a nice assortment of other Madinis. A complete selection can be found at Talisman. I've had excellent service from both, but Tigerflag usually has faster shipping and tucks in some free samples.

*The Madini perfumes are supposed to be naturally sourced. I have no idea whether Azahar is in fact birthed from real flowers, but it certainly smells true to Mother Nature. See the post at Tigerflag's blog for further discussion of the issue.

Orange Blossom painting by Mary E. Eaton, from National Geographic Magazine, June 1917. Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Julie H. Rose said...

Thank you. I'm delighted to discover an inexpensive yet lovely scent. Have you tried any other Madini perfume oils? I looked at the site - there are so many offerings!

BitterGrace said...

I've got a lot of the Madinis--about 50, in fact. Some of them are impressively complex, others just very straight-ahead single notes. Azahar, Four Seasons and Papillon are probably the three I reach for the most. I keep meaning to review more of them. Maybe you could give me some motivation by requesting a review of one you're interested in. If it's in my collection, I'll do a review to order ;-)

Perfumeshrine said...

There's something in orange blossom that makes it such a happy smell. It's uncanny how it always, always lifts my mood.

BTW, I had got the mail the first time, it turns out and had replied (resent the reply just now, hope you get it). The short answer is "yes, please" :-))

chayaruchama said...

Lovely to see your feelings about the Madinis !
I'll have to count mine, I guess; I'm awfully fond, as well.
Tremendous bang-for-buck, as well as quality...

Azahar, along with their Jasmin and Nard- show how 'animalic' flowers can be; these are as potent as any extraits one could wish !

I gravitate to the Ambar Gris- so very me- and Mokhalate Malaki,Chipre,- but I LOVE their Malvaloca, Basil, Coriander, Myrtle.

Hell, I love 'em all.
And I ADORE Musk Pierre- like Bois de Copaiba or a derivative L'Heure Bleue for the poorer set.

Mary said...

I don't think I've ever tested any of the Madinis but they sure are tempting. Please do post some more reviews, M!

BitterGrace said...

I think a lot of people react that way to orange blossom, E. I get an amazing number of compliments on Azahar, considering what a simple little fragrance it is.

I completely agree with you, Chaya, about the Madini white florals. They really are potent and rich. Oddly, I find their rose fragrances very subdued by comparison. Their base rose is too dry to delight me.

Musk Pierre has got to be the smoothest musk ever. I would never have thought of the LHB comparison, but it's right on the money.

Have you ever tried layering the Ambar Gris with anything? I like a tiny dab of it with Bouquet--a trip to the souk! And talk about staying power.

Mary, maybe I'll try to do a Madini a week for a while. I won't start with the musks ;-)

Julie H. Rose said...

I'd be delighted if you did a Madini-a-week review! As I'm not a big musk fan (though maybe something will change my mind someday), I like your plan.

chayaruchama said...

Ah, Maria- YES !
Ambar Gris w/ Bouquet is great !

I layer it with Jasmine, Rose, Mokhalate Malaki, Azahar, Zahfran,Nard,Coriander, Santal Blanc, and the Musks...

A mind-reeling combo:
Teo Cabanel's Alahine, with a dab of Ambar Gris.
So erotic, it doesn't matter WHAT one looks like- only how one smells...

[Papillon is great with AG , too !]

I'd love to do a Madini week with you.

I wind up gifting them to friends, always; so nice to share.

BitterGrace said...

I guess everything goes better with a little Ambar Gris. I especially like a drop of it with Musk Gazelle, but that's a pretty outrageous combo. I'm not sure I'd wear that out of the house. Fortunately, Dave likes outrageous.

Maybe we could do some joint Madini posts, if you have the time. I'll email you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a lovely review, I'm also a Madini fan. Olive Flowers and Alma de Alma are amazing. I love how long lasting they are without being overpowering. All you need is a drop.
Musk Pierre is very smooth, but to me it's not close to either LHB or Bois de Copaiba. If I had to compare it with anything else, it'd probably be in the same camp as old Tabac Blond extrait.
I like layering Azahar with Ambre in the winter, it never fails to cheer me up.
Would love to read more of your reviews, Maria.

pikake/Trish said...

These all look lovely. I think they might contain synthetics as the website says "Some Madini perfumes might contain synthetic ingredients" whatever that's worth.

Would love lots of reviews too!!