Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blogging the Madinis: Sahara and Alma de Alma

Sahara and Alma de Alma are both built around a pretty amber/citron accord, but they put it to work in very different ways. Sahara's opening has a hefty dose of citrus, giving it a distinctly masculine character in its first moments. Madini's signature amber, which is old school--sweet and rich--emerges quickly to mellow things out, and Sahara seems quite unisex from that point on. The citrus note hangs on in a secondary role, and myrrh in the base keeps the sugariness of the amber under control. Although there aren't any discernible green notes, the overall effect is fresh, almost like a fougere. This is a scent that wouldn't seem out of place on a walk in the woods (or the desert, I suppose.)

Alma de Alma, by contrast, is a perfect sugar rush of a scent. The citron is there, but it's definitely the candied variety. Talisman lists musk as a note, and that seems plausible, though it's so thoroughly melded with the amber that I can't separate the two. Alma de Alma doesn't really evolve as it dries down, but it does expand. The delicate sweetness of the opening is unchecked as the citron fades, so it becomes heavy and unsubtle. The whole experience is a little like being smothered with a velvet pillow--not bad in the beginning, but increasingly intolerable as time passes.

That said, Alma de Alma is a fantastic blending scent. It provides a gorgeous base for any of the Madini soliflores. Not surprisingly, it partners very nicely with Sahara, creating a smooth, soothing nectar.

Adam and Eve, Jan van Scorel, c.1540. Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Tania said...

I haven't tried wearing Alma de Alma with others oils, maybe I will! I do find it a bit dull on it's own. Needs more cowbell. Or something.
Sahara I've never ordered because it does sound like a fougere kind of thing, and those don't suit me much.
Thaks for these reviews, I do like to see what you think of the Madinis!
Have you tried Black Musk? Now that's a layer-er if ever I met one.

Julie H. Rose said...

Now that's I've tried Sahara (thank you!) I can't imagine it being a "masculine" scent. For me, it screams "perfume!", which sounds terrible, of course, but I'm loving it. It feels like what the screaming scents all wish they could be. I find it quite sweet, which surprises me from your description.

BitterGrace said...

You're right, it is sweet and rather perfumey, but compared to Alma de Alma, it's positively butch. This is the danger of reviewing more than one scent at a go. Actually, lots of people say, and I agree, that Sahara smells a lot like Dior Dune. Perhaps it was intended to, given the name. Several of the Madinis are clearly modeled on popular frags. Fez=Paris, Mirage=Amirage, etc.