Perfume Review: Yatagan by Caron
It is the strangest thing…Certain words, certain images are incredibly, inexplicably alluring for me, khan, sultan, janissary, yatagan…When I hear Middle Eastern, especially Turkish music, I feel an unaccountable longing... for what, I don’t even know. If I believed in previous life, I would have thought I was an Ottoman warrior of some sort in my prior incarnation. Perhaps, the blood will indeed always tell, and, as Bierce has said, a Russian is a person with a Caucasian body and a Mongolian soul. And it is that soul of mine that loves and craves Yatagan by Caron.
Created in 1976, this woody-leathery chypre is one of those odd, ugly-beautiful scents (like Muscs Koublai Khan, Kolnisch Juchten, Djedi) that somehow manage to be surprisingly wearable. Named after a Turkish saber with a curved blade, Yatagan smells of grass, moss, earth, leather and hot, hungry, cruel bodies. It is an uncompromisingly dry and austere fragrance with no frills, i.e. no sweetness and no flowers. The first accord hits you with dark, sharp greenness of wormwood and artemisia, and after that aggressive start the scent never subsides, never relents. It gets darker and earthier, with notes of patchouli, vetiver, moss and labdanum being most prominent in the composition. Several wonderfully weird hours later, the leather and musk creep in bringing an even drier and quite animalic quality to the blend. Dirty, dry, devilishly alluring, Yatagan is one of the strangest scents I have ever loved, a dark balm for my “Mongolian” soul.
Yatagan is available at Imagination Parfumery, $27.99 for 4.2oz.