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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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.

30 Comments:

Blogger Dusan said...

I'm also a fan of the Orient even though Greece is the easternmost point I've been to. Islamic music is indeed captivating. Haven't had any experience with Yatagan (either the sabre or the perfume ;-)) but I'm sure your lovely post does it justice.
Btw, I'm still puzzled about my Sunday comment (was I so absent-minded and forgot to click on the *login and publish* button after previewing it or my long-winded comment needed deleting?). I sure wanted to raise the bank balance. :-)

12:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Christina H. said...

to tell you the truth,I'm scared!The Mongolian description and reference just has me thinking of MKK(shudders)and how it smelled on me.If this is very similar to that,I'm afraid this would be no good for me either!

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Arrghhh--believe it or not, I have never smelled this. But from your description, it sounds as if it's right up my alley. I love Caron, too. I guess I'm sunk!

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Cait Shortell said...

I haven't smelled this either. Yatagan is a beautiful word. Maybe that's what I will name my first born. That or Rumplestiltskin.

10:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

OMG, Marina, I just saw your reply. I got the dates all mixed up, so I guess I'm the stupid one, not the blogger! Sooorry!
Didn't mean to make you cry with the post but it just was as heartbreaking as you say. Thank you for your kind words about my Russian, I do love your language and literature :-). Glad you like ULTRAVIOLET.
Hugs

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Dusan,
There is a lovely comment from you that was made on Sunday, however it is under the Saturday's post. It doesn't matter fundraising-wise though, because I was counting the commenters both days. So you certainly helped to raise the bank balance!

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
It similar to MKK "in spirit", not in actual smell :-) MKK us way, way more musky and animalic. Yatagan is drier and more "herbal" to my nose. So don't be scared...:-D

11:14 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Judtih,
You've got to try this one. There is a very good chance that you will like it a lot. And it's so cheap!

11:14 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Cait,
:-) He he he. Seriously? Well, it is better than Apple,that's for sure...:-)

11:16 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Dusan,
Well, it made me cry in a "good way". I was soppy all weekend anyway with all the heart-warming posts and comments. Thank you very much for ebing the part of our fundraising effort!

11:17 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

hmmmm... there's a discount perfumerie right down on Broadway that might have this one. I might have to run over there at lunch..

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I love Yatagan. My intense affinity with the Middle East and Asia in general must be in the blood, based on the family origins. Plus, Ukraine is located on the cross-roads between East and West (well, pretty much every single Eastern European country claims this.)

1:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

T,
if you do get to try it, please let me know what you think!

2:29 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
I knew we'd be on the same wavelength here! :-) Yay for Eurasia! :-D

2:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Prince Barry said...

I know it sounds strange, but I get a distinct celery note in the top notes from Yatagan.

4:10 PM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Hmmm, I'm with Christina, the notes scare me in the same way as MKK. I know, I'm a big chicken, but I'm usually too far out on the perfume rope as it is. :)

4:22 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Prince Barry,
Does not sound stange to me at all. I get the celery note in Ormonde (women's).

7:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty,
Do not be frightened. It isn't nearly as scary/dirty/animalic as MKK. Not nearly.

7:01 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Oh, I LOVE this one! It was one of the first masculine fragrances I ever tried (many years ago!) that made me realize that the world of men's fragrance was not just the hellish one of Old Spice and Hai Karate, but had things like this in it. Elegant, dry, manly and sexy as hell!

The name is genius and just right. I also have visions of the romance of the East - turns out it's not so fabulous after all, most of the time, but hey I love the fantasy!

7:58 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Flora,
"Elegant, dry, manly and sexy as hell!! Yes! Yous said it all in one sentence. Perfection.

10:44 PM EDT  
Blogger The Scented Salamander said...

Yatagan sounds wonderful. I will have to try it sometime. I suppose you wear it yourself?

There is an inexplicable and powerful charm for me too in the experience of an Eurasian/Eurasiatic culture where East and West meet.

4:18 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Mimi,
Oh, I wear it! I got my beady eye on that 4.2oz bottle at Imagination Parfumery...to better douse myself with Yatagan :-)

6:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

well I found a different place that did have it and I bought one-oh my! it's brilliant! I love it! The first hit I got had my nose buried in the crook of my arm, inhaling deeply and moaning "oh god". Wonderfully complex, decadent, divine but eminently wearable. A true find, and I thank you for turning me on to it.

I'm "came over with the Mayflower" New England: is it possible that I could have developed a Mongolian soul?

10:38 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

You are an honorary Mongolian :-)

Congratulations on the purchase!

10:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous Masood said...

Hi,Im from Iran and as you know it is in middle east..see its my favorite perfume.I read all previous comments..word "Yatagan" which we pronounce it "yataGHan" ..Im sorry talk so much!!
I love this smell and I have a question..are you agree with me,this pefume smells like fresh "walnut" ?
or in iran we say,it smells "hashish" which is some kind of drug..anyway, I can not buy it in iran.anybody know how many type does this perfume has?because i see it in two size..small and bigger one.maybe 75ml and 150 ml ! Im not sure
anybody know which one is original and how can I but it?

3:28 PM EST  
Blogger pseuperfly said...

I have loved Yatagan for years; it's so straight and woodsy and direct and dry, and on a man I find it wildly erotic (though Bel Ami, on a man, makes me lose my composure entirely). Anyway, I wear Yatagan too, but it's a hair too dry for me, so on impulse I layered it with Ambre Sultan, and what a revelation. I am in love with them together.

2:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cologne Lover said...

Yatagan is strong by today's standards but not by 1976 standards when colognes were redolent of all kinds of spices and herbs.

I really enjoy the wormwood/artemisia opening. There is a dryness to the scent but it has a comforting base of something musky with the slightest hint of sweetness. I also get a pronounced vetiver note that lingers at the end.

3:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Vince said...

I've been familiar with Yatagan since 1976 when it was first on the market. I use to buy it at Prin Temps in Paris. About five years later it was no longer made available in Paris. I use to ask the Caron kiosk salesperson to sell me what ever they had and therefore I've I stashed it for over 30 years!. So glad to hear that I can now buy it through the Internet. Its a very special cologne for me.

12:02 AM EST  
Blogger Vince said...

I've been familiar with Yatagan since 1976 when it was first on the market. I use to buy it at Prin Temps in Paris. About five years later it was no longer made available in Paris. I use to ask the Caron kiosk salesperson to sell me what ever they had and therefore I've I stashed it for over 30 years!. So glad to hear that I can now buy it through the Internet. Its a very special cologne for me.

12:03 AM EST  
Anonymous Emmeline said...

The dude is totally right, and there is no suspicion.

1:22 PM EDT  

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