Nejma One and Two by Pascal Morabito
These samples were thrown into a previous order I placed from the Swiss Montale Boutique a few months ago which now has become the “official” Nejma Boutique. During the big switch, this became a big mystery for me. I mean, why would the Montale boutique quit selling Montale scents? Why would they start selling the Nejma scents exclusively when Nejma is virtually unheard of? Well, here is my theory…
When I received my order in November, Nejma only had two scents. At the time of this writing, there are five official releases. What note is common to all five scents? Aoud wood. Do you see where I am going with this? I bet Mr. Montale is steaming (although he probably shouldn’t be).
I had a horrible time reviewing Nejma One and Two. I wanted desperately to like them. I mean, read the descriptions! They sound heavenly. I have been wearing them off and on since promising Marina that I would work on a review of them. Unfortunately, for me, they were scrubbers! I just couldn’t stand the thought of hating both of them so I decided to do something a little different. I brought the samples with me to work and tried them on my friend Donna (she owns a bedding store called “Buenas Noches”, pretty clever, huh?). She carries several lines of fragrances in her store and is no stranger to describing fragrances. More importantly, she has completely different skin chemistry than I have.
Nejma One - Aoud Vetiver Tabac
“This is a vibrant perfume, combining a subtle mixture of spices (peppery bay-rose, nutmeg and saffron); in harmony with a floral heart of orange flower, tobacco, wood of aoud and vetiver Haiti. The fragrance finds its sensual character and intensity in an agreement of sandalwood from Mysore, white musk and vanilla bourbon. (Please excuse the translation from French. All mistakes are MINE and Altavista Babble Fish’s).” From the Nejma website.
What do you get when you mix sweet tobacco with medicinal oud wood? You get the smell of urinal cake. This smells like a nasty men’s room at a bar filled with smokers. Week after week I tried this after having forgotten why I hated it. Believe me, it didn’t get any better. Of course after talking with Donna, I realized that my scent memories might be getting in the way of my enjoying this scent. Good God, all the time I spent in bars in my youth…depressed and lonely, desperately seeking love and romance and always disappointed. After having too many beers, I would stumble to the men’s room before heading home…alone. That’s the smell I am getting from this! Yuck!!!
Right away, Donna picked up the spicy, woody quality that I was missing. Being a woman, she didn’t know what urinal cake was (how lucky is she?). She called this one the more masculine of the two without knowing any of the ingredients. She is right. This one isn’t even unisex. She said the aoud note smelled like disinfectant. I laughed out loud at that one. In it’s drydown on her skin, it was a beautiful wood fragrance with hints of spice. We both agreed that on her this was the nicer of the two though it wasn’t unusual enough to warrant the price. Like I said before, on me this one was a scrubber.
Nejma Two - Rose Poudrée
“A delicate perfume whose subtle magic begins in an expression of rose (Othoman pink, pink Centifolia, pink Prélude) sublimated by violet, by jasmine sambac and Ylang-ylang. Purest, rare and invaluable essences are harmonized in the respect of the oldest traditions of perfumery and its art. The richness of this perfume will reveal to you a little more of its secrecies: aoud, amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, broad bean tonka, and coumarin...” From the Nejma website.
Nejma Two starts off with a very clear aoud wood note wrapped around a very powdery floral accord. Personally, I couldn’t discern any of the florals that Mr. Morabito describes. These are brilliantly blended florals that merge together forming a very strange new flower smell. It smells a lot like pollen. Donna thought it was way too powdery and didn’t like it. She said that it reminded her of medicated powder (the aoud once again rears its ugly head). She didn’t care for it at all.
In the first hour, I didn’t really like it because it was very feminine smelling with all of that wonderful floral accord I mentioned which has killer sillage. After a couple of hours, I noticed that everything was settling nicely but was now very powdery. However, after about four or five hours, I loved it. The florals and the aoud had finally melded into a nice skin scent with floral nuances and woody tones. Would I ever buy this…no. It took way too long to get to something that I might eventually like. Would this smell nice on a woman, absolutely yes. It’s strong and long lasting and it’s different enough from the Montales I have tried to warrant testing this for sure.
Both of these scents could have easily come from the house of Montale. This is sad for me to say but they have uncanny similarities! And now that all five scents have been released, the similarities are a little perturbing. I want something new, not something that has been done to death. I want to thank Donna for her help because without her, I wouldn’t have tried them again. She brought an interesting perspective to the process. It was fun but I still don’t want either of these.
Nejma One and Nejma Two are available in 100ml bottles from the Nejma Boutique in Switzerland. The website calls them “perfumes”, nothing more specific than that and they cost 195 chf (Swiss francs) which equals about $169. http://www.nejma-parfums.com