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Monday, January 07, 2008

Nejma One and Two by Pascal Morabito

By Kelley

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.


Blogger Gail S said...

I haven't tried Nejma 2, but Nejma 1 is the one and only fragrance I have ever described as smelling "like bug spray". Seriously, pure Raid on me!

11:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gack, these sound very strange, especially the first one. It sounds very much like aspects of my all-time perfume Nemesis, Christian Lacroix C'est La Vie, which has so much skank in it that it does indeed resemble a public bathroom. Thanks for the warning, I will avoid these! Love most of the Montales though, and it's too bad these are not as good - I am an oud fan, but I can certainly see how it could go horribly wrong if it does not have an expert hand in the making of the fragrance.

It is indeed a mystery what happened to that "Montale" boutique. Hopefully there will be an explanation if it at some point.

12:08 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Well, thanks for taking the bullet on that one, and thanks for saving me the money..

BTW- did I mention to you that Sables is available at Bloomingdales in the Beverly Center?

12:17 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Gail S, bug spray is a good analogy! Hah! I have passed my sample on to other people and haven't heard that one yet but so far no one has liked them. I am going to try and get the newest three that Nejma just released. Who knows, maybe they will get better?

12:44 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Flora, as I tend to be a little dramatic, they might not be all that bad. However, I also have this horrible habit of remembering things better than they actually were. I can't tell you how many times I have romanticized a scent previously owned and gave away, only to re-purchase and then remember why I didn't like it! And, of course, give it away again.

I am thinking that Mr. Montale freaked out because Mr. Morabito started creating aoud fragrances in direct competition with him. Although, I don't think Montale has anything to worry about yet.

12:48 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, have I thanked you recently for sending the sample of Sables to me all those months ago? I absolutely love it! I got my bottle on Ebay but hearing it's at Bloomingdales makes me smile. Although, do you think it was an ordering goof? If it was a goof, do you think it will go on sale? Hmmm, keep an eye out for a deep discount...if you get a chance that is.

12:51 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

If there's a deep discount I will make a bulk purchase- but I don't think Bloomindales would do that.

Also- it looks slightly reformulated; the juice is slightly greener and the scent seems less intense.

1:05 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! That's terrible news. I will have to check out this rumor. You tested it and that was your experience? Weak? Green? OK, I will stock up...

1:08 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Thanks! You've reminded me again why I must *not* get sucked in by the descriptions given on web sites. They make both of those scents sound practically custom made for me. Without easy access to samples, I could see myself having potentially succumbed to placing an unsniffed order late at night when I'm up working, exhausted and procrastinating by looking for shopping comfort on the net.

7:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, I should have said that I will stock up on the old juice! Thanks for the heads up!

9:50 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

elle, my pleasure. I like to think of PST as a blog of love, where we help each other find/try/experience scents that we might not come across without a little help. Living where I do, without help, I would be lost! My resolution this year is (it was pretty much the same last year but with a new twist this year) to buy fewer bottles and only those pre-tested or pre-owned or those bottles that got a glowing review from somebody I trust.

10:02 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

A blog of love! Aww. Yes, yes it is a blog of love :-)

10:34 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yez, it is zee blog of luv. Actually, I feel that too. One of the things that I really appreciate about the community here and at NST is how civil everyone is. Some places I go, I enjoy reading the main article but am afraid to scroll down to the reader comments, for fear they will set my hair on fire. So thanks to everyone for that. It's like a virtual haven from rudeness.
I want to try an aoud fragrance, but not sure where to start. Anyone have a recommendation? Thanks in advance!


3:03 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

All you need is lo...I mean, White Aoud. I would start the acquaintance with aouds with a gentler one of them, which is White (A)Oud.

3:34 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Existentialist, White Aoud is a great recommendation as it is a soft aoud that is wonderfully satisfying. With a little history, it might be that there is another of the aouds I could recommend. Are you drawn to the bold and stranger scents or do you tend to like gourmands or how about florals? Tell me a little of what you enjoy wearing and I will see what I can do for you.

4:43 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marina, I honestly feel the love every time I sign into Perfume-Smellin' Things! This site is all about helping people pursue and find enjoyment through fragrance. It is truly a higher calling (said with a grin and only a little in jest)...

4:47 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelley, you are so right, and Colombina is our guiding light! :-D

1:19 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kelley,

It is very nice of you to offer to advise me. I will get a sample of White Aoud for starters, but I will tell you that my current favorite scent is Domenico Caraceni 1913, but other favorites are Balmain's Jolie Madame, Estee Lauder's Youth Dew, and Cumming. And I dislike civet for the most part.
I'm looking forward to your suggestions!


2:27 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Existentialist, if you like Cumming DC Homme, I am pretty sure you will like Black Aoud which is strange and heavy on the rose. Notes for BA are Rose, Aoud, Ambergris, and Patchouli. While Aoud Lime has the added spiciness of Saffron and has a wonderful iris note. Take note that Aoud Lime doesn't really have lime in it, it does contain an accord that smells fresh and like lime. I also think you should try Aoud Cuir d'Arabie, the true to life leather/aoud that is hypnotic.

Good luck!

5:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelley, thank you very much. I've added all those to my Perfumed Court wish list. I just read the review of Black Aoud on NST , and it sounds like something I would like very much. Thanks again!


1:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am french and i just try the Nejma Four and Five.
I can tell you that they are very very good.
They send me some samples and i have ordered on the website!

10:27 AM EST  

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