Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wintery Fragrant Musings: Loukoum

La Sultane de Saba Loukoum body lotion

I know, it's only a bath and body product and not a real perfume, but I dearly wish this amazing scent was still available in the US. The warm and mellow, slightly spicy but mostly hippy-earthy fragrance was my ultimate comfort scent. Unfortunately, the only carrier I know of no longer has it, and I haven't heard back from the company in France about whether they ship products to the US (and am no longer holding my breath). So, once again, I decided to play the mad scientist to see if I could come up with a layering blend that came reasonably close to this aromatic splendor. As I had jotted down in my review of La Sultane de Saba Loukoum back in 2009, the notes are: white almond milk, honey, rose oil, lemon, clove and cinnamon. The composition is based on a confection known as Turkish delight (lokum, or loukoum).

Why not try other loukoum scents, you say? I of course sought out all of the loukoum scents I could think of, revisiting Serge Lutens Rahät Loukoum and Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum, then went out on a limb with a sample of Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (a fragrance I never would have tried with a name like that, till I learned of the notes), but came up batting zero. They're all wonderful perfumes, but they seem focused on musk. I also retried Louve, a perfume I think of as Rahät Loukoum's younger sister, which started out a spicy, musky almond that went through a milky-soapy "Fresh Mukki" phase before turning into a potent rose on my skin.

I wanted something sweet and powdery but almost headshop-woody with sandalwood (the smoky, incensey kind), with or without a bit of patchouli (as long as it didn't go "Prada" on me), since the scented lotion in mind seemed to have some in the base, in an ayurvedic way. I also revisited honey scents: Brousseau Ombre Rose and Tokyo Milk Honey and the Moon; the former is as sophisticated as Aldehydic Florals are known to be (yes, I've read many perfume books that brought home this fact, which might also explain why Chanel No.5 is crowned the end-all of sophistication) but it was way too powdery and violetty for my mood, while the latter proved too intensely sweet (even for me, but that's a honey perfume for you).

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque should have fit the bill, but the peppery notes seemed too angular in my need for a pillowy soft comfort scent. Then, I came across Miriam Mirani Aqaba with all its seductive Oriental-Mediterranean aromas of a trip to the Red Sea - and voila - the cinnamon-honey-rose-amber-woods composition was getting closer to the scent I longed to replace. Finally, my faithful stand-by Molinard Vanille, with its bodacious vanilla atop a hint of patchouli, just about completed my formula du jour.

All that, mind you, was layered over Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie. Not bad for a day at home anticipating the blizzard that left us with a whole 3 inches of loukoum-like powdery dusting.