It was love at first inhale. Lasting love. The sort of thing that in a perfumista’s world only happens once or twice in a hear, if we’re lucky. Even rarer, as the more perfume we try, the more jaded we become. Or prone to over analyzing and thus canceling out the state of grace which falling in love implies.
But Trayee is a state of grace in itself, and it reminds me once again of the fact that sublime beauty is rarely borne out of chaos and hazard. It is most of the time the result of intelligence, thoughtfulness, precision, skill, craftsmanship. And because nature can be such a true manifestation of outstanding beauty, some philosophers, thinkers and even scientists consider this as proof for the existence of God. Perfection needs an artisan they say.
In the case of Trayee, the artisans are perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and creative director Neela Vermeire. And it was a blessed, fruitful intellectual union. Neela, a Calcutta native, wanting to write a perfumed love letter to her homeland, and Bertrand, a passionate traveler, with a soft spot for India, have joined their fragrant memories and created four beautifully luxurious perfumes: Trayee, an exotic oriental, Mohur, a milky rose with a gourmand touch, Bombay Bling a juicy fruity floral and Ashoka, a fig imbued leather. I think it would be safe to say Mr.Duchaufour felt very much at ease, maybe even content and happy within this collaborative effort. The collection is very well made, coherent and all perfumes are at the same level of exquisiteness. I’m sure Neela’s Indian smile, warm, genuine, friendly, worked wonders in smoothing over any kinks in the process.
I’ve smelled all, some more briefly than others, but I knew even before smelling them which one will be my favorite and I was right. Trayee is stunning from beginning until the blissful, relaxing drydown.
The inspiration for Trayee is the ancient history of India, the spiritual Vedic period, a time shrouded in obscurity, back to which Hinduism and the branches of Yoga and Ayurveda are tracing their roots. A time of various deities, sacrificial rituals, hierarchical organization of society and multiple forms of marriage.
I think in a way, Trayee is inspired by the core of what makes India such an exotic and fascinating land, from an Western point of view. I have about 10 books of Yoga in the house plus 3 or 4 of Ayurveda plus a better half that is doing his asanas everyday for at least two hours, and still all this is a bit of a foreign mystery to me.
The Indian spirituality is a very complex, colorful mélange of beliefs that vary from region to another, from one cast to the other and sometimes even between the members of the same social class. And I believe Trayee reflects that through its multi layered composition, that somehow blends seamlessly to form a singular unity.
Maybe it’s fair to say Trayee is all about the incense, I don’t know, I think it’s just as much about woods, spices and flowers. But indeed this is such an original treatment of incense that I had a hard time recognizing it, same feeling I had when smelling Timbuktu for the first time, another one of Bertrand Duchaufour’s creations. What I love about these two incense interpretations is how NOT church like they smell. Not that there’s something wrong with that alternative,nbut it is very interesting to see what else can be done with this beautiful raw material. And Bertrand Duchaufour has smashed the church’stained glass windows, broken down the walls and let the light in. He allowed the incense tendrils to waft freely over the hot, dry, dusty land of the African continent and in the case of Trayee to unfold simply and happily in a small, unfussy Indian temple near a spice and fruit market close to the banks of the Ganges river.
The incense in Trayee is nearly a gourmand one, it’s so incredibly scrumptious. It opens pulpy, fruity, spicy, after a short while it becomes milkier, creamier, more floral, I can smell the sensuous jasmine, slowly the smoke gets a tad stronger, the woods are more pronounced too, but it stays all the while very smooth, rounded and appetizing, the vanilla working its delicious magic. What I love most about Trayee is how it changes on the skin, how different facets are highlighted from one day to the other. I can never predict what my nose will pick up next.
A few days ago was the first time when I could see the illusion of a rose. I mean is not even listed as a component but I literally saw it, materializing out of thin air in front of my eyes, a deep pink one, soft like velvet, turning slowly, like a woman showing off a splendid couture gown. It only lasted for a couple of minutes, but I could nearly faint with delight. Then yesterday it was the cardamom’s turn. I adore this spice, to me it’s on the same irresistible scale level as good vanilla. And tonight the creaminess of jasmine and sandalwood. The quality of the raw materials in this fragrance is undeniable, it’s amazing how natural and intoxicating they smell like.
The mood of the fragrance is of calm happiness, is about savoring the present moment. Is about switching off the rat race of the mind and surrender to peace and serenity. Basically Trayee is good Ayurvedic medicine for the soul. Every spiritual first aid kit should have it: smell some Trayee and all will be well in your world again.
The impressive list of notes:
Blue ginger, elemi, cinnamon, ganja accord, blackcurrant absolute, basil, jasmine sambac, Egyptian jasmine, cardamom absolute, clove, saffron, Javanese and Haitian vetiver, incense, Mysore sandalwood oil, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, cedar, amber notes, oud palao from Laos, oak moss.
DISCLAIMER: I won a full bottle of Trayee via a Facebook contest organized by Neela Vermeire Créations before Christmas. I’m still amazed by my luck, especially as it happened while I was waiting for some difficult news. You see, I told you Trayee is magic! This hasn’t impacted my review in any way. I had this perfume on my wish list for the past two years, but my focus was always shifted by various deals, sales promotions, cheaper bottles, because yes Trayee is damn expensive. It was supposed to be my January 2015 bottle, as I’d already gone over budget for 2014. But I got lucky! Please don’t hate me and trust me when I tell you this perfume is worth at least a sample if not more.