This happens often. I pull out a perfumes sample pack, start testing one by one, taking notes for “drafts&quick sniffs“, and usually the one from which I expect the most, or the one I’m uncertain of mentioning at all -is the last one to be worn and tested extensively on my skin.
Unutamam had to wait. Truth to be told, I simply needed time to focus on it properly, I don’t like to rush a perfume. It sat on my desk for weeks, even months now, placed there with a purpose: to tempt me, because the perfumer signing it – Miguel Matos has thoroughly, positively shocked me with Jungle Jezebel he created for Sarah Baker: you can find my short review here.
I was looking at Unutamam, it stared right back at me.
Do I like being surprised by a perfume? I do: don’t want just to smell nice, I want more, I believe in perfume as an art form! When it does surprise me, the level of expectations for any future work of the perfumer creating it rises: that’s a double-edged sword to be dealt with.
Would I wear such perfumes? Of course, I would! I do because what is the purpose of art but not to move you, shake you up, make you stop right in your tracks, wonder, feel, change, renew, tickle your thoughts? I remembered reading a quote on dear Robert Herrmann‘s (fragrance journalist for CaFleureBon, The Fragrant Wanderer) Facebook page cover: “Life is too short for polite fragrance.”
Picasso once said: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” and I couldn’t agree more with this definition.
Back to Unutamam – meaning “I can’t forget” in Turkish. A song (composed by the renown Turkish artist Sezen Aksu, sung by Ebru Gündes, you should really hear it first – here) – this is inspiration behind this perfume, a feeling, an emotion, desire and passion – something we can all identify with, because feelings are the universal language, drawing a map of world with No Boundaries.
“I didn’t forget I can’t forget
My hopeless love, don’t worry
If this is called living I’ve lived but
Most of my life stayed in you.
Am I regretful? Never.
I became more beautiful with grief.“
Well, hello Unutamam. Aman taman – your time has come, I thought. I remembered Nishane’s wonderful new collection launch party in Milan, how we all listened to this song, most of us not understanding its words: just feeling it, eyes closed.
The first spray, and the first tacts of Unutamam: an intense opening with a whiplash of rosemary bursting through the air, brightened by minty-cool tones and a dash of dry lavender backing it up.
If the word lavender comes from Latin lavare, to wash, this kind of lavender washes the “daily dust off my soul” as I feel its herbaceous-sweet side, swaying toward tenderly aromatic-spicy, inviting. Miguel says that’s an Oregano twist he added to the classic fougere structure…
It glides on, warming up on my skin with traces of gentle smoke swirling towards the ceiling in a room with windows obscured by heavy curtains, adding shade and slowing down its rhythm, as if warming up.
Traces of jasmine arise, resembling moments when you can smell the trail of flowers in a room that once hosted an exuberant, lush bouquet in a vase, but then somebody walked in and removed it while it was still very fresh.
Only a handful of white and red petals are left behind: it feels as if the layer of florals, now turning spicy, was lifted to make place for a smooth transition from the heart of brightness to the body of seductiveness, underlined with veils of smoke brewing underneath.
Level of undertones rises, revealing a thick, matte layer which feels like rough black leather soaked in patchouli and castoreum, binding you to the ground with just a hint of moss lurking quietly from beneath. At this point, I still felt what might be lavender – but this time showing its different, woody facet, reminding me of thick branches under an old lavender bush, carefully framed with oak-moss.
In the drydown phase, I enjoyed yet another layer of Unutamam revealing itself: the smooth ambery – caramel finishing touches, creamy and sensual, glowing on your patchouli-smelling skin in a discreet oriental mode.
Hours later, when Unutamam became a skin-scent, caramel hues melted away leaving me with a silky, ever so gentle balsamic aroma.
Intriguing, well blended, an oriental-fougere-animalic type of a fragrance (every time you say “barbershop fragrance” one little fern plant withers…) with an initial invigorating wake-up call followed by florals floating upon smoky tides of sevdah, saudade, balancing between variety of deep emotions, and smooth sensuality turning raw: it’s tame and wild at the same time, introvert and extrovert, and it takes you on a ride with turns and twists with a hint of a vintage French and Middle East vibe strolling hand in hand along urban, asphalt city streets.
Miguel Matos, a perfume critic with abundant fragrance knowledge, a self-taught perfumer who pushed the boundaries, crossed the line, and started to compose his own creations – he did it his way. Bravo!
Unutamam is a brave step forward for Nishane, and a fine, artisan, unisex perfume: let’s say that for this Turkish brand “imagination” is now flowing stronger, with just a right touch of “weirdness”.
Notes: lavender, rosemary, mint, juniper, jasmine, carnation, patchouli, amber, oregano, castoreum, cistus, oakmoss, caramel.
Umantaman is an Extrait du Parfum in 30 ml bottles/125 EUR. Test before you buy: all my reviews are based on perfume worn on my skin, not blotters only. Sillage is strong, longevity above average.
Do you like to be surprised by a perfume? Did any of your greatest surprises turn out to become your favorites?
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The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Nishane, Unsplash, and Pexels.
The samples kit was graciously given to me by Nishane at Esxence 2019, opinions of my own.