When I was 17 I spent a year as in exchange student in Thailand. At one time a Thai friend of mine showed me a photograph of an amulet, looking like the thing depicted above. There was no obvious image on it, it was just a small slab of clay or stone with a rough surface. The amulet was considered very holy, it was hosted in a Buddist monastery far away in the jungle and it was used as a meditation aid. When sitting down, clearing ones mind, gazing upon the surface one started to…see things. My friend said it was a window into the wholeness of the universe (or something like that) and assured me there was nothing the amulet couldn’t show, including the whole Royal Thai family that he’d seen himself just by looking at the photo! I remember I thought of it as a sort of scrying ball, a device that could help clarify thoughts and ideas that lay latent in ones mind, simply showing whatever needed to be seen. I had near forgotten all about it, until my friend and one of my all-time favorite perfume bloggers, Suzanne of Eiderdown Press, sent me a decant of MDCI Palatin Cyphre and the whole amulet thing sproing:ed back into mind.
When approaching Palatin Cyphre, forget everything you thought you knew about perfume; normal laws of physics do not apply here. Instead, take a look at the amulet above and think of Palatin Cyphre in just the same way, as a magic potion that is capable of conjuring up any, really any, olfactory images, at all. Because that is what it is.
At first wear Palatin Cyphre came across as a rich tolu based oriental with a soapy start – a really wonderful scent. As I’m a curious person I looked up reviews all around the Internet, contemplated how come they’d named it a cyphre when I was getting oriental and I also pondered on the ”official notes” listing (that you can see the list at the bottom of this post). I was very confused, there were not two places describing Palatin Cyphre that seemed to talk about the same scent. I went back and tried it again and again. At some point I think I stopped being ”Sigrun wearing Palatin Cyphre”. I surrendered, let Palatin Cyphre take me wherever it wanted to go, letting it be whatever it wanted to be, and, ok, I might not have seen, but I sure did get the olfactory equivalent.
The thing about Palatin Cyphre is that when you start falling into it, you won’t be stopping anytime soon. What I first wrote off as a ”soapy opening” I now consider the beautiful aldehydic soap accord ever. It’s different every time, sometimes the tolu base shines through right from the beginning, softening and sweetening the aldehydes. Sometimes the most intoxicating hyacinth note comes forward, bringing the composision to life. While wearing Palatin Cyphre today I discovered green herbs in the intro, adding a most refreshing feeling of outdoor air. And this is just the intro!
After the aldehydes have gone things do not calm down. I’ve experienced a thrilling interaction between friendly vanilla and cool, near metallic iris. At times I really do get chyphre, as oakmoss pushes forward. There is a ”toasted” note that I found difficult to put words to, until my friend Parfumistan nailed it as gunpowder. I’ve had moments of honey, freshly ground gingerbread spices, ready for Christmas baking and the base is everything one could possibly wish from an oriental, slowly fading into eternity.
Palatin Cyphre is a BIG SCENT. I’m awed how it just goes on and on and reveals new facets at every wear. Are there other scents like this? Do I own any, but I haven’t had the patience to wear them and listen to them enough to find out? I don’t know. If any reader knows any other scents like this I’d love to hear! What I DO know is that this is the way perfume was meant to be and I thank Suzanne dearly for this experience!
Top notes: lavender, labdanum, hyacinth, galbanum, sage, clementine and aldehydes;
Heart notes are iris, jasmine, gardenia, rose and plum;
Base notes are styrax, benzoin, tolu balsam, vanilla, castoreum, leather, costus, oakmoss and immortelle
Image: Ioffer.com, euroflorist.com