Dusita Issara is the brand’s take on a classic fougère. The brand describes it as fresh and throws in some imagery of the countryside in summer. So, with this description, I was expecting something along the lines of By Kilian Taste of Heaven or Amouage Sunshine Men. You know, something fresh and aromatic. Instead Issara plays up the sweetness associated with fougères, emphasizing the booziness of coumarin and honeyed sweetness of tobacco.
Issara, even if not described as a tobacco-y fragrance, reminds me very much of cigars. It opens as sweet, honeyed tobacco with a hint of evergreen. The pine needles in it remind me of perfumes like L’Artisan Fou d’Absinthe, which reminds me of forests in Southern Georgia/North Florida. Issara reminds me of this as well. It’s a dry, hot evergreen forest with dried pine needles and resinous tree sap. It’s almost sticky sweet but not like a gooey cinnamon bun. It’s sticky sweet in the way that resins or sap are. It’s balanced by dry, aromatic notes that are like dried pine needles, thickets, hay. Eventually the tobacco ventures from cigars and regresses back into its life-cycle. It starts to smell like a greener tobacco, adding an aromatic quality to the fragrance. For a long time, Issara smells like a sweet tonka and amber with the faintest amount of dry moss. To my surprise, that isn’t the dry-down. The dry-down is a warm, sweet, cuddly musk (like that in Malle Musc Ravageur). It’s unexpected and I can’t stop sniffing it.
Let me emphasize this before I go off on a tangent – Issara smells great. In fact, I’d say it smells excellent. I rarely say this but it smells “sexy”. The spouse is getting the rest of this sample and better use it wisely! I really like Issara until I look at its price. I’m going to be honest here, it’s difficult to not have a prices like this influence my opinion. Issara is a very enjoyable fragrance and it does come across as “modern man” fragrance. But, it’s not something that is incredibly unique. That’s OK and something I ignore *most* of the time. If something smells good, it smells good, right? But, it’s pricey. Issara, despite being very enjoyable, reminds me of the type of mainstream/designer masculine fragrances that have been popular for the past 10+ years. If you sniff a lot of modern mainstream masculines, they’re mostly sweet, tobacco things with some drier notes (like woods or aromatics like lavender). If you know me, you know I’m going to stan hard for stuff like the original Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme or Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male. I think those are excellent, influential and timeless fragrances. They too, are modern takes on the classic genre of fougère. I could argue that Issara is “better” but is it $300 better? I’ll let you guys decide.
Notes listed include pine needles, sage, coumarin, bourbon vetiver, tobacco, musk, amber, oakmoss and woods. Launched in 2015.
Give Issara a try if you like sweet, tonka-heavy tobacco fragrances. Or fragrances like Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme (original) or Intenso, Maison Martin Margiela Replica Jazz Club, April Aromatics Erdenstern, Penhaligon’s The Tragedy of Lord George and/or Tim McGraw Soul to Soul for Men (I’m not being ironic; that’s a legitimately good perfume).
Projection is average. Longevity is above average. It’s an “extrait” and it wears like one.
The 1.7 oz retails for $350 at Luckyscent. Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Southeastern longleaf pine forests and cigars. It smells great but luckily a lot of things smell great.
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