In a world of excessive perfume launches, you’d expect for the inspirations to be more diverse than they are. But in reality, many of the launches are rather redundant or seem to be inspired by similar things. One of the reasons that I love the Neela Vermeire Creations line is that the inspirations come from a place of authenticity and a true love of Indian culture. Ashoka tells the story of an emperor who declared war to expand his empire; however, after witnessing the death and turmoil of his actions eventually converted to Buddhism and practiced peace for the rest of his life.
Ashoka opens as a green fig with a sharp, dry edge. The leather in this emphasizes the latex-y aspects of fig. It starts to wear a latex-y fig sap that’s milky and sweet yet green and sharp. AND somehow it’s smoky! I know it’s not a thing, but it’s how I’d imagine “heliotrope cigarettes” smelling like. Like almond tobacco with a hint of flowers. The opening of Ashoka is sort of aggressive, turbulent. It’s like fig leaves, coconut milk and tar. But, I think that’s the point. It gives the impression of chaos.The fragrance gets fruitier with wear like overripe apricots, fig jam and roses. It’s like a late summer harvest. Ashoka dries down to a sweeter incense with a grassy fig. It’s a weird one in that with some distance it’s more like tonka beans and sweet resins. With my nose closer to my skin, it’s like acrid incense and a nutty, toasted vetiver.
Honestly, the first few wears of Ashoka was difficult for me because of the opening. It’s aggressive and it’s a lot of things at once. With more wear, I started to appreciate Ashoka. It does tell its story perfectly through an olfactory medium. It starts as aggressive and chaotic, like war. But, it dries down to something soft, peaceful and meditative.
Notes listed include fig leaf, leather, white lotus, pink lotus, mimosa, fig tree, osmanthus, rose, water hyacinth, vetiver, styrax, incense, sandalwood, myrrh, tonka bean and balsam fir. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Bertrand Duchaufour
Give Ashoka a try if you want a different spin on fig or want a fruity incense. Or if you like perfumes like Byredo Pulp, Imaginary Authors Yesterday Haze, West Third Brand Smoky Fig, D.S & Durga Debaser, Comme des Garcons x Pharrell Williams and/or Givenchy Immortelle Tribal.
Projection and longevity are above average. And there’s that entire “dual spiritual planes” sillage going on.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Fig incense. It’s as unusual as it sounds. Like I mentioned, it wasn’t easy for me at first but it grew on me. It tells a story, a very interesting story.
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*Disclaimer – Sample provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my review. My opinions are my own. Product pic from Luckyscent. 17th century Buddha “Yogambra” from Rubin Museum.