eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

India on my mind: Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee

Ah, Bertrand Duchaufour. It was a name I made sure I learned to spell correctly once I got into perfume heavily. Since then, I get a strange sort of pleasure typing out the letters that form his name, but why? I don't love all of his perfumes by any means, but the ones I do love are fiercely hoarded by me. Today, I'm happy to add Neela Vermeire's Trayee to that select lot.

I dream of Trayee with the tall, corrugated flacon 
(I know, that's not how the song goes)

[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 palau from Laos, oak moss]

Trayee is part of a fragrance trio that launched earlier this year by Vermeire. I have tried the other two, and they did not work for me, but I enjoyed smelling them on blotters very much. Trayee is a sleeping aficionado's dream of sweet, sticky rice with ginger and other spices. For me, spices in fragrance tend to veer in and out of sweet/savory territories depending on the weather and body chemistry, and Trayee is no exception. The starchiness of the rice is so clear and present, it almost leap-frogs the spices to latch on directly to the soft, musky incense in the base. This fragrance facilitates some sort of ghostly game of chess that I cannot turn away from. After I drained the sample vial in one sitting, I fell in love with Trayee at lightning speed, surprised at myself. I immediately started thinking about a full bottle.

As the fragrance develops and the spices fade somewhat, it becomes more earthy and softly smoky, and I suppose this is where the ganja accord comes in. It's incredibly beautiful. In the first 20-30 minutes of wearing Trayee, I did not expect it to develop with the kind of complexity that it did; there are subtle shifts that occur during the drydown that make me smile and smile again.

One of the weird little things I do when I'm really trying to understand a fragrance is this: I blow hot air on my skin where the fragrance was sprayed (much like creating fog on eyeglasses to polish them). By doing this, I can smell/taste elements of the perfume that are hidden until... well, until you find them. So, just when I thought the spiciness of this perfume had almost completely given way to other influences, my hot breath gave up the goodies- the spices were revived.

This fragrance is much more than gourmand, spicy or musky, or any one thing- it's emblematic of a cultural experience that I've never lived, one that I have little knowledge of, but that I want and need to wear on my skin strictly for pleasure. Food smells in any culture instantly get to the heart of what is important and unique about that culture. Perhaps these scent combinations are representative of the comfort Neela felt as a child, cooking and baking with relatives in the kitchen, or ambling through spice markets, where the senses must certainly be peaked and blissfully overwhelmed. While I definitely don't claim to understand or have firsthand knowledge of the cultural significance of what this fragrance was built with, I know what I like, and what turns my imagination over and over. Trayee is the most beautiful dream I've never had.

Currently, the full-size 55ml bottle of Trayee is available for $260 at luckyscent.com. Samples and a 10ml discovery set is available at neelavermeire.com (sales of full bottles coming soon according to the website).

Neela Vermeire

[fragrance sample provided by Neela Vermeire Creations for my consideration]


  1. Fragrances from the motherland? I want!

    1. You might LOVE Mohur, Nav. Seriously. You'd probably love Bombay Bling, come to think of it. You need a sample set, STAT!

  2. This one is my favorite - well, I have yet to smell Mohur. Bombay Bling didn't quite do it for me. I find this one very calming. I need to try that hot air trick...when no one is looking of course!

    1. Hello beautiful Lexi! Trayee is something I feel like I could wear 24 hours a day, but it would make a particularly fetching bedtime fragrance. I like Mohur quite a bit too, but just not on my skin.