Kajal Perfumes Dahab (Christian Carbonnel & Rosendo Mateu) 2015 review, first published in Cafleurebon
Looking up north, to a garden in Valhalla, at the golden apples of Idunn, the ones that granted immortality, youth, and vigor to the Asgardians. Looking south, to the Hesperides, the nymphs of the golden light of the sunsets, guarding Gaea’s wedding gift to Hera – the life-giving golden apples of Arcadia. Looking down, to the pages of the fairytales I grew up with: the hero quest, the magical apple-bearing tree, the ever-changing thief and guardians come back, in different forms, voiced in different languages, as a tale humanity has loved since the dawn of time. And still does, I say, clicking the icon on my desktop where the ever-shifting myth of the golden apple appears as the apples of Eden in the Assasin Creed videogame saga, which I’m revisiting, again, these days.
If I were to put a scent to those elusive immortality-giving golden apples, Dahab (translated as gold) by Kajal would be it, as the golden nectar inside promises and delivers an opulent fruity overdose fit for the appetite of a god.
Sheer sensorial delight, from the elegant pattern chosen for the black and gold packaging; the perfect, classic, heavy glass bottle, that fits perfectly in my hand – to the cap that I am seriously considering transforming into a pendant (the eight-point star that makes the golden cap is inspired by a stone paste tile forged in Ilkhanid, Iran and engraved with eight names of gold used in Persia, India, and Arabia) – everything shows attention to detail, an homage to the cultural heritage it draws inspiration from and a dedication to an extravagant yet approachable modern definition of luxury.
Golden apple, digital edit by Nicoleta
Biting into a crisp and hard Granny Smith apple, feeling your mouth water from the sour, sharp juice that sizzles, acidic – feeling as refreshing as the dawn of a new adventure. Soon, other fruits gather along, rolling alongside you, in an epicurean avalanche of sweet joys that went from mouth-wateringly tart to deliciously nectar-sweet gourmand. Depending on how ripe a passionfruit is, it can taste like a cross between a peach, a pineapple, and a mango, swinging between syrupy sweet and tart. The fruits play hide-and-seek, bouncing between the contrasting but equally delicious facets, keeping your nose bewitched and your tastebuds craving for a bite. As a parenthesis, as late as the 17th century, the word “apple” was used in English as a generic term to describe all fruit besides berries, so if we find an “apple” mentioned in an ancient tale, it might just NOT be the apples we know of today.
Following Hercule’s path, after the eleventh labor (the one in which he steals the apples), would have us leave the nameless fruit orchard behind, dwelling deeper into the story when our hero meets Atlas, the titan god who held the weight of the sky and the earth upon his shoulders. Atlas gave the name to the Atlas mountain range, the stone barrier that separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara desert, and home to the Atlas cedar tree. There is no other scent that is as grounding yet uplifting and comforting while reviving than the woody, resinous freshness of cedar – the evergreen symbol of eternal life, endurance, and immortality. Leaving behind the pleasurable and uncomplicated ludic realism of the beginning, the scent moves to a different, more abstract plane, gathering depth, weight, and warming up with the slightly camphorous nuances of the cedar, in beautiful juxtaposition to the spicy and nutty aroma of the coriander seeds.
At the end of the journey, reaching Mount Olympus, the fragrance is elevated by clean musks, airy and fluffy like the strings of clouds left below. Bathed in the warm amber lights of the sunset, our hero kneels before the gods, the golden apple rolling from his hand.
Editor’s note: *Immortality might be an overstatement, but regarding the perfume’s technical prowess – titanic, herculean, monumental, almightly might just be the right descriptors.
Kajal – meaning kohl in the Indian culture – a natural product that protects and beautifies the eyes; or from the Arabic word “khajal”– modesty, humility, and kindness
Top notes are bergamot and granny smith apple; middle notes are passionfruit, coriander, and cedar; base notes are patchouli, musk, and amber.
Nicoleta Tomsa, Editor
Disclosure: Bottle kindly provided by Kajal Perfumes, opinions are my own
If you like Kajal Dahab, also try Joorie