LE ROI DES DIAMANTS ~ Rahele by Neela Vermeire Creations


A thick blue mist clung to the tall trees like uncarded wool and muffled the predawn calls of the forest birds as they fluttered and fussed themselves to wakefulness. It moved slowly, lazily, like a taffeta silk encased courtesan through the lower wilder gardens making its way up to the chateau of Versailles. With cool fingers it caressed the cream-colored stone and pressed against the wavy glass of the windows. There it condensed into impersonal tears and sensuously slid down the glass to puddle on the windowsill. At one glowing window the little puddles reflected the candlelit room within the palace. A tiny image of the scene within shimmered in the puddle  of the only room in the palace where the occupant was awake. The Sun King was up before the Sun.

Louis XIV King of all France was sitting up in bed. Beside him gently mumbling in her sleep was his mistress Madame de Montespan. He paid not a note of attention to her and had completely forgotten to wake her to send her off before the courtiers were to arrive to  Rituality  wake and dress him.  The thing that held him in rapt attention, that had kept him awake since three in the morning was pinched between his thumb and index finger. A 115.16-carat blue diamond. It fascinated him by its uncut beauty.  The story of its travels and how Jean-Baptiste Tavernier had brought it and along with it  many fabulous tales from the court of Shah Jahan, the Emperor of Mogul India.

He turned the diamond this way and that to see how the light from the candles danced a merry minuet within the stone. The King threw back the bedclothes and slipped into his brocade robe then walked to the window. He held the diamond toward the blue misty imperceptibly brightening eastern sky to study it. He squinted his eyes and tired to pierce the heart of the diamond with his mind.

“Your majesty, this stone is but a pale shard in comparison to the beauty of India.” Louis recalled the voice of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier when the afternoon before he had presented the king for a certain price the priceless stone. “There are colors in India unknown in the west, the music of the court is like nothing you have ever heard. It is like the universe is singing with golden bells and  flutes of sandalwood and ivory. The women are unsurpassed in beauty and grace. The cities are vast and teaming with vibrant excitement. In the midst of all of this cacophony of smells and sights and sounds there is the great Taj Mahal. An edifice of such sparkling splendor that I am left with nothing but a melancholy  whisper in my heart when I think of it.”

The King smiled to himself and pressed the stone against the windowpane and moved his head toward it as if he were about to look into a spyglass. The world took on a violet blue hue. Cool and calm and of such beauty he wanted to live within the diamond forever.

There he stood his face pressed against the window lost within the magic of the stone.

“You shall be my symbol of France, of the enduring monarchy that shall last forever.” He said softly to the stone. “You shall bring glory to my rein and prosperity to my people.”

“And how will I do all of that? I am just a woman.”

The king startled turned to see Madame de Montespan sitting up, her knees drawn up to her chin, arms encircling them. She was sleepy eyed and smiling.

“Indeed, how shall you do all of that my dear.” He put the diamond in his robe pocket and patted the pocket for luck.

“Come now my dear, the courtiers will be here any moment and you must be gone. After all there is my wife to consider.”

“What do you have in your pocket?” she demanded coyly.

“Nothing of consequence.”

“It’s that diamond. Oh, Louie please let me hold it.”

He laughed and walked to the edge of the bed and handed her the diamond. Her eyes danced across the stone in glittering madness captivated by the stone.

“Louis may I have it. Will you give it to me in a necklace or on a pin? Oh please!”

“No… I am the State, and this diamond is, in essence the heart of France. It belongs not to me but to France.”

“Oh! You are hopeless!”

“On the contrary, my dear. I am filled with hope.”

At that moment, the door to the King’s chamber silently opened just as the King leaned down to kiss Madame de Montespan. Three aristocratic heads of the King’s bedchamber peeked in. Eyes widened, the three heads then retreated and very gently closed the door. The royal dressing would have to wait.


Neela Vermeire Creations with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour have over the years since the House was launched created perfumes that are inspired by India but with a French Flair and chic. The new fragrance Rahele (2016) is no exception. Travel is what Rahele means and this fragrance was sparked by three 17th Century French travelers to India. Jean Thévenot, Francois Bernier, and the man responsible for bringing the premier crown jewel of France to King Louis XIV and what became finally the Hope Diamond, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

Rahele is a foral woody and earthy fragrance that rises to an interesting level of stylish sophistication. It is bright, pure and ozonic to my nose. It does remind me of travel, that wonderful smell you experience when you first exit an international airport and breath in the air of a strange foreign city. It has a blend of both Western Europe and the Asian sub-continent. It is fluid each time I wear it. Some times I am in Paris and other times I am in  Jaipur.

We begin our trip with a bright almost ripe yet on the edge of green mandarin. Cardamom which falls on the spicy side complements the citrus.  Then from Ancient markets comes the once rare and precious spice note of cinnamon. I love how this plays against the slightly metallic violet leaf note in the opening.

The midway point of the trip with Rahele is a pure lush Indian garden after the monsoon. A peachy exotic Osmanthis is surrounded by the reddest of rose, a velvet rose in fact and completely devoid of thorns. A fleshy sensual magnolia note hovers above this garden, It is moist and nearly dripping in the heat and there in the heart of this rises up a sweet almost hypnotic jasmine.  The kind of jasmine that lifts the senses in the night. The earth below is introduced with purple notes of violet and rooty dry Iris. At this point the flower notes shimmer and move forward and recede in the most interesting way.

When we reach our final destination in the base there is a somber smooth finish of patchouli leaves that are packed in layers of oakmoss, silky aromatic sandalwood and resinous crisp cedar. This nearly finishes the perfume but all is not over. The dominating note here and what constantly rises though out the fragrance is a refined supple leather note. It never over powers the perfume but rather carries the perfume in subtle grace. It seems in the first hour to suddenly die, yet by hour two and beyond it returns to tease and tantalize for many hours to come. It in fact it  undulates on the skin. This is pure magic and quite interesting.

Indeed, subtlety is the hallmark of this elegant fragrance. By no means is Rahele ever overpowering or demanding. It is suggestive, intuitive, and lightly sensual. A perfect fragrance for both discerning men of taste and chic women of elegant refinement.

 (photo above and below from Fragrantica)

(Neela Vermeire)

The Maharani of Rajasthan ~ Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations


“India for the Indian’s” she purred as she stretched and turned on the silk pillow in her perch under the columns of the pavilion of the City Palace.  Shaded from the hot sun she surveyed her kingdom with glittering green eyes. As far as those exotic impenetrable eyes could see out across the lake and into the hills around Udaipur she knew that with the British leaving at last her people were free.

She sighed with pleasure as she took a sip of honey milk, her favorite drink. Let everyone else drink Chai or Champagne this little Maharani when you got right down to it preferred the simple pleasures of life. Her palace on the lake. Soft silk pillows to lie upon, her diamond choker and the loving attention of her servant. She must be the only Maharani in all of India who had a little British maid. Now that was something. Of course after independence she would have to send her back to London. It would be hard to say goodbye to the one who had waited on her hand and foot, who brought her all her meals and showered her with so much attention. Sometimes even when she just wanted to be alone there she was…demanding to take care of her. Well it would have to be done hard as it would be. Goodbye to all things British and hello to a new world. Yes 1947 was going to be the best year yet.


Something caught the corner of her eye, someone was coming. She was in no mood to see anyone. She would simply pretend they were less than a mouse an ignore them.

Ah India, her beautiful land, it was now hers to rule, well anyway this part of it called Rajasthan where she had been born. “India for the Indians.”  How wonderful that sounded. The British Raj was at an end at long last too. Since Alexander two thousand years ago and even before him many had swept into India and tried to claim it as their own.  Bit in fact, she swatted at a tiresome bee buzzing past her ear on its way to the tuberoses in the garden. What was she thinking? Ah yes…but in fact India was unconquerable. No matter how long the invader stayed India remained in its soul its very own. It remained always India, the jewel in its own crown.  It would absorb and slowly change those who tried to take it and they eventually and inevitably became part of her or as in the case of the Greeks and the British they would leave…India for the Indians.


The approaching quickening steps grew louder. “Little Maharani where are you?” She ignored that shrill clipped voice and closed her eyes to mere slits of green and turned to look out over Lake Pichola. Another lazy regal sigh. She rolled on the pillows and stretched again in the all-encompassing heat. The rains would come soon. She loved the Monsoon and how it made the lake sing like thousands of bells when the water fell from the heavy clouds onto its silver surface. Then when the rains finally ceased the flowers would come back with the heat to perfume her palace on the edge of the lake.  Pichola was really most beautiful in spring, when the orange blossoms burst the air with their glory. In the night the jasmine filled the warm breeze off the lake to enchant her. Summer roses enticed her in the mornings and magnolias heavy in the trees smiled down on her, the beautiful little Maharani of Rajasthan. She would never leave this place that smelled of cinnamon, sandalwood and saffron in the summer. And in the autumn could only be described as heaven on earth. The place where the gods touched earth and found the land to be divine. She would never leave her beloved India.

“There you are Little Maharani!” Her servant’s hands reached down to pluck her rudely from her silky soft pillows of peace.  “You are the silliest cat in all of India. I had a devil of a time finding you. Now come along or we shall miss our train. You are going to love London!” Mary Elizabeth Thurber hugged her cat tightly as she turn on her heel to see her parents waiting at the end of the terrace looking tired and a little sad.

Little Maharani’s eyes widened in horror as she was carried away from the pavilion to the waiting boat below. The first leg of her journey into exile.



Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations just released in March of 2015 is a lush fleurs blanches rush of romanticism as well as a homage to the beautiful lake in Rajasthan for which it is named. It is a splendid perfume that I find to be intoxicating and perhaps the most beautiful perfume yet from the impeccably brilliant house of Vermeire. It is a fragrance of love, and spring beginning, it is a wedding fragrance that promises a honeymoon of carnal delights that with a holy blessing may never end. It is glorious.

The nose behind this creation of Neela’s is the wonderful Bertrand Duchaufour who is responsible for the entire canon of the house. A brilliant nose who has created many modern masterworks for L’Artisan Parfumeur, Dior, Acqua di Parma, Aedes de Venustas …the list is longer than the  Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The idea for this house is to blend and marry two worlds. The exotic rich beauty and history of India with the equally rich tradition of classical French perfumes. We are not disappointed in the least by this attempt to bring the two worlds together. Bertrand Duchaufour once again has met the challenge and succeeded brilliantly.

As an oriental floral Pichola sings in accords of spices and white florals, of woods and the aromatic splendors of the East.  It is undulating and sensuous. A sublime seduction of the senses.


It opens with notes of spices and citrus, bergamot, clementine, neroli oil, sparkle like early morning sun on the lake…the magnolia smooths and sooths the citric notes down and lays its fleshy white carpet over them to make way for the spices of saffron, cardamom, cinnamon with a twist of juniper that are spilled like jewels before a monarch on unfurled bolts of red, purple and gold silk.

The middle notes take us to the heart of this perfume, the palace where passion dwells on her throne of love. Orange blossom absolute, Rose absolute, Tuberose absolute come in waves designed to weave into a marriage made in heaven with yellow blossomed ylang-ylang and a slyly beautiful midnight Jasmine Sambac.  It shimmers on the skin more beautifully than gold dust in the light of a full moon.


This is all supported by a fine if not in fact very glamourous dry down of vetiver, benzoin absolute, bone dry driftwood and a creamed almost caramelized sandalwood.  A brilliant armature of notes that is almost architectural, an armature if you will from which all that came before it hangs in perfect harmonious balance.  But the notes do much more than hang from this support, they dance.

The longevity of this perfume is epic but never overwhelming. The silage is full and lush and you will be noticed. This is a perfume for both sexes but keep in mind that this sexy perfume demands a bold personality to wear it well. Pichola embodies all the glamour and youth, the romance and beauty, the fluttery butterflies one feels with the realization that you are falling in love with India though the eyes of Paris. This is no shrinking wall flower…this is the belle of the ball at the dawn of a new Belle Epoch in perfume.



SONG OF INDIA ~ Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creations


“At sunset in the top of the jungle canopy the monkeys sing his name. Across the sky at dawn it is written by the clouds in the east as the sun guilds each letter in crimson and gold. At the roof of the world, where the mountain gods abide it is written a thousand thousand times in the stone of the Himalayas. Ashoka the Great.”

ashokaShah Rukh Khan as Ashoka in ASOKA (2001)

 The gasp from the circle of children was audible. Eyes wide in wonder at the splendor of his imperial glory began to unfold. The old storyteller continued.

“As a boy he was such a fierce warrior that he killed a lion with a stick.”

“No that is impossible.” Said little Parnashri in disbelief. “A boy and a lion? The Lion will always eat the boy.”

The old storyteller nodded and with a half smile raised his hand to beg for patience. “He was not an ordinary boy, but an exceptional boy who grew to be a great man.”

Parnashri gave him a displeased look that said with the tilt of her head. “Prove it.”

“After Ashoka came to the throne he desired to expand the empire of India wider than ever before. With great wars he pushed our boundaries to the west deep in to Persia. To the south almost as far as the very tip of India and eastward to the very gates of Burma, but this was not enough for the Emperor. His eyes fell upon the land of Kalinga.


A great battle ensued and many thousands died. Kalinga fell to Ashoka and in his joy he walked into the filed of battle to celebrate and glory in his victory over his enemy. But his joy short lived. It was quickly transformed to grief. Ashoka the Fierce looked upon the hundred thousand dead and cried.

‘What have I done? If this is a victory, what’s a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Did I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other’s kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant…. What’s this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil?’


His tears ran down his face and washed the bloody earth upon which he stood. In that moment his heart was softened by the savage sorrow and hideous death he had rendered upon Kalinga.”

“This makes him a great man? Because he cried after all the death he made” Said Parnashri.

“This was the transfiguring moment, Parnashri, the door to enlightenment was before him on the battlefield of Kalinga. If he embraced it and stepped through the door it would be the beginning for the boy inside the Emperor of becoming a great man.”

And did he step through the door?” Parnashri said as she and the entire circle of children under the Bodhi tree leaned forward in anticipation.

“He turned away from war and toward the path of the Buddha.  He found on that path a way to peace, for himself and for all the land. And in so doing he brought the teachings of the Buddha to all of India. He built monasteries and great Stupas across the land and hospitals for people and animals as well. For forty years he reined in peace and created a golden age to India.”

“And that is why the monkeys sing his name at sunset.”



Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creations is a contemplative beauty. A perfume for both men and women that is a thoughtful meditation on beauty and peace inspired buy one of the great leaders of not only Indian history but on the world stage as well.



(photo from Ca Scent Bon! taken by Claudio Bonoldi Studio)

The nose behind the perfume is one of my favorite perfumers, Bertrand Duchaufour who has created for so many great houses from L’Artisan Parfumeur to Dior. Here in this perfume he has a soft symphony of notes. So many notes are in this perfume that in the mixing of them you find his great subtlety as an artist.



The perfume is green and calm with the major note of fig leaf and parsley leaf being a very easy green complemented by incense aromatic notes of styrax, incense, myrrh and osmanthus. It is the very picture of a smoky blue haze incense market under the shade of rows and rows of fig trees in the heat and heart of India.  Fig milk note along with vanilla and amber adds a creamy texture to the mix smoothing out all the incense. Other notes that flow through the perfume like a subterranean river are the florals of rose, water hyacinth, cassie flower, jasmine sambac, geranium, ylang-ylang and iris with the support of, rooty green vetiver, a soft tonka bean. There is a woody subtext and foundation of a tangy balsam fir and creamy sandalwood. The perfume is categorized as a Woody Aromatic. I find it to be more aromatic than woody.


For me, on my skin it stays well bended and not one note other than the fig leaf dominate. It is not a huge dramatic perfume but rather a dreamy soft warm fragrance that longs to be on skin where it floats and shimmers in a nirvana bubble of beauty. It lasts on my skin about six to eight hours with a moderate sillage. And that is as it should be, one would not expect an enlightened perfume to be bombastic or all about ME! It is about sharing its beauty and inviting others in.

ZOOM_ON_CAP_FLACON_LAYING_DOWN-1-1-5 (1)Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creations


NEELA VERMEIRE CREATIONS: http://www.neelavermeire.com/

RAJDULARI GOES TO BOLLYWOOD ~ Bombay Bling by Neela Vermeire Creations


They chose her for her small ankles and her lovely movement. It had been a long way to come to win the role of Princess Beloved in the new musical film “Bombay Bling” But for little Rajdulari it had been well worth the effort.

Back home in the jungle of the south everyone had laughed at her when she said she wanted to go north to Mumbai to be in the movies.


“Oh little silly,” her mother said when they were washing down at the river. “You can not be a movie star. You are too little and you have rough skin. They do not like girls like you from the country in Bollywood. For goodness sake!” Her aunts who were close by giggled and stamped in unison.

Her brothers were much meaner to her. “Bollywood, Ha!” Gourab trumpeted.  “You are ugly and you can not sing or dance like the pretty girls in the movies.”

“I can too sing! And I can learn to dance.”  Rajdulari protested.

“Maybe you can learn dance like a monkey. But what about that nose?  Not long enough, and your eyes! Ha, they are too far apart. And those tiny ankles will not support you for long.” Said the eldest of the brother’s Chandramohan. “No stop day dreaming stupid girl.”

“They have make-up in the movies. They can paint you pretty.”

The brother’s laughed so hard the ground shook.

“Stop this at once!” The sound of his voice was enough to send the birds above them who were watching from the jungle canopy aloft in fluttering feathered terror. From behind a Jacaranda tree Gajendra appeared in all his great splendor.

The brothers lowered their heads as they always did when their grandfather approached. He glowered at them. Then with one swift movement he plucked a fragrant purple blossom from the Jacaranda tree and gently placed it behind Rajdulari’s ear.


   “You are beautiful little princess. The others are too blind to see.”

Rajdulari looked up into his brown eyes and smiled. “I know they are blind!”

Gajendra laughed. “We will go to Mumbai together and show them all.

Now months later on the first day of shooting her very first movie little Rajdulari stood very still while the dressers bedecked her with garlands of flowers and the makeup man painted her pretty.

“You have perfect skin and the most beautiful eyes.” The makeup man said. “Wide set eyes photograph best you know.”

When Rajdulari stepped on to the set for “Bombay Bling” her grandfather was watching from the sidelines. He saw at once that she was the most beautiful Elephant in all of India.

Flower show 001-L



Bombay Bling by Neela Vermeire Creations is bright and young and full of glittering pizzazz.  It has a personality that is big, charismatic and cinematic. It is all about being in the joy of the moment. One glorious over the top musical number after another rolls out from the bottle as you spay it on. It is a big bold Bollywood star of a perfume.


The opening is frenetic and brightly colored blending of Labdanum, succulent Mango, cardamom, litchi, caraway seeds and black currant. Sweet is the theme here and the litchi and mango mixed with the black current create an effect that verges on the pink spun sugar of cotton candy. Not my favorite scent at all but thankfully short lived.

With the fireworks out of the way we now enter the heart of the perfume. The garden of unearthly delights in fact for here we have a beautiful Jasmine full of dark twilight richness blooming on a warm night in Mumbai. Not to be outdone by this favorite white of the perfume world the air is enriched by a stunning gardenia with support from tuberose, ylang-ylang, a rocking rose and saffron like silky frangipani. Yes it is stunning, the kind of exquisiteness you find in women who grew into great swan like beauty from a pond of full of ducks.

The dry down carried echoes of the jasmine and gardenia as more earthbound notes of woods, patchouli, tobacco and cedar move up the keep them company.  Here the scent is becomes one with the skin and lingers in lovely wafts of memory and light.  Sandalwood and vanilla flicker in and out like shadows on a wall on a late afternoon in the tropics.

I was very impressed with Bombay Bling for the very fact that it is a sweet perfume that manages to move past the sugar and find its heart in the most beautiful arrangements of floral notes. It sings and entices us to explore the wonders of the gorgeous complex music and stunning intricate dance that lives in the heart of India.



VISIT NEELA VERMEIR CREATIONS! http://www.neelavermeire.com//

UNCONQUERED BEAUTY ~ Mohur by Neela Vermeire


From the roof of the world Alexander descended through the Hindu Kush into fabled mysterious unconquerable India. This Greek who was worshiped as a god from Egypt to Bactria thought that surely this valley of the Indus was at last the edge of the Earth. When, not if, he took India, the world would be his.

 Hindu Kush

   India was unlike anyplace the Greeks had ever seen. The heat, the light, the jungles, the aromas of her splendors were seductive, not to mention the colors that streaked across the sky at dawn when her thousand gods turned as one to behold the land. India intrigued Alexander as no woman or man ever could and in the end would break his heart.

In the valley of the Indus River the true beauty of India unfurled before Alexander. There in the markets he tasted rare pepper, cardamom and coriander. In a Punjab palace garden the air was redolent with roses and jasmine iris violet and exotic patchouli more beautiful than those of the hanging gardens of Babylon or the fragrant pools of Karnack.


After the battle of the Hydaspes River Alexander feasted in the high chambers of King Porus under a roof of sandalwood and drank the wine of the defeated King.  Porus whom he had spared sat next to him upon a great leather couch surrounded by his court and slaves and watched with steely eyes there every move of the Greeks that surrounded him.

alxander in india

“How would you like to be treated?” Alexander said to the monarch.

Porus resplendent in silk and laden with precious stones nodded to the Greek, “As a king my lord.”

 alxander in india 3

“And so you shall be.”  He said with a smile that could ensnare the heart of Eros.

Late that evening as Alexander was bathed by his favorite Bagoas, he pondered the mystery that was India. The Persian rubbed aromatic elemi and benzoin into the golden battle scared flesh of his beloved conqueror scenting his body before sleep. Suddenly Alexander covered Bagoas’ hand with his own and halted the ritual. He turned and leveled his eyes on the courtier as he would a city he was about to take.

“Bagoas, I cannot understand it.”

“Understand what my lord?”

“This land, this India, it is so different. Greece is mind and beauty, Egypt is birth and death, Persia is a great bull god. But India, it eludes me. Why is it that I cannot understand this place?”

Bagoas smiled. “India my Iskander is vapor, it is a perfume. It fills the senses but can never be truly yours. It is not to be understood it is to be felt in the soul.”

And so it was that India conquered Alexander the Great.

dawn india 322 B.C


The wonderful Mohur by Neela Vermeire is like the India that eluded Alexander. It is soulful in its beauty.  The nose behind it is the very prolific Bertrand Dachaufour. He has blended a lovely perfume for Neela that is subtle, elegant and simply grand.

This is not a perfume that will overwhelm, not one that takes command of the wearer but one that becomes the one who wears it. It opens in a spice market of sweet cardamom, sharp pepper and coriander with a touch of carrot seed and musky ambrette.  There is a hint of elemi that adds a bit of aromatic lift to the opening.  This spicy mix shimmers like a shooting star that falls into a midnight garden of flowers

The heart notes here in this garden are dominated by the rose and jasmine. This combination is lush and romantic and finds support from just a hint of dark leather. There is moist earthiness of iris in the mix that adds to the fullness of the perfume.

The dry down is a sublime oriental creation of sandalwood, amber, benzoin, a touch of oud that is smoothed out by vanilla and Tonka bean. This is all wrapped in a nice layer of patchouli. In the ending it is a really gorgeous skin scent. This is where I fell in love with Mohur. It trails about the skin with oriental tendrils of smoky fascination.

This jewel of a perfume is multi-facetted that sparkles and ignites the imagination to dreams. Soft in its splendor it lasts about 6 hours on my skin and has a moderate projection. Mohur is not a conquering goddess but rather a wise beauty who wins her battles with a seductive allure.



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