Swiss Arabian Jannet el Firdaus Perfume Oil Review
Swiss Arabian is a United Arab Emirates based fragrance group and label set up in 1974 in partnership with Swiss company Givaudan Roure, now Givaudan, a top fragrance supply and design company. They wish to combine Middle Eastern tastes with European perfumery technology and work with the reference of French perfumery tradition in mind...
Yesterday when reviewing the new SJP Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker which aims somehow to smell like a thick attar discovered on the streets of New York City, rebottled, I was reminded of a popular scent oil by Swiss Arabian called Jannet el Firdaus. The name means « the highest garden of paradise », a theological concept in Islam designating the highest echelon of paradisiacal bliss that one can attain as well as the elect who populate its fragrant alleys who have reached the zenith of moral perfection, among them martyrs and saints.
As one can see, contemporary Arabian perfumery has a religious outlook which has become marginal in Euro-American perfumery although the origins of Western perfumery were equally shaped by the idea of the divine. A « Kingdom of God » scent would sound too religious as a perfume name.
If a fragrance today is called « divine » in French - and there are a few - it will be in reference to a height of femininity. Spiritual notions now have secular connotations : the « sublime » or the « divine » are to be experienced in an excitement of the senses stimulated by pleasure and creativity in areas such as fashion and perfumery; a recent American perfume collection by the Olsen twins called Nirvana exists, but again, the name was chosen for its hedonistic connotations - and in particular the pleasure of resourcing oneself in bed.
Jannet el Firdaus is more traditional than SJP Stash which streamlines cedarwood, but it is better at reaching that sensation of plenitude, which is part of the experience of wearing perfume. French perfumers use the term « rond » or « round » in English to make reference to a desirable quality for a fragrance fleshed out and fleshy enough to evoke an idea of plenty, balance and richness. Jannet el Firdaus is a dark musk oil which they call « wild » with enough complexity to it to make it wearable and enjoyable rather than boring.
The green oil when applied onto the skin smells musky, sweet, ambery, hazy but also tonic, tart, citrusy, soapy and spicy. It is a blend with no starring notes except the sensation of wearing a black musk with underlying complexity. The aldehydes in it give it a tallowy facet along with a more sparkling and dynamic one. It offers a chypré oriental signature which is mysterious, intimate and with sillage. It is comparable with what SJP Stash was trying to do and it is a better perfume technically in terms of radiance and volume, available for a song.
Top Notes: Aldehydes, Basil, Bergamot; Middle Notes: Clove, Geranium, Iris, Jasmine; Base Notes: Amber, Chypre like Musk, Wood