Otherworldly, alien, haunting, captivating, and mesmerizing, Thebes G1 from Sultan Pasha Attars brings Guerlain‘s famed Djedi back to life in the most opulent fashion, resulting in a fragrance that turned my head from the first sniff.
There are actually two versions of Thebes, G1 and G2, and they’re extremely different, in my opinion. One I loved; one I actually loathed for its first two hours, recoiling until its surprising subsequent transformation led to a truce and appreciation. That said, much of my initial response to G2 stemmed from personal tastes. I think that it’s bound to be a huge hit with people who adore classic 1950s-1970s Chanel, Lanvin, Carven, and Balmain-style vintage fragrances, whether their cool green florals, their minimalistic, austere aldehydic chypres, or their animalic, floral vetiver-leathers.
I’ll cover both versions in this review, but I want to emphasize Thebes G1 because its first 6 hours are like nothing that I’ve encountered. The more I wore it, the more spellbound and obsessed I became. For those 6 hours, Thebes G1 exerts a strange power over me that grows each time I wear the fragrance, spreading its tentacles deep, binding me with its strangeness and its unearthly beauty, and transporting me to alien worlds. The rest of the fragrance is well done, a Bandit-style, musky, animalic, butch leather immersed in smoky vetiver, but, the first half of Thebes G1 truly blew me away. If one could confine a fragrance to certain stages and were I the sort to ever to limit myself to one modern fragrance as a signature, this one would be extremely high on the list, if not close to the top.
Today, I’ll look at three incense attars from Sultan Pasha: Incense Royale, Encens Chypre, and Nankun Kōdō. So, let’s get straight to it.
Incense Royale takes an unexpected approach to spiritual incense, removing it from the dusty, stony, cold confines of an old Catholic church where Sunday High Mass takes place, and transporting it instead to forests in the great outdoors where the most beautifully fragrant trees billow in the wind and pour their golden, honeyed sap all over it. It’s a fragrance that I liked more and more with each wearing precisely because of its warmth and its unusual direction or focus.
Incense Royale is a woody, ambered, resinous, and sweetened incense blend that is mostly all-natural. However, a small 10% includes an amber fixative and ethyl vanillin to compliment the Bourbon Vanilla. The note list includes:
It’s such a relief to smell to smell genuinely good perfumes, one after another. It’s a joy to experience wave after wave of real, natural Mysore sandalwood, oakmoss, the richest roses, lavish amounts of real ambergris, or truly exceptional agarwood oud, all given sumptuous opulence and positively chewy might. They’re attars or concentrated perfume oils (CPOs) created by Sultan Pasha, an untrained perfumer based in London with major talent. Some of his attars demonstrate his passion for the vintage classics and the old French Haute Parfumerie style, while others nod to the Orient and his roots therein. All of them are worth sampling, if only for their incredible richness and amazing quality.