H – The Exclusive Black Tier is not a fragrance that I would normally cover, because it’s not widely available around the world, but I’ve received a number of questions and queries about it since its release, and I confess I was curious to try it.
“A dominant theme of Leather takes center stage in this creation” — so reads the official description for Great Britain, a luxury parfum from Roja Dove that was released late last year. It’s also supposedly a chypre, according to the company’s classification, and a leather enhanced by labdanum amber and animalic notes like castoreum and civet. The descriptions had led me to anticipate something in the vein of Roja Dove’s Fetish or his fantastic M for Puredistance. My experience turned out to be quite different.
Roja Dove released several new fragrances worldwide in October, some of which had previously been exclusive to the British market. Two of those fragrances are Sultanate of Oman and 51. The first is his tribute to Oman, its Sultan, and the country’s famous silver frankincense, considered to be the best in the world. The second was made to celebrate Roja Dove’s new boutique at 51 Burlington Arcade in London and comes in masculine and feminine versions. Today, I’ll look at Sultanate of Oman and the Femme extrait version of 51.
Superb, opulent, and one of the best fragrances that I’ve smelt in years. That’s the nutshell synopsis for Roja Dove‘s Roja Haute Luxe, a truly head-turning and jaw-dropping chypre-oriental with such beauty and multi-faceted magnificence that I didn’t know what to do with myself at times, unable to do anything beyond sniff with stunned awe and think, “this is what fragrances should be, what they were meant to be.”
I don’t think I can describe just how beautiful Roja Haute Luxe is without it sounding like inane hyperbole, but it is one of those fragrances that feels like a privilege to try, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. I’d heard about it, descriptions that were usually accompanied with figurative gasps or literal raves, but I didn’t really believe them. Not really. For one thing, Roja Dove’s other hugely acclaimed perfume, Diaghilev, while opulent and complex, had done little for me personally, never once moved me deeply, and never left me wishing I owned it.
For another, I think it’s difficult to comprehend the sheer breadth and scope of Roja Haute Luxe’s extravagant magnificence until one tries it for oneself. It’s not the easiest scent to sample, but I had the opportunity when one of my readers, “Kevin,” asked me to review it last month and generously offered to send me some from his own bottle. After much hesitation, I agreed on the condition that he wouldn’t become personally offended or deeply outraged if I hated it. After all, “beauty” is in the eye (or nose) of the beholder, and could it really be that good? Well, as it turns out, Roja Haute Luxe really is that good. In fact, I thought it was exceptional, in the proper, full sense of that word.