Ask me what a diamond ‘smells’ like, and I’ll have to think about it (and probably spout some easy associations most people wouldn’t challenge — a diamond smells like icy champagne, silk, red roses, ‘gold’…). Ask me what turquoise smells like and I immediately have an idea, not based on the scent of the gemstone but on a place I associate with turquoise: Tibet. Tibetan Buddhist jewelry and religious implements are encrusted with blue turquoise — which can symbolize the sky (infinity), bodies of water, or spiritual transcendence. I’ve not been to Tibet but my imagined Tibet smells ‘cold’ and fresh, with mineral/salt, incense, and floral (think: devotional offerings) aromas thrown in for some heft. Olivier Durbano Turquoise Eau de Parfum* fits into my Tibet-turquoise fantasies.
Years ago at the Seattle International Film Festival, I watched The Salt Men of Tibet and was amazed at the dramatic landscape shown in the film, and the high-altitude lakes of Tibet (Lake Namtso is the highest salt water lake in the world). To my nose, Turquoise, the perfume, is a “salty” marine fragrance with detectable lotus blossom, (water)lily, and dry “reed”/straw notes. Mixed with the ‘seascape’ accords are fruity, resinous rose, fumy mineral spirits/turpentine, and mild incense. Turquoise conjures the experience of burning incense at a lakeside shrine (Buddhist pilgrims do burn incense as they walk around sacred Namtso).
Turquoise is less incense-y than my favorites in the Durbano line (Black Tourmaline and Rock Crystal), and it’s worth a try for those who like their incense “smoke-less” and sheer. I’ve come to love Turquoise — its salty water/salty skin aromas, its “white” incense, its flowers submerged in ‘turpentine’ and its briny ambergris in the extreme dry-down.
Perfume is a “blank canvas” — for me, Turquoise is a Tibetan Buddhist reverie. Make of Turquoise what you will….
Olivier Durbano Turquoise is the perfect summer-sunny incense fragrance; its sillage and persistence are good. Turquoise is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($140); for buying information, see the listing for Olivier Durbano under Perfume Houses.
* (containing notes of turpentine, rose berry, elemi, Somalian oliban incense, coriander, juniper, fragrant reed, lotus, fucus, lily, everlasting flower, honey, myrrh, and ambergris)
Note: top center image of Tibetan mandala, top far left/far right image of a phurba1 and lower image of Lake Namtso all via Wikimedia Commons. Farther down on the right, the jewelry photo and Olivier Durbano portrait are via the Olivier Durbano website.