I've never believed in Santa Claus, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster or Shangri La. If Shangri La is hidden somewhere "out there," it's now probably suffering from drought or too much rain, and hotter-than-usual temperatures. I see the appeal of a hidden paradise, an exotic, clean, beautiful, calm retreat. But if all that were true...Shangri La would be a people-free zone. And in Hiram Green's newest perfume, Shangri La,1 people seem absent; only plants and animals thrive and produce aromas.
Shangri La opens with strongly acidic citrus: green in tone; the perfume becomes tarter still with almost-ripe peach (on some wearings, I detect a powerful and astringent peach note; at other times, the fruit is overwhelmed by spice — clove-cinnamon). Shangri La's floral notes are blurry at first, but rose becomes prominent for a brief spell in Shangri La's heart, and it blends well with the peach. Shangri La's oak moss is subtle but ever present; it seems to have sent out "fragments" into all other fragrance notes but was unable to thrive and dominate any stage of Shangri La's development (good for ME, but maybe not so much for lovers of old-style, "vintage" oak moss). The vetiver in Shangri La's base is a tad smoky/earthy but, like oak moss, is "fractured"...not its true (pure) self. Shangri La's biggest surprise: a faint, slightly fecal, musk accompanied by a coconut-jasmine aroma.
Shangri La is a type of perfume I encounter several times a year: a perfume that "breaks up" on my skin. When I wear it on my arms, one forearm can smell rosy, the other forearm peachy...a wrist smells like full-on cinnamon, while an inner elbow smells mossy. Usually I find these type perfumes interesting, and I do like Shangri La. It brings to mind three perfumes of the past: Rochas Femme (musk, not cumin, version), Prescriptives/Clinique Calyx, and...Old Spice (vintage). (Robin Here at NSTTM does not get the Old Spice connection like I do.)
For those of you who loved Hiram Green's first launch, Moon Bloom, do give Shangri La a sniff, too; it's rich, but not cloying, fruity but not food-y...the perfume has amazing diffusion when first applied and excellent lasting power. Shangri La is suitable for men or women...especially if you're the type of man who wears women's perfumes or a woman who loves men's colognes.
Layering tip: Shangri La smells great layered with L'Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu; Shangri La gains some depth, Timbuktu acquires some sparkle.
1. Listed fragrance notes of: citrus, peach rose, iris, jasmine, spice, oak moss, vetiver.