Maharanih Intense is a rare creature for me: a one spritz perfume. Patricia de Nicolai took the oriental idea seriously when she created this one: it's full of color, spices and feels like the texture of heavy raw silk. Folds upon folds of raw silk. You need to stand straight and carry it with confidence or you'll be lost in it.
The opening of Nicolai's Maharanih Intense is almost like a herbal cologne. Lots of lavender that smells fresh and just picked in a very zesty orange; it's all rind and oil, no light OJ here. It's... well, intense, and quite heady. The spicy heart is clove and cinnamon, maybe a dash of dry ginger. This is where the perfume starts to bloom and grow on skin. The sillage is enormous and if one makes the mistake of over-applying, Maharanih will not let you forget it's there for even a second until the next day. It can be quite distracting as fantasies of India circa the Raj Quartet are certain to take over one's mind and attention. On a second thought Patricia de Nicolai might have unintentionally invented a cure for the Mondays.
The dry-down of Maharanih is amber and spice with just a hint of sandalwood that fills the gaps. It still smells quite orange to me, a little sweet and quite cozy. Luckyscents put this perfume on the feminine side of the spectrum (for men there's Maharadjah, which I also like a lot), but I don't think it should prevent men from at least giving Maharanih Intense a try, especially if they're fond of unusual lavender fragrances and aren't afraid of a good dose of spice (no cumin, though, thanks for asking).
Notes: Bitter orange, geranium, lavender, cinnamon, sandalwood, and amber.
Maharanih Intense by Parfums de Nicolai ($65, 30ml EDP, and let's all thank Patricia de Nicolai for offering this fragonerd-friendly size and price) is available from Luckyscent and New London Pharmacy. If you're lucky enough to be in Paris or London, I highly recommend visiting the boutique.
Photo of Maharani Gayatri Devi from designindaba.com