The only problem with wearing Mahjoun by DSH Perfumes is that it makes me think obsessively about sticky date pudding. Thick, rich, saucy, and calorific: the enemy of thighs around the world. But Mahjoun is actually more exotic than the traditional English dessert. Perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz was inspired by a Moroccan delicacy, and the perfume is somewhat related to Arabie by Serge Lutens. If you replace the cumin and camels of Arabie with cardamom, honey and sticky toffee you will get Mahjoun: less souk, more refined sitting rooms draped in silk, where you're served honey-dripping pastries on silver trays.
Mahjoun opens with a full blast of spice and oriental aromas. It's the spice market, the bakeries, sunny gardens where orange and lemon trees are in full bloom. The air itself is sweet and full of yearning, waiting for the celebration that will begin at nightfall. The thing about Mahjoun is that as foody as it is, DSH has managed to inject it with warmth and luminosity. I smell sweet dates and honeyed dried figs that upon contact with the skin become smooth and far less sticky than you'd anticipate. It's still delectable, still very much a gourmand (and you will eat the entire content of your pantry if not careful), but it's also a perfume . A golden seductive perfume that flirts with the human element that's your skin, adds a little smoke and amber, and takes you on a fantastic journey. With bellydancers.
I'd say that one must love cardamom, honey, dried fruit and a side of clove to enjoy Mahjoun. It might not project to high heavens (well, it can, if you go to town with the sprayer), but it lasts the day and sits firmly in and around layers of clothes. If you're shy about your spice intake the extract might serve you better. I bought a bottle of the EDP, though, and have to remind myself that one or two sprays are enough to power this particular magic carpet.
Notes: bitter almond, cardamom, cherry blossom, lavender, lemon, orange, Bulgarian rose, fig, hazelnut, honey, nutmeg, orange blossom, date, amber, cedar, cinnamon, clove, olibanum, sandalwood, and Arabian myrrh.
DSH Perfumes- Mahjoun ($33, 10ml EDP, samples and other sizes and concentrations also available) can be purchased from dshperfumes.com.
Photo via trekearth.com.