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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Samsara by Guerlain: fragrance review and history

~by guest writer AlbertCAN

sam•sa•ra
Pronunciation: \səm-‘sär-ə\
Function: noun
Etymology: Sanskrit saṁsāra, literally, passing through
Date: 1886
: the indefinitely repeated cycles of birth, misery, and death caused by karma

—Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary Definition.

Years later I’m still surprised by the paradoxical creature known as the original Guerlain Samsara marketing campaign (1989). Although the fragrance itself has now recognized as one of the diffusive bombshells of the 80s (partly contributed by women who unabashedly applied reapplied ad nauseum back then), the concept was infused with a subtle ironic tone which few had recognized to this day—tongues firmly planted in cheek from day one. In fact, the overall concept can be interpreted in so many different ways that, combined with the subsequent urban legends, I have no choice but hail the whole thing as a marvel. After all, how can a seemingly innocent tale of oriental incarnation points(slyly) to the truth about the eventual corporate fall of venerable perfumery house, in ways that I suspect few still fully comprehend?

Few may dismiss my claims until one realizes that the development process of Guerlain Samsara was a grand departure from its predecessors, for it was the first project which utilized fragrance marketing. (Yes, I understand how vulgar the “m” word may be to some Perfume Shrine readers—but read on.) Before Guerlain Samsara the fragrance formulation was the exact opposite: juice first, concept second. In fact, the developmental processes of classics such as Jicky, Mitsouko, Shalimar were not fully indebted to their romantic muses, be it personal anecdote (the British Jacqueline who couldn’t marry Aimé Guerlain), heroine of a novel by Claude Farrère (homage to the heroine of "La Bataille"), or the Mughal architecture wonder in Lahore, Pakistan (a.k.a. “the abode of love” in Sanskrit). No, the business model in the pre-Samsara era was akin to home-style pasta cooking: if it was any good the fragrance would stick.

However such a R&D method was not a mean of effective business management in the post-Opium era, especially since other designer fragrances such as Givenchy Ysatis (1984), Chanel Coco (1984), and Calvin Klein Obsession (1985) were dominating various markets while Guerlain Nahéma (1979) and Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle (1983) flopped, especially in the North American market[1]. With this in mind Guerlain did two unusual things when developing the next massive launch: requested submissions from the Big Boys and initiated a project with a fragrance brief. Eventually the name Samsara was officially chosen as the name of the fragrance.

By now most people probably have seen the following PR write up: "Jean-Paul Guerlain was so moved by a woman whose inner beauty evoked a serene sensuality, he created a perfume just for her - Samsara. A fragrance that embraces and intoxicates, it is a seductive oriental made for a woman who conveys harmony and spirituality. Jasmine combines with the warmth of sandalwood, while powdery and vanilla notes magnify this blend".
The statement above is almost a direct contradiction to the official definition of the Buddhist term! In fact, when Samsara was launched in Asia it received its share of puzzled looks: in my memory serves me well one of the spiritual writers from the Mandarin-speaking regions (林清玄) actually published articles about how the newest fragrance illustrated the lure of the material world and the emptiness it implies. (I read that article once back in 1990 so please do not quote me—still, I remember the author’s view on Samsara was less than stellar because of its supposed connection to the “harmonious reincarnation”.) To be fair Guerlain did not do itself any favour when it announced (upon its Asian launch at least) that the perfumer (supposedly Jean-Paul Guerlain), was “enlightened” after praying for hours in a remote temple…So why the whole fuss? If Guerlain wanted to appease its Asian market wouldn’t it be easier to call the scent Nirvana? (Remember, the grunge band didn’t its first album until 1988.) Well, the questions ultimately point to the basis of Buddhism: while explaining the paradigm of Buddhism is beyond the scope of this review I shall offer a part of my understanding since it ultimately points to an interesting truth.

One of the major issues that many religions need to address is the sufferings experienced by mankind: how can one elevate from the everyday spiritual sufferings? Legends have it that Buddhism originated when Prince Siddhārtha Gautama, upon meeting his subject for the first time, discovered earthly pains associated with aging, disease, and corpses. Since he father forbid the prince to study all spiritual matters the young man later set out to uncover the root
of the problem. (It was prophesized upon Gautama’s birth that the prince would become either a great king or a great spiritual leader: naturally the king forbid his son to study spirituality.) Of course, Siddhārtha Gautama later gained enlightenment and became Buddha.

What Gautama supposedly envisioned during his meditation right before the enlightenment is worth repeating. Under a Bodhi tree, Gautama witnessed the human cycles and the consequences as a result: a perpetual motion of greed, jealousy, hatred, all of which are caused by ignorance. In fact, finding to starting point of such suffering is futile, much akin to finding the starting point of a circle. The cycle of such troubling human experience, of course, is samsara.

At this point you might be wondering how the first photo featured in this post fit into the grand scheme of things—it is, in fact, a samsara wheel, complete with all the states associated with the phenomenon. Of course, samsara is not merely reincarnation or karma: from my understanding the pains of repeating oneself due to karmic bonds and/or debts that allows the samsara cycle to continue...(for more information on the stages within a samsara wheel, as well as the meaning behind various depictions within the thangka above, please refer to the excellent interactive guide here.) Well, does the projected image much more akin to nirvana? Not exactly—in fact I think nirvana will be a fairly poor choice upon examining the official definition by Merriam-Webster:

nir•va•na
Pronunciation: \nir-‘vä-nə, (,)nər-\
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: Sanskrit nirvāṇa, literally, act of extinguishing, from nis- out + vāti it blows — more at wind
Date: 1801

1: the final beatitude that transcends suffering, karma, and samsara and is sought especially in Buddhism through the extinction of desire and individual consciousness
2 a: a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality

The real essence of nirvana isn’t the equivalent of an oriental heaven, full of exotic pleasures. (Such earthly thoughts create more earthly delights until the karmic force runs out, remember?) Instead, nirvana is the cease and the decease of earthly desires, thereby wiping out samasara. All of which makes nirvana, by definition, an indescribable state—since nirvana is beyond the use of the five senses or even the duality-driven state of the human experience. Yet, Buddhism advocates that such surrender is merely a choice to go beyond the transient entertainment of the human experience and realize that the greater truth is the integration of everything in life—thus can only be experienced, not said in words since describing the state requires choosing one’s words, thereby separating some experiences from others [2]. In the end, I suppose Guerlain can’t pick a name that implies the cease and the decease of the consciousness!

Aside from the incoherence of between the projected image and the name the olfactory theme of Guerlain Samsara couldn’t have been more appropriate. Jasmine and sandalwood, aside from producing a sensual oriental alliance when expertly combined, actually capture the imagination of many Asian countries despite the cultural differences within the regions. While Helg has kindly explored the use of jasmine in perfumery in ways that I can never imagine in her excellent jasmine series, it’s worth noting that to many Asians the flower serves as spiritual shorthand of the various cultures within this region—there’s more to jasmine than, for instance, the vital ingredient in the classic jasmine tea. For instance, the iconic Mandarin folksong “Muo Li Hua” (茉莉花), taught in Chinese elementary schools as soon as the second grade, becomes the symbol of Asian aesthetics. (It is even used by Puccini as a theme in Turandot, most prominently in the middle of Perché tarda la luna? in Act I. More recently the famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou had used it liberally when directing various events related to the Beijing Olympics.) I’ve heard of many versions of this melody and to demonstrate the phenomenon I have a YouTube concert highlight featuring the Vienna Boys Choir (the pronunciation and intonation are quite spot on, by the way). I think all this indicates how the jasmine has become to represent oriental aesthetics.



Jean-Paul Guerlain’s source of inspiration might turn out to be different from a Buddhist temple after hours of meditation. Michael Edwards reported in Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances that Jean-Paul was set out to seduce Decia de Powell, an English woman who shared his passion for equestrianism. Upon being asked what fragrance would she like to wear, Decia supposedly asked for a concoction of jasmine and sandalwood as far back as 1985—and the final result supposedly contained up to 30% of sandalwood extract, one of the precious perfumery ingredients due to the diminishing population of the sandalwood tree and its slow-growing nature. (Jean-Paul also added, among many other things, Sandalore in order to create a powerful sandalwood effect.)
But the perfumery industry can readily reveal contradictory stories and this is where Samsara’s story starts to take on a colourful spin: did Guerlain ultimately picked Jean-Paul’s submission for Samsara?

While nearly all official Guerlain PR material back up the master perfumer fully for years the perfumery industry members whisper among themselves that Guerlain Samsara might have been the first Guerlain fragrance created by an outsider. (Quel horreur! C'est absolument incroyable!) The story is even more bizarre when CNN reported nearly three years ago that nose Jacques Chabert was the nose behind Guerlain’s Samsara (and Chanel's Cristalle)…, further adding confusion and complexity to the urban myth…

Of course, Guerlain isn’t completely innocent in this regard: when Mathilde Laurent joined Cartier a few years ago the creator Shalimar Eau Légère (2003) strangely became Jean-Paul Guerlain after the master perfumer supposedly “optimized” the fragrance with citrus oils such as bergamot according to the Guerlain PR team. (How can the original be short of hesperidic top notes is still beyond me.) Champs- Élysées (1996) might have received a similar treatment since the olfactory strokes [3] are a bit different compared to the classic Jean-Paul Guerlain creations. (My guess would be Dominique Ropion after sampling Une Fleur de Cassie by Frédéric Malle, though the depth of the latter is unquestionably better honed.) Mostly interestingly, many Guerlain sales associates are still taught that L’Instant de Guerlain (2003) was created by a Guerlain family member despite the fact that Maurice Roucel was officially credited as the nose behind the project—the training documents supposedly indicated otherwise in some cases...
Sure, many people have attributed Guerlain’s recent perfumery downfall from grace to the corporate greed of LVMH—but I feel that there must have been something wrong in the first place that caused the family to sell the corporation to the conglomerate. After all, as opposed to the Givenchy takeover (hostile in nature by all accounts) LVMH bought the brand upon years of mismanagement. I don’t believe for a second that it was simply a case that someone spending too much on guaranteeing the supply of costly essences, not after knowing the factors behind the failure of Nahéma, for instance. Management problems existed before the LVMH takeover—it wasn’t simply a matter of under finance that plagued many French luxury firms.

Years ago I read a short paragraph that ended up saying more to this day than many sources could articulate. Cathy Newman, a reporter for the National Geographic and the author of "Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent", once interviewed a noted industry member. While the man didn’t go into the specifics he indicated that the Guerlain family was a group of “octogenarians” who constantly “squabbled” over money and other matters. The traditional Guerlain management structure used to dictate the separation to duties among siblings and/or cousins, which potentially created strains even during fragrance formulation (as Jean-Paul Guerlain said during some interviews) as the cost of material may exceed the limits imposed by the other departments…
Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not indicating that the Guerlain legacy less than it should have been—but to say that the family dynamic was a smooth sail and placed the LVMH acquisition squarely to the lure of the global corporation was not exactly correct either. Guerlain got sold not because the audience didn’t get the fragrance masterpieces—Guerlain got sold because the namesake family couldn’t identify the effective management strategies. (Interestingly enough, LVMH is still looking for ways to properly manage the Guerlain portfolio, as many perfumistas will sadly tell you. I suppose history does repeat itself.)

So the fragrance that was released 100 years after the launch of Jicky said so much more with its name than it should when the Sanskrit word originally described the sadness associated with karmic bonds: suppose Samsara also indicated all the emotions that the Guerlain (corporate entity) must have gone though over the centuries?

Fragrance-wise Samsara is arguably beyond just a simple combination of jasmine and sandalwood. Dr. Luca Turin once commented how the classic Guerlain compositions used quite a bit of Provençal herbs such as thyme and rosemary: Samsara subtly opens with lemon and tarragon, although the jasmine-sandalwood alliance can be strongly felt from the get go—making the bouquet largely powdery with a 80s lilt. (Peach is also mentioned as a top note in some sources, although to me it isn’t a prominent player—at least not in the famed Mitsouko context.) As the scent progresses ylang ylang further supports the jasmine idea with a spicy touch, concurred by carnation and rose. The overall aesthetic is round and smooth—as if invisible hands are arching the elements into concentric spirals, leaving an interesting sillage—sophisticated but strong-willed before the fragrance settles into the typical Guerlain balsamic-amber base with the aforementioned sandalwood as the main lead.

(I hate to say this…but I wonder more than once if Catherine Deneuve used Samsara during the filming of Indochine, for the complex love story can certainly be described as heavily karmic in nature![4] )


As for the famed packaging Michael Edwards reported that the pagoda-shaped bottle was in fact inspired by a Cambodian dancer statue displayed at Musée Guimet: the legs forms the outer shape of the bottle as the head forms the stopper…(no prize for guessing why red and gold are chosen as the colours).

Helg talked about how Guerlain’s model profiling in its ads and her theory certainly bears some interesting truth when considering the following ad:




So I urge everyone to re-examine this creation more than a blast from the past—the stories behind the creation itself are more than what one can bargain for!

Notes for Samsara by Guerlain: jasmine, ylang ylang, narcissus, sandalwood, iris, tonka bean, vanilla

Samsara is available wherever Guerlain perfumes are stocked. Two " discontinued "flankers that bear no olfactory relation are Un air de Samsara and Samsara Shine.

[1] Although the concept would be considered very foreign to the non-French speakers, Guerlain’s problem with the North American market might also have to do with its refusal to deliver extra sales incentives, a practice that was commonplace in North America. In short, I don’t believe it’s simply the diffusive juice that ultimately caused the failure of a juice: after all, as we all know a terrible juice can be quite profitable if managed properly (much to the horror of perfumistas).
[2] I’m not a Buddhist and an even lousier student in religious matters: my little write-up on Buddhist terms only serves as an illustration to the terms associated with this fragrance.
[3]Similar to writers and painters perfumers (especially the established ones) do have their olfactory styles, mostly due to their preferred ingredients and aesthetics. People who are highly trained can even conduct personality tests based on the olfactory signatures. According to Sophia Gorjsman the perfumers actually recognize each other’s olfactory signatures upon smelling a fragrance.
[4]The Tale of Genji, the world’s oldest novel by Murasaki Shikibu, certainly attribute the protagonist’s often futile (and nearly incestuous in some cases) relationships with various female leads as deeply karmic.

Pics via Wikimedia and Fragrances of the World.

29 comments:

  1. Petals from MUA15:30

    Hey there! I am so happy you wrote a review on Samsara -- the best perfume which got me hooked on Guerlain. I wore this in the older pure parfum yesterday and it's gorgeous.

    I can never understand how Nahema and JdB flopped (what are extra sales incentives you mentioned?). They are both so well orchestrated, but I too think they are very 'European' in nature and wouldn't sell well in N. America because of inter alia, the names.

    I am bringing it up here but has anyone noticed that the Samsara today has changed? I have been using Samsara EDP (the EDT lacks the sandalwood punch) since 1996 when I discovered it and recently got my hands on a 30ml bottle of the older parfum, but when I sprayed on some EDP at the Department store the other day, it was good old Samsara that I remember it to be. I don't know if this has anything to do with LVMH but I am hoarding the older Samsaras for now.

    Oh and about Indochine -- I cannot imagine Deneuve wearing this because IndoChina to me has nothing to do with sandalwood and jasmines, notes I strongly associate with India. In that movie, I can imagine her in something French and cold -- like No 19.

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  2. Dear T,

    glad you enjoyed the piece which was by Albert btw (he did an excellent job, didn't he?) I also liked and enjoyed the older Samsara back in the day (in the edp), which I used in small quantities in our warm climate. Since you're saying so and I trust your judgement, I should make it a point of comparing with the current fare in perfume stores. (*mental note*)

    Admittedly from my travels at Indochina and the adjoining regions, I could never imagine Samsara being too pleasant/fitting at that humid climate: perhaps during the dry season, possibly. And yes, it's quite an Indian concept, I agree.

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  3. Dear T,

    Thanks for the kind thoughts! I didn't work for Guerlain when Nahema and JdB were launched but I've been told that it was a standard practice in North America department stores to hand out cash bonuses for selling certain products. The rates would obviously be all set by the different companies. So a sales associate wouldn't pitch a product to a customer if the employee know from the get go that s/he wouldn't be rewarded extra for waxing lyrical about a fragrance. (We are obviously talking about "fragrance bars", counters which different products are all lined up together.) Thus a product with a pre-determined cash bonus would be pitched instead.

    Again, I don't know what's happening with Guerlain nowadays, though I do know that the top sales associate(s) each year would be given a tour of the Guerlain fragrance factory. (Few years ago a Guerlain sales associate I once knew even won a bottle of Guerlinade, although I wouldn't know whether it was the real thing or the JP Guerlain recreation since I didn't smell the juice.)

    As for the Indochine angle I was simply trying to stick a Deneuve story into my humble piece (:op The clip was more about "samsara" the Buddhist concept, how entangled love affairs were due to karma.

    I hope this helps.

    A

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  4. Dear Helg,

    Thanks once again for doing a great job editing my little review!

    A

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  5. Ooh... thanks for reminding me of Samsara. A friend's mother always wore this and she smelled so divine... I think it might be time to put together a list of sandalwoods for my next sample batch! :)

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  6. Helg: Thanks for another interesting and well-researched blogpost. As a fledgling practitioner of Buddhism, I had often wondered about the strange and seemingly dissonant choice of the name 'Samsara'. How samsara was explained to me by a Buddhist teacher, briefly, is that samsara refers to the cycle (or wheel) of human suffering that comes from yearning or striving; i.e. striving for things to be other than as they are leads to suffering. Perhaps this is what Jean-Paul was trying to express: the suffering he experienced as a result of striving for something he couldn't have. Along the same lines, Gucci's use of the word "Envy", is also interesting. It's another word for yearning with a negative connotation. It's an interesting marketing ploy to use a word with negative connotations (something yearned for but forbidden, something dangerous -- like "Poison"), and I would like to give the marketers the benefit of the doubt that they truly understood the meaning of the word Samsara, but I think it's more likely that they liked the sound of the word without regard to it's meaning, and the vast majority of the public was none the wiser. As you say, this is an industry built on striving and yearning and fantasy. Ironically, Samsara is the perfect name for a fragrance, but not in the way Guerlain intended.

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  7. Samsara reminds me of my Aunt. Samsara was once epic and brazen. I believe it must have been reformulated (Sandalwood shortage?), because I stole a sniff of the last dribble in her bottle (she's always kept them safe, in boxes and in her cupboard), and compared it to what is on sale in the shops, and it's just not the same any more. It makes me sad!

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  8. Petals from MUA02:00

    Dear helg,Albert:

    Thanks for getting back and clarifying things. It is also very reassuring to know that I am not the only one who believes Samsara has been tweaked!

    I also forgot to include that while I don't usually adore flankers -- Poison an exception -- Un air de Samsara is a great way to wear sandalwood without the heaviness. Thank goodness a local store hoards loads of tester bottles of this hard-to-find. I also found another newer Samsara bottle -- the red one -- with names of cities printed all over it (Paris, Florence, Athens... in gold embroidered fashion). I love it and only wish it were the EDP instead.

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  9. Dear A,

    no need to edit much: your level is on a par with the very, very best (which is why I'm honoured to have you contribute!)

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  10. Katie,

    you're welcome. If you can find vintage sandalwood samples, it might be more representative of the note (as the shortage in the Mysore variety is still going on)

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  11. Scott,

    what an interesting comment and thanks for taking the time to post it!
    I believe that although samsara must have been known as to its general term to the minds of the Guerlain house, surely the implications of the suffering cycle had been sidetracked a bit because of the sonorous name (succinct obersvation on your part)and the unique concept. Or perhaps they thought that since samsara means eternal return it might herald an eternal return of the brand in the customers' minds? ;-)

    I agree with you that negative names can have positive repurcussions in marketing terms. Envy I believe was Tom Ford's idea that everyone is envious of the next person (hence the juice is green) and that instigating it is not a bad thing necessarily (don't ask me why, ask TF!!)
    Obsession, Contradiction, Tabu, Poison as you say...there is a great tradition in negative names.

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  12. Nick,

    thanks for commenting, I appreciate your feedback! So we're not delusional, it seems.
    "Epic and brazen" describes it very well!

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  13. T,

    oh, the bottle with the city names sounds lovely! Yeah, if only limited edition bottles were always what we'd like to wear too.

    It is interesting to juxtapose the advertising for Samsara with the Un Air de Samsara: the black-haired exotic beauty becomes your everage Angelo-Saxon with light chestnut hair cut in a long bob and with only a veil of a thin material (very remotely sari-like) reminding us this is an Indian-inspired perfume. ;-)

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  14. Quite a beautiful and informational review. The juice itself is a bit too heavy and too clearly influenced by the 80's scent aesthetic for my taste.
    I just wanted to add that before "Samsara" was Buddhist, it was a Hindu concept, perhaps even a Jain concept.

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  15. Anonymous10:59

    Thank you Albert for a most interesting read on the state of the House of Guerlain as well as a lovely review of Samsara. I enjoyed the deft manner in which you entwined the stories. I had a bar of Samsara soap back in the day (it was all I could afford then) but it did a great job of giving out a subtle scent. I would love to track down some older jus since what I have sniffed recently doesn't correspond with my memories. How I wish Guerlain would sort itself out! Thanks to E for posting this article. donanicola

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  16. Happy New Year! Samsara was never one of my Guerlain favourites - I'm not a big fan of sandalwood in perfume. Mitsouko is still my secret love... I have actually been to Nirvana - it was a big circular shrine in Cambodia, and the guide promised that if we walked round it clockwise we would go straight to heaven when we died, without having to be reborn - not an offer you can afford to turn down. I'm of the belt 'n' braces school of religion - my grandmother bribed me to learn "Hail Mary" etc as a child (although we are Protestants) just in case God turned out to be Catholic, and "Sh'ma Yisroel" for the same reason. I am fairly certain I can blag my way in whatever religion Heaven turns out to be...

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  17. Indie Tea,

    glad you enjoyed the content. I like to think that A saves some of his best stuff for here.
    Very interesting that you mention the religious lineage of the idea, thank you!

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  18. D,

    you're very welcome. I am so happy that A interweaved such aspects into the review.
    I bet that soap was a killer soap: funny how they don't seem to widely distribute/make soap in those classic scents any more; they're so nice!

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  19. Happy new year L!!

    From a smart girl like you, I wouldn't expect otherwise.
    Think the guide had made a pact in Heaven for his/her subjects? ;-)

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  20. Hi, E and Albert:

    Just chiming in late to say how much I enjoyed this (I must try to find some older juice to sample). But what really got me was the clip of the boy's choir singing Muo Li Hua. I hardly speak any Mandarin, but my mother did teach me this song when I was very young, and it always tickled me that it could be found in Turandot. It's still one of my favourites (as is jasmine itself).

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  21. Hi J! Hope you're all right :-)

    Trust A to find the clip in Mandarin! (If it were me, I would have only found something from the opera itself I'm afraid). Jasmine is a spectacular gift of the gods to nature: you must have felt it where you are now (it's still fragrant here despite the cold, although not as rampant as during the summer)

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  22. Hi, E. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm feeling a lot better.

    I have not seen much jasmine for sale on the streets, although I have seen it in temples. Have not been able to smell it up close, alas. In a past year, I was here in India in July, and it was everywhere.

    I smelled some lovely jasmine absolute and jasmine sambac absolute at the attarwalla last week.

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  23. Am I glad you're feeling better :-)

    It's nice to be able to sit under a trellis. *dreamy*

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  24. Anonymous13:34

    Hi all and Happy New Year,

    I recently bought my first expensive fragnance( in the form of EDT), SAMSARA!!! It's devine. I am of an Indian backgroud, now after reading all the reviews I am assured I have the right perfume for my personality.

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  25. I absolutely hate Samsara. Don't worry.I won't be back to annoy you. I'm trying to find my lovely old Mitsouko and why they destroyed it. I've worn it since I was 16 and since my husband always keeps me supplied,I never worried about it till last June when he told me the formula was changing. WHY? It's perfection. Shalimar is my second choice but Mitsouko IS me.My husband would drop anything and follow me when I wore it into the room. He bought me Samsara when it first came out but it was so annoying,I had to scrub it off after 1/2 an hour.And again after an hour. I tried giving it to a neighbor but she hated it too.
    Oh yes-my husband is Indian-even he hates,although we both love jasmine and sandalwood.Something about Mitsouko heats up the longer it's on the skin.

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  26. Kartoff,

    you're most welcome to come back and "annoy" us all you want. It's no bother, rather a pleasure.

    Mitsouko alas has had to comply with industry regulations on potentially allergenic ingredients; the removal of bits meant recalibrating the formula and to many this meant a change in what they had adored all their lives. Luckily Mitsouko can still be found in older bottles floating on the Net and in old shops (behind newer merchandise I assume), so not all is lost; it's just got harder to "get one's fix", so to speak. I can understand the appeal to you and your husband. :-)

    Sorry about Samsara. Good as it may be, it's indeed a gigantically loud fragrance. It takes some getting used to. :-/

    Thanks again for taking the trouble to comment here. Any time.

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  27. Anon,

    that's great to hear! I do hope it fits you perfectly and you derive lots of enjoyment out of it.

    Happy new year to you too! :-)

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  28. Anonymous12:42

    Can Istill buy Samsara soap

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  29. At time of writing I can see it for sale on Sears and 99perfume.com (not affiliated). Hope that helps!

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