Rahele by Neela Vermeire Creations

Notes of green mandarin, cardamom, cinnamon, violet leaf, osmanthus, rose, magnolia, jasmine, iris, violet, cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli and leather.

Neela Vermeire Creations produce fabulously opulent scents that interpret India through French perfumery.  Their latest fragrance, Rahele (“Traveller”) was – as usual – composed by superstar perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. It was inspired by three 17th Century French travellers to India whose books about the country left a lasting impression on many Europeans.


Rahele sets off with a beautiful, perfectly rounded, green mandarin note. It’s like sniffing the whole fruit with its zesty peel and green leaves intact. It’s supported by that classic rose/iris accord which fondly reminds of old-fashioned cosmetics.

This is a perfume which is primarily focused on osmanthus and I soon pick up on its softly sweet, apricot-tinged, floral aroma. The effect gradually becomes riper and more vivid as we move into the heart of the fragrance. Although we are travelling, it’s at a leisurely pace.

Perhaps we are aboard The Palace on Wheels, the former Maharaja’s luxury train. I feel a real sense of calm, as if gently rocked by the carriage, gazing out entranced at the countryside passing by. It is indeed India several steps removed – viewed from someone who is only passing through, rather than up close and personal.

The florals are like watercolour smudges while the spices are treated with an incredibly light touch and only give the faintest sense of place. The apricot facet of osmanthus is emphasised in the opening and heart, while its suede-like facet is emphasised in the base. I love how the dry leather is backed by deep green oakmoss. It gives the drydown depth, contrast and sophistication. This is when the fragrance goes from being lovely to downright gorgeous.

Rahele is a thing of beauty; a soothing daydream of a faraway place overflowing with fruit and flora, but with a shadier side. It’s by far my favourite fragrance from NVC which seem to improve with every release. Their last creation, Pichola, was the first tuberose perfume I’ve fallen for, which is no small feat considering my usual aversion to the note.

The other perfumes in the line-up all have a lot of throw but Rahele takes a different path. It’s much more intimate and I find it all the more alluring for it. It entices you to come and explore just beyond the boundary. It whispers of untold lusciousness; a sheltered sanctuary where everything is unfurling for your eyes – and nose – only.

Although it may not be a heavy-hitter it is no will-0′-the-wisp. It’s incredibly tenacious, staying with me for most of the day.

This dream-like scent takes me out of my surroundings and out of myself.  It’s rare that a perfume can transport and soothe me to such a degree, but Rahele does just that.


Have you tried Rahele? Do you like any osmanthus perfumes?



Filed under Perfume Reviews

34 responses to “Rahele by Neela Vermeire Creations

  1. Lady Jane Grey

    I feel I have to revisit the NV brand – in spite of all the raves non of the scents worked for me. It might be the nose behind them though – I have diffuculties to like the juce if I have ethical problems with their creator…


    • Hmm It might be worth you re-trying Trayee as it has an incense note. They are a certain style that isn’t going to suit everyone but incredibly high quality.


  2. Sounds incredibly beautiful Tara. Love the way you describe it, and must try this as it sounds so soothing. Osmanthus is a note I like. Love it in Mona di Orio Oud Osmanthus so I must really try this new NVC release.

    Xxx, Esperanza


    • Oh yes, then there’s a good chance you’ll love Rahele, Esperanza. I’ve never come across an osmanthus scent that is so calming. I hope you get to try it soon.
      I think osmanthus may be my favourite white floral actually.


  3. I Love Rahele, it’s a unique experience


  4. Sandra

    Beautiful Tara! I adore Rahele and hope to buy it in time for spring. I think it is a wonderful addition to the NVC line. Sandra xo


  5. Rahele is my clear favourite too.
    I’ve user a sample up, but am
    looking forward to having a proper wearing in Milan. You’ve ignited the desire!! xxx


  6. NVC fragrances have, so far, not worked for me. While I was able to enjoy them on others, on me they just turned sour/vegetably. I don’y have much hope that Rahele will be any different, but your lovely description will make me try.


    • Sabine, I do think the last two releases have a different style to the original three and Ashoka which I didn’t click with either, as much as I could appreciate their quality.


  7. Love this one too Tara. I haven’t actually tried many osmanthus perfumes, or at least none that the osmanthus is so central to the scent. I’m a little intrigued by what Lady Jane Grey said about ethical problems. Do you know what she means?


  8. What a delicious review! I am all for a ‘tenacious will-o-the-wisp’ – that sounds right up my street. I am partial to Osmanthe Yunnan and Osmanthus Interdite in the osmanthus line. I also would love to go to India, but may be too much of a wimp in practice. Getting a sense of ‘brushing up’ against the landscape and general ambience without that ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ aspect of the country may be a winning combination – an evocative scent of place to be enjoyed from one’s armchair. ;0


    • I probably say this a lot but I do really think this is your cup of tea. As long as you’d be fine with the mossy leather base, which is my favourite bit. Thanks for reading and commenting while so busy BTW.


  9. Hamamelis

    Thank you for the beautiful review. I won a sample of Rahele at APJ, but it hasn’t arrived, I doubt if will make it here, in spite of its name. So I will order a sample, although your review almost inspired a lemming! I love and own Trayee, did not get along with Ashoka either, nor, strangely enough with Mohur. Calming is often what is called for, I look forward to experiencing Rahele.


    • Oh too bad about the sample but it’s a lottery with the postal system these days. Relieved you ordered a sample and didnt go the full blown lemming route. I’d feel too responsible! Hope you love it. Do let me know.


  10. You make it sound absolutely wonderful, another ‘transporter-perfume’ 🙂 it seems to be what we are craving!
    Like Sabine and Lady JG, I’m afraid that after trying and failing with the initial 4,(very beautiful, but not so me) I didn’t really keep it up with the new releases. I blame Duchaufour and the often disappointingly predictable dry down, Tralala stays the only BD perfume for me. However, I might want to reconsider that now 🙂


    • Oh yes, definitely feeling the need to get away, even if it is only by means of perfume 🙂 I didn’t click with the first 4 either so I would recommend trying the last two if you ever get the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow this sounds really lovely. I have yet to find an osmanthus I can wear, but I love it as a note.


  12. For a couple of years I stayed away from Mr.D’s creations because of that controversy but then last year I “slipped” and bought 2 perfumes created by him after those events (my dividing line was supposed to be April 2012). In my “defense” I have to mention that I didn’t realize that at the time of purchase.
    Anyway, since I broke my own rule, I do not feel the strength NOT to test this perfume – but only because it’s NVC (and I just personally like Neela) and because of your review, Tara. It seems you really-really liked this perfume. Enjoyed your review but really wish B.D. would not have done what he did back then (including some lame explanations he provided in response to questions from Ca Fleur Bon’s editor).
    So, it’s a very powerful review, Tara, and I’m conflicted.


    • Well you’ll have to see if you love it when you try it. You never know, though I know you like the line generally and yes, Neela is great. I hope to meet her next time she’s in London. It’s complicated with BD because it’s not like he has his own line. He’s a hired hand – or rather, nose – and so prolific.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Nemo

    This review did NOT make me less interested in trying Rahele 🙂 I love Mohur and Pichola, and find Trayee and Ashoka to be well done but not for me. I haven’t tried osmanthus much in perfumes, but I do like Osmanthe Yunnan very much!


    • I hope you get to try it Nemo. The good news is that the line is now at Les Senteurs and Harvey Nichols. Osmanthus Yunnan is lovely but I think Rahele is much better.


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