Hypnotised by the cosmic serpent…
Notes: Osmanthus Absolute, Melon, Linden Blossom and Tobacco
The release of NAJA has been long anticipated by the many fans – including myself – of rebel perfumer Vero Kern. It was finally launched at Esxence in Milan last week and I was lucky enough to receive a sample thanks to my dear friends at Australian Perfume Junkies.
NAJA is Vero Profumo’s Jubilee Scent, celebrating 10 years of this unique independent perfume house, with a limited distribution of 650 50ml bottles.
It is a mystical creation, rich in symbolism, which holds the promise of redemption and rebirth.
NAJA is a fragrance of magic and mystery, as exemplified by its stunning black bottle.
The snake is NAJA’s familiar and it is one of the oldest and most widespread symbols in mythology. Snakes (or serpents) features in Greek, Ancient Egyptian, African, Aboriginal, Native American, Indochina, Norse, Christian, Hindu and Jewish mythologies. Primarily it stands for the creative life force, with the shedding of the snake’s skin representing transformation, immortality and healing.
Historically, snakes have been used in shamanic rituals to bridge the gap between our world and that of the spirits. The snake’s venom is also associated with the chemicals in plants which have the power to heal (or poison) as well as expand consciousness. This mirrors the tobacco plant which again has been used by shamans for its medicinal and psychotropic properties.
In NAJA, tobacco takes the form of the serpent which spirals throughout the length of the fragrance’s development. The first hit however is a drop-dead gorgeous combination of fruit (mostly lime) and flowers over a fine layer of seductive powder. The slice of melon combined with the apricot of osmanthus and the luscious lime of linden blossom, gives the fragrance spectacular radiance. Vero always uses fruit accords so beautifully in her perfumes, elevating them to the level of sensual.
I’ve never found a tobacco fragrance that works for me because they are often loaded with cherry and immortelle or they’re too dry and traditionally manly for my taste. Here the tobacco is golden in tone and incredibly smooth. In the base, it becomes suede-like in both texture and scent. At this stage, the olfactory hallmark of Vero Profumo’s orientals (see reviews of Onda and Rozy) is most apparent. It’s a somewhat animalic, tarry smokiness that gives them the classic feel of iconic perfumes from yesteryear, such as Caron’s Tabac Blond.
You might look at the symbolism and the packaging and expect a fragrance of intimidating darkness, but you’d be wrong. Just as the snake embodies the duality of good and evil, poison and cure, so NAJA is imbued with the duality of light and shade, masculine and feminine, spirituality and humanity. It is my ideal, multi-faceted tobacco fragrance and my favourite work by Vero to date.
Unlike previous releases, there is only one formulation of NAJA. It has above average projection and amazing day-into-night longevity.
Prepare to embrace the serpent.
Do you think you will fall under NAJA’s spell?