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Tigre du Bengale – Spicy and leathery and seductive – June 27, 2016

Image - Wikimedia Commons - Bengal tiger in the wild, Ranthambhore, India

I’ve always had an interest in Vikings. Not the current cultural cliché of heathen barbarians roaming around the place raping and pillaging, but the truer archaeological version of Vikings as Norse seafarers travelling in longboats to new lands and continents - exploring, expanding, trading and settling. Through their expansion, they built cultural ties with other countries that had them both benefiting from the exchange.

My family is from the east coast of Canada and we kids grew up with stories of Leif Erikson and Vinland and L'Anse aux Meadows, the famous Viking settlement at northernmost tip of Newfoundland.

I suppose it was those stories from my childhood that left me with a curiosity about a people who lived in a place of rugged beauty, who wondered what was beyond their land and the sea beyond that and then developed the navigational skills to find out.

So, I was excited to learn of the launch of Malbrum, the Norse fragrance line founded by self-described Viking, and scent-junkie, Kristian Hilberg, in Oslo, Norway, in 2010.

I find the fragrances in the line intriguing and eclectic, but my current favourite by far is Tigre du Bengale.

Part of Malbrum’s Vol. 1 Collection, Tigre du Bengale is Hilberg’s exploration of how spicy a leather fragrance could be and was inspired by his interest in the spices used in Bangali cooking. Working with French nose Delphine Thierry, Tigre du Bengale is the product of their collaboration.

Now, this is where I usually give a note by note breakdown of a fragrance, but that won’t do you any good here as Hilberg lists all the notes in Tigre du Bengale, even the synthetic ones:

Synthetic notes: Toscanol, Safranal, Nimberol, Ambrofix
Head: Juniper, cardamom
Heart: Myrrh, labdanum
Fond: Castoreum, Burley tobacco, patchouli

Sure, I could Google Toscanol, Safranal, Nimberol and Ambrofix and try to untangle it all, but where’s the fun in chemical breakdowns and descriptions? They won’t make the juice smell any better, so the best thing for me to do is to tell you how it smells.

Tigre du Bengale opens with the smell of cola syrup – I don’t get any sense of carbonation, just the smell of the syrup - and sweet and spicy cardamom. It’s familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. But there’s more spice here than just from cardamom – it’s something warm and a little floral, and I really enjoy it. I smell amber here too, so that the opening is warm, sweet and aromatic. The cola accord moves to the heart where it joins with myrrh and labdanum and gets resinous and bitter, but not harsh. This is FABULOUS! Soon, I smell licorice, anisic and herbal backed up right against the animalic, leather smell of castoreum. Should these things really go together so well I wonder? They do in Tigre du Bengale. At the base, earthy patchouli comes forward with the smell of smoky tobacco that winds through it.

At the end of the day, Tigre du Bengale is all about that spiced leather and make no mistake, this tiger may strut and claw at the air by turns as the fragrance develops on skin, but he isn’t going to pounce and conquer with force, nope, he’s going to make men and women yield to him through artful seduction.

Tigre du Bengale is the result of a Viking concept combined with a French execution – oh, those Vikings understand so much about the benefits of cultural exchanges.

Tigre du Bengale is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 for 1 ml.