Blog post by Gwen

Harmattan – woody and resinous and Goldilocks approved

Wikimedia Commons - Harmattan wind colours the sky yellow. Seb Esteban, March 6, 2005

I’ve come to have a love/hate relationship with Oud. There was a time a while ago when oud was the ‘it’ note, and suddenly ‘it’ seemed to be in just about every fragrance produced. Dark, rich and resinous, when oud is done right, it’s almost animalistic in its sensuality, and I love it. But it can also be sharp and medicinal in a way that doesn’t appeal to me. Balance and a deft hand are essential when working with oud. My sister calls this the ‘Goldilocks Effect’ – some fragrances are too ‘oudy,’ some aren’t ‘oudy’ enough, and some are just right.  This was my mindset when I tried Harmattan, part of the Core Collection from ROADS Fragrance collection, for the first time, and let me tell you, it’s just right.

The ROADS Fragrance collection is part of the Roads Luxury Group, the Dublin-based international lifestyle brand launched in 2013 by Danielle Ryan, the granddaughter of Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair. In 2014, ROADS introduced ten fragrances, with Harmattan among them.

Each fragrance in the line is based on a specific theme – a place, an event, a person, an emotion or a historical period.

Which brings me to Harmattan.

Harmattan is a dry, dusty, northeasterly trade wind that blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea during the dry season. As it moves across the Sahara, it picks up fine dust and sand, making the air heavy, blocking the sun and limiting visibility, like a heavy fog. It is this warm, hazy atmosphere that inspired Harmattan.

Harmattan opens with a soft, nose-tingling bergamot note introducing a note of fresh, fragrant lavender. The lavender doesn’t linger long before earthy, woody vetiver appears. Then, there is the oud, rich, musty and heady – it is perfect here, and I cannot get enough of it. The oud does linger, with saffron giving it a sweet, hay-like aspect and black pepper giving it a spicy warmth just as tuberose, rose, and ylang-ylang creep forward, all heady and aromatic. The flowers balance the woodiness and give Harmattan an intriguing complexity. At the base, Tonka bean echoes the saffron with its bittersweet almond facet as it settles onto a woody base rich in sandalwood, frankincense, patchouli, and myrrh.

It dries down to a dry, warm, woody/resinous skin scent that gives the impression of scents carried over your skin by a dry wind. It’s an exceptional unisex fragrance that satisfied my inner Goldilocks and filled a scent longing in me that I didn’t know I had until I wore it.

Check out Harmattan in our Shop.