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Bahiana – Citrusy and fresh and woody - August 8, 2016

Christ the Redeemer, Rio di Janiero, Brazil - Wikipedia,.com

The Summer Olympics are in full swing in Rio, Brazil, right now and it seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere. Olympic sporting events are always exciting, what with all the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat, but these games seem to have an added layer of drama with issues around pollution, doping and the Zika Virus.

As an amateur armchair athlete, I find all this drama tiring. In fact, I’ve found that the aspect of these Olympics I’m enjoying most is learning more about Brazil.

The largest country in South America and Latin America, Brazil has a variety of ecological systems from tropical forests to hot, sandy beaches; a rich Afro-Brazilian culture, cool Bossa nova music – cool because it’s full of emotion but devoid of drama – and Carnaval in Rio. Did you know that the first festivals of Rio date back to 1723? Fascinating. I’ve even perfected the Caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail and picked up a little Portuguese: “Você deseja uma bebida?” along the way. And, of course, I’ve been wearing my new Brazilian-inspired eau de parfum: Bahiana from French niche line Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.

Launched in 2005 to celebrate The Year of Brazil in France, the Maître Parfumeur et Gantier website says that Bahiana  is “A colorful and animated journey inspired by the Brazilian way of life and the lush nature of the country; an invitation to an evening of festivities by Copacabana beaches.” Oh, it so is….

It opens with a fresh bite of sweet orange and zesty lime. There’s a hint of sweetness here, as if the lime came out of a caipirinha glass, giving the opening a tropical effect. Then a heart of guaiac wood and rosewood opens right up. The woods are light, not heavy or weighty.  Guaiac wood or palo santo, is a tree native to Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. Its aspects of pine, mint and lemon play perfectly off the fragrant rose note that comes from rosewood, likely Bahia rosewood here. Elemi is here too, adding a green freshness Bahiana. The base is musky and ambery, which, along with an aquatic, fresh note of coconut water (not the smell of coconut suntan oil) anchor the fruity/floral/woody accord, keeping the fragrance light and buoyant.

There is no drama in Bahiana – no harshness, cloying sweetness or loud florals. The drydown is smooth, subtly tropical and quietly elegant. Perfumer Jeanne-Marie Faugier has created carefree summer scent that is a beautiful homage to Brazil. And while some consider it a unisex fragrance, I kinda think it really is best on a woman.

Long after the Olympics are over and all the excitement, disappointments and drama have subsided, there’ll be plenty of summer left to sip caipirinhas, listen to “The Girl from Ipanema” and breathe in Bahiana.

Bahiana is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.