CULTURE


Perfumery palette of Azerbaijan

Baku, July 30, AZERTAC

The inscription of the historic centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in July 2019 was a bright event for the whole of Azerbaijan. And have you ever thought that the Khan's Palace can have its own fragrance?! The creators of the Sheki Khan Palace perfume, a local Spirit of Azerbaijan brand, considered that the Palace of the Sheki khans could have the scent of juniper berries, lavender, and leather.

As we found out, this is not the only landmark of Azerbaijan that inspired perfumers to create their compositions. In the collections of local and foreign perfume manufacturers there are fragrances dedicated to Icherisheher, Flame Towers, Baku, Lankaran, Garabakh, oil, carpets and other architectural, geographical and national symbols of Azerbaijan.

Inspiration vibes

Fantasy of perfume manufacturers know no boundaries. Using a palette of various smells, perfumers create real fragrant images that can be visualized in our imagination. I wonder what the manufacturers of perfumes are guided by, devoting their perfume compositions to cities or architectural masterpieces? We asked this question to Bagir Hasanzade, the founder of the Spirit of Azerbaijan perfume house, who wrote his own olfactory map of Azerbaijan. His collection includes such flavors as Baku, Ganja, Kharabah, Gabala and many others.

“Our brand was created in order to present to the world the splendor of Azerbaijani culture and national peculiarities of the country. Aromatic compositions are created by French perfumers and made in France, while the characteristics of certain aromas are developed by our company, depending on the landmarks to which they are dedicated. For example, in developing the Sheki Khan Palace Black Collection perfume pyramid, we wanted to reflect the feeling of luxury and power, which, in my opinion, are best transmitted by the smell of leather and such plant components as lamdanum and olibanum. In developing the composition of the Gabala fragrance, we proceeded from the fact that roses grow in abundance in this region of Azerbaijan, therefore the rose tinged with saffron notes is distinctly felt in the fragrance composition.”

According to the expert, to create compositions dedicated to Azerbaijan, both the characteristic components of our country and the exotic can be used. In particular, the palette of perfumers who worked on creating a collection of fragrances for Spirit of Azerbaijan included oud, patchouli, ginger, lemon, white musk, amber, vetiver, bergamot, and other valuable ingredients.

Lankaran Herbarium

Azerbaijan inspires not only local perfumers to create fragrances. After a trip to Lankaran, perfumer from Italy, Maria Candida Gentile, impressed by the beauty of the region, created a perfume called Lankaran Forest. Perfume was made to order for The Second Buta Festival of Azerbaijan Arts, which was held in London in November 2014 - March 2015. A source of inspiration for the author was a walk through a protected forest.

“After a long trip, we finally arrived at the Hirkan National Park in Lankaran, and I was already impatient to see the iron trees growing here, - Maria Candida shared her impressions with AZERTAС. - The park ranger led us to a small area of forest consisting of iron trees. We slowly strolled among the hundreds of iron trees, touched by the autumn gilding, gently stepping on a carpet of fallen leaves. The park is huge: it covers an area of more than 45 thousand hectares, stretching right up to the border with Iran. It is the largest forest in the world in which iron trees grow. I was also delighted with the Lankaran acacia, chestnut-leaf oak, Caucasian persimmon, Hyrkan boxwood and many other valuable species. After a walk in the park, on the way back to Lankaran, we were shown tea and lemon plantations, which have their own seductive aromas. So I understood the direction in which Lankaran Forest will develop.”

So, let's take a closer look at some of the scents dedicated to Azerbaijan. Immediately, we note that all of them, with the exception of two (Caspian Rose and Caspian essence), belong to the category of niche perfumery, so do not be surprised by unusual ingredients and their combinations. And also the fact that all these compositions are equally suitable for both women and men.

Sheki Khan Palace Black Collection / Spirit of Azerbaijan

Source of inspiration: The Sheki Khans' Palace

The Khan Palace in the Sheki city is an outstanding work of medieval architecture of Azerbaijan. This unique architectural structure was built in 1762 during the reign of Hussein Khan, as a summer palace-pavilion. The palace has an original design. It is enough to point out, for example, that every square meter of a shebeke (national stained-glass windows made of multi-colored glasses) consists of five thousand parts interconnected without using nails.

The Sheki Khan Palace Black Collection fragrance composition includes a leather chord, a labdanum (flowering plant), juniper berries, sage, lavender and olibanum.

Note that sensations from the perception of the same flavors by different people are significantly different. This is especially true of niche perfumery, often containing natural ingredients that can be revealed in different ways depending on the circumstances - characteristics of human skin, time of year, place of application, etc.

According to the author of the article, this fragrance applied to the blotter can be characterized by the phrase “spicy skin”.

Shervan Shah Gold Collection / Spirit of Azerbaijan

Source of inspiration: The Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The medieval complex of the Shirvanshah Palace is the last residence of the Shirvan rulers. After the earthquake of 1191 in Shamakhi, the capital of the state was moved to Baku, where the palace complex was erected. The palace was founded in the XII century, and finally completed in the XV century. The complex, which is distinguished by harmony and architectural completeness, also includes the Divan-Khan courtyard, the Shirvanshahs' tomb, the palace mosque, the bathhouse and other objects. Together with the Baku Fortress and the Maiden Tower, the Palace of Shirvanshahs is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Top notes: water notes and lemon; middle notes are rose and sugar; base notes are cedar, vanilla, sugar and white musk.

The aroma applied to the blotter is perceived as sweet, spicy. Well felt rose, sugar, vanilla and blackberry, which is not declared in the pyramid.

Qabala Black Collection / The Spirit of Azerbaijan

Source of inspiration: the city of Gabala

Gabala was the first capital of Caucasian Albania, here was the palace of the Albanian king. The fortress and walls of ancient Gabala, the remains of buildings from the ancient period and other cultural monuments have survived to this day. Modern Gabala is a developed city in the north of Azerbaijan, one of the centers of culture and tourism in Azerbaijan. There is an international airport, a major ski resort "Tufan", a lot of luxury hotels and entertainment facilities. It is worth noting the rich nature of the region, in which the majestic mountains side by side with dense forests and noisy waterfalls.

The fragrance includes bergamot, lemon and lime in the top notes; in the middle - jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, figs; in the base - beats, cinnamon, patchouli, saffron, sandalwood, amber, musk.

In the opinion of the author of the article, a bright chord of skin and a sweet rose sprinkled with spices prevail in the composition.

Black gold / Unique Luxury

Source of inspiration: Azerbaijani oil

The start of oil production in Baku in the middle of the 19th century laid the foundation for the development of the global oil refining industry. Suddenly, Baku was at the center of the first oil boom, becoming the city of millionaires and oil magnates. The influx of large monetary capital influenced the change in the architectural appearance of the city, which they began to call the “Paris of the Caucasus”.

The second oil boom in Azerbaijan followed the signing of the "Contract of the Century" in 1994, which laid the foundation for the country's economic prosperity with a foundation for the future. Thus, Azerbaijani oil continues to transform the cultural and architectural landscape of the capital and regions of the country.

Top notes: cumin and woody chords; medium - wild rose, pomegranate, saffron and oud; base notes are tobacco, coffee and kishmish.

What does oil smell like? As it turned out, not only with money, but also caraway, rose and pomegranate, - the creators of the "Black Gold" aroma, the local perfumery house Unique Luxury, decided so. At the same time, the composition of the aroma, dedicated to the achievements of the oil industry of Azerbaijan, among other ingredients, really contains a note of oil extract. And, if you have an idea how oil smells, then you can recognize it.

In general, it is a Middle Eastern flavor, with bright notes of oud, leather, rose, etc.

Khary-Byulbyul / Unique Luxury

Source of inspiration: the flower of an endemic orchid

Khary-Byulbyul fragrance from the Unique Luxury folklore collection is dedicated to the amazing endemic flower. The scientific name of this plant of the Orchid family, known in Azerbaijan as Khary-Byulbyul, is Ophrys caucasica. The outline of the flower resembles a nightingale hovering in flight in front of a stalk. “Khar” in Azerbaijan means “thorn”, and “byulbyul” means “nightingale”. Especially many of these flowers grew in the Armenian-occupied Shusha city in the Nagorno-Karabakh.

Main notes: saffron, apple, lemon, barberry, sea notes.

According to representatives of the brand, this perfume “smells like amazing gardens of Shushi”.

Khalcha / Unique Luxury

Source of inspiration: Azerbaijani carpets

For the Azerbaijani people, the art of carpet weaving is an area of culture, which reflects its rich spiritual world, its inherent character traits, worldview, aesthetics and life philosophy. Rich in compositions, intricate designs and patterns, Azerbaijani carpets are popular all over the world from the Middle Ages to the present day. The best examples of the Azerbaijani carpet art are represented in the most prestigious museums of the world, the residences of rulers and private collections. The world's first carpet museum also appeared in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku in 1967. Since 2010, Azerbaijani carpet weaving has been included in the UNESCO list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

Main notes: vanilla, apricot, pear, rose, honey, etc.

“Khalcha perfume, like patterns on Azerbaijani carpets, is spread before the user, accompanying him for a long time,” says Unique Luxury's official İnstagram.

Khalcha smells like juicy fruits, vanilla and sweet honey.

Caspian Rose / Fakhriya Khalafova

Source of inspiration: Caspian, Absheron roses

Famous Azerbaijani fashion designer Fakhriya Khalafova, who produces her own line of fragrances, two of them dedicated to the Caspian Sea. Perfume formulas are developed in Grasse city in France, known as the world capital of perfumery.

According to the description on the official website of the fashion designer, Caspian Rose is “an amazingly feminine scent, enchanting and attracting with its elegance”. The fresh breath of the sea, the play of the waves, the laces of the sea foam and the gift of the Caspian — the flower of the Caspian rose — all embodied in fresh, sparkling notes of flavor that combines the spirit of cold sea elements and the true power of femininity.

Caspian essence / Fakhriya Khalafova

Source of inspiration: the Caspian Sea and the coast

Caspian essence men's toilet water is an energetic, fresh scent with masculine woody accents. The chord of sea freshness, coniferous and citrus notes make the fragrance composition cool and invigorating.

“The rapid and dynamic composition as a surge of adrenaline, a chord of sea freshness and acute wormwood excite the competitive spirit and call for victory. The rich combination of pure notes of lemon, aroma of herbs make the smell elegant and sensual.”

Lankaran Forest / Maria Candida Gentile

Source of inspiration: Hirkan National Park in Lankaran

The Girkan National Park, located in the south-east of Azerbaijan in Lankaran, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, has a unique ecosystem. Here relict and endemic plant species of the tertiary period are preserved. The "Girkan" word comes from the ancient name of the Caspian Sea and the name of the tribe that inhabited this area. Of the 435 species of trees and shrubs found in Azerbaijan, 150 grow in the subtropical forests of Girkan. In total, the flora of the park includes 1900 species, of which 162 are endemic, 95 rare and 38 endangered. In the forests of the Girkan National Park are found the rarest caucasian leopard, lynx, wild cat, badger, wild boar, roe deer, sika deer, raccoon and other animals, as well as over 118 bird species, 16 of which are listed in the Red Book of Azerbaijan.

Top notes of composition: bitter orange; heart notes: black tea from Lankarani, lichen chord; base notes: sandalwood, etc.

Familiar with the scent, users describe their impressions in the reviews on fragrantica.ru: “Citrus sour bitterness flavored with fragrant herbs and, somewhere far away a breeze, bringing the salty smell of the sea.” “The edge of the forest after the rain or the sun's rays on the surface of a wooden country house... purity, serenity, contemplation.”

Emil Eyyubov

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