How many perfumistas does it take to …

… persuade me to go for a perfume? At least four.

I remember reading somewhere the announcement of the upcoming release of Rajasthan by Etro and either the author or somebody in comments was extremely excited about the bottle and was almost prepared to go for a blind buy. I shrugged: not only I didn’t know the brand (I’m not into fashion much) but I couldn’t see the bottle attraction either. One.

Then I read a rather negative review from Kevin (Now Smell This) and promptly forgot about Rajasthan: since I didn’t expect anything from it in the first place I wasn’t even disappointed. Two.

Last year Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) and I went to Barneys where I saw Rajasthan bottle for the first time. Something in the bottle spoke to me, I thought it was beautiful. I tried the perfume on skin and liked it. Natalie politely agreed that it was nice. I asked for a sample and got about a ml – everything that was left in the tester. I even tried to get them to sell me an empty bottle. I knew it wouldn’t happen: from what I’d heard, all perfume departments have strict policies about empty bottles. But it was a fun conversation with an offer to meet with the SA at dumpsters after hours. Three.

The sample lasted me for a couple of tests that confirmed that I liked Rujasthan. But it wasn’t enough to make a decision – so I waited.

Several months ago during Suzanne’s (Eiderdown Press) visit I tried Rujasthan at Barneys again. I still liked it. Suzanne politely agreed that it was nice. By that time I already loved the bottle but not enough to pay full price for the perfume. Four.

Three weeks later a perfect test bottle of Rajasthan was mine for half the price (eBay is very useful sometimes). Usually I do not buy testers: if I get a bottle, I want it to come with a box to store it in. But in this case it didn’t matter since the bottle isn’t transparent.

Etro Rajasthan

Etro has created a very pleasant day-wear perfume that represents neither scents of India nor even westerners’ stereotypes for them. Notes (via Fragrantica) include: lemon, pink pepper, portulaca, mimosa, rose, black currant leaves, black locust, amber, labdanum and white musk.

I’m not too good with dissecting perfumes so there are many notes, not detecting which wouldn’t surprise me much. But lemon is such a ubiquitous scent – how can it be that I don’t recognize it when I smell this perfume? Etro’s site in a poetic description of Rajasthan qualifies this note further – “winter lemon.” As I tried to find any explanation of what was that mysterious variety of lemon and how it was different from a regular lemon (I failed), I came across earlier announcements of the upcoming Rajasthan release and they all, as well as some reviews from that time, mentioned “winter lemon flower” note. I assume it was either a part of the official press release or something found in translation. It would explain the absence of the recognizable citrus smell – but then why did Etro remove it? And if lemon is not there, how could others detect it in the composition? My nose must be off.

What I can smell is a sweet (but not too much – for my nose) and powdery light amber scent with enough spices to keep it from being perfectly polite. I cannot smell rose – or any other flower – though I can imagine that the sweetness I smell is coming from mimosa (or its rendition). Rajasthan loses projection within three hours mark but stays as a skin scent for over 10 hours (white musk, I assume). I do not love it but I enjoy wearing it from time to time. And did I mention how much I like the bottle? But only after it joined my collection I realized that I’ve liked that color scheme long before I saw Rajasthan bottle: look at the picture of one of my favorite necklaces I wore for the last five years.

Chico Necklace

Image: my own.


27 thoughts on “How many perfumistas does it take to …

  1. Wow Undina, you are a “muller” (is that even a word?) which is a good thing because it saves you money and you ultimately will purchase something that you want. Unfortunately I am like a 5 year old that says “I want” and I don’t care who gets in my way, I will charge forth and make a costly purchase. eBay is easy in that regard. I’m just waiting for the day soon that I can place an order and an hour later a drone will deliver it to my doorstep. My inner 5 year old can’t wait for that day to come!


    • Year, spontaneous I am not – true :-)

      eBay is my least favorite place: I do not trust unknown sellers to preserve perfumes properly. With Rajasthan I decided to go for it only because it was released recently and perfume wouldn’t be exposed to too much light.

      Drones are almost a yesterday’s news: wait until they start teleporting purchases ;-)


  2. The bottle is glorious – like a Liberty paisley print. I don’t normally buy a perfume for its bottle but I would make an exception for this one. And the scent sounds pretty ‘nice’ to me too – to reprise your companions’ comments. ;) (Typed with one hand!)


  3. Hey there Undina,
    Rajasthan is my favourite state of India. I have spent more time there than any other Indian state. The fragrance Rajasthan was such a let down for me that I don’t even remember what it did smell like, just that it was nothing like my beloved Rajasthan.
    I also love Etro fragrances and it was a double disappointment.
    You make me think I should go back and try it while pretending its called country fair or afternoon in blue or anything else that I am much less invested in.
    Glad you have a new frag and that you love its bottle.
    Portia xx


    • I can promise you: since you’ve been disappointed by this perfume already, the next time you’ll try it not expecting anything related to your favorite state, you’ll like it. Maybe not enough to want to wear it but you’ll think it’s nice ;-)


  4. There should be a contest to see which perfumista can get Undina to do a blind buy.

    The bottle IS gorgeous. I know I had sniffed this before and that experience did not compel me to ask for a sample; now I’m motivated to see what it was about the juice that beckoned you time and time again!


    • This spot is already taken by Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) – she was responsible for my first (and only) blind buy. And I don’t think it’s possible to beat that record: at the time she hasn’t tried the perfume yet! ;-)


  5. Undina, I’m so glad you got your bottle of Rajasthan: it is a beautiful bottle, which does very much match what I know of your color tastes, and it does smell really good on you. My memory isn’t always the best, but I remember “politely agreeing” that it was nice when you first put it on (while expressing concern that it was a scent that might be a bit boring and not unique enough for you) and then later, after it had dried down, really thinking it was quite beautiful (and telling you so, because it surprised me how it developed). At any rate, you don’t need four perfumistas to help make up your mind, as I think your sense of what suits you is very, very good indeed. (But I am honored that I got to smell it on you!) <3 <3


    • I wasn’t implying that you weren’t sincere in your comment. I was rather a self-irony: I remembered how critical I was about the perfume you ended up buying.
      Of course, in most cases I’m perfectly capable of talking myself into a purchase without help from others ;-) and nobody can persuade me to like a perfume I disliked initially. But positive reinforcement from a fellow-perfumista doesn’t hurt.


      • Oh I know that wasn’t what you were implying, dearest U. I was just remembering how my own response to smelling it on you went from, “Hmm, it’s nice but not all that unique” to really being amazed at how it smelled on you after another hour went by.

        Heehhee, I get a kick out of thinking about how much you didn’t like the perfume I bought that day. That one seems so easy to love!! (Sure I can’t persuade you to give it another shot?) :D


        • Just for you, dear Suzanne! I have a sample of it and I’ll give it another try later tonight. But if I change my mind I’ll blame you! ;-)

          BTW, after I couldn’t influence you to buy Musc Ravageur I almost bought it myself on the latest trip to Barneys with Natalie… But then I went for another bottle. I really enjoy MR in 30-40 minutes on skin (both mine and my vSO’s) but the opening is a little too much for me. I still might go for a travel bottle or decant one day.


          • Oh, yay! Maybe you should have a glass of wine about twenty minutes before you test it? ;-)

            Mmm, Musc Ravageur is also very good. You almost did swing my purchase in that direction, btw. :-)


    • I had no interest in Etro until then and I don’t feel anything about their regular bottles (but a couple of “special” ones are nice – don’t know how the perfumes smell though).


  6. Yay, bottle-love! I don’t know this one, and I think I adore your necklace more than the perfume bottle :-) Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that you like the perfume with those notes (mimosa and black currant springs to mind).
    I think the furthest I’ll go in terms of blogger-persuation are samples, BUT after having tried and liked terracotta le parfum, and at first thinking it was too like lys soleia, Natalie’s rose-tinted-in-love review made me go for a FB (albeit cheap), which I am very happy about.


    • See my reply above to hajusuuri :-) I think Natalie might turn out to be one of the most influential perfumistas in our small circle – and just to think she might stop blogging!

      When I bought that necklace it was a huge step for me: not only it’s big and combines colors I hadn’t been combining before but it’s also not symmetrical – so not me! :) But I liked it, bought and wear often… Well, as often as someone whose necklaces collection is close to her perfumes one can do.


  7. Heh, this post made me smile for a number of reasons. First, I was that original perfumista who went nuts over the bottle in one of the New Releases post I used to back then. I loved it from the start, and you know how little packaging normally means to me. Second, I will be covering Rajasthan sometime this week, so I look forward to experiencing the amber you mention. Like you, I had been put off by early reviews of the scent, especially how little it was supposed to embody actual India or orientals. Your comment about the lemon is a relief, but the white musk…. well, let’s hope it doesn’t show up on me. Anyway, enjoy that lovely bottle, Undina.


    • Aha! It was you! :-)
      I don’t expect you to like it (it’s a completely “toothless” amber) but I think that this bottle represents the Palace perfectly – at least from the pictures I saw. And I’m extremely curious to read what notes you can smell in it.


  8. I can understand why that bottle would attract. :)
    Rajahstan actually sounds like a perfect every day wear perfume. I noticed that even though I love smelling and wearing many kinds of perfumes, when I need to apply something for work, I tend to stick to stuff that won’t make people wonder what is that smell. ;)


    • The bottle is beautiful and the perfume itself is nice, in my opinion. Not full-price-full-bottle nice but pleasant enough not to be a perfume-IQ test for people around you ; -)


  9. That bottle is gorgeous! I don’t blame you at all for trying to snag the empty tester bottle. With packaging like that, I almost wouldn’t care if the bottle were empty. But of course it’s nice to hear that you find the fragrance appealing enough as well.

    And your necklace is very cool too!


    • Sometimes I browse eBay looking for empty bottles of some perfumes: I do not care for the juice but I’d like to have those bottles. Usually without much success though: they are probably not “vintage” enough for collectors so people do not think about selling them.


  10. The bottle is so pretty, I can see why you like it. I would have met that SA after hours at the dumpster!
    It does take me a long while to decide to buy a perfume too- unless I know it well-so am not surprised that you take your time over things like purchases. Plus what’s the hurry?


    • The worst situation for me is when a perfume is a limited edition that I like: I just can’t make a decision quick enough : -)
      Had that SA been serious I would have met him ; -)


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