The Scent I fell Into

By Gaurav Gujar

It wafts past me and I can’t help but fall into the scent, and before I know it I’m falling, falling deep into another space, another time. The familiar world around me, where I feel my heart beating faster, is one of electric bright blue skies, searing sunshine and lingering Jasmine, Spices and Woods, I’ve been drawn back home to Madurai, south India. Find out more here in The Scent I Fell into

The first thing my eyes settle on is the stone temple of Lord Shiva the Hindu god of transformation where thousands of devotees are queuing up and waiting in the blazing heat just to get a glance at this deity. I’m almost blinded by the colours of the clothes, ladies in bright, jewelled, vibrant tones with the men wearing Lungi, their ankle-length split cotton skirts giving them ventilation in the burning golden sun. Many stand in the late morning sun, holding gifts that generously waft their aroma, whilst drinking from half-split coconuts.

In almost every hand I see and smell Cedarwood, Davana flowers and angel’s trumpet flowers as offerings to the intricately stone-carved Lord Shiva.

The scents in the air pull me towards the market where I know I will see spices laid out in abundance. I walk past wild grasses and then without any warning, a splash of water lands on my warm skin. The first of the monsoon rains, that fleeting moment when summer ends and I can’t help but deeply breathe in. Alive my mind is to these scents I know so well, dry grassy Vetiver, the second round of Jasmine Flowers meet with the distinct fragrance of wet earth. I happily tip-toe in the rain, laughing to myself, wallowing in this nature, these fragrances alongside a sense of utter tranquillity.

I sit under a branch of a cedar tree waiting for a clearing in the rain and continue to breathe in this magic around me, this depth and intriguing wood of the tree, the flowers growing wildly in this state of Madurai so known for its creativity in India is filling my heart, my ears, and my eyes and my nose with every kind of beauty.

I hear the laughter of ladies making their way towards some kind of celebration as musical notes lilt through the air, they softly run past as the rain comes to an end leaving a trail from jasmine in the silage emanating from their plaited hair, alive with tiny flowers embellishing within, their beauty, the mix of these abundant dainty star-shaped flowers meet with a slight mineral watery note and a hint of warm pink pepper spice. I feel the joyous celebration around.

Finally, I feel I must explore as night is now drawing in the sun slowly falling into the night and as I move I’m drawn towards the music and laughter and I find myself in a sensuous atmosphere of the night fragranced evening. I’m pulled by the magnetic force of celebration; a wedding. The perfumed air calls me as I drown in pure Indian Tuberose, alongside Jasmine, Musk, and Ylang-Ylang. Floral intensity is paired with rich fruity peach and coconut; fruits presented to the assembled guests.

Approached by a grand lady she offers me an Attar Absolu Huile de Parfum, (Attar oil) almost as a blessing to the couple about to be wed. Would I prefer Rose, Jasmine or Tuberose she questions? I chose Jasmine, a flower so native to me that it is the scent of home. She applies a little oil to the inside of my hands and I rub them together to release the most exquisite Jasmine I have ever experienced.

The beauty and the intense emotions of scent and celebration make me drowsy and I feel the need to sit and rest my eyes. Before I know it I’m sleeping in warm fragranced air, my dreamy Indian day is over.

Luckily I can carry it all with me via a collection of scents that celebrate the lesser-known beauty and abundance of this divine home of mine. Meet the utterly divine scents that bottle the real India from Lilanur. The slightly misunderstood nature of Fragrance in India is truly opened up.

LilaNur Parfums

LilaNur Parfums are quite simply put, a set of scented love letters to the world, from the fields and forests of the rich and diverse land of India and its special connection to France. As a fine fragrance brand, it celebrates majestic flora, and woods that honour the lesser-known (outside the country) ancient olfactive heritage, including the use of deeply sensuous oils known as Attars.

The seven fragrances and three Attars are the melding of Indian ingredients and Indian emotions with the perfumed excellence of Grasse France. Not only are the ingredients in these elixirs of the highest quality and stand up on their own, the brand cleverly brought a handful of the best perfumers working in the scent industry today to explore and create.

Trusted friends and leaders in their field, who it’s obvious from the fragrances felt the strong connection, love of this country, and treated her and her natural abundance as their muse. The magnificence of each perfume, each one an absolute original in its own standing was created by Honorine Blanc, Olivier Cresp, Fabrice Pellegrin, and Clément Gavarry; giants in the magnetic world of scent.

Here perfumery is at its best because each nose took an ingredient many in perfumery would know yet magically presented Rose, Vertiver, Jasmine, Tuberose, Oud and Cedarwood in ways we simply have never smelt before. An extremely hard craft.

Lilanur is simply a joyous celebration of this distant yet vast land via curation and blending of the absolute pinnacle of perfume making. Each scent is delicious and complex but never heavy and each ingredient is treated with almost a kid-glove approach.

Bringing out unexpected facets of known ingredients mulled in new ways. For example, Tuberose, often seen by many as too heady, here the richness of the flower is an utter celebration yet it is as light as a feather. Rich and succulent but never cloying. Highlighting this plant, truly exquisitely; a reinvention of this misunderstood flower.

In fact, it is fair to say these perfumes are almost edible yet they are not gourmand but draw you in so much it becomes an almost carnal experience. From the Attars which ultimately are a celebration of the body and of the Indian attitude to the sensuality and intimacy, the connection to soul and greater energies via the colours of the bottles which represent just a fraction of the colours of this land.

The Attar Absolu

Developed with Firmenich innovation lab in Grasse a proprietary process in which the highest quality natural Indian floral absolutes are macerated for 100 days with traceable, sustainably-sourced natural sandalwood oil. Alcohol-free, these modern infusions of ancient Attars are here called Attar Absolus.

A luxurious oil seeps into the skin and is available in three celebratory notes, Rose Attar Absolu, Jasmin Attar Absolu and Tuberose Attar Absolu. Each contains an extremely high amount of the flower but has been highlighted to bring its best face to the table with the edition of a small number of other notes.

Lilanur; the seven EDPs

Malli Insolite is a celebration of Jasmine Sambac, Jasmine Grandiflorum with supporting ingredients Pink Pepper, Tuberose, and Mineral Notes.

The scent captures the intoxicating perfume of Jasmine Sambac harvested at its peak and introduces a salty note that enhances the flower’s beauty while adding an element of surprise.

Ranji Nocturne the magic of Tuberose is highlighted here with support from Jasmine Grandiflorum, Ylang Ylang, and Musk, while peach and coconut undertones confer a creamy softness on skin.

The narcotic scent of night-blooming Tuberose brings a sensuous atmosphere to summer evenings in India. The flower meaning “night-fragrant” is found always at weddings and celebrations. 

Davana Cedar a blessing of Davana, Cedar with the aid of Pink Pepper, Angelique, Cassis, and Musk. A gala to the Indian plant holy to the Hindu deity Shiva, the god of transformation.

Davana is prized for the multi-faceted, herbaceous scent of its flowers and leaves, which add a flash of green to the lush blooms of devotional garlands and bouquets. Here find balsamic fruitiness that melds the elemental warmth of cedar, creating the sensual effect of two distinct ingredients harmonizing in perfect balance. 

Agar Épice ,  Oud is our hero here used in celebration yet with an unusual lightness helped along by Ginger, Cypriol, Guiaiac Wood, Sandalwood and Leather.

The mythic ingredient extracted from Aquilaria trees was prized by Mughal royalty and emanates an aura of luxury.  Yet here its earthy woodiness and depth has a real lightness unlike any Oud scent ever before: A perfect example of how brilliant craftsmanship can totally reinvent something so classic when in the hands of a genius.

Gul Rouge An utter party dedicated the whole of the flower, the Rose Centifolia, and Rose Damascena arrive at the event with Honey.

Find them in the temple at dawn, the warm morning air swilling around bringing facets purity, watery dew-like qualities as they are touched by the sun’s first rays; spicy, green and definitely one of the most iconic rose fragrances ever created.

Vetiver MonsoonThis is vetiver having the most wonderful light shined on it and sharing its moment is Jasmine Sambac, Ylang Ylang, and Guaiac Wood.

That incredible fleeting moment when summer ends and the monsoon season begins, bringing with it the second flush of blooming jasmine, transported by a fresh breeze and delicious drops of rain. Melding together of course with wet earth brings tranquillity to spirit and soul. A truly fresh exploration of this miraculous grass set together with floral notes and even a tiny hint of salty water. Beyond divinity; bottled.

Incarnation is the final of the seven EDP;s and it of course does not disappoint. It almost feels like the bottle that sums up every celebratory aspect of the land and the perfumery collection. Bought together in a symphony find Jasmine, Rose, Vetiver, Orris, Black Pepper, Patchouli, Labdanum, and luminous Aldehydes.

It’s like the story at the top explores the temple with its incense and its offerings of the flowers and fauna of the lands, that then dips into an almost mystic venture via powdery orris and deeper facets via ambery notes and ‘dirty’ Patchouli. This scent brings together all the aspects of greatness from one country India and its ingredients its vast vistas full of life and colour, its flora and fauna its multitudes of sunshine, clouds, rain and winds alongside the master craftsmen and women within the artistry of French perfumery.

In fact, the whole collection is a masterclass in love and craft; a burning passion here for both country and scent, with fragrances that thrill beyond our mere noses.

And if that was not enough they have a sustainability angle, Rosabagh, which means rose garden, is the name of their foundation that focuses on sustaining India’s community of rural workers whose livelihood stems from cultivating and processing the country’s abundant flora. By creating access to training, social enterprise and improved working conditions, the foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of the lives of this community, and in doing so, to help ensure the continuity of Indian floriculture and the vital role it plays in the world of fragrance, after all, many of the greatest ingredients in perfumery come from magical India.

You will not just fall in love with these elixirs but you will fall into their majesty, mystery and magic spell.

Find out all the detail of LilaNur perfume collection and Attars here.

If you enjoyed The Scent I fell Into, you may enjoy The accord route.

.Cent magazine, London. Be inspired; Get involved