To some perfumes we feel an immediate affinity, some we dismiss out of hand. Some perfumes capture our hearts and imaginations at first sniff, some stealthily claim their place in our hearts. Some perfumes need and take their own sweet time, until they have insinuated themselves securely into our brains and souls, and we end up unable let go of them again.
Traversée du Bosphore is such a perfume for me.
When it was released in 2010, I tried it and was put off by its (then perceived as) obvious turkish delight note, that made me feel like Hazer Baba candy. True to form for something we don’t like, it proved pretty unscrubbable too, so I was afraid to ever go near it again. But I did anyway.
First a small candle made its way into my house, and I began to appreciate Traversée as an ambient scent, and it was not so linearly gourmand to me anymore. (See my review on PST here.)
The candle made me seek out a sample and by now I have used up three samples and finally feel ready to write about it.
Created in 2010 by Bertrand Duchaufour, Traversée du Bosphore (Crossing the Bosphorus) includes notes of tobacco smoke, apple, tulips, saffron, leather, Turkish Delight (rose and pistachio) and musk.
Traversée holds all the ingredients (and clichées) you might imagine when thinking about an oriental city, from a romanticized, western perspective. Apple tea, hookah smoke, leather, loukhoum and spices – it is all there.
In Traversée it melds to a spectacular gourmand leather melange that is at once familiar and surprising.
Traversée is multi-layered and complex, while smelling astoundingly simple at times.
Opening with apple and tobacco, a sweet powdery sugar comes down over those notes like snow slowly falling and covering the landscape in a forgiving, softening and noise-quenching blanket of smooth sweetness. Over time a very soft leather note becomes apparent, not harsh and masculine, but like well-worn saddle bags, smooth and soft, but durable and hardy too.
What I love about Traversée du Bosphore is that it is so unusual. Well, there are other Turkish delights scents, you might object, like Serge Lutens Rahat Loukhoum or Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum and probably many more. And that is true, but for me Traversée is so much more than a gourmand, although that aspect is delicious.
Traversée unites aspects of gourmand, leather, oriental and powdery that results in something more than the sum of its parts.
Traversée does indeed take me on a journey, if not to Istanbul, then at least down memory lane towards my childhood memories. A seven-year old acting out a PG-rated version of Sheherazade with the neighbor’s son, a twelve-year old fascinated with Byzantine history and culture and devouring every book on the topic the local library stocks, an eighteen-year-old exploring Turkey on her first vacation with friends instead of parents…
Traversée Du Bosphore takes me back in time, bridging the gap between the girl I was and the woman I am.
Traversée du Bosphore once more drives home the reason why I love perfume so much.