While at Esxence I visited the stand of Turkish firm Nishane. There was a small crowd around the stand, talking animatedly and smelling the collection. I handed over my card, bagged some samples, and heard someone nearby call my name. It was a young man I did not know, who seemed very shy and nervous. He spoke fast, did not tell me his name, said he was glad to meet me, and quickly gave me a small handmade paper pouch folded and sealed with red wax, looking not unlike a letter the Count of Monte Cristo might have received from a mysterious personage. He told me the pouch contained very fragile samples, then walked away.
I put the pouch in my toiletries bag when I got to my hotel, and only opened it last night without breaking the beautiful wax seal. It turned out to contain ten of the tiny capped plastic tubes typically used for DNA analysis in molecular biology labs. Each tube, carefully labeled with a handwritten number, contained a small amount, probably no more than 50 µl, of a dark perfume oil. The paper they were wrapped in explained the contents: a list ranging from 1-Aurum d’Angkhor to 10-Tabac Grande. At the head of the page, what appears to be the crest of the House of Osman (1299-1922) and the name Sultan Pasha Attars.
The samples, though tiny, are powerful enough to assess the fragrances. I have only smelled a few, but I can already say these are not the usual heavy, hackneyed stuff of the perfume souk. I will smell them all in due course and report back. It seems this young man who apparently is called Sultan, is a talent to watch in this rarefied field of attars, or concentrated perfume oils. He has a shop on Ebay, and you can find out a lot more about him in this excellent blog post . If you’re in a hurry to order one, try this, I’ve got it on my arm as I type and it smells magnificent.