Padparadscha seems to have a bit of a cult following. I purchased a sample of this some time ago and have worn it a few times with mixed feelings. I bought this thinking it is an incense fragrance, but in reality it is more about spiced woods. The first half is all about pepper and cloves on my skin. You may know from previous posts that neither of these notes is a favourite of mine, at least not as the main player. The notes listed are pepper, juniper, amber, musk, cedar and sandalwood. Padparadscha opens with a large dose of pepper. I mention cloves because the pepper note is so strong and fragrant that it smells like cloves to me. It is severe, dry and nose-clearing in its initial intensity. At this stage I always seem to have the urge to wash it off. Thankfully the pepper starts to reduce in intensity and as it does so, the fragrance sweetens and becomes almost mossy - perhaps that is the effect of the juniper. At this point Padparadscha wears quite feminine and is quite 'perfumey'. It feels a little like the love child of Piper Nigrum and Noir Epicees. Having said this, Padparadscha stills strikes me overall as quite dry and severe right into the early dry down. The dry down is where it all starts to come together for me. The pepper is now only a buzz in the background and the amber, musk and woods create a nice balance, which in conjunction with the pepper wears almost like an incense scent. It's fairly subtle and diffused by this stage. It's just a pity, at least for me, that this doesn't happen sooner. Instead I have to wait at least a couple of hours before the pepper swat team retreats and lets the woods, musk and amber have a look-in.
Perhaps this is a slightly negative review. I don't mean it to be. I really want to like Padparadscha and indeed I do during the second half, but I can't help feeling slightly let down by the beginning; it's just not my cup of tea. In spite of this, don't let my ramblings put you off trying this. You might just find it to your liking, particularly if you enjoy black pepper in a perfume. Padparadscha is quite feminine in a way, especially the first half of development, but overall I didn't find it excessively so. I think a man can wear this, particularly with all the spices in play.
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