I recall a couple of months ago, maybe more, reading a post somewhere about which interesting citrus fragrances to try. For the life of me I can't remember whose blog it was (perhaps Blacknall Allen?), but Iskander was mentioned. Somewhere in the exchange of comments and description of Iskander, I felt that it could be a bit like De Nicolai's New York.
When I was in London a couple of weeks ago, I asked for a sample of Iskander from the ever-generous and wonderful Les Senteurs and having tried it a couple of times since, I think I can definitely state that Iskander and New York are very close to each other.
So what is so remarkable about that? Well, nothing in and of itself. However, those of you who have followed my blog for a while may be aware that New York and I do not get on at all. I feel bad saying this, because New York receives a lot of love and I am sure it is a very good fragrance, but when I've worn it, it has induced in me a visceral and very real sense of nausea and headache. It's not the first De Nicolai to do this to me either, so I think there must be an ingredient or ingredients in the perfumes that do not react well with me.
So, having said that, I can go further and say that Iskander smells remarkably like New York, yet induces no sense of nausea or headache for me. Why is that? Well, I don't really know, to be honest, but I do know that where the two perfumes differ is in their richness and intensity. New York is far more powerful and smells very rich, complex and heady. It is overwhelming on my skin, but conversely Iskander just smells smooth, suave and downright good!
Out of interest, I have compared the two perfumes' notes, courtesy of Luckyscent:
Iskander - citrus, mandarin, grapefruit, estragon (according to the ever-reliable internet, this is tarragon oil), coriander, orange blossom, oakmoss, amber and musk
New York - bergamot, lemon, cloves, thyme, cinnamon, black pepper, pimento, oakmoss, vetiver and amber
There are plenty of notes the two don't have in common, but the ones that do stand out are citrus, oakmoss and amber, as well as herbs (tarragon vs thyme) and spice (coriander vs black pepper and pimento). I think the commonality ultimately comes from the oakmoss and amber, lending both a complexity that a straightforward citrus fragrance seldom has. Clearly the two are not dead ringers, but close enough for me to have made that association quite easily.
In the end, no matter what note analysis I do, I personally prefer Iskander to New York. If you have tried both, what is your view?
Finally, out of interest, have any of you ever had a severely negative reaction to a perfume, which perfume was it and why do you think this was the case? Perhaps even more interesting, have you ever overcome such an aversion?