Jangala by Pierre Guillaume

Jangala is part of the Croisiere Collection by renowned perfumer Pierre Guillaume. The Croisiere collection (Croisiere meaning ‘cruise’) is marked out by its distinct blue bottle. The collection aims to explore far flung destinations and the excitement of movement and travel.

The more I smell Pierre Guillaume perfumes, the more I come to think he is one of the most exciting and talented chemists around at the moment. There’s a certain sense of craftsmanship and quality that seems to accompany his work and interestingly it seems remarkably consistent; some of his fragrances suit my personal tastes more, some less, but always they seem to be beautifully balanced, fragrances that wear well and tell full stories. He is by no means a one-hit wonder.

Any internet search will tell you that Jangala means ‘jungle’ in Sanskrit and here’s where we disagree with Mr Guillaume; this fragrance doesn’t smell much like a jungle – it’s not green, wet or woody enough to conjure up that image. Instead it smells like the picture we’ve used to illustrate this article: mineral, aromatic, dusky pink and burnt orange, the sun setting on a dusty day. Wilderness, yes, but more a hidden canyon than a dark, dripping jungle.

Top notes

The initial scent from this fragrance is mineral, hot sandstone rocks baked in the heat of the day. A hint of dried herbs like mint and even pine, give an edge of freshness under the heat. Fleetingly there is a thick, oily smell that reminded me of cod liver oil, resinous and heavy it hints at a perfume that is both complex and different to many of the other mineral scents on the market. One of the things we liked most about this perfume is the pairing of mineral with warmth, rather than cool, breezy mineral scents found in perfumes like Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt or even Bat by Zoologist. Here, PG balance mineral with a rich, baked warmth and the result is both unexpected and delightful.

Heart notes

A lot of the real treasure in this perfume lies in the heart and base notes. The scent dries and opens beautifully to reveal a heart which continues with warmth and abundance. Sticky, unctuous resins are tempered by the clarity and edge of eucalyptus, exquisite cardamon works alongside dry wood and hints of burning. One might almost imagine a medicine woman tending a cooking pot full of warmed and singed aromatic herbs. The heart of Jangala is really lovely and soothing but it has an edge to it, an excitement almost. It’s not a cosy type of soothing, instead it’s the soothing of a long day melting into evening, coming back to safety and settling down to start the next phase of the night.

Base notes

The perfume ends with a base of incense just at the perfect level, it’s present and holds off before it tips over into being too much, there’s amber there too and more of the spicy, herbal aromatics. Sometimes when wearing Jangala, the base reminds me of the smell of warm, clean skin. At times it becomes almost powdery but, like a lot of the PG range, it manages to hold itself in check so it doesn’t end up falling over into a cliche. It leaves you wanting more.

Despite appreciating the craftsmanship of this perfume, it took me several goes before I really loved it, but once I did, I found myself hankering after wearing it all the time. It is thoroughly interesting and it’s hard to say that it is quite like anything else. Yes it’s woody, yes it’s mineral, but it’s more than the sum of its parts. And despite not having synesthesia, I really do think of pinks, purples, oranges when I smell it.

The other stuff

The longevity of this perfume is good, it happily stays for the majority of the day. It’s also a perfume that can be comfortably worn by both men and women, the softness being accentuated more on some skins than others. It’s definitely one that needs a few tries before purchase just to make sure that you’re happy with how it wears on your chemistry.

It’s hard to decide when would be the best time of day and year to wear this perfume. I tend to wear it as a daytime fragrance, but can imagine it working well on some people in the evening. Similarly, it could work just fine in any season but late summer is when I can see it wearing best, when it’s still warm enough to sit outside at night, but you might need to wrap yourself in a scarf as the evening wears on.

The Croisiere bottles are just as elegant as you would expect from a high end manufacturer like PG. The blue glass that marks the range out is very attractive and works delightfully with the rectangular design.

Jangala is priced at around £116 for 100ml, and is available from Bloom Perfumery London, or direct from the Pierre Guillaume website.

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