Some of my favorite interactions with perfumers begins with them telling me about a cool ingredient they are using for the first time. In the creative mindset the shuffling of concepts a new vector creates is powerful. Many of these discussions are the perfumer realizing what new combos can be realized. It is more vital the more talented the artist. Independent perfumer Shawn Maher is one of the best. When he discovered a new ingredient, it lead to Maher Olfactive Sagan Dalya.
This is a departure for Mr. Maher who has delighted in telling fragrant stories of his home town of St. Louis. It has given his scents an unusual perspective. For Sagan Dalya he becomes enthralled with the essential oil of Siberian rhododendron. In the accompanying Scent Notes blog post you can find here he talks about why. In short it is because of the unique scent profile. What he found so interesting is a crisp fruitiness meshed with an evergreen pine-like terpenic foundation. If you read his blog post, you see where it sent his imagination.
His first thought was to take the Siberian rhododendron and combine it with marigold absolute. This is another dual faced ingredient with a crisp apple over an astringent herbal greenness. He accentuates the apple to form a more balanced duet with the rhododendron. It might be the time of year, but this reminded me of the early part of the holidays as we have a lot of fresh apples and an equally new Christmas tree. I hadn’t made this connection until the day after Thanksgiving as we were placing our tree in the stand as we brought in the bags of apples from our local orchard. It took me a minute to figure out where I had experienced it previously.
He takes this a level deeper with immortelle and tobacco. These are the same type of partners the rhododendron and marigold are. They have similar profiles where their differences complement each other. They add a wonderful richness without overwhelming the fruity Christmas tree on top.
It finishes with a snuggly warm ambery base of two types of labdanum, essential oil and absolute. Mr. Maher cleverly uses a couple of ingredients to delineate the lines between the two to form a distinct base accord.
Sagan Dalya has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
In the blog post Mr. Maher mentions this needs to be experienced on skin. I completely agree. This perfume smells entirely different on paper and skin. It is much more expansive in its warmth.
While I was wearing Sagan Dalya I kept thinking how appropriate it is for the Holidays. He isn’t marketing that way, but I kept thinking this was Shawn’s perfume Holiday card for 2021. Maybe St. Louis made it into it after all.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Maher Olfactive.