Notes: Blue ginger, elemi, cinnamon, ganja accord, blackcurrant absolute, basil, jasmine sambac, Egyptian jasmine, cardamom absolute, clove, saffron, Javanese and Haitian vetiver, incense, Mysore sandalwood oil, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, cedar, amber notes, oud palao from Laos, oak moss.
After hearing nothing but raves about Neela Vermeire’s fragrances, I decided I had to finally sample her creations for myself. I picked out Trayee because of the jam-packed list of notes. I figured, if nothing else, at least it wouldn’t be boring. I first sampled Trayee during the summer months and, while I liked it, I found it too overwhelming to really process. I’m glad I’ve revisited it now in late autumn, because it feels like the perfect time of year to let this smokey/spicy creation really breathe and reveal its nuances.
Neela Vermeire, herself a fragrance lover, teamed up with the famed perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, to create four fragrances that form the foundation of her French-Indian perfume house. Each of these fragrances takes its inspiration and theme from a period of Indian history. Trayee reaches back through the centuries to the Vedic period, and many ingredients used in Vedic ceremonies are featured in the notes here.
Trayee is perhaps a little infamous for its “ganja accord.” If this evokes more of a picture of college kids smoking in their dorm room for you rather than a sophisticated fragrance, don’t worry. Trayee is smokey, but the ganja accord works as an herbal and sharp green, with basil and green cardamom standing out. In fact, the opening of Trayee is kind of shockingly green for me (at first I thought I must’ve tried the wrong sample). Then the spices warm up and cinnamon appears, both sweet and hot. Cloves are there too, adding depth and leading into the more rich and creamy heart.
Trayee develops into a lovely comforting vanilla, with ginger to add some liveliness and sparkle. Little tendrils of smoke fade in and out, serving as a reminder that this isn’t just a comfort scent. For some reason incense and smokey fragrances in general have been reading very subdued on me lately. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it may skew my perceptions. I get very subtle incense here leading into the dry down, just enough to make me think of sitting in a church pew for a moment, but the intensity may be different on others.
The dry down here is gorgeous and lasts for ages. The vanilla and sandalwood come together, serving as an anchor. Both amber and cedar enter into the mix now to add some shading. The cedar in particular adds richness, while also giving that slight hint of dirty forest. Remarkably, this isn’t a heavy base, and I actually don’t get much oud at all. The amber gives the composition a kind of glassy effect, as though looking through amber glass: it’s sturdy, but translucent.
Trayee is a fascinating perfume with a lot of development in the composition. It definitely has a calming, comforting effect to it. But at the same time, there’s always more here to discover and analyze. It’s a fragrance that keeps you on your toes. I’ve worn Trayee during the day, and I think you can pull it off, but I’d avoid it for work functions. It’s certainly rich and elegant enough for nighttime wear, but it doesn’t have to be exclusively for going out. There’s a contemplative aspect to this perfume, which makes it perfect for anytime you’re in the mood to be inspired.
Samples and full bottles of Trayee are available from Luckyscent, which is where I got my sample. Neela Vermeire runs quite pricey so I definitely suggest sampling this line!