Shaal Nur opens with a really pleasant and perfectly blended woody-balsamic accord surrounded by citrus notes, sweet spices (nutmeg, cardamom, perhaps styrax too), something smelling like balsamic resins (olibanum), patchouli, a really aromatic whiff of green herbs, other woods and a sort of dry, candied, slightly caramelised fruity touch. A fantastic, solid Oriental symphony played around woods. The vetiver note takes soon a prominent role, and it’s a really simple, solid, “woody” dry vetiver – it almost smells more like clean, sharp cedar. Neither a “inky” vetiver (Encre Noire, Private Label) nor a more conventional salty-zesty one like in men classic colognes. More just, well, “woody” with a shade of “earthy”. A really good, even great scent, perhaps a bit underrated: it’s really compelling, irresistibly rich in aromatic nuances from herbal, to incense, to sweet-fruity-resinous, all blended together following Etro’s evocative and peculiar sort of “exoticism”. It’s modernly synthetic though, but it works perfectly. It is much refined and discreet, deceptively “simple” and understated. The drydown is perfectly good as well, becoming simpler and thinner as hours pass and “focusing” on vetiver-incense-woods combo – perhaps a tad monotonous and conventional after a while (“woods and incense”, again...), but pleasant and elegant enough – just not as fascinating as the previous stages. A refined sort of contemporary love child of Etro’s Vetiver and Messe de Minuit. Fair price.