A Sharp Rose
Are flowers only for the ladies? At Parfumo, there has always been a lot of interest when flowers for men have been discussed – especially the rose. One could say that the role model of a masculine rose is to place it into a "dark" environment: like in Montale's Black Aoud, Washington Tremlett's grand Black Tie, or – if you'd like to count that in – Frédéric Malle's Geranium pour Monsieur.
However, a completely different turn took Michel Roudnitska with his creation Shiloh for Hors Là Monde some years ago.
In Shiloh, a heady rose it paired together with herbaceous notes that provide a very sharp edge to the fragrance. There are tender citric notes at the top that vanish quickly. There is also a woody background that provides some dryness. However, it does not step forward in a way that Shiloh could be classified as a woody fragrance. I do not directly smell frankincense but I somehow sense the vibes of that resin: a certain leanness, an iridescent depth, and a pale grey undertone. Indeed, Shiloh would fit very well to a suit or other clothes as long as they are pale grey. It has the same base colour but then lightens it up a bit with the rose and the herbal notes.
I do not get any vanilla or patchouli. The mentioning of these notes is a bit misleading: although Shiloh may be regarded as a floral oriental, the sharp herbs rather place it into the class of fougères.
What these herbal notes are is actually the big mystery of this fragrance for me. Is some laurel involved? I cannot come any closer than stating that it is sharp and somehow green, and that these sharpness almost hurts! It is a very unique way of acting against a voluptuous rose. If I'd look out for comparable fragrances, only Touaregh by I Profvmo comes to my mind. However, the counterpart to the rose note there is more spicy, and it misses the sharp edge that Shiloh has. At some point in the delvelopment, the rose fades away but the sharp accord still keeps the memory of it.
Even if I did not know that Michel Roudnitska created this perfume, Shiloh gives me the impression that it must be the work of a very skilled perfumer. Somebody tied together some loose ends that before lay very far apart, and the result is more than just fitting – a certain light air and elegance raises from this fragrance that cannot be attributed to some of the notes.
Shiloh is a true niche perfume, and it is not for beginners. It deals with extremes, and if you take too much of it you very likely will get fed up at some point. The magic of Shiloh will reveal itself only to those who have learnt some discretion when applying a perfume that is a lot more expressive than the average. No everyday perfume.
Hors Là Monde is not very much talked about since they have limited their line-up to only three perfumes. This is not enough in times where some perfume houses staff complete shops with numerous quickly developed fragrances. They also seem to play a bit hard-to-get as they sell their sample set only to customers who have purchased a full bottle before. (Does that make sense?)
Shiloh is worth testing for its uniqueness, and a good buy for those who can handle this demanding uniqueness. Samples are currently available at First-in-Fragrance.