Notes: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Cardamom, Pepper, Black Tea, Steamed Milk, Cocoa, Roses, Vanilla, Musk, Leather
Baruti Chai impresses me. Considering it has so many things in it that have the potential to overwhelm (e.g. cinnamon, pepper, leather), it never does. It could be a study on the subtle use of spice in perfumery. If Opium, Cinnabar and Jungle l'Elephant are rough, Chai is smooth and polished.
Chai is more like a suggestion of the beverage, rather than the literal beverage. This is preferable to me because as much as I adore authentic masala chai, I'd rather not smell like I bathed in it. Instead, what I get smells like strong sandalwood and something wonderfully smoky, like a singed piece of bark. The perfume is marvelously sandalwoody on me, and I am baffled that there is no mention of woods anywhere on the internet because it is perhaps more sandalwood on me than anything else (works for me!).
There is something like mint in it, but it blends beautifully with the other notes, perhaps to imbue the scent of fresh, green cardamom husks. I don't actually detect any cardamom; one of my favorite spices to cook with, I am quite familiar with the scent. I also notice fresh ginger from time to time as well as gentle hand of Saigon cinnamon and a hint of savory black pepper.
Then there is my favorite part--one of the most perfect and gorgeous *non-vanillic* creamy accords I have ever smelled, and I can not get enough of it! It smells like a cup of warm, sweetened milk. It was at the 10-hour mark that I felt there could be any vanilla at all.
It projects well enough for my liking for hours, though never a sillage monster, heavy, or cloying. Longevity is excellent.
I don't take this as the literal scent of chai, nor did I ever expect it to be based on the notes, which list things that I have never seen in any authetic chai recipe, much less drunk: leather, rose, musk, cocoa. It does not even read as gourmand on my skin, rather a floral-woody-musk.
In any case, Chai is a definite winner that makes me curious about the rest of the line.
Available at Indigo Perfumery, $110 for 30-ml extrait or $4 per sample