After seeing constant references from Lucasai of Chemist in the Bottle about this fragrance, and getting some requests to review more masculine fragrances, I decided to test this one. I have samples of the whole Parfum d’Empire line, and it is the only house that I liked every scent from (after mass testing each one on every part of skin I could find!). Side note: Please do check out Lucasai’s blog – it offers a chemist’s perspective on perfumes, and is very interesting!
Iskander, as all Parfum d’Empire scents, is named after yet another historical empire (I love that idea!). I’m already a fan of this house because of its deep and characteristic fragrances, but the added story does nothing but excite imaginative people like myself. See here the beautiful description:
The conquests of Eskander, as Alexander the Great was known in Persia, are told through the notes of Iskander. The freshness of Asian citron, mandarin and grapefruit is layered over an assertive heart of Mediterranean estragon and Indian coriander, delicately accented with the sweetness of orange blossoms. The velvety oakmoss embraces the richness of amber and musk. Full of unpredictable twists, Iskander contrasts the vivacious freshness of its top notes with luxurious warmth, resulting in a fragrance as unpredictable as the personality of Alexander the Great.
It opens with a full chorus of juicy citrus fruits; my nose is not knowledgable enough to distinguish the difference between them. It is pleasant, and sour but not TOO sour. It reminds me of the realistic juiciness in the opening notes of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, though that is simply a grapefruit singing a scrumptious solo tune. The opening notes are a teenage boys’ choir – not quite loud and bassy like the men’s choirs, but also not screechy like 8 year old boys.
A dry spice come through in the heart, with a slight sweetness in the background. It is dry, and combats the wetness and freshness of the citrus fruits. The citrus isn’t like washing liquid, but real and juicy. Later on, the many different citrus notes disappear to leave just one not-too-sour one behind. I like how it quietens down, and becomes a soft cloud of faint woods, soft/dry citrus, and some earthy yummy sweetness that I cannot name (probably musk). I cannot point out the soft, delicate flower in here, but I can sense it somehow. As with all of the PdE fragrances, the blending is so well done by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato that you will find it difficult to truly point out every single note. Finishing the act, an almost-salty spice or dry wood comes through, making this a true chypre.
I like this quite a bit, and would say it is the best citrus scent I have ever tested (though I haven’t tested many). The notes blend beautifully, and each note rears its head once in a while to remind you that it is still there. Iskander is very airy and light, so you will probably need to use this one with a heavier hand (unless you want it to be a skin scent). This is a very masculine scent (though a woman can pull it off, as the drydown is delightfully soft) and I know I am going to be keeping the rest of this scent for a certain special man to test. Let’s hope he likes it… because *I* do.
Please read the Scented Hound’s lovely review here. It describes this fragrance in a shorter, but better way. 🙂