Neela Vermeire's Trayee - A whirling dervish of beauty. (perfume review)

Irreverently edited picture of  Sadhu source

For those of you do not know about Neela Vermeire's perfumes, you're in for a treat. Neela is fragrance fan who, in 2012, launched her own house. She contracted none other than Bertrand Duchaufour (seems to be a smart trend among new houses!) to bring to life her idea: Discover Your India. Together, they urge you to sample from India's past through to its future, in the French perfume style. Sample the Vedic period in Trayee, experience the Mogul-British Raj through Mohur, and finally land in Modern India with Bombay Bling. All three scents have been well-received by perfumistas and Noses in the Know alike. Today, we're going to discuss Trayee!

One of the incredibly intelligent things the Neela Vermeire Creations line does (aside from having beautifully-made scents) is offer not only a sample collection, but also a "discovery set" which includes 10ml of each scent (only $118.55). Genius.


The name (pronounced “try-ee”) means “triad”, an allusion to the sacred origin of the first three Vedas, the most ancient sacred texts in India. The notes are drawn from the ingredients used in religious rituals and ayurvedic medicine during the Vedic era. Rich in incense, myrrh and oud, the fragrance is a poignant blend of smoke, spices and resins that harks back to the very origins of perfumery – a burnt offering to the gods and an aid to meditation.
Bertrand Duchaufour has always excelled at bringing transparency to dark resinous notes, and he surpasses himself in the smoky blend: Trayee is amazingly faceted, with green (basil, cardamom, cassis), floral (jasmine), spicy (ginger, cinnamon, clove), leather (saffron, oud), smoky (vetiver, sandalwood) and balsamic (myrrh, vanilla) effects, dominated by the quintessentially Indian fragrances of sandalwood and jasmine. The perfumer has even added an arrestingly realistic ganja accord, a memory of the sadus he ran across during his trips in India.
Trayee’s smoky tendrils may not have consciousness-altering effects, but we suspect that the gorgeous natural materials in the formula might be aromatherapeutic. Beauty heals.  -

Trayee 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.
Special Note: Trayee was nominated for the prestigious Fifi Award! 


Trayee opens with a strong elemi scent to me. It's a lemon-piney resinous scent that is bright and sparkly - imagine lemongrass furniture polish, but pretty. Elemi is related to frankincense and myrrh. It's not a scent I am used to, and so perhaps that's why it stands out so much, maybe your results are different. The scent of elemi is considered to be balancing, and I think I find that to be true with the opening of Trayee. It's very calming.

Slowly, the blackcurrant (cassis) peeks out, alongside some green cardamom. And there's a dash of spice and a basil leaf or two. Where did those come from? Maybe my nose simply adjusted to the elemi and they've been there all along?

Like blinking through smoke, or perhaps waking from a dream, one slowly becomes aware of soft, lush floral jasmine, but it's so hard to focus! Is it really there?

If you sniff closely, you get one thing, if you pull back and pay attention to the scent you'll notice that things are different. The heavier aspects (woods, resins, spices, fruits) seem to be weighted to the skin, while the smokier facets lift off and swirl around the wearer. It is here that you'll pick up not only the incense but, if you're lucky, that "ganja accord" which does flash in and out from time to time - and it's spectacular.

The sweetness of vetiver, vanilla, cedar, and oud now push forward a bit, grabbing the scent and pulling it down into a sweeter darkness, which eventually fleshes out and becomes a woody but sweet serenity, laced with smoke. This is definitely a scent that inspires relaxation and comfort. I haven't yet meditated while wearing it, but I suspect it would be perfect.

Trayee twists in the air, like the smoke she's based on (clearly she's a "she" as she's so beautifully volatile - though please men, try her! She's made for men and women!). She's mysterious, like her sibling Mohur, and rather like a multi-faceted gemstone shows various flashes of light, darkness, and color depending on how you hold her. Each time you pick these two scents up and wear them, you will surely get a different experience. Trayee is sometimes spicier on me. Every now an again she's all about the jasmine. Some days she wants to be a bit oud-ier, going nearly straight from the elemi into the oud with hardly a backwards glance at her own heart. Other times she is truly a full-fledged journey through all of these notes. Just like finding my center and staying focused while meditating, Trayee is hard to pin down to just one thing.

I'll be honest with you: all three of the scents in the Neela Vermeire Creations line were challenging to get to know. This one was my first favorite, and yet it was still quite tricky for me. In the end, like many things challenging, this challenge ultimately makes these scents all the more special. If you, like me, find these hard to understand, please persevere! I promise you, in the end you will fall in love with them.

Buy Trayee and the other 

Neela Vermeire Creations through

 the NVC websiteLuckyscent
and through the retailers listed here.

Did you see that bottle?! 

samples were a gift

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