I’ll be perfectly honest and say that I’ve found the fragrances from the house of Thameen to be a bit hit or miss. I fell head over heels for the dry dusty rose of Noorolain Taif, but others in the collection left me cold. I think that the concept of fragrances inspired by famous jewels is really evocative and the presentation has this cool clash where royal blue bottles in a classic shape clash against the modernism of their black, spiked caps. What’s more, the bottles really glow when they hit the light. I just felt that some of the fragrances weren’t as dynamic as perhaps the presentation suggested they might be.
Fast forward to Thameen’s latest launch and a pleasant surprise. This launch takes its inspiration (and its name) from the Cora sun-drop diamond – the largest, yellow, pear-shaped diamond in the world (racking up an impressive 110.3 carats and forming between 1 and 3 billion years ago – no biggie), so it’s no surprise that the fragrance itself is a rather large and showy scent. Described by Thameen as a fragrance “suffused with phosphorescence”, The Cora takes the traditional white floral and injects it with an entire sun’s worth of light.
White Jasmine, Magnolia, Bulgarian Roses, Wisteria, Nutmeg, Carnation, Lily of the Valley, Benzoin, Vanilla, Amber, Patchouli and White Musk.
How Does it Smell?
The opening moments of The Cora are blindingly bright – so bright, in fact, that the whole thing feels out of focus, presenting radiant light with a gauzy texture. It’s like looking directly at the sun – dizzying, disorientating and dangerous. Swapping out the typical citrus top notes for a heady haze of florals, The Cora initially imparts an impression of white hot jasmine against a back drop of cool magnolia, which brings a hint of lemon zing. There’s a sharpness in the opening that contrasts the gauzy texture, with an almost spicy element that creates a real sense of vibration and activity.
Things become deeper, richer and warmer with time, but remain relatively transparent and airy. The flowers take on a honeyed vibe, flirting with bitter wisps of beeswax and rose. Underneath there is promise of benzoin, amber and vanilla, but in reality The Cora continues a light and airy dance into a patchouli-musk base that is fizzy, sour and dark. It’s a slow and subtle transition that gives the impression of a slow summer’s day creeping cautiously into night. From dawn to dusk in one fragrance.
Sidebar: can we talk about honey for a moment? It seems like honey and sweet, nectar-like florals are a big trend at the moment. Prada released a gorgeous nectar-filled frangipani with La Femme Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier explored a similar style in Classique Intense. What’s more, DKNY recently launched Nectar Love, which takes a more transparent look at the note and there’s even a massive designer launch coming in September that focuses on the note (embargoed currently so I can’t say more – yes I’m being that guy, soz). Honey fragrances in gold bottles are a real thing at the moment so it’s interesting to see one that bucks that trend a little bit.
Anyway, back to The Cora. What’s the verdict? Well, I like it and I think it’s very nicely done but it doesn’t set my world on fire. I think the fact that it’s not a full-bodied white floral works in its favour, because let’s face it those are ten a penny. But at the same time I don’t think it really feels distinct enough to warrant a hefty price tag. Where it excels is with its weightless but large aura, and on a sunny day it really feels like a luminous fragrance that one can really bask in. If you love a BWF (big white floral) then The Cora is definitely worth a sniff.
The Cora is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum for £145 – exclusive to Selfirdges.
Sample, notes and quotes via Thameen. Images are my own.