Arabic for 'smelling the breeze', an Arabic Spring Festival on the banks of the Nile...
Florentine Iris, known for its rarity and expense is truly at the heart of this fragrance.
Originally created in 1906, this rich, luxurious fragrance typifies the Edwardian era with its warm floral powdery character.
Luca Turin: "The best one, in my view, is arguably also the least original, Shem-el-Nessim. Named after an Egyptian Spring festival, literally smell-the-breeze, it is none other than an enthusiastic copy of Francois Coty's magnificent 1905 L’Origan, which begat L'Heure Bleue and countless others. Grossmith did not waste time and released Shem-el-Nessim in 1906. They are touchingly candid about this, which makes me like them even more. Bear in mind that the real L'Origan is long gone, and that the reptiles at Coty make money with fragrances named after minor celebs instead of their classic masterpieces. Given that, Grossmith becomes Plan A, particularly since everything from fragrance to bottle to packaging is of exquisite, painstaking quality. Well done."
A quote from the Perfume Shrine: "Arabic for 'smelling the breeze', is perhaps my top pick. Rarely has a scent captivated me as instantly as Shem-el-Nessim did, reprising a well-rounded tune, that of literally earthbound orris (alas down-marketed in several mainstream releases these past two years) and exalting it to the heavens above via the use of a little lilac overtone and greenery. The original Shem-el-Nessim came out in 1906, signifying the fêted femininity of the Edwardian era, a nod to Europe's emerging love with anything oriental that would culminate in the Art Deco period. Named after an Arabian Springtime festival held in Egypt on the Nile, it was advertised with dark-haired sexy lovelies in salwar kameez, hair in a turban and the seven veils of Salome dropping one by one in our fertile imagination. The rebirth is a reworking of the floriental genre à la L'Origan allegedly, or the triumph of the impressionistic suspension of time in L'Heure Bleue in my opinion~one could argue without blushing that it is the loveliest rendition of heliotrope and iris to be launched in the last decade! A clearly pyramidal composition, it dazzles with its economy of structure and the delight of its affluent feel, like a mink wrap in winter. The overture has all instruments murmur a soft muted tune signifying phase one (soft greenery, florals) . Then the aria of marzipan-like heliotrope emerges in all its glory, the leitmotif comes again and again for hours: luxurious, warm, inviting, powdery. The whole melts into an unctuous coda of orientalised elements in the base, almost ambery: sandalwood, musk and vanilla, amplifying the plush to the point of apotheosis. I am smitten!!"
And a quote from Kafkaesque: "It is such a beautifully golden scent, with such enormous plushness that it oozes sophistication, opulence, and elegance. Most of all, it feels romantic. Some admirers on Fragrantica talk about fairy princesses or Marie-Antoinette, so I'm not the only one to find a certain regalness to Shem-el-Nessim. Its opening certainly feels formal and extravagant. Plus, how is someone like me with my love for vintage L'Heure Bleue going to be immune to a brighter, sweeter version which eventually turns into creamy neroli vanilla mousse at the end."
Grossmith is one of Great Britain's oldest fragrance houses, founded in London in 1835. In 1940, the company had to close due to the war, but after second cousin Simon Brooke accidentally found the handwritten books containing the original formulas years later, he decided to revive the house.
The three iconic scents (Hasu-no-Hana, Phul-Nana, Shem-el-Nessim) were adjusted slightly for the modern world. Next to this beautiful history, Simon and Amanda Brooke also have ambitious plans for the future: thé house for quality, craftsmanship and authenticity.Apart from the classics, their modern fragrances are also appreciated all over the world by perfume lovers who seek luxury, individuality and exclusivity.
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