The 20th edition of our “He says, she says” column. He: Jakub and She: Aleksandra of Persefume — two people, two genders, two opinions, both valuable, both sincere. Sometimes similar, sometimes contrasting — we test without checking each other’s impressions. Choose what fits you better. Write your own part in comments.

This time we are testing all seven creations by Rania J. Parfumeur, Parisian house founded by nose Rania Jouaneh. Rania has great, addictive and cheerful personality which is fully reflected in those bold creations inspired by her childhood in the Middle East and Africa. Rania J.’s eco-conscious scents also do contain large dose of raw materials and traditionally sourced essential oils

Rania-J-nb
Rania Jouaneh

So, let’s go together through Rania J.’s range!

rania

T.HABANERO

habanero_400

Tobacco Habanero is a spicy, dark & fresh black Tobacco with the Rhythm of Cuban nights. A dance on the hot and mysterious notes which combine grace and love of life. High energy and deep emotions.

Top notes: Pink & Black pepper, Cardamom
Middle Notes: Black tobacco
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Agarwood/Oud, Incense, Myrrh, Leather

He – Top-notch creation with very realistic, both spicy and boozy tobacco which gradully transforms into warm, oudy and ambery base. Actually, the real oud is Rania’s signature which gives almost all scents truly oriental, animalic vibe. Bravo, this completely matches my taste.

She – Wonderful, deep and mysterious tobacco scent with a distinguishable vertigo of aromatic, tasty alcohol I would drink amidst hot, southern night. What’s the twist? It gets dryer and dryer, which paradoxically helps you stay sober and cool till sun rises. I love the perfect, initial blast of energetic spices – these first, true notes might last forever, but what a loss it would be, if we never got to know the powerful, dark heart of this beauty. Very bold perfume, but still – the bones are natural, not titanium. And I appreciate it.

ROSE ISHTAR

Rose_Blanc-400

Symbol of Eternal Feminity, the Rose, sweet and light, mingles with black berries, tonka bean, santal wood and patchouli, to reveal on the skin a fresh fragrance, woody and slightly gourmand note. Sexy and very feminine fragrance.

Top notes: Bergamot, cassis base
Middle Notes: Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vanilla, Heliotropine, Musk

He – Rose. Majestic, gorgeous, yet welcoming you with open heart and smile, just as Rania always does. Cassis adds fruity undertones and vanilla gives the gourmand twist. Genderless creation, though it might be real miracle on the feminine skin. The most delicate scent in Rania J.’s collection.

She – I used the whole sample of this rose masterpiece before I was able to count to three. She is a vibrant beauty, one of the kind. I am not a big fan of roses, but this one, skilfully married with vivid, extravagant cassis, embedded in a harmonious, warm frame of woody and oriental notes, blooms on my skin better than a real flower. A dream of heavenly rose growing in no man’s land this would be. And when I woke up, my tiny tester was dry.

AMBRE LOUP

Ambre_400

Amber vibrates on the skin like a heartbeat with labdanum, vanilla, tonka bean, agarwood, and vetiver. A warm fragrance, sensual and mysterious.

Top notes: Clove, spices
Middle Notes: Balsam Peru Essential Oil, Labdanum Abs., Vanilla Absolute
Base Notes: Agarwood/ Oud, Gaiac Wood, Cedar wood

He – This one is real, royal amber! Smoky, resinous, animalic and dense at the same time. It give you that elegant, formal effect – worked really well during some of my VIP events.

She – Rich, rich, rich. Deep, warm, enveloping. Alas! Too much Peru balsam, which makes it nauseating and unbearable for me. It is all my fault – I am simply not very fond of a couple of ingredients, and Peru balsam is one of them – easy to overdose and turning weird and medicinal at some point. Perhaps on other, hotter skin, the undercurrent of this perfume remains more prominent – and it is delicious then. Not on mine, unfortunately.

LAVANDE 44

Lavande_vert-400

The aromatic intensity and elegance of lavender wrap around the woody notes of oud, vetiver and cedar wood. The Tonka bean and the patchouli give to the accord a dimension of warm and sweet, powerful and delicate. Sensual, modern and unique.

Top notes: Bergamot, Petitgrain
Middle Notes: Lavender (Lavender Essential Oil & Absolute)
Base Notes: Agarwood/Oud

He – You might know that I am not the biggest fan of lavender-centred composition, yet this one quickly transforms into rather more herbal and spicy interpretation of the theme. Solid, aromatic, classic work. Maybe not for me – but still, appreciate it a lot.

She – There is something about lavender fragrances that makes me feel only lavender in them. No matter other ingredients – lavender always comes first and never gives up. To find and appreciate other facets of a given perfume, lavender must be surrounded, in a very defensive position. Here it is not, so this mix is no exception. Perhaps all the ingredients from the notes list are there – but at least six feet under a thick coat of lavender. A high quality one, no doubt. Still, I prefer to indulge in lavender leaves picked right from the shrub in my friend’s garden. My pillow is full of it. Good night’s sleep guaranteed.

JASMIN KAMA

Jasmin_Blanc-400

In honour of Kâma, the indian god of love, this blend of absolute jasmin, patchouli and exotic woods is an invitation for love and enchantment. A sophisticated, fresh and pure fragrance for her.

Top notes: Bergamot, Rosa Damascena
Middle Notes: Jasmin (Jasmin Absolute, Egypt)
Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Heliotropine, Vanilla, Musk

He – Darker side of jasmin. Definitely not airy, or indolic as I have imagined, but it is Rania J.’s creation after all. Again, very linear, with hint of gourmand and animalic twist. Unisex, evening-out perfume for jasmin lovers.

She – A carnal one. Very ylang-ish and acetate-ish in the beginning. There is even a salicylic quality to it, when the mix dries up a little and becomes slightly bitter. Definitely a monoflore which turns out to be disturbing to me. Please, do not let me be misunderstood – it is very accurate a rendition of jasmin. The clue here is that this scent in the air produces a different quality then the same scent on the skin. It should flow and wave on the wings of wind – here it sits static, which makes the whole perception entirely different. If it does not fly, it is wasted. Not my story.

OUD ASSAM

Oud_Blanc-400

A very masculine fragrance. The blend starts with a fresh top notes of sweet and bitter orange and takes you to the earthery, warm and dark Agarwood/oud complex smell. An absolutely addictive fragrance!

Top notes: Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Bitter Orange
Middle Notes: Agarwood/ Oud (Essential Oil, India)
Base Notes: Cedar Wood, Vetiver, Frankincense,Black pepper, Tonka bean, Musk.

He - Here just my opinion, as Aleksandra’s sample has been lost in some other dimension. Opening of Oud Assam is not for the faint-hearted: that barnyard and cheesy facets of real oud. But be patient as it transforms into less dangerous beast centred around incense, smoke, wood and spices. Just love it.

CUIR ANDALOU

rania-j.-cuir-andalou

Notes: Leather, Patchouli, Saffron, Neroli, Rose, Violet, iris, Castoreum, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Oud

He – Newest Rania’s creation. So complex: dusty leather, smokiness of oud, earthy vetiver and hitn of dirty castoreum. It feels just right. And it is.

She – I rarely encounter such balanced and inoffensive leather perfumes. It does not mean Cuir Andalou is timid and quiet – by all means no. The scent it develops on my skin reminds me of the faint, familiar aroma of my leather bag – made of recycled material, a re-used part of an armchair or a sofa which was no longer new enough for someone – but magnified hundredfold. Used leathers are absolutely the best – nothing destroys them although they are soft in touch and almost cosy. Altogether this makes me feel reassured, comfortable and somewhat unbreakable.

The final verdict:

He – If you like your scents bit animalic and long-lasting then Rania J. is the right answer. Nicely used raw materials and practical and very fairly-priced 50ml size (102 EUR). It can be felt that you are paying just for the scent, not the marketing. I like this rare approach a lot.

She – Overall – really natural, great quality of ingredients, careful preparation is palpable. Good work.

Rania J.’S Sample Set of all seven creations can be acquired here just for 12,50 EUR incl. worldwide shipping.

Samples, pictures and quotes – Rania J., thank you!

heshe
Jakub (left) and Aleksandra (right)—photo edit by Jakub Grabarczyk Photography. All rights reserved.