Basala / Basara 
Shiseido (1993)


Average Rating:  41 User Reviews

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Reviews of Basala / Basara by Shiseido

There are 41 reviews of Basala / Basara by Shiseido.

super big thumbs up on this one...gorgeous masterpiece...smells timeless, does not smell outdated in the least...could have been released yesterday as a new niche fragrance...brief citrusy lavender opening...extremely aromatic...i'm surrounded by little clouds of magical's dry/herbal/warm/bittersweet...unique...i associate this with fragrances like Yatagan , Ungaro I , Jules and Xerjoff Dhofar...complex/spicy/resiny...herbal and slightly flowery Oriental Chypre...also like a lighter , better quality , better blended Rocabar Joint...nice spice herb bitterish blend of rosemary/caraway/ smooth finishing phase...i can see the cult following for this one...count me in...hope to always have some on hand...
Mar 17, 2019

Something here just does not work. It is too dry. Perhaps a combination of artemisia and rosemary. It does have similarities with vintage Xeryus Rouge but the dryness is overpowering here and I can't take it.
A Scrubber.
Aug 3, 2016

Notes from Fragrantica, much more detailed:

Top: rosemary, artemisia, lavender, green notes, fruity notes, clary sage, basil, neroli and bergamot
middle: carnation, fir, cinnamon, jasmine, caraway and rose
base: labdanum, leather, amber, patchouli, musk, coconut, oakmoss and cedar

An extremely unique fragrance, very much of its era (mid-90s), when perfumers experimented with the accords of the past in totally new ways (as well as with new synthetics in starring roles, which is not the case here), Basala shines with quality and performance. I do perceive the warmth and Japanese aesthetic to this composition mentioned by other reviewers here.

Artemisia (wormwood) provides the bitterness in the opening, with wonderfully bracing herbs, citrus, and other green notes. The fruit here is of the red berry variety (damascones/damascenones), one of the rare occasions where it works without being crass. As mentioned in other reviews, the gorgeous deep red bottle is a perfect match to the scent.

Lavender provides the bridge to a spicy-floral heart dominated by rose (fleshed out by the damascones) and carnation. Unlike other reviewers, I find a distinct sweetness in Basala after the opening, though it doesn't dominate.

The rich base is where the chypre accord's oakmoss and labdanum provides a scaffold for the woods and amber. Certainly sandalwood and vetiver can be added from Basenotes' pyramid, though I don't necessarily agree that the sandalwood accord comes off very natural. Musk and coconut add heft and richness, a pleasant detail slightly reminiscent of their treatment in VC&F's Tsar.

Most unique of all, the "leather" accord, which to me doesn't register as smoky at all (no birch tar to my nose), envelops the scent in a very animalic cocoon of woody warmth and intensity -- the unmistakeable presence of castoreum. In fact, among my collection Basala ranks second only to Yatagan in its castoreum overdose.

Chagrin at the rarity of Basala nowadays can be mitigated slightly by the existence of Michel Germain's Sexual Sugar Daddy*, which takes Basala's damascone theme and replaces the beautiful dry woods with a rather sweet, synthetic praline musk. Unfortunately it's more expensive than it smells, but Basala fans certainly owe it a sniff.

*Surely the #1 worst fragrance name of all time.
Feb 10, 2015

Genre: Woods

Potent without a doubt, and bone dry as well. Basala jumps out of the bottle like it means business, with whole lots of cedar, lavender, and dry herbs. The opening is so stark it's almost frightening, and when I first applied it I thought "Oh *@#%!" and then "What have I done?"

Basala calmed down after a few minutes, and so did I. The very realistic lavender emerges even more strongly as the scent ages, eventually taking center stage, with notes of cedar and sandalwood, cinnamon, and maybe even nutmeg in the background. It would all be way too much if the accords were sweet, but like Caron's Yatagan, Etro's Palais Jamais, or Malle's French Lover, there's not a speck of sugar in this fragrance.

The result is stoic, bracing, and somewhat austere, but also hypnotic and more than a bit exotic. The cedar and sandalwood persist into the drydown, along with the barest hint of powdery musk to meld it with the skin. An excellent scent. Too bad it's become so hard to find.
Jun 9, 2014

UPDATE: I no longer have to worry about running out, as I've stocked up a bit on this one after running into a couple of nicely priced deals. So now, I've given it a thumbs up. ;-)

Yes, this is a somewhat dry fragrance... but not as dry as your driest martini, that's for certain. Having lived with many, many great fragrances at this point (my collection has topped 100 now), I'd rank this up along side Gucci Envy, D&G By Man, Cacharel Nemo, and Etro Shaal Nur. If it was sweeter, the caraway and fir would be emboldened to dominate over everything else. Everything here is carefully attenuated. Very Japanese.

The bottling just crowns the whole Basala experience. The deep ruby red glass bottle, shaped in a way abstractly reminiscent of a male body-builder torso, displays a nice art form with "plunger" shaped spray cap. This fragrance will always be in my collection.

After owning nearly 50 fragrances at this point, many by well respected houses, I have a decent frame of reference to judge Basara. This was my 4th blind fragrance buy. I liked it as soon as I tried it and then over time fell in love with it.

It doesn't matter if I've just enjoyed Gucci Pour Homme, Gucci Nobile, Diptyque Tam Dao, MPG Santal Noble, or Amouage Epic Man... when I revisit Basara I can't help but consider it my prized fragrance possession. I am so saddened to see no other house able to closely reflect Basara. It's completely on its own and destined to die, because the bidding fervor on "that auction site" keeps raising the stakes.

So I give a thumbs up for the fragrance, but a thumbs down for the TRAP that it sets. Why fall in love with something that is destined to leave you? It'll only break your heart.
Dec 31, 2013

blast from my past, sweet but masculine and not cloying, elegance and simplicity
Dec 20, 2012

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