drseid's Review of Issara by Parfums Dusita

Issara opens with no top notes to speak of, immediately moving to its early heart as very subtle almond-like coumarin takes on the sole starring role, underpinned by soft musk-like ambergris. During the late dry-down a sharp, woody vetiver emerges and takes the fore as the coumarin vacates, leaving just hints of the ambergris remnants as barely noticeable support through the finish. Projection is minimal, but longevity very good at over 10 hours on skin.

When I first applied Issara on skin I had to put my nose right up against my wrist, as I smelled almost nothing. Either I am anosmic to most of the early ingredients, or despite the fragrance pyramid listing, the top notes just aren't there (and I dare say the same holds true for a lot of the heart notes too). The coumarin definitely can be detected in the heart, but even though it is the early focal aspect of the composition, it comes off as extremely subtle, almost to the point of making one wonder what is the point of wearing the perfume. The skillful use of ambergris also almost goes unnoticed, as like the coumarin, while detectable, it too seems to be in hiding throughout the composition's development. Only in the late dry-down does the woody vetiver finally assert itself, salvaging an otherwise pleasant but disappointing and irrelevant outing. I find myself torn on how to score Issara, as on the one hand it does smell good and has a great smelling late dry-down (if not overly simplistic), but the rest of the composition just makes one shrug one's shoulders as to "what's the point." In the end, the bottom line is the $350 per 50ml bottle Issara teeters between irrelevant and near-fantastic, earning it a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rating, but only a neutral recommendation due to its inconsistency, among other minor shortcomings.

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