I’ve been trying to learn more about the story surrounding this scent and it is proving a little elusive. It is supposedly based around a rumour that musician Sheema Mukherjee brought back from Darjeeling and turned into a piece of music. The story is of a pair of girls, modestly dressed in white but with quite indecent intentions…
“It was there that she was warned that the Sikkim girls could charm a man away from your side with just a sidelong glance and sensual sway of their hips.”
Sikkim is a landlocked state in India, located in the Himalayas. I was looking for local myths about mysterious sirens luring men away from their wives, but so far all I have discovered is that woman in Sikkim are far less oppressed than women in India’s southern states. Boy children are not treasured more than girls. Although by western standards Sikkimese culture probably does not rank it’s woman folk as equal to it’s men, the women do have a lot more freedom to go about their lives unchaperoned and maintain a sense of individuality.
Hinduism is the main religion in Sikkim, where goddesses are as equally worshipped as gods. I have always been fascinated by Hindu culture and it’s complexities, it’s many, many deities, the philosophy and practice of the Hindu faith. However my interest has always been on an acedemic level, I have never actually been to India and immersed myself truly in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. And to add a further contradiction, I am generally not a fan of oriental inspired perfumes, in particular those with a blend of exotic spices and florals. Oh I love the idea of them, but as soon as I put them on my skin I feel like I am pretending to be someone else. I just don’t feel as if that style of perfume suits me. So it is probably fair to say that in my mind I may fancy the delights of the east but in my heart I am an english rose.
It is with a little confusion and a little apprehension that I approach ‘Sikkim Girls’. I wish I had a firmer basis from which to start, mainly because I feel uneducated about this genre of fragrance, but also because Gorilla have based this perfume around a whisper and a piece of music. I will step outside of the box and see what I can make of it. The music is really quite beautiful, the sitar weaving through your mind in a hypnotic trance. You can listen to it here. With the melody still rolling around in my head I take my first intoxicating breath of ‘Sikkim Girls’….
I am assailed by a full on, fleshy wallop of frangipani. Indolic, waxen white petals cling instantly to my skin. A smooth vanilla cream is quickly apparent underneath, along with a little lift of lighter jasmine. It is a very textural experience, pillowy white flesh and pollen tipped stamens, like those of a calla lily. I feel like a little fly that has crawled inside the welcoming, scented depths of a flower, perhaps never to escape.
The perfume continues to billow forth in this manner for the first few minutes. After a while I notice the jasmine turning a little antiseptic, but it doesn’t stay this way for very long. It is like the jasmine has turned it’s head to watch for the beginning of the main event, and here it comes, riding in a howdah atop a white elephant decorated with golden chains, the gargantuan carnal princess that is tuberose.
Once she arrives there is no ignoring her, the other aspects of the fragrance change in her presence. The vanilla veils itself in smokey incense, taking it’s place behind the royal guest of honour, fanning her occasionally with a drift of sandalwood. Jasmine weaves itself into her hair, becoming a note caught much closer to the skin. Frangipani, upstaged by her majesty, goes to sit in the corner and sulk. ‘Sikkim Girls’ becomes all about the tuberose, wave upon intoxicating wave of it. Warm, moist fleshliness, anointed with oils.
It is an all consuming perfume, the sillage is strong and continues to get stronger as it warms further on my skin. I am emanating a luscious, slightly over-ripe fugue at least 3 feet around myself. I really enjoy that smokey, woody vanilla, but I can only catch it every so often. In it’s place has stepped the impression of something spicy, I cannot detect it exactly, and there is no mention of it in the note listing but it is reminiscent of turmeric. There is the same golden buttery heat that you catch as it toasts in a pan of oil.
‘Sikkim Girls’ is a hypnotic chant, a continuous, hedonistic mantra that refuses to release you from it’s grip. The tuberose is relentless and for a while I am in love. But around two hours in I begin to tire of it’s insistent presence. I also keep catching a cloying rottenness, although only very slight and very typical of animalic tuberose. I think it might be my skin that brings that unpleasantness out to play. The impression is of a vase of lilies left to wilt on a hot windowsill. This picture fades slowly, over another three hours, until finally, exhausted, the princess lays down to sleep. The very end of the dry down is a soft kiss of jasmine and sandalwood.
The tantric song of ‘Sikkim Girls’ would be perfect spritzed onto silk sheets in a steamy boudoir, but it is not an intimate scent, it reaches out from the skin and invites all those around you to join in. There will be people who will fall completely in love with it, unafraid to wear liberal splashes of it’s carnal glory. Others will shrink from it’s resonant sensuality with blushed cheeks. I would love to smell this on someone else, someone with a love for exotic florals who could show me how to wear it with no shame. For me ‘Sikkim Girls’ is overwhelming and extrovert, I don’t perceive any modesty covering it’s sensuous nature. I feel as if I am shouting very loud and completely naked when I wear it. It has such beauty though, and I think that if you were tempted to stray by that mesmerising sway of the hips, you’d never return.
Gorilla have yet again created a perfume that provokes an emotional reaction, this time a powerhouse of exotic blooms that sings a siren’s song of mystical eastern pleasures. It has no restraint, makes no apology for it’s lustful desires and would capture your soul, enfolding you within it’s fleshy embrace forever, if you so wished…. wear it at your own risk…