Two dabs from a sample, and I was in love with this one, Italian folk-saying, struck by a thunderbolt in love. An emotional, not an analytical, response. Which is the power of perfume and other arts, right?
Sahleb reminds me of Istanbul. Romanticized, fairy-tale memories of Istanbul, but still.... It's an edible dessert scent, with a little smoke, and the perfect touch of cardamom. I love that it stays so close to the skin. Generally I avoid dessert-like scents because I don't want to walk into a room and have people wonder who's been rolling around in cake batter. Sahleb lasts a very long time on me, 6-12 hours, so, as long or longer than many scents that are not marketed as natural.
Sahleb is what I wanted Traversee du Bosphore to be. It's better than the two loukhoum scents I've tried -- the ones by Keiko Mecheri and Serge Lutens. It's the first orris-centered fragrance that's really clicked for me. That said, it reminds me of how several non-orris scents feel to me. In feeling (not scent notes) it reminds me of the opening and heart of La Belle Helene, the heart of L'Heure Bleue, the deep drydown of Cuir Ottoman.
Sahleb is different in its way - it took me a while to actually figure out wether i like it or not. It is a mixture of flowers and a soft creamy dessert. Not too strong, quite pleasant. Floral scents is not my cup of tea, so this fragrance didn't work for me. Which is good, because it is so subtle you can't actually smell anything - the smell fades out really fast and has a zero staying power. For the price it is - and this one is a limited edition - i think it should perform much better.
Ayala Moriel recently released this scent, which I had a chance to sample some time ago. It immediately made me think of the marketing description of Guerlain Iris Ganache: "an iris butter ‘worked like a pastry ganache.'" For an iris lover, that was about the most tantalizing description I've read, but I found that Iris Ganache was way too sweet for my taste. In this case, Sahleb actually smells like what I envisioned: lightly sweet orris that gradually becomes very rich and buttery. In fact, the first time I tried it, the intense buttery texture was almost disturbing. It's an unusual scent and one of the most original natural perfumes I've smelled. I marked it as a 4 just because it's so very soft, and I said I'd buy again although I don't know if I could afford to buy it in the first place. I will enjoy my sample though!