When this first came out I was a young student and was glad I hated it as funds did not run to Guerlain fragrance. It seemed to me old fashioned even then. The truth I suspect, is that it was born out of nostalgia for the classics like Jicky and Mitsouko.
Fast forward thirty odd years and I love this fragrance albeit in small doses. However it lost its place as my favourite rose when I bought l'Hombre Dans l'Eau, which is a greener more wearable rose.
That said I would always like to have Nahema in my collection. I do not think this would appeal to young girls who are used to roses like Stella or Chloe.
Edit: agree with Glam divas observation below that there is a similar spiciness shared by Nahema and the melon Une Parfum de Therese (one of the few. Frederic Malles that I have serious problems wearing -- mainly because unless it's the dead of winter, the melon overshadows the complexity of the rest of the perfume for me. And, who wants to wear water fruit in the winter)
Nahema is a polarizing fragrance and an acquired taste (rose, honey, peach, wood), but addictive once acquired. Don't spray, a single spray is too much. A single dab is all that is needed for a day. And I place a test dab on a wrist (in order to minimize aggravation in case I cannot stand something) And, most important, be patient; this powerhouse fragrance that opens so brashly has the most gorgeous gentle, subtle dry down - creamy, honeyed rose, not powdery. It stands totally apart from today's modern rose chypres, orientals or gourmands.
I read that this lush technicolor rose is supposedly structured in a similar way to Chamade (obviously different notes -rose versus hyacinth); that Guerlain only produces 7 gallons of nahema extrait world wide; that Nahema is one of their most costly extraits in terms of ingredient of Bulgarian rose; and, it was one of Jean Paul Guerlain's favorite and most innovative formulas. Nahema did not sell well when originally released in the 1970s. If it were released today, I could easily imagine that it would be a niche fragrance, appealing only to a select few.
If you are at all ambivalent about rose (I used to hate ALL rose accords until I was persuaded to re-try the very different but wonderful Une Rose from Frederic Malle and it suddenly and inexplicably clicked), I do NOT recommend Nahema as your introduction to the genre. Nahema is a NOT a starter rose. Instead of Nahema, start with something less opinionated, more PC, like Guerlain's Rose Barbare or Carons pour une femme (I have the older reformulated version with a clear crystal stopper, not a black stopper).
Or, one new to the love of rose could start very differently with a modern 'dark' fragrance utilizing amber, smoke, patchouli, incense, vanilla or gourmand notes to minimize the rose accord, ie, Lyric amouage men, (smoke rose); tauer une rose chypre (amber rose); incense rose; rochas tocade (synthetic vanilla rose); or ungaro diva EDP, not edt, splash bottle, not spray, and not "Emmanuel ungaro" on the box or bottle, just ungaro (rose chypre touched with amber). Even voleur de roses (a sugar-free plum rose patchouli) or the bitter aromatics elixir, a strong, dry herbal rose chypre -- both considered acquired tastes in their own right-- might be an easier choice as they are less bold and brash and bright.
however, if you already love rose and rose chypre; if you are very fond of Une Rose, L'arte di gucci EdP, Rose de nuit, Soir de lune, paloma picasso mon parfum, knowing, diva and aromatics elixir; if you think that the currently acclaimed 'dark' roses like rose barbare, Rose nacre du desert and lumiere noire pour femme are too safe and conventional, and, if you don't mind bitterness and fruit interspersed with rose and a 1980s powerhouse sensibility, then you should try Nahema!
Wowza - what a gorgeous rose scent.
Some years back I had a bottle of vintage Nahema EDP in the black and gold box and I was not fond of it at all. I got metallic rose patchouli or some sort. it really did not smell right to me and I sold it.
Fast forward to Nahema parfum extrait 2013 - turkish rose absolute in all it's glory is what Nahema in extrait i like . it reminds me of Une Rose by Frederic Malle.
As it dries down , more powdery rose emerges- not in a bad way but Nahema goes from lush heaving bosom rose to a more playful pinkish tone . At the end I still smell a little of that metallic note I got from the vintage but it is subtle and pleasant. The dry down is perhaps not so great as Une Rose. Nahema in extrait gets lighter in the dry down and the punch is in the opening. Excellent scent but Une Rose is better all round.
I wanted to like Nahema so badly, on paper it was a dead cert that I would. After searching it out for a long while I finally found and purchased a bottle.
In it's favour I would say it is interesting, it evolves over time, and has different angles...but I didn't like any of them! For me there is a cloying sickly smell like antibiotic syrup for kids (the peach I guess) and there is a pungent, acrid floor polish type smell (the rose)...and I get unpleasant alternating gusts of each. I've tried hard to find the beauty in it - but feel like I've been cruelly tricked.
For references fragrances that I do like and wear: Mitsouko, Boucheron, Chanel No19. Coco Chanel
For me this is another dissapointing Guerlain fragrance. I've tried quite a few over the last few months and my veridict is always the same; very nice but not amazing.
I bought a sample of the EDP from The Perfumed Court after reading the review from Now Smell This about a year ago, and again more recently. When I finally put a tiny drop on my thumb, it was magic. At first there was nothing but a musty chemical smell, then a rose unfolded before my eyes. I almost cried. Once it's rested, the rose fades to a light powdery scent on my skin, but I'm hoping for a longer rose scent with further experiments. Beautiful
*ETA 8/8/13* I don't know why I had this at 3 lippies-I bumped it to 4. Not a 5 because this isn't an all-around perfume, meaning I can't spray it on and feel comfortable in any occasion-it's more of a scent I wear for me, a private delight. This is still one of my all-time favorite scents. I have a vintage mini that I use on certain occasions and when I have hots (money), I will continue to look for more versions of this. If you like rose, if you like glamour, if you like a story to your scent-you should try this. The NST review is here: http://www.nstperfume.com/2008/09/17/guerlain-nahema-perfume-review/
*ETA 9/10/13* (some portions removed because it was a bit spooky, and not in the good Sharon Needles kind of way. Lol) There is nothing as grand, somber (not the perfume-I feel somber when I wear it-seriously appreciative yet sad that it's so expensive and personal that I mustn't wear it as much as I'd like), and absolutely beautiful as Nahema.
ETA 2/25/14 -I'm glad I have the chance to change my words. Having had the opportunity to literally douse myself in Nahema, I've come to the conclusion that although this fragrance will always have a place in my heart, it's not the perfume unicorn I described. It is beautiful and classic and one of the first really high quality perfumes I ever tried, but it's not the most suitable for me. So try it for yourself, process your reaction, wait a bit and then try it again! And see where it takes you :)
Silky rose, for evening gowns and/or vintage lingerie.
This review is for the parfum version. Nahema feels luxurious. Deep velvety rose, a little juicy at first, and sometimes my skin pulls a bit of spice (cinnamon or cardamom) in the first 10 minutes (though nothing like Lyric or OJ Taíif). Pure rose, in that it hasnít been mixed with wine or musks or anything gourmand. But itís not dewy-fresh either, or at least not for long. Nahema has a diva feel. No sharp edges. Refined.
I donít get the Guerlain base in Nahema, but it has an unmistakeably classic, big perfume house feel to it. Big sillage, tenacious. Iíll never be without it, but I need other rose scents too.
Venus floating on a cloud.The rose/peach combination is lush, generous, opulent, but with a sense of humor...like a happy baby playing suds of soap or wide-eyed girl innocently batting her eyelashes. And yet in spite of this caricature-like femininity, Nahema manages to be complex, alluring, erotic. I can see the Sharazadesque quality that inspired the fragrance: the rose continually unfolds, always promising an end yet never quite taking you there and you hold your breath waiting to see what happens next. Absolutely stunning fragrance and an added bonus is that when you wear it, chances are, you are the only one in your town wearing it!
I love rose scents, but this was cloying and overly sweet to me...a high-pitched rose-extreme. It's also suffocatingly strong and long lasting; I spritzed it on my wrist and on a card, and it just lasted for ages on both!
Nahema turns you into a rose and lasts all day, like a rose, it unfolds revealing more depth, tone and scent. It's so lovely :-) Could be my favourite guerlain, although I adore Jicky and L'Heure Bleue as well.