What I want from perfume is not a bland betrayal but, especially on another person, a scent  that stops me in my tracks: brain stem engaged; instinct aroused; rationality  dismissed.


Pissara Umjavani, founder and perfumer of Dusita, has an ability to put together ingredients in a way that – as it should be with quality perfumery – is more than the sum of its parts: perfumes that graze and stimulate emotion. Last year’s release, Fleur de Lalita is a sultry but living, and fresh, green magnolia ylang smouldering in vanillic ambergris and bois de santal that ignites an immediate reaction with its almost untenable sensuality : you can imagine a suddenly smitten and hopelessly in-love man haplessly falling from his bicycle in Bangkok upon smelling this on a girl : both familiar and unknowable, inviting ; yet ever so slightly disdainful.



La Douceur Du Siam, which I personally prefer, is a big, gorgeous, luminous rose de mai absolute tinged with a tingling  of green carnation; the spring leafery of galbanum and violet, but blooming, graciously,  on a warm, carnal base of white flowers and balsams that embodies the reaction I was talking about earlier :  on the right person this perfume could be heartstopping. I don’t think I could wear it myself : despite the unbordered, sensitive androgyny in this house’s perfumes,  there is still very much something of the ‘eternal feminine’ about much of the line – a contoured tenderness – but I would LOVE to have someone walk by me in this perfume on some hot summer’s evening. I know for a fact I would turn back and look.






After my last post on Dusita a few months ago, I got in contact with this perfumer  in the hope of doing an interview with her, sensing, for some reason, some common affinities. Her love of poetry : both of us foreigners living in cultures entirely different from our place of birth.



I decided, also, to throw caution to the wind and circumvent the usual PR protocol and polite chatter by asking exactly what I wanted to ask, about Thai culture, film, her late father – one of Thailand’s most famous writers –  and over several days, in written or voice mail form, Ms Umjavani  replied to my questions as time allowed and the answers came to her.



But where my own posts are fast and impulsive ( I am writing this on my phone, on a train, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon ; the sun is finally shining as it should be after all this rain as I go to my next classes), collating, transcribing,  and writing  a coherent piece on somebody else’s words and life feels like more of a responsibility than my usual opinionated and spontaneous ramblings :  I need the proper time – days – and space,  to do it all justice.



To be continued.





Filed under Flowers


  1. Phyllis Ann Iervello

    I like the Dusita fragrances. As for your post…I like them just the way they are.

    • Thanks! Me too, I must say – I can only really write like that. But I also quite like the challenge of trying something different once in a while. Which Dusitas do you like? I do find them quite different to the majority of niche – much fuller and more soulful.

      • Phyllis Ann Iervello

        I have several but the first one, Isaara, is one of my favorites and also Erawan. I have only sampled the Oud bud never purchased it because it was way beyond my perfume price range. I also like Fleur de Lolita, La Duceur de Siam and La Sillage Blanc.

      • I like all of those too but Erawan has a clary sage note I can’t abide (I really hate that essential oil!). Still, I can imagine it working on the right person. The dry green herbaceousness of it.

  2. Pissara Umavijani

    Dear Neil,

    Thank you so much. After reading I got the ethereal moment, as if I have just watched a film….Today is a fresh and windy day in Paris and now I feel like I was sitting under a tree surrounded by flower fields….

  3. I really do need to try her fragrances. I have heard so much about them in different chats and am quite intrigued.
    I am very much looking forward to your piece on her, it will be wonderful I am sure. I also have to say how much I enjoy your way of writing, on the fly, so to speak. There is an urgency and an “in the moment” quality about it that just grabs me. Keep putting out content the way you do, it is perfect!

    • Thanks G.

      I think you should definitely check out some of these perfumes, especially Sillage Blanc (a proper Cabochard-like chypre) and Douceur – I can imagine you quite liking them. There is an unusual sultriness to them that you don’t get in a lot of boringly thin ‘niche’

  4. Robin

    Can’t wait to read! My dear fragrance goddaughter moved heaven and earth to get us a bottle of Dusita Le Sillage Blanc to share. Absolute love at first sniff, as I think I’d mentioned when you wrote about Dusita originally. (I might have tried one or two others but can’t recall; I try so many.) Something has to be stellar to merit full-bottle-worthy status for me these generally underwhelmed days. La Douceur du Siam sounds magical and right squarely up my alley. Anyone who can compose a fragrance like LSB must be a sensitive, erudite and overall delightful genius.

    • I wonder about the woody base note in Siam as I know you are as sensitive to these things as I am (not woody as in rough ‘amber’ or cashmeran woody, but a curious accord that not everyone would go for – Dusita always has this curious animalic effect in the end notes that is terrifically sensual but will not be right for everyone).

      And yes: she definitely has the intuition and the technical skill. Undoubtedly.

      • Robin

        Ah, you’ve put your finger on it. The end notes. And that is why I enjoy Le Sillage Blanc on my own time. That one I can handle, but it’s on Ric’s Can’t Be in the Vicinity list, like many other really good things I own.

        I enjoyed reading this, by the way!

      • Very glad to hear it. Love the idea of a ‘Can’t be in the Vicinity ‘list. Can he specify why exactly?

      • Robin

        No, not usually. Unfortunately. I’ve tried to no avail to detect some kind of pattern. I’m finding that it’s most practical (as someone who generally likes Ric to Be in the Vicinity) to focus on what he CAN seem to tolerate. I just wish it was more than roughly 20% of the fragrances I own. Even 50/50 would be a miracle. Sigh. I seem to have an unfortunate fondness for the “curious” ones . . .

  5. Wild Gardener

    Writing on my phone, on a train. Yes.
    Some of my best stuff is done that way.
    I think it’s best anyway 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s