Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 Taklamakan Eau de Parfum (SHL 777 Taklamakan for short!) is a dry, woody and amber fragrance that opens with a rich, spiced caramel that later is complemented by patchouli, spiced smoke, and vanilla. It is described as “hot and dry” where “patchouli” then “meets the smoky vanilla, the resins and the incense” and “falls in love with the cedar.”
While the scent had a drier characteristic, which I felt like came primarily from the woody elements (but it was not strongly cedar, if anything, the sandalwood was more distinctive between the two, later on in the drydown), it was not so dry that it felt parched. The blending of the various notes was beautifully done, as they evoked concepts rather than specific details at many points during its development.
The brand listed the following notes:
- top notes: Calabrian bergamot, osmanthus, neroli
- heart notes: Chinese cedar, Indian patchouli
- base notes: vanilla, cistus, benzoin, musk
Though points of purchase also noted rose, tonka absolute, birch, cade, gaiac, myrrh, orris, tolu balsam, labdanum, ambreine, ambergris, and sandalwood.
It opened with a sweet, creamy citrus wafting from spring blossoms before transforming into a spiced caramel with a hint of darker, almost bitter, citrus peel. The sweetness intensified, becoming more sugared and gourmand, more distinctively vanilla and less of the depth of thick caramel. It flit between a more sugary vanilla and a more spiced vanilla, all over drier woods, while the woods gave it a warmer feel. After 20 minutes, Taklamakan was a rich, warm vanilla with spiced, dry woods.
It developed a woody smokiness after an hour of wear, which became more and more noticeable over the next several hours. The vanilla was softened, like a cloud enveloped smoky woods and spiced resins. The scent grew closer and closer to my skin and wore more linearly after the fourth hour and it produced a more golden amber, redolent in sticky sweetness. The drydown removed the traces of stick sweetness and was a skin-scent that was lightly spiced, woodsy, and creamy vanilla.
For testing, I used two sprays from a 2ml glass vial, which were applied to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise. It was long-lasting (over 10 hours and was still detectable as a skin-scent) with moderate sillage and projection for the first hour but only hovered above my skin by a few inches for next two hours before becoming a skin-scent after three hours of wear (though still quite rich and intense when smelled up close).
Subjectively, while O Hira was O Pricey, Taklamakan is, in contrast, more in line with the pricing of many niche perfumes. I often purchase samples based on a particular note or set of notes I’m looking to explore, but there are also certain brands that have stellar reputations for putting together beautifully composed fragrances where I’ll also purchase a few additional offerings alongside the one I was most interested in initially (O Hira).
This was the case with Taklamakan, which I enjoyed but not enough to consider a full bottle of it. For me, it lived in its sweeter phase with less of the notes (like patchouli, benzoin, cedar) coming through than I prefer.