When it comes to fougeres, in the last several years perfume houses have taken the road of transparent minimalism. With Issara Parfums Dusita goes the opposite way. Instead of betting on watered down lavender and spices of the so-called modern fougeres, Pissara Umajivani goes full frontal with sage, coumarin and vetiver.
The result is a fougere fragrance defining the style of the classic gent.
Issara and the Dad Fragrance
In my mind I divide the fougere fragrances in three categories. I base them on the types of men that would most likely wear these perfumes.
First, you have the modern aquatic fougeres. They are worn by the man-boys who still do their laundry at their moms'.
The second type includes the classic dandy. These are the Beau Brummells of our time. Decked out to the nines, they wear loud powdery fougeres peddled by Atkinsons 1799 and the likes. They are usually nice guys but take this whole dandy business a bit too seriously.
"A one of a kind fresh Fougère fragrance for the free and independent spirit – the scent with a sense for inner freedom. A fabulous perfume evoking fresh summer mornings, lush green fields, an invigorating breeze blowing through the pines …"
The third type is the classic men. I call them dads because this is what they remind me of. I picture them as those classic gents who have given up their monthly trips to Vegas in order to raise their children.
They are trustworthy and bet on the tried and true. Their dad duties and daily job don't leave them with much time to frolic around the Saks 5th's of the world.
The dads appreciate quality and products they trust. Once they find a product they like and trust, they stick with it for years. To the question whether they need a second scent in circulation they respond with "why, what's wrong with the one I have".
I blame it on the coumarin that Dussita's Issara reminds me of the classic dad. There is something very comforting about the scent. Invariably, when I smell Issara, I think of Old Spice.
Even though my dad never wore it, somehow I associate it with being a dad. The trusty, reliable dad you can count on mending your boo-boos and funding your college bank account.
Don't get the wrong impression though.
The guy wearing Issara is not the dad who wears socks with sandals in public. He is not the one always wearing athletic apparel despite his very unathletic beer belly. And lastly, he is not the one who hankers after his daughter's girlfriends.
The Issara man has style but more importantly he has values and morals. Having children has only heightened his sense of responsibility and duty. The Issara gent is the guy you can trust to chaperone hormonal teenagers and give you advice on the best brogues for the fall season.
In short, if you are a man with a classic bend but still value high quality and originality, Issara by Parfums Dusita is a must-try.
Dig Deeper: What Does It Smell Like?
The first impression I got from Issara is that it radiates. There is a certain aura or vibration that surrounds its wearer.
Other reviewers write that Issara is a sunny fragrance. I don't disagree but to me it appears too rich and dense. I associate sunny fragrances with light airy warmth (e.g. 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense by Parfumerie Generale). Issara has a radiance to it but it also has a dense presence and is not as airy.
Issara's opening starts with fresh herbs. I get mostly sage supported by a pine accord. The dry earthiness of the vetiver is also present and balances the sweetness of the coumarin.
In these first minutes, the coumarin also peaks through. At this stage it is just in the background. When the top notes settle, this is when it takes the centre stage.
Issara slowlsy turns into a coumarin-dominated scent. There are some woody-tobacco aspects to it. I can even pick out a high quality vetiver note and maybe even oakmoss. The main player, however, is the coumarin.
The quality of the ingredients is unsurpassed and Pissara has done an amazing job blending them together. The fragrance moves from stage to stage with seamless elegance reminiscent of a Tchaikovsky ballet.
Despite the presence of coumarin, tobacco and amber, Issara never turns too sweet. It politely toes the line but it strictly stays in the fougere realm.
As I sail through the dry-down stage, Issara turns drier and woodier. I can't distinguish any specific notes at this stage except the coumarin but I find that its presence is giving way to other accords. I suspect the main players at this stage are the woody accord and the musk.
Issara has a strong projection. The spray on my hand wafts through the air as I move and tickles my nostrils. As the fragrance develops, its projection gets quieter. It is still strong enough to detect Issara as you move around.
The longevity of the fragrance is also excellent. After wearing it two or three times, I consistently got around 12 hours longevity.
How to Wear Dusita's Issara
The strong projection of the fragrance calls for some caution when applying it. Two sprays on the chest or neck is all you need. If you are going to stay indoors, apply Issara half an hour before you leave. This would give the fragrance some time to settle down and won't appear overpowering to those around you.
My go-to seasons for Issara would be fall and winter. The coumarin gives the scent a warm aura even though it is not overly sweet. The balanced dryness of the scent makes it a good choice for a warmer weather too. I can definitely see it performing great during the summer.
Issara is a safe bet for any time and place. It doesn't appear too perfumey and it easily blends with your own natural smell. The result is that many people will think you rather than your fragrance smell great.
Despite all the talk about dads, Issara is a good choice for anyone over 21. The only reason why I limit it to 21 and above is because anyone younger would likely go for a different type of scent.
The Experts Say...
The Scented Hound, A Fragrance Blogger
"The perfume for the Millenial man. It's a traditional male scent with a modern and softer edge. It could be easily worn at the office (buttoned up), the virtual office (buttoned down), a night out with the boys or at the grocery store with the kids."
Read the Scented Hound's full review here.
Aleksandra from Persefume
"[Issara is] a perfume of huge fields of coumarin and musk. It feels like end of summer, which turns out to be endless. ... There is a sense of calmness but also a sense of sweet longing sadness."
Star Rating: None Given
Read Jakub and Aleksandra's full review here.
A Reviewer on Basenotes
"A presence that is human, solitary, contemplative, peaceful. It is clear to me that this is created by a Feminine soul. Wearable by all human."
Star Rating: None Given
Read all reviews on Basenotes.
The Bottom Line
Issara is a beautiful interpretation of a classic fougere fragrance. This is what a modern fougere should smell like. Even though she is a new perfumer, Pissara has something to teach all of us.
Would you buy Issara?
I am not a fan of fougeres in general. Yet, I've seriously considered getting a bottle of Issara just for its pure artistry. If you like fougeres get it now. Get a back-up bottle too. There is nothing on the market today with the same intensity and beauty like Issara.
Would I get compliments wearing Issara?
I find Issara to be a scent that envelops you and becomes a part of your natural scent. Many people won't be able to tell whether you are wearing a perfume or you just smell good. You most likely will get compliments that you smell great.
What rating would you give Issara?
Nothing less than 5 out of 5. It is that good.
Coumarin, Vetiver, Pine Leaf
Musk, Oakmoss, Ambergris
Bottle Size: 50ml
Concentration: Extrait de Parfum
Where to Buy: LuckyScent
*Price is subject to change.