Hors Là Monde recently launched their second fragrance, Shiloh, after winning a protracted legal battle with actress Angelina Jolie over the rights to the name. Shiloh has any number of meanings, but only one of them matters to Jolie, apparently. I don't know if the legal costs were outrageous, but it is hard to imagine a more fortuitous gift publicity-wise: Shiloh (the perfume) got way more attention in the mainstream press (and on the celebrity gossip blogs) than your average niche fragrance launch could ever hope to achieve.
The Shiloh fragrance was developed by Michel Roudnitska, and is described as...
...the treasure brought home after years of traveling. Mysterious, bewitching and refined, Shiloh is the result of a fusion of delicate scents, precious woods, a hint of Rose from Esphahan, and a touch of patchouli oil...
Additional notes include lemon, bergamot, herbs, rose, Virginia cedar, sandalwood, incense, oakmoss, musk, patchouli and vanilla.
Shiloh opens on a sweet and tart verbena-like mixture of lemon and greenery, floating over dark woods and what smells to my nose like maybe just a bit more than "a touch" of patchouli. It warms slowly on the skin, and hints of the lemony opening linger on to brighten the floral notes in the heart, highlighted by a sheer, rosewater-ish rose. The base is beautifully earthy but polished smooth, and none of the notes really stand out to me other than dark woods and patchouli. It has a subtly spiced finish and just the right hint of sweetness.
The first time I wore Shiloh, it was a hot, sticky summer day, and since some of Michel Roudnitska's fragrances are rather heavy affairs (Delrae Amoureuse!), I took the precaution of dabbing on a little drop rather than spraying with abandon. I needn't have bothered. The founder of Hors Là Monde, Symine Salimpour, reportedly told Roudnitska that she wanted Shiloh to "present the idea of fragility and strength" (via The Washington Post) and the finished product comes remarkably close to that ideal. It has a satisfying depth but doesn't feel at all overbearing, even in the heat. Still, it is probably more of a fall-winter scent than a summer one.
I didn't fall in love with Shiloh on that first try, but by the third outing, I was hooked. It has a dusky, quietly seductive quality that I find enormously attractive. Highly recommended, and could easily be worn by either sex.
Hors Là Monde Shiloh is an Eau de Parfum, and the lasting power is good. It is available in 50 ml for $128. For buying information, see the listing for Hors Là Monde under Perfume Houses.