I've always loved ancient Egyptian art and history, the complex religious practices of Egyptians and the depictions of their gods (including such "gods" as the female pharaoh Hatshepsut). Call me macabre, but I enjoy reading about ancient Egyptian mummification practices and the fragrant oils used to preserve and scent important corpses big (rulers) and small (cats); I've written here at Now Smell This (10 years ago!) about kyphi incense. Like everyone else, I'm sometimes susceptible to advertising, so any time a perfume house releases a scent that references Egypt, I sample it in hopes it will be glorious. (Why didn't Serge Lutens ever "go there"...with a rich, "profound" Egypt-inspired fragrance?)
Charenton Macerations Eye, Hatshepsut (which was, according to ad copy, researched at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo) goes on smelling medicinal, or "medicinal" as interpreted by a contemporary perfumer — in this instance, Cecile Hua. As you sniff the perfume, your eyes won't water, your stomach won't churn, your skin won't get goosebumps and you certainly won't think an unguent from ancient Egypt has survived and arrived in your midst.
Eye, Hatshepsut's notes sound sublime: papyrus, blue lotus, smoke, burnt tallow, kohl, cinnamon, honeyed wine, orris butter, spiced patchouli, incense, labdanum and Egyptian musk. The start and heart of Eye, Hatshepsut are most pronounced: it opens with dry, papery (thin) papyrus (that on some wearings seems to possess a hint of mint) and develops quickly to showcase a "dirty" musk ("dirty" is not a bad word for ME when it comes to musk, but if you don't like "ancient"-type musks — civet/animalic and the like — its musk may prevent you from enjoying Eye, Hatshepsut).
What else does Eye, Hatshepsut provide a careful sniffer? Blurred/super-blended notes: a fleeting watery floral note here, some cinnamon there, a faint, but pleasant, earthy patchouli to end the proceedings. Weirdly, Eye, Hatshepsut wears down to a sheer, contemporary-smelling accord you might encounter at a mall, be that mall in Cairo, Egypt, or Cairo, Georgia.
Eye, Hatshepsut is an ephemeral fragrance: it has mild sillage and disappears on my skin within a few hours. I like it, but realize my dream "ancient Egyptian" perfume is probably pure fantasy; perhaps ancient Egyptians smelled rather simple and relied more on incense to fragrance their environments. (It's back to my kyphi incense for now.)
Charenton Macerations Eye, Hatshepsut Eau de Parfum is $100 for 30 ml.