a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
YATAGAN – 1976 – ♂
Classification: Oriental Woody
Top: Lavender, Wormwood, Petitgrain, Artemisia
Heart: Geranium, Pine Needles, Vetiver, Patchouli
Base: Leather, Castoreum, Styrax
Perfumer: Vincent Marcello
Price: 120ml Eau du Toilette $90
What exactly was the inspiration for Yatagan from Caron? It is more fitting that we understand the meaning of the word yatagan before we can appreciate the story behind this fragrance.
Yatagan is a Turkish word for a knife or short saber that was used in the Ottoman Empire during the mid-16th to the late 19th centuries. This knife or saber consists of a single-edged blade with a stout handle often decorated sometimes with precious jewels such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies and other times with engraving.
Many yatagans date from 1750-1860 and were used for fighting as well as ornate parade weapons. Civilians and military men wore the more ornate versions as a status symbol. There was also a smaller lighter version of the yatagan that were used by infantry soldiers as not to interfere while carrying them on a march.
The town of Yatağan is located in southwest Turkey and very famous for their yatagansmithing and it is considered the birthplace of yatagans. Legend has it that the town was conquered by a Seljuk commander and blacksmith by the name of Osman Bey or otherwise known as Yatağan Baba or “Father Yatağan”. Yatağan Baba later settled there and subsequently invented the yataghan type blades and gave his name not only to the town but to the saber he created.
Yatagan the fragrance was introduced in 1976 by perfumer Vincent Marcello for Caron. Marcello’s other notable creations was Halston Z14 which debuted in 1974. Caron describes Yatagan as “An invitation to journey into the world of the famous Ottoman horsemen wielding the eponymous Turkish saber with its curved, tapering blade” as stated on their online site. I believe that their concept for this scent was every bit of the allure and masculinity portrayed of western Asia. It is masculine, old world, dry, green, earthy and leathery. Yatagan definitely represents a precise combination of those scents. I also think that Caron captured the essence of the word and accurately describes not only the place of conception but the article itself.
Yatagan opens sharply with a very dry green herbaceous masculine note that is slightly citrus. Lavender is found hovering in the top notes. I do not find its presence predominant, it simply harmonizes nicely with the other green notes. The combination of these greens might easily be conceived as a celery note. The wormwood and artemisia top notes definitely find their way in towards the end of the opening with a sharp bitter presentation.
The heart note progression finds the green herbaceous notes mellowing but now drizzled with a fresh sappy pine resin. The pine note is the only sweetness I find in Yatagan and seems to be a bit smoldering or smoky probably due to the styrax. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t associate the pine note to any of the hundred other scents that come to mind when anyone mentions pine. After this intense hardy pine heart notes, Yatagan settles into a warm leathery type Chypre.
The base has a bit of a animalistic presence with castoreum, which seems to camouflage itself gracefully behind the buttery leather base note. There is a successful blending of the pine needles, patchouli and vetiver that probably assists in keeping the castoreum in check and giving it a more bearable earthy quality. Besides these very subtle movements through the scents note stages, Yatagan is relatively linear. It starts off bold and bright but moves quietly to a warm finish so as to allow the fully enjoy of the masculine profile of this fragrance.
Yatagan can be a bit challenging to wear and is not for everyone. It requires a love of dry sappy pine and a bit of a dirty earthy quality in order for anyone to successfully endure it’s effects. It is not a loud, fussy, pretentious or flamboyant men’s scent as you might expect from being a mid 70’s fragrance creation. It is more of an aggressive, commanding and authoritative type that is inspired by a time long past.
I personally find Yatagan thoroughly enjoyable and easy to wear especially in the fall and winter or cooler climates. You might also try it in the warmer months but use sparingly. Yatagan stays very close to the skin but it has a good longevity. It is something that should be a part of your collection and can easily be one of your new favorites.