Akkad is my personal favourite from the trio of perfumes known as Lubin’s Talismania Collection. The perfume takes its name from the Mesopotamian city Akkad, which dates back more than 2000 years before Christ. Archaeologists are still unsure of the ancient city’s exact coordinates and place it somewhere along the banks of the Euphrates River in modern day Iraq. Akkad’s most famous sovereign was Sargon, a powerful and mythical leader who unified Mesopotamia during the 55 years he ruled (2334 to 2279 BC).
Sargon’s mother was a priestess and needed to bear her son in secret. Unable to keep the child, she placed her newborn in a basket made of bulrushes and set him adrift on the Euphrates River. The parallels between this story and the story of Moses are uncanny. Aqqi, a royal gardener found the infant amongst the river marshes and raised him as his own. Under the watchful eye of the goddess Ishtar, young Sargon succeeded the king, establishing his seat of power in Akkad.
Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War, had a reputation for being fickle with her lovers and often treated them cruelly. The only man that was able to maintain the goddess’s affection was Sargon and her blessings were attributed to the king’s success as a leader.
Describing Akkad as a gift from the goddess Ishtar, Lubin’s owner, Gilles Thevenin reconstructed the ancient city in perfume form with Delphine Thierry, an independent perfumer based in the south of France. Delphine said she wanted to create an amber accord for Akkad that was both spicy and luminous, moving away from amber’s dark and smoky profile. The result is a flash of golden light, bathed in ancient resins and spices. The perfume channels the divine through a molten amber talisman. Although it smells like a scent designed millennia ago, Akkad wears in a surprisingly contemporary way.
Behind Delphine Thierry’s Akkad sits a meticulously planned structure. The perfume begins with mandarin and bergamot, which quickly becomes engulfed by fiery notes of dried spices, cardamom and peppery elemi resin. Clary sage envelopes the perfume with an aromatic quality and vanilla and caramelised amber give the fragrance a tactile quality. These sensual notes contrast beautifully with the sharp, brittle tones of labdanum, frankincense and patchouli, which make Akkad feel authentically ancient.
Yesterday was the last day of winter here in Australia and Akkad has been one of my favourite scents of the season; its golden amber hue radiates warmth on skin during cooler months. I’ve also enjoyed wearing Akkad in warmer climates as heat heightens the sweeter notes of the fragrance and it is a good choice for evening wear. The perfume gives off an air of confidence in social settings; if strangers ask why you smell so good, the story of Akkad is a novel conversation starter. It is also a great choice for men and women who prefer perfumes with few or no floral references.
Alternatives: Miller Harris La Fumee, Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient, Tom Ford Sahara Noir, Keiko Mecheri Oliban
Perfumer: Delphine Thierry
Bottle Designer: Gilles Thevenin, Serge Mansau
Release Date: 2012
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Oriental