Smells like Lounge spirit
A talk on India’s olfactory history by William Dalrymple, an interactive scent station and a guided tasting of single malts—here are the high notes from the first Lounge Weekender in Delhi last week
When you’re surrounded by some of the world’s best jasmine sambac extracted and bottled, the atmosphere has to be heady. It was an evening when rain threatened to play spoilsport, but the audience at the first Lounge Weekender on 1 September at New Delhi’s Lodhi hotel was spellbound by the mix of sight, smell and taste.
Historian and author William Dalrymple took the audience down an ittar trail with a talk that focused on how India was both famed and envied for its mastery of the art and science of perfumery. He spoke about the Ni’matnama, or the Book Of Delights. Written in the 15th century, the treatise, said Dalrymple, brought together two of the ancient world’s most refined traditions of perfumery: Persia and Arabia, and India.
Contemporary boutique fragrance houses such as Bombay Perfumery are now translating this rich tradition into a veritable business. At the event, the brand tested guests with a perfume quiz, in which they had to guess the notes of their premium fragrances—from the spicy aromas of Calicut to the woodiness of 1020 and the floral indulgence of Madurai Talkies.
Taking the evening of indulgence forward, wine and spirits consultant Anand Virmani emphasized the “high” and “low” notes in whisky with a tasting session that involved 15- and 18-year-old expressions of Glenfiddich.
The action moved indoors for dinner with dishes such as Nizami Murgh Qorma, Jasmine Rice and Matcha Tiramisu.
Inspired by the 15th century Lodhi dynasty and now an embodiment of contemporary luxury and finesse, The Lodhi hotel was the perfect backdrop for an evening that hit all the right notes.
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