Following the Way of the Movie...
Ishtar opens with sugary sweet benzoin, spiked with fresh, pine-like juniper before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the aggressively sweet, slightly cinnamon-like benzoin remains, now joining almost makeup-like, slightly powdery frankincense and nutty/woody smelling myrrh with a musky undertone. During the late dry-down the composition eschews most of its sweetness, leaving a gentle powdery sheen with remnants of the frankincense joining an unveiled supporting slightly sweet sandalwood through the finish. Projection is good to very good, and longevity average at around 8 hours on skin.
I may as well cut right to chase, Ishtar is a disappointment. No, it is not in any way horrible smelling, but rather surprising in the wrong way. I knew going in that the perfumer was going for an incense focused perfume, but nothing prepared me for *this* kind of an incense focused perfume. For one, the benzoin in the composition is ratcheted up to a near unbearable level to the sweet-averse like this writer, and then the presentation of the frankincense is of a powdery nature that only makes the relative sweetness all the more unwelcome. After the sweetness nearly vacates when the perfume reaches its rather bland and generic powdery, woody late dry-down, one has to wonder if getting to it was worth the trouble? I say, "No." The truth is the perfume is better smelling than I make it out to be in this short blurb, but with so many spectacular offerings from the house, one can't help but be let-down by this rather mundane, sugary sweet concoction that most likely appeals more to modern styled mass market du jour perfume wearers, than the classically structured perfume aficionados most of the Rogue offerings do. The bottom line is the $125 per 60ml bottle Ishtar, like the unrelated movie of the same name despite high expectations, disappoints with a very "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation, except to more modern styled sweet perfume lovers.