Bat-Sheba, a honeyed-rose oriental chypre by Israeli perfumer Judith Muller, arrived in the mail in a mini, golden-hued amphora bottle with a tiny screw top and a gold cord around its neck bearing the perfume's name. It looked like something you would see behind museum glass at an archaeology exhibit.
I was floored when I smelled the parfum concentration on my wrist: imagine if a pungent rose petal had been dipped into a pot of patchouli, honey, sandalwood, and amber, and you can get a sense of the narcotic allure of this perfume. It has the elegance and structure of a chypre, the heady sweetness of a floral, and the sexy spice of an Oriental. It's been said (but not confirmed) that this is one of Sophia Grojsman's first compositions. (Grojsman was the nose for YSL's Paris, Estee Lauder's White Linen, and Prescriptives' Calyx, among others. Here's a great interview with her on Bois de Jasmin.)
Notes according to Perfume Intelligence: cactus, rosewood, vanilla, cocoa, and balsamic and woody notes.
Notes according to a commenter on Perfume of Life:
Top notes: Aldehydes, cardamom, bergamot, fruit note, rosewood
Heart notes: Jasmine, rose, orris, ylang-ylang, carnation
Base notes: Patchouli, vetiver, castoreum, amber, leather, oakmoss
Bat-Sheba is just a drop-dead gorgeous, embarrassment of riches, Sophia Loren in her prime kind of beautiful perfume. Its contrasting intensities of floral, fruit and green notes heighten the dark and sultry base. In the Bible story, Batsheba was spied by King David bathing and he lost his senses, committing adultery and who knows what else. (OK, so the backstory to the perfume's name isn't so savory...)
As Scentzilla has noted — if this gem could have been overlooked, imagine however many other beauties there are out there to be (re)discovered. Finding perfumes like Bat-Sheba makes sifting through the duds worthwhile. I'm already wondering how I'm going to cope when the tiny bit I have goes away...
Octavian at 1000fragrances has a description of Judith Muller's other perfumes, little known except to those who wore them and to perfumistas lucky enough to have gotten their mitts on them.