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Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Rania J. Oud Assam – Excellent Starter Indian Oud

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Oud Assam smells (to me) like real Indian oud oil tinctured in perfumer’s alcohol, bracketed by a simple bitter orange note on top and a fresh, mossy note on the bottom. This pared-back approach allows all the complexities of the Indian oud used to come out and show themselves – the leather, the woods, the funk, the cheese, the rot, and the sour tang of moldy earth. It’s pretty close to being an oudiflore.

The extent to which you’ll find the oud in Oud Assam dirty depends on your level of experience with real oud. If you’re used to the Montale type of oud (plasticky, band-aid-y, rubbery, or even paint-thinner-ish), then Rania J.’s version might have you running for the hills screaming “Cow dung! Blue cheese!” If you’re coming at this from the perspective of Oud Palao, Leather Oud, and Oud Ispahan, which are all based on the aroma of smoking oud wood chips (rather than the oil), then this will also be quite a departure. But if you’ve smelled real oud oil, and especially Indian (Hindi) oud, then you’ll sniff Oud Assam and say to yourself, “Damn, but they sure put the real stuff in here.” KEEP ON READING

A 48-hour Love Affair with an Amouage Attar

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My sample of Amouage’s Badr al Badour was tiny – a few drops only. I knew going into it that it would be a one-day affair, and I was ok with that. Impatient, I squeezed all the contents of the miniscule plastic cone onto my skin and waited. I had tested other Amouage attars before – four or five perhaps – among them the famous (or infamous) Tribute and Homage attars, and thus far, they had been, well,….. nice. But nothing that I would sell my soul for, let alone pay upwards of €400 for 12mls. KEEP ON READING

How to Smell Like a Manly Man: Ron Burgundy Fragrances

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Ok, ok, so the title is firmly tongue-in-cheek. I am a firm believer in the concept of wearing what you like regardless of the gender designation of said fragrance. And men should of course wear what they like. I wear some masculines myself, among them Dior Homme Intense and Caron’s Third Man, and applaud any man who breaks out of the generic masculine mold to wear florals and gourmands.

But let’s say, hypothetically speaking, you want to deliberately project a certain type of Alpha Maleness to your immediate surroundings – well, you’d need a fragrance so incontrovertibly male that wimmenfolk would instinctively shrink away and lesser men would sniff the air around you and immediately hit the ground in a submissive position. Here is a list of fragrances that would do the job just fine. KEEP ON READING

A Journey into Arabian Concentrated Perfume Oils

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Arabian perfume oils, ouds, attars – where to start? For people interested in perfume, it’s like being hungry and knowing there’s a massive box of chocolates on the table. It’s within your reach, the card in the box make them all sound utterly delicious, but you know from bitter experience that some of them are going to be coffee creams (bleuch!) and some of them champagne truffles (Mmmmm). And because it only takes a few chocolates to be fully sated, you’d rather know upfront which ones are the champagne truffles. Right? KEEP ON READING

Kalemat: Damn Fine Coffee

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I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve put on a fragrance and thought, “I could wear this and only this for the rest of my life”. In case you were wondering, the perfumes in question were as follows: Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI, Blackbird by House of Matriarch, Lyric Woman by Amouage, and Bois des Iles by Chanel. Now, Kalemat by Arabian Oud joins them.

Now, I’m not saying that Kalemat is wildly original (like Blackbird), complex (like Chypre Palatin), or so beautifully composed that it brings tears to my eyes (Bois des Iles and Lyric Woman). But it’s one of those rare instances when you can just put on a scent and know that it smells damn good, and that you smell damn good, and that other people (all of the other people, believe me) will think you smell damn good too. It reminds me that things don’t have to be wildly expensive or original to give you pleasure. In fact, every time I spray Kalemat on, I think of what Agent Dale Cooper tells Harry, the local sheriff in Twin Peaks: KEEP ON READING

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