I have to believe that any members' negative impressions of Ubar are for the reissued version - the 1995 "vintage" is one of the most stunning perfumes on Earth and in my top 5 of all time. Sadly it was changed a lot when it was brought back, but as with the original Caron Parfum Sacre, there is no comparison. The frankincense, the oakmoss, the labdanum, the sandalwood, the herbals, all in perfect harmony, warm, sensual and mysterious, rich yet not sweet, dry yet not woody, a true masterpiece.
One of the most Beautiful Discoveries I have come across this year!
Rich and opulent floral with enough freshness, heart, mistery and titanic longevity.
Do try it and you will love it.
04th October, 2014 (last edited: 12th October, 2014)
Possibly one of the most boring and least inspired Amouage out there in my opinion. Ubar is a decent, but sadly clearly mediocre floral chypre with resinous and pollen accents, a powdery-waxy side (which reminds me of an Italian cheap moisturizing cream called Leocrema), on a classic chypre herbal base, dark and slightly camphoraceous, with benzoin and oak moss. Elegant, artificial and fairly modest to all extents, it smells nice but without the depth, the quality and the "passion" one would expect from such a brand (and a price).
Ubar by Amouage is a shimmering floral mélange so massively radiant that its heat signature can probably be picked up from outer space. Like its progenitors in the grand old French perfumery tradition, Chanel No. 5, Joy, and Arpege, the floral accords are so complex and blended to the point of abstraction that it becomes a guessing game as to what flowers exactly you are smelling. It just smells like a thousand different flowers (all of them hellishly expensive) gave up their life for a greater cause.
Cutting through the richness of the floral notes is a knife edge’s worth of bitterness from bergamot and civet, giving it that balance between rich flowers, bitter citruses, and the whiff of gently-used lady undergarments that all those good French class perfumes have. It is not, however, as animalic as reviews had led me to believe – oh, it may have been, but a reformulation is suspected. On the scale of animalic dirtiness, the needle moves towards the gently dirty Bal a Versailles – in other words, it is not the roar of a lion but a purr from a kitty.
Past the classic, rather overwhelming start, Ubar starts a slow but exquisite transformation from French floral chypre to a relaxed, creamy oriental. It’s like watching a beautiful woman take down her hair for the night. All the floral notes collapse with a sigh into a milky, ambery heart, calling to mind those oldies but goodies from the 1950’s, like the original L’Interdit by Givenchy. The sharp notes from the beginning fall back quite a bit, although they don’t disappear completely, so the impression you get is of a rich, creamy softness from the amber and sandalwood, but without any added sugar.
It’s beautiful, but emphatically not for me. I wore Ubar for the first time on an outing to the cinema with my small son, and as we sat there in the dark, watching the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, I realized with a sense of mortification that I am clearly not the person for whom Amouage envisaged this perfume. Like a Hermes Birkin bag, I can admire the shape of it, the engineering, the skill, everything – but if someone were to gift me one (unlikely, I know), I can say with almost 100% certainty that it would never see the outside of my closet. Because to wear it would require me to suddenly be a different person altogether – more put together, classier, and without a perennially scuffed pair of ballet slippers. Ubar is beautiful, but I am just not up to the effort it would take for me to deserve her.
Ubar is an animalic floral scent with incense, built on the same titanic scale and in the same ornate style as Amouage’s original Gold and Gold Men. In fact, it explores territory so similar to its older siblings that I at first wondered if it was really necessary. Ubar resembles Gold (either one) most in its opening, with indolic floral notes, frankincense, and civet all present and accounted for. A few minutes on, and Ubar begins along its own path, with cooler, fresher jasmine and bergamot notes, a sandalwood so creamy it evokes coconut (you can find something like this in Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower, too), and a deliciously smoky vanilla. It has less of Gold’s honey and spices, and the frankincense note remains farther in the background, ceding the stage more completely to the white flowers.
What I think distinguishes Ubar most though, is a powerful green muguet accord. This crisp, cheerful spring flower lends Ubar a certain buoyancy and brightness not found in Gold, Lyric, or indeed any other of the Amouage floral scents. While it may be named for a lost Arabian city, Ubar is, along with Ciel and the two Reflection scents, among the least desert-bound of the house’s offerings.
I have no problem detecting Ubar at a distance, and it seems to linger forever on the skin. I suppose it may be less potent than Gold, but given Gold’s atomic power, I find Ubar’s projection more than adequate. Considering Amouage’s big floral scents, I’d probably go with either Gold or Ubar, not both, especially given the cost. While the two are certainly distinct, they could easily occupy a similar position in the wardrobe. And really, how often do you have occasion to wear something this big and opulent?