From The Scents of the Soul Collection. It's a combination of two opposite but complementary fragrances - Damascena rose and castoreum. Between these two extremes are warm spices including cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg and absolutes of narcissus, violet and tuberose. The whole perfume is bound together with ambrette.
Opens with a dry but rich spicy deepness. With a name like Arabia, I wasn't sure if it was going to go for the easy market-spice bomb. Thankfully it did not. The spices that stood out on opening were instead cardamom and nutmeg - a nice combination, done in a strong but not overstated fashion. An incensy note behind them is apparent even in the opening. After the spice started mellowing, what came out was a chord reminiscent of Parfum Sacre. I looked at the notes for PS - myrrh, civet, mace and cardamon were there so there's a resonance between these two fragrances. I don't remember the details of Parfum Sacre to compare further. But it makes this one a rich, sophisticated, diffuse, spicy incense fragrance, done on a slightly darker note. Subtle florals start emerging in the heartnote, but they're embedded in the deepness of animalics, so this isn't a floral heart or fragrance. Though I rarely detect violet or violet leaf in fragrances unless front and center, I usually sense their presence by a note of quiet mystery, which is present in this one. It quietly fades into the drydown, holding basically the same note as the heart. Ambrette is listed as wrapping it up, but it's very subtle. I don't care for ambrette as a distinct note, and that peanut note is obtrusive wherever I smell it. I don't like it in Mitsouko, for example. So not smelling the ambrette saved this fragrance for me. It very slowly fades away, becoming a skin scent within three hours on my skin, but a nice one, as it retains the quality and line-up of its notes.
The fragrance is evocative and compelling, inviting to wear. Listed as feminine, but definitely unisex. The name isn't bad, but explains little of what the fragrance is about.
15th May, 2013 (last edited: 08th December, 2013)