With its mix of diarrhoeal emanations and burnt rubber at the top Zafar exerts a car crash fascination that had me craning my neck to see more. So, the very first time I tried it, I had to go back within minutes and give myself a few more sprays after having initially settled for three.
Let’s be clear: I’m not inclined to masochism and find the likes of Secretions Magnifiques unbearably ugly. With Zafar what reeled me in right away were notes of a rare distinction present from the start. For one, there was the most basso profundo radiant wood I have encountered in a long time. It has its echo in cheaper variants like Swiss Arabian’s Dehn al Oud, but in reality there is no comparison; whereas the SA offering has a monochrome and flat density, the wood note here shimmers with myriad gradations. There is mould and rot at its heart, but of the most enticing kind – a death wish granted were it not for the fact that it makes one feel thrillingly alive.
A haze of white florals wavers over the surface, wispy, undefined, bringing out curious facets to the main player. There is a concentrated, palpable black pepper note that gives things another twist for a while (those with an aversion to pepper do not fear, it does fade out after coming right up and breathing in your face). A layer of crisp, almost apple-like freshness contrasts with the oud’s depth.
For those worried about that squidgy bodily extrusion mentioned at the start, it was gone in less than a quarter of an hour.
Once we reach the base some hours in, Zafar is a beautifully modulated, deeply fragrant, unsweetened and dry wood – that’s pretty much it, the other notes have pretty much flown. It’s lovely, but I find its trail pretty modest which seems a shame for a material as hypnotic as oud.
PS: appears much flatter if worn in cold environs, so best saved for pleasant or mildly warm days.
this is the elite in the plethora of 'ouds' out there. deep DEEP wood that only sweetens slightly with time on skin, then the (frank?)incense mingles so beautifully and convincingly. this is a heavy hitter that suddenly bails on the party about four hours - on me. very expensive but also authentic, which i wouldn't exactly say about some other in the uber-posh 'ouds' (you know who you are ) the packaging is xerjoff rococo. wonderful & challenging juice, if you can afford it
Propulsive polyphony! Oud is allowed to be Oud. There's no counterfeiting or camouflaging. There are, of course, additional ingredients to make the situation a little more embracing, but none of them are meant to distract from the featured component. The star shines. Of all the Oud fragrances I've experienced, Zafar is most resemblant to the two different bottles of Oud oil with which I am sadly long since departed. Of all the Oud compositions I've encountered, this is the most respectful to the inherent qualities I'm desiring most. Again, the other aspects--Cedar, Vetiver, Neroli--are all beautiful, but this is all about Oud.
This is surely the most challenging delivery among the Oud Stars series. A blast of smoky agarwood opens this terrific composition bringing to mind of creamy bluecheese and animalic secrections. The initial accord is everything but pretty but it's a tremendously realistic interpretation of real oud. It's an assault to your senses in the meaning that unless you're completely aware of what you're just about to smell, you'll probably be disgusted. The fragrance clams down in a couple of hours turning into an intensely woody base of incredible depth. Vetiver and peppery hints reinforce the general severity serving as a discreet support to let the real star shine in all its complexity!
A no-compromise oud with little more added. Something that will make the happiness of the most daring perfumistos out there. Great stuff but definitely not for everybody.
in Zafar, the Oud does not play second fiddle, setting it on a shelf above the other Xerjoff "Oud Stars". And with an Oud note this silky, why would it? No need to decorate and perfume the star player to death. The black pepper note is quite natural and subtle, and the sweetness afforded by light floral elements is so delicate that you cannot classify this as a rose-oud perfume. In fact, it hardly feels like a perfume; Zafar projects an aura as a piece of dry fragrant wood might. I don't know much about pure oud oils, but when they laud the fact that this particular our component is aged, you can feel the legitimacy - like you do tasting a 30-year port next to the 10-year-old. The deep pungent qualities in the wood here are hypnotic, and I disagree with those claiming that there is nothing new to be found here: yes, this IS a WOW fragrance in the Oud genre. There is nothing overtly barnyard (or camel´s ass :-) about Zafar yet it projects a smoother and more legitimate oud character than the other westernized oud-prominent blends I have experienced in recent years. (Read: it is borderline skanky) The sensual resins of the Omani incense and pepper at the base play on and on for days (especially on clothing) even after the glow of the woody elements has faded. Zafar is absolutely one of my favorite two in the series (Gao is the other), and the one that should survive on its own should the series become, indeed, limited (as the boxes decree).