After discovering a cheap and plentiful supply at my local Halal grocery store, I recently went on a bit of an al-Rehab concentrated perfume oil binge. I thought I would share some of my thoughts with fellow Basenoters, since these oils occasionally come up for discussion.
First, a general note: al-Rehab oils are extremely powerful, by western standards. A little bit goes a long way. I made the enormous mistake of decanting one of them (Mokhalat al Rehab) into a small atomizer. 24 hours later, I still reeked of rose and oud, as did my clothes, my pillow, my sheets, etc.
They are also linear. Arab perfume oils tend to strike a single accord and hold to it throughout the wearing. They do not "evolve" like Western fragrances. For many, this is part of their appeal.
Without further ado:
Mokhalat al Rehab: The first one I tried, and one of the best. It is a traditional rose + oud attar. The rose note is quite authentic and powerful. There is none of the synthetic sourness one gets from, say, Black Aoud by Montale. The rose is boozy and ripe, not green, and the oud is relatively muted. There is none of the "gasolinic" or medicinal quality common to many low cost ouds. My only complaint is that it is a bit overpowering. This is the one I decanted into a spray atomizer...big mistake! I might as well have jumped into a vat of the stuff.
Shaikah: Um....no. Not at all. No thank you. This is pure gasoline and nitro musks. Maybe some spices in there, but they are hard to detect given the overwhelming odor of petroleum. I can see how this would appeal to some people, but it is such an alien scent in the world of western fragrances that they will be few and far between.
Khaliji: This is an interesting one. It feels more "Indian" than arab to me, possibly due to the heavy dose of cumin. It is almost a curry gourmand! There are other notes, too, but the Indian spice is predominant to my nose. Again, I can see the appeal for some, but it is not something I would choose to wear.
al Fares: a remarkably successful Eternity clone! If you like CK Eternity, you'll love this. You'd better love it, at any rate, since like all of the al-Rehabs, it lasts for 24 hours.
Mokhalat al Dubai: My favorite so far. This opens with a slightly gasolinic oud and spice but quickly moves to pleasant wood, oud, spice, and musk blend with possibly a bit of honey. Very middle eastern! More complex than the other al-Rehabs I have sampled. This is one I might wear from time to time.
All of the al-Rehabs came in small (6ml) roll-ons of concentrate perfume oil. It is VERY easy to over-do it with these. I would recommend applying just a couple of dabs to a pulse point or two. Anything more than that and you'll end up choking out anyone within a 10 foot radius.
NOTE: I have gotten a few requests for information on how to find these fragrances. If you are interested, PM me.
Edited by lairdangus - 8/5/13 at 1:26pm