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  1. #1

    Default Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Like many here, I’m very much intrigued by every passing thread now and then on Oudhs and Musks from Agarscent or Abubakr-al -misky or Madini or Ajmal or what have you…

    Unlike niche perfumery, this genre is not very easy to test. 1 ml vial costs between $30-$850, mostly averaging at $ 100/ml. Maybe I’m not the only one, but many here maybe curious about these offerings and maybe wondering what is the best way to start? preferably in a affordable way but, top notch quality.

    Let’s say one has $100(not limited to) to spend. How could one spend it wisely and still get a taste of decent musk, oudh, mukhallat each...

    Thanks guys!

    p.s. please feel feel to suggest an offering which is a absolute stunner (irrespective of the price)
    Last edited by jenson; 20th April 2009 at 01:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Mudassir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Jenson,
    Unlike the western perfumery, eastern perfumery is still pretty much an art and not dominated by capitalism or big conglomerates. You would be surprised what even $5 could buy you. There are tonnes of places in India itself where you can find pretty good quality oils for a pittance. I don't know much about Mumbai, but I could tell you of a couple of places in Delhi, if you might have access.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Definitely one of the Oud Samplers from Oriscent.

    http://www.oriscent.com/

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Those are very good questions...I will tell you this it can be a very expensive habit LOL

    Here is one I would love to get

    http://www.oriscent.com/product/borneo-4000/171

    I have tried it once from a friend and it was beautiful on me

  5. #5

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudassir View Post
    Jenson,
    Unlike the western perfumery, eastern perfumery is still pretty much an art and not dominated by capitalism or big conglomerates. You would be surprised what even $5 could buy you. There are tonnes of places in India itself where you can find pretty good quality oils for a pittance. I don't know much about Mumbai, but I could tell you of a couple of places in Delhi, if you might have access.
    I don't have many freinds around Delhi, but if you do have a phone number/address(preferably) or any other info, that would certainly help.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Jenson,

    it is difficult to even sample without spending big $. The above suggestions are excellent and I will add that several E-Bay sellers offer 1cc/1ml sample vials for many of the Al-Haramain offerings and even some of the Ajmal loose oils as well as Swiss Arabian's things, most of which are priced very well.
    Agarscents also offers some 1ml vials of some of his things.
    Oriscent's samplers are great but pricey. UNS fine crafts has sample sets of oud oils at time also.
    Our Abubakr-Al-Misky has several things is sample sizes.
    An interesting attar site www.theultimatefragrance.com has some things that might be similar to what Mudassir mentions is available in India though I'd surely love to go to Delhi and see what's there!

    Overall, the oils from Oriscent are the stunners for me but they are also the highest in price.
    The 1ml vials from Agarscents are also excellent and Abubakr can suggest and likely make up a nice sample pack for you.
    Madini used to offer samples of all of their things for a reasonable amount and even their oils are priced well for experimentation.
    Tigerflag.com has small samples of their oils and I think Edenbotanicals does as well.
    Edit to add: QT store (Ham Firl in Singapore) has almost every oil he sells available in 1ml vials. Lots of mixed results with his things but some are very happy with the oils they have received and I think he offers free worldwide shipping.
    Last edited by evogel; 20th April 2009 at 05:06 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    Let’s say one has $100(not limited to) to spend. How could one spend it wisely and still get a taste of decent musk, oudh, mukhallat each...
    I've found the Oud social group extremely informative and helpful for information on what's out there (check out the Summary, courtesy of Bluemoon) -
    http://www.filedropper.com/oudsocialboardsummary_2
    http://www.filedropper.com/oudsocialboardsummary_1

    I've paid a lot of money before I realized that some very expensive disappointments can be avoided by buying or trading samples from other members. You can also discover some jewels that you'd never have a full bottle blind because of their high cost. In many cases all you need is just one or two tiny drops of the oil in a 1ML sample vial to know whether it's worth for you to spend money a particular oud or mukhallat or not. Oriscent sample packs is not a bad way to start but they are not exactly cheap either, sometimes have samples of the oils that are no longer available and come in .3ML size which is a lot more than you need to figure out if you like a certain oil.

    But once you've tried them, liked them and got hooked on them - may Lord have mercy on you and your wallet! That initial investment (was about $130 for me) may quickly become a very expensive (but even more so rewarding) obsession

    I also wouldn't advise getting full bottles of lower cost oud just because they seem more affordable - they may be enjoyable at first but once you've tried the higher end stuff they may end up in the "unloved" drawer and never see the light of day again. Nothing wrong with getting samples of cheaper oils if you can - it's worth it just so you can get more exposure and figure out your likes and dislikes.

    The last but not least point - I'd try to avoid buying an oud just on the basis of good reviews, they may mean squat if your nose tells you otherwise.

    Edit:

    Personal Stunners - Oriscent Royal Kinam, Kyara (now sold out) and Borneo 3000 (now sold out); ASAQ Thaqeel.
    Great everyday oud - Oriscent Sheikh's Borneo
    Last edited by Igor01; 20th April 2009 at 05:18 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudassir View Post
    Jenson,
    Unlike the western perfumery, eastern perfumery is still pretty much an art and not dominated by capitalism or big conglomerates. You would be surprised what even $5 could buy you. There are tonnes of places in India itself where you can find pretty good quality oils for a pittance. I don't know much about Mumbai, but I could tell you of a couple of places in Delhi, if you might have access.
    I'm no expert, but many reliable experts have recounted in detail the extent to which cheap synthetics dominate the local markets in India and the Middle East. JP Guerlain reported this about sandalwood in India, Turin made similar experiences. Also see Dimitri's recent thread on oils from Syria. The market for high grade essential oils is not a big one, and if you want top notch santalum album, a genuine unadulterated oud or even real musk, you are going to pay commensurate prices - local producers know very well what the market will bear. It's true that if you know your way around you may be able to eliminate middlemen - Madini oils are a good deal cheaper in Morocco than in Germany or the US, but to believe you'll find a vial of 50 year old Mysore in some local bazaar for 50 rupees is a tad romantic...
    The various al Hamarain's etc I've bought have always been pretty much worth the price -$5 gets you 3ml of a decent or not so decent synthetic Attar or Misk etc. pp., no more, no less.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    Evogel & Igor: Thanks a million for that "wealth" of information and precious insight. Thats exactly what i was expecting!

    t_g_l: i dont think mudassir claimed we cud get genuine sandalwood for $1...if i read correctly, all he meant was i could try out cheaper oudhs and still cud find something worthwile to begin with rather than investing big $$$'s into it... btw, i have heard of juices selling at 10000 rupees/ml in the markets at masjid in Bombay, saying that, i totally agree with you when you say, quality comes with a price but, just like Turin finds Beyond paradise to be one of the best perfumes ever, there could be some sleeper out there which is available for cheap...who knows? Muda seems to have tested oudhs/attars from delhi...maybe we are on to something?
    Last edited by jenson; 20th April 2009 at 08:04 PM.

  10. #10
    Mudassir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    T_G_L,
    I wasn't referring to something very rare that could be found for next to nothing. I was just referring to attars in general, and not just "pure" oils. Just because some local markets are littered with really cheap synthetics doesn't mean that is the only thing thats widely available. Adidas is the number one selling fragrance brand all over the world- and that includes the west.

    The idea that it needs to be "pure" and something very rare to smell really good is a modern western fallacy. You will not find that kind of an infatuation even in the middle east.


    Your example of Haramain is apt. Haramain is sort of a "brand name", or a somewhat bigger business of recent times. If they are selling something for $5, it would really be worth $2 because of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    I'm no expert, but many reliable experts have recounted in detail the extent to which cheap synthetics dominate the local markets in India and the Middle East. JP Guerlain reported this about sandalwood in India, Turin made similar experiences. Also see Dimitri's recent thread on oils from Syria. The market for high grade essential oils is not a big one, and if you want top notch santalum album, a genuine unadulterated oud or even real musk, you are going to pay commensurate prices - local producers know very well what the market will bear. It's true that if you know your way around you may be able to eliminate middlemen - Madini oils are a good deal cheaper in Morocco than in Germany or the US, but to believe you'll find a vial of 50 year old Mysore in some local bazaar for 50 rupees is a tad romantic...
    The various al Hamarain's etc I've bought have always been pretty much worth the price -$5 gets you 3ml of a decent or not so decent synthetic Attar or Misk etc. pp., no more, no less.
    Offsite Sales - Updated June7th

    Vintage Dia, Vetiver Dry, Angel parfum, Opium parfum for Sale:
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/215962

  11. #11

    Default Re: Beginners' guide to buying Oudh's, Musk and other goodies from Middle east

    great advice igor.

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