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  1. #1

    Default Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Hi everyone,

    I'm in Kuwait for the summer, and I'm trying to get into Eastern made perfumes, even if they don't have an eastern touch to them. The only ones I've sampled so far are Amouage, Montale and Sayed Junaid Alam, and I know the first two are not very "Eastern" and quite accessible outside of the middle east, but I don't care, I'm looking for any quality fragrances made here that are not very well known outside of the middle east.

    If you can point out specific Perfumes I should try from each house that'd be even better

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Check out Ajmal, Al Haramain and Rasasi. If you feel like exploring more traditional attars and pure ouds look for Arabian Oud and Abdul Samad Al Qurashi. As for particular perfumes I personally like Arabian Oud's Prince Diamini and King Fahed attars and Abdul Samad Al Qurashi's Thaqeel pure oud oil.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    I can vouch for the quality of Ajmal and Al Qurashi for what it's worth.
    Ajmal also has very high quality pure oils which I like most.
    Check out jasmine, rose varieties, khus and ambers.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Thanks guys, I'll look into those and write my impressions once I try them. I'm really interested in Mukhalats more than Ouds, perhaps my nose isn't that adept yet at telling the difference between ouds, I hardly detect 4 or 5 types and can't see much variation past that. Besides I don't really have the experience to invest in some expensive Oud.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    For traditional Arabian oil perfumes, besides Junaid (Bahrain), Arabian Oud (Saudi Arabia, Al-Qurashi (Saudi Arabia), and Ajmal (UAE), also look for Yas (UAE). Those are probably the best. You can also try Ashgharali (Bahrain).

    I wouldn't bother with the European style fragrances from these houses, but try them if you want.

    I also prefer mukhallets to straight ouds. Here are some suggestions for each of these houses. I've tried to keep the recommendations to currently available products which sell for relatively moderate prices. All are oils.

    Ajmal - Moattaq, Khallab, Amiri, Shams, Aqhawan

    Arabian Oud - Al-Qasr, Rounaq, Layaly Al-Sharq

    Junaid - Mazaya, Badaha, Rewaya

    Al-Qurashi - Qurashi, Sheoukhs (might be a bit expensive)

    Yas - Abu Sultan, Abu Khalifa

    Asgharali - Taqwa, Etlal

    Some of these come prepackaged, others are poured out to measure upon demand. Bear in mind, especially if you are flying, that most prepackaged Arabian fragrances often come in large, heavy bottles in even larger cases or boxes. Check out Junaid's Badaha for an excellent example of this.

    The bulk oils, which are usually the higher end products, can be bought in small amounts to keep the cost down. The standard measure is the tola, a little bit less than 12ml. A half tola is about 6ml and a quarter tola is about 3ml. Don't fret about buying such small amounts. A little goes a long way!

    Good luck, and please report back and let us know what you find!

    noggs

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Hey Noggs, thanks for the reply, I went to do some Eastern perfume shopping today and here is what I tried:

    Al-Qurashi:
    I really, really disliked their mukhalats, nothing really impressive, yet extremely over-priced. Sheokhs Aoud was great, I might get it, but I still don't have enough experience in Aoud to invest that much in one yet.

    Arabian Aoud:
    They're ok, I liked Rounaq, I might get it, the rest is quite average.

    Ajmal:
    .Moattaq was nice, also quite pricey for me to get without enough experience, I didn't like the Mukhalat of it.
    .Shams: I actually got this one a few days back, but I tried it again today, and it gave me an alergic reaction (the only other perfume that gave me that was JOOP, and they have nothing in common!). Luckily I didn't open the one I got.
    .Khalab: I loved this one! A little pricey, still nowhere near Al-Qurashi, I'm tempted to get this one once I exchange my Shams.

    Overall Ajmal was decent, but I don't know what to exchange Shams for. And I have no idea what's in it that gives me an alergic reaction.

    I also tried a house called "Malaki": they had some very very nice perfumes and they're on the cheaper end. I still like Junaid and Asghar Ali when it comes to value.

    My favorites are still Montale and Amouage, Nobody else blew me away yet, and they're probably where I'm going to invest before I fly back to Canada since they're cheaper here.

    By the way Noggs, are you familiar with Al-Shaya (الشايع)? They're a Kuwaiti perfume house who seems to carry decent perfumes at an average price.

    Thanks again

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Ekove, sorry your experience wasn't so good overall.

    I don't have much experience with the lower priced products from any of these houses, except for maybe Ajmal. I usually go for something in the middle range, strong fragrances with a fairly heavy oud presence.

    Al-Qurashi probably has the highest reputation among the Saudi houses. They do offer a lot of products, and the better ones are indeed quite expensive.

    I find Junaid mukhallets to be rather tightly constructed, almost too much so. By tight I mean that the other notes besides the oud are used in very small amounts, just enough to barely dress up the oud. They don't really add much to the blend. Their fragrances don't bloom or seem to expand, but remain very closely centered around the oud. I prefer for the other elements such as amber or patchouly or woody notes to play more of a role, fleshing out the fragrance more.

    Asgharali fragrances strike me as being more noticeably synthetic than most of the others. They are certainly cheaper. I think it's the patchouly they use, but some of their fragrances have a very dry, earthy, almost dank quality. Sometimes I find it very appealing, but other times it annoys me.

    I am getting a little disappointed and frustrated with Arabian Oud. It seems that many of their advertised blends are no longer available and that their selection has dwindled. There aren't many new releases. I like their stuff, but I'm not sure what's going on with them.

    Moattaq and Khallab are probably the two best prepackaged Ajmal blends. I don't detect much difference between the oil and EDP spray versions of Moattaq. The oil is a little fuller and more rounded, but to me the overall smell is nearly identical.

    I have only recently gotten into the Yas fragrances and really like them. Right now Yas and Al-Qurashi are my favorite Arabian perfume houses.

    I am not familiar with Malaki or Al-Shaya. I am a big fan of Amouage but not of Montale.

    There are also Rasasi and Haramain, but I have only a little experience with them. Rasasi, I believe, is basically a lower end brand. I've never tried anything by Swiss Arabian, but from what I gather their reputation is below the other houses.

    noggs

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    i am from kuwait originally.

    Best is to go to souks and bazars and use your nose

  9. #9

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    I wouldn't say my experience was bad per se, however I'm not that experienced with Aouds to tell the difference between a quality and lower end ones. Junaid and Asghar Ali are definitely lower end houses. I'm sure Qurashi has great Aouds, but I need more experience with Aouds before I invest in a $300 Tola. For now I am probably investing In Moattaq and Khallab by Ajmal, they're somewhat pricey ($80 and $150 Respectively), still only a fraction of what Al-Qurashi costs. I might take another trip to Al-Qurashi though since they offer a free tola with each one bought (I don't know why they just don't sell one for half the price).

    I really like Amber but I am yet to find an Ambre scent I like from a Middle Eastern house. Most of them smell too deep and animalic, and very close to Aoud. My search is not done yet though.

    By the way you should try Al-Shaye, it's a low to mid end house. Their ingredients don't seem to be of the highest quality, but most of their blends are more appealing than other houses I've tried.

    Thanks again for passing by.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    This is a very commonly used sales trick in the Gulf region.

    If they sold you one for half price they would take in half as much money. But by making you spend full price for one and giving you one free they take in twice as much money. Their cost for the extra tola or whatever is nominal compared to the price you are paying. It is a much better deal for them to take in the full price and give you some free product at relatively low cost to them than sell it to you at a discount.

    But in some cases prices are negotiable, so you might be able to get the price reduced if you try. But in the shops of the large perfume houses like Ajmal or Arabian Oud, haggling over price is generally not done anymore. Inflexible corporate greed has supplanted the flexible individual owner who was able to adjust prices as necessary to make the sale.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekove View Post
    ...I don't know why they just don't sell one for half the price

  11. #11

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    You might try moreda's excellent advice about going to the souk and finding some individual dealers or small outfits. You will most likely find some reasonably priced products you like sold by guys willing to deal. This would give you a different perspective than investigating only the large companies.

    Quote Originally Posted by moreda View Post
    Best is to go to souks and bazars and use your nose

  12. #12

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Hey noggs can you suggest a few more (affordable) Al Qurashi for me please ? Im interested in this house. :P
    AUSSIES, come join our SPLIT GROUP at http://groups.google.com.au/group/oz-scent-splits

    "No Pain, No Gain"

  13. #13

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    I'm no expert here at all, but I do have the following.

    555 Eau de Cologne, by Chabrawichi of Egypt. This is a dirt-cheap but acceptable lemony splash.

    Hamsa Nouveau EdP by Swissarabian, which comes in an amazing flocked coffret box and an interesting, chess-piece bottle. It is a complex scent, I haven't really got a handle on it. This product is merchandised out of the U.A.E. Check it out, the entire Swissarabian line is really something else, diverse, and quite affordable.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  14. #14
    DeepSilence
    Guest

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Bests Arabian perfume i tried were : Al Qoroub, Mukhallat Christina.
    Between these, Al Qoroub was very very intresting. Both of them had excellent lasting.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    I have heard about Ajmal, but not the others.

    Is there any way to get a hold on samples frm these mid-eastern houses? Australia is quite far frm there lol.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    After sniffing my way through Qatar, I think that the major perfume house that I felt was of consistent high quality, offers a good variety of fragrances, and maintains sensible prices was Ajmal. Of course there are countless small perfume makers all over Doha and the rest of the Middle East who either sell existing fragrances or blend personal ones for you. Some were very talented and had exquisite materials where others were absolutely horrid. I came home with lots of goodies, including a drop-dead gorgeous musk.
    Don a wig of larks and fly!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Does anyone have any Al Haramain recommendations?

    I've given Arabian Aoud so many chances and none of them have really impressed me. So far, Ajmal is the only house, so far, that has released substantial stuff that I really liked.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Trebor View Post
    Does anyone have any Al Haramain recommendations?

    I've given Arabian Aoud so many chances and none of them have really impressed me. So far, Ajmal is the only house, so far, that has released substantial stuff that I really liked.
    Mukhallat al Emirates is pretty good. Details of it can be found on Dmitri's blog.
    AUSSIES, come join our SPLIT GROUP at http://groups.google.com.au/group/oz-scent-splits

    "No Pain, No Gain"

  19. #19

    Default Re: Perfume houses to look into in the Middle East

    Sorry, ohhmygod, I don't really know any of the lower priced Qurashi products, at least by name. I've been given a few half or quarter tolas as gifts or freebies, but most of those are floral blends and don't have an especially Oriental character.

    Some of the less expensive Ajmal products are quite good, but unfortunately I can't remember any names. A few of the Eastern style sprays can be had for around $20 or so and are good buys.

    trebor, I've not yet tried any Haramain products, although they are sold here. I need to stop by there one day and see what they have.

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