Specialising in niche fragrance, Arcadia features a range of specialty perfumes to engage and entice your senses. Aside from being a home-grown brand, what sets them apart from other competitors is the brands’ commitments to sustainability and responsible sourcing of ingredients.
In keeping with the brand’s ethos, Amna Al Habtoor, the founder of Arcadia, has mindfully crafted her fragrances to be cruelty, paraben and chemical free. She also ensures that her collection breaks free from stereotypes and all ethnic boundaries, by not conforming to gendered olfactory codes.
Aesthetics & design
The fragrance comes in a minimalist glass bottle with the ingredients and name emblazoned on the white label. Each bottle comes with minimal packaging: paper and cardboard is replaced by drawstring pouches created from recycled materials, the only exception are the limited edition perfumes.
Today, I’ll be reviewing two of their fragrances. Royal Orchard — from their first edition, and Bounded — a limited edition scent that was launched earlier this year.
No.1 Royal Orchard
Fragrance Family: Fresh Aromatic Chypre
Top notes: bergamot, pineapple, apple
Heart notes: rose, jasmine, nutmeg
Base notes: musk, oak-moss, vanilla, amber
❝ Alone. The silence of the jungle imposed its dread. The prize I hunted appeared lost. Defeated? Never. The pulsing starts above lit the map. The call to adventure had been rung. ❞— Narrative by Arcadia
The fragrance starts off with a very fresh, strong pineapple note in the opening paired with crisp green apples as well as some dry woody notes. Immediately after spraying, the familiar fruity breeze reminded me of Creed Aventus, but it continues past that.
Once you have given it a while to settle on the skin, you’ll notice other ingredients gaining prominence; like the woody scent of oak moss, the earthy patchouli and the quintessential nutmeg. And with that degree of assertion, I looked up the fragrance notes again and while I’m surprised patchouli is not listed there, there is a familiar smoky character that blends effortlessly on a base of resinous woods. I particularly enjoy the amber vanilla accord that emerges towards the dry down. The creamy sweet vanilla gives it an elegant ﬁnish together with the oak moss and musk.
All in all, I love the way it projects during the first hour and its versatility through out the wear time. While the dry down retains some of fruity notes, it veers toward the woody, albeit musky sweetness. An hour into the application, and I’m still enjoying the fragrance when I get whiffs of it.
Finally, in terms of performance, while it’s not mild by any stretch of the imagination, it gives you roughly six hours of steady projection.
Fragrance Family: Oriental, Woody, Gourmand
Top notes: saffron, rhubarb, honey
Heart notes: Turkish rose absolut, carnation, toffee
Base notes: amber, oud, patchouli
❝ We ventured into the furthest ends of this earth. Magnetized, we find our way back. Bounded, We remain rooted in our spirits.❞— Narrative by Arcadia
Bounded is part of Arcadia’s limited edition fragrance collection launched in 2020. The scent was created in celebration of the brand’s first flagship store in the United Arab Emirates.
The juxtaposition of tarty rhubarb and woody floral with a subtle but hypnotic dry-down is what makes Bounded so dainty and complex.
Dark, bold, and rich. Bounded is a dramatic blend of roses, spiced honey, leathery saffron, and toffee’d wood. It smells (almost) like pralines lightly flecked by smoky oud; the texture being dense and heavy.
The mélange of notes is where the melody lies. Among the heart notes, the Turkish rose absolute note is fairly potent, highly tenacious and adorned with spicy, honey notes. The honey note in particular, is intense, both in the opening as well as it progresses to the heart.
Rhubarb, although important, is only a part of the fragrance. However, despite this, the subtle effect of green mouthwatering tartness in the opening has not gone unnoticed.
Its unique pairing in this fragrance helps balance the sweetness and bring out all the rich depth nuances of this spicy warm concoction.
Bounded is heady, long lasting (+10 hours), enveloping, with great sillage. Last night, I sprayed it on my scarf and today, I could still smell it. It holds up quite intensely without being obnoxious. Also, it layers beautifully with oud and bakhoor, in case you’d like to experiment.
Bounded— niche fragrance Arcadia, comes complete with a 100 ml bottle for Dhs 700 (+5% VAT), in addition to a smaller, 15 ml bottle for on-the-go.