I’m sure that by now you are fully aware of my fragrance obsession and honestly, even today nothing excites me more than discovering a new brand. This stands true for niche/artisanal fragrances with an inspiring perfume heritage.
‘Sawalef Perfumes’ is a homegrown, (relatively) new fragrance house that revisits the traditional Arabic art of storytelling by drawing inspiration from a series of real-life characters. The imagery, expression and essence of those characters are then aligned into a tale, or a narrative. And in this manner, each fragrance attempts to take you on a unique olfactory journey through different narratives. The fragrance collection comprises of 16 scents across three gender-neutral lines; a day series (presented in white bottles), a night series (in black bottles) and a blend of pure Indian and Cambodi agarwood scents (in golden bottles).
Last week, I was invited to take a look at Sawalef’s new fragrance collection at Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi. The perfume kiosk is located on the first floor, in the central avenue. Stepping inside, I am engulfed with the superbly potent aroma of the incense-like concoction called bakhoor. In the Middle Eastern and Asian societies, bakhoor is associated with luxury, prestige and well-being.
Bakhoor is the Arabic name given to woodchips/bricks soaked in a potent blend of fragrant oils that can be burned to release exotic plumes of fragrant smoke to fumigate the house and clothing. Muattar on the other hand is used to refer specifically to the chips of agarwood that are then soaked in fragrant oils. On scent preferences, the Middle Easterners prefer slow release of the fragrances in bakhoors and the region has a historic love for concentrated perfumes, especially scents that are rich, heavy-hitting, bold and purely sensual.
Our Experience with Sawalef Perfumes
I love the packaging for these scents. Simple but elegant, the sturdy glass bottle comes encased in matte black, white or gold bottles decorated with an intricately detailed golden rim, something that I’d want to see on my dresser!
When purchased individually, each fragrance comes very well packaged in the nice black box with a brown velvet sleeve.
Our Top Picks from Sawalef Perfumes
My favorites from the collection are Tamuh, Oud Maktoum, Massive and Fannan, respectively.
Tamuh – is a clean, citrus scent intertwined with warm winter spices of clove and anise. The base notes of sandalwood, amber and leather lend to its musky and woody appeal. It’s longevity far exceeds expectations for a citrus scent and the sultry elements of lemony freshness linger on the dry down. Tamuh is a luscious amber-sueded leather; it’s a soft, classy, warm scent and an addictively good fragrance choice for both men and women.
The other one I’ve fallen in love with is Fannan. The scent opens with fresh notes spiked with citrus peel and black pepper. But this time, we noted an intricate blend of amber woods, with soft violet undertones complemented by black pepper, a touch of rose and cedar. It is not a traditional powdery violet, nor is it cloyingly sweet. The creamy mellowness in the dry down is my favourite part of this fragrance.
Oud Maktoum – Derived from a blend of aged Indian and Cambodi Agarwood, this is entirely based on a resinous blend of high-quality oud oil. It has very good retention and starts with a specifically sharp, slightly leathery note with an earthy, spicy appeal. Being in favour of oud-based fragrances, I loved this one for myself but it can also be considered unisex.
Kohl Al Ayoon on the other hand is a little less complex and much easier on the nose of people who have little experience with oud oils. It is a soulful blend of floral/fruity, wood, sandal and amber.
Massive EDP is mysterious – with an exotic, narcotic charm. An oriental richness with an opening of dry fruits, cedar and an intensely warm blend of nutmeg. The dry down rests on a base of vanilla and pralines wrapped with luxurious amber and dark, earthy patchouli. Again, the dry down is phenomenal!
Sawalef has also turned some of its best-seller fragrances into a body lotion, which we happen to love. I got mine with the scent of ‘Tamuh’. The cream leaves skin moisturized, but never greasy; and also features a light fragrance. Should work great for layering the perfume, or for extending it’s staying power.
A little bird told me, there are exciting new releases lined up for the coming season. We’re so excited and can’t wait to share the details with you all. I hope you have enjoyed this post.
As always, feel free to drop your comments and feedback with us below.