When we think of perfume, our mind wanders to the streets of Paris with Coco Chanel and her signature Chanel No.5. However, before you get carried away picturing yourself strutting down the Champs-Élysées, we’re here to tell you that some of the most sought after fragrances are curated for the Middle East.
The heart of fragrance is actually in the Middle East, more specifically in Ancient Egypt, where the Egyptians were making perfume as far back as 3,000 BC. According to ancient legend, Cleopatra had the sails of her boat soaked in sweet-smelling essential oils! And tradition holds – here in the Middle East eau de parfum is hugely popular with sales estimated to generate $8.5 billion in the MENA region alone, according to Euromonitor.
With this in mind, French perfume houses such as Mavroki are turning to the region as a source of inspiration to create beautiful Middle Eastern-inspired olfactories with French flair and quality (after all it is the perfume capital of the world). So what does this mean within the world of perfumery? We couldn’t talk about Middle Eastern fragrances without mentioning the region’s signature scent – oud, which is possibly one of the most intense, luxurious aromas ever.
The potent smell comes from agarwood trees and although now incorporated into beautifully curated scents, the wood was originally burned like incense as a sign of respect and hospitality when guests entered the house. After dinner, the host family will present a tray of perfumes as the coffee is served, which guests can mix to create a unique scent to bookmark the memory of their visit.
Today perfume houses are drawing on this rich heritage and sourcing some of the most renowned noses to create olfactory masterpieces, that draw on memory, tradition and the senses, beautifully curated for the Middle East. For instance, many female eau de parfums for the region are mixed with scents like rose and jasmine to add a feminine and vibrant flare. Mavroki recently launched two unique fragrances that draw on this principle, Daz, a heady and enchanting floral fragrance and Mien Oud, an extravagant olfactory that pays homage to the richness and elegance of ode. It is French perfume houses such as this that are being applauded amongst many fragrance connoisseurs in the region, in part credited to the quality of the brand’s products, but also due to its sophisticated range of regionally focused fragrances within the collection.