A fairy-tale rose of medieval fantasy is a tall-order, some would say impossible. Taifi Rose will disagree with them.
There is an initial blast of sweet, sour and even slightly bodily. Don’t let this worry you. Culturally, especially in the west, we tend to have a fairly singular definition of what rose smells like. Consider, however, that if you take a fresh rose petal and grind it between your fingers even then you will find unconventional and surprising notes, particularly bitter and acidic ones. An opening to a rose that is slightly off-putting for its strange qualities often shows promise, and this is no exception.
As it dries down the harmony converges: a sweet, slightly sour, complex rose. Furthermore, what is just incredible about this is it is not heady or cloying. There has been a sensitivity applied in the distillation process here, and the quality emerges even more as the dry-down continues. After a few hours the harmony comes together: a rose that is powerful, full-bodied, an ethereal sweetness in place of the bitterness of other rose strains. There is a majestic quality to it, something that a queen might adorne her palace with. At the same time there is a slightly green undertone, which equally calls up the image a knight coming across a single rose in a spring glade. It has both comfort and power woven into it, the regalness of a beloved and gracious leader one bows their head to in freely given loyalty. This is a mythical rose at its heart, fantasy and fairy-tale threaded deeply into it.
Single note scents are the greatest tightrope to walk. So many things must go well for a single note to shine in all its complexities, from the selection to the extraction. The risk is immense, so much so that most companies would rather mix and blend. On one level there’s nothing wrong with this. A note that covers up a fault may amplify another quality, and so we must be careful not to dismiss the whole of perfumery for the sake of natural purity. At the same time, quality speaks for itself, and when it is done right, it is done right, and there is nothing like it. This is a rose done right, magnificiently complex, full of emotion and imagery. How was it done right? The heart of the rose is allowed to speak for itself.
Both very strong.
This will work beautifully year-round due to the sweeter side of it. This makes an elegant occasion scent, though be sure to use it at one where a rose of this nature will be noticed and appreciated. In a event with a room full of people wearing pungent designer scents, what’s the point? Wear this where it will be recognised.
Would I own it a bottle?
Without question. This is artistry at its finest.
Should you try a sample?
Yes. Normally I don’t care to talk about price-points, but attars, especially those from the Perfumist, are different. To someone not used to attars it seems like an awful lot to pay for such a small amount of liquid. This is a reasonable concern. Bad attars are often also overpriced. In this case, this is absolutely worth it. A little goes a long way and the quality speaks for itself. You could own 20 high-quality rose fragrances and not come close to the heart of what this captures. It lasts on the skin, the trail it projects is magic.
Main website: https://www.theperfumist.com/
For more Perfumist reviews click on the tags below!
If you are new to attars, continue reading below to find out more about this incredible approach to perfumery!
A little about attars:
What is an attar?
For those new to this ancient style of perfumery, attars are pure oils. Sometimes they are a pure oil of the thing itself, such as rose, or they are distilled in a carrier oil, such as sandalwood. Attars are highly concentrated and normally alcohol free. To the delight of many this means a little (at least in a quality attar) goes a very long way. A drop or two can keep projecting and smelling wonderful for hours and hours. One thing to keep in mind when using an attar is that oftentimes arriving to the final composition of notes, akin to the ‘drydown’, takes much longer than a traditional spray perfume, and I mean sometimes hours before the scent fully unveils itself.
Attars can be unisex, feminine, masculine, etc, and follow all the conventional rules of blending perfumery (sometimes called a mukhallat) as well as celebrating only single, pure notes. There are many benefits to using an attar over a spray and I highly recommend people new to attars to explore this incredible area of perfumery still widely unknown in the west.
Attars and Price
This is the big hurdle for a lot of us in the beginning, and I definitely include myself when I first began exploring attars. As with traditional perfumery there is a range of quality amongst attars. Not all attars are made with natural ingredients. Some can contain lots of chemicals that may be toxic for the skin, so please be careful with attars from not well-established retailers. While not always, higher quality attars reflect a higher price. For people new to attars it may seem as if you are paying a lot for not much quantity with a high-quality attar. It helps to remember that 3ml of an attar, for example, will last you a very long time, since tiny drops can match the strength of a spray perfume if not better. In a good attar a single drop can literally keep going for hours.
Who makes the best attars?*
The Perfumist has made the most high quality attars I have encountered to date. The quality of the ingredients is unmatched. Close behind are the attars of Areej le Dore (though these are rarely made), Feel Oud, and Xerjoff. Following behind is Arabian Oud and Abdul Samad al Qurashi, who both use good ingredients and are safe for the skin. Swiss Arabian is the least expensive company I would recommend for attars, but the quality difference between here and the others is major. In my view it is worth saving and paying for better quality that lasts longer.
There is a lot more that can be said about attars (and I ask my attar connoisseur readers to forgive me for my condensing in this basic introduction) but this hopefully serves to get you interested in exploring this ancient and, in the west, very new and exciting approach to perfumery!
*Please note that there are other well regarded attar companies, such as Ensar Oud and Sultan Pashan, that I have personally no experience with, and so cannot speak to the quality, though their work is highly regarded in the fragrance community. I’ll update my recommendations above when I explore these houses.