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terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2016

Five Gems From Ajmal

by: Miguel Matos

After my first article where I explained how AJMAL got me into oud, I decided to further explore this Arabian brand. So, when I was preparing my visit to Esxence, I asked the brand to send me samples of another group of fragrances that I found interesting to explore after looking at their official website. I already knew that they make gorgeous and luxurious scents and bottles, but I was in for a surprise this time. I have found love in five other creations by Ajmal.

I seem to be mesmerized especially by their oils, attars, mukhallats and dahn al ouds. Their eau de parfums in western style are not my cup of tea. So, lovers of intense, unusual perfumes with a taste of the orient, please do not overlook these offerings. They are mindblowing, but a word of caution: they can also change your perception of scent in a way that you can never go back.

“Al Nuwayra, a delicate blend of pure Indian and Cambodi Oudh, shines bright amongst young individuals that adore oriental creations. Crafted for a slightly younger audience, the fragrance embodies the rich heritage of the region through its pure and dignified notes.” - AJMAL
This is one of the less expensive Dahn al Oudhs in the Ajmal line but it doesn't smell cheap at all. It is a blend of different oud oils. It's rich and enveloping with a beastly sensuality that you can only appreciate if you love animalics and if it is not the first time that you smell a real oud made in the United Arab Emirates. This is the real stuff, not the European fantasy of oud that niche brands are trying to smolder us in. Leathery and spicy, this thick dark oil comes in a small crystal bottle that will last you for years. You only need half a drop to be perfumed with a cloud of exotic scent. It is smoky, very balsamic, woody and it has a touch of spice to boost it up and expand the sillage. It is not the most challenging oud, but you will find it strange if you have just arrived to the original Middle Eastern brands.

“A fragrance designed to reflect Oudhy notes, Bakhoor Khas is an oriental concentrate that reflects traditional notes that appeal to individuals looking for deep woody and naturally aromatic essences. This product is specifically crafted for individuals who are regular users of Dahn Al Oudh.” - AJMAL
A deep, thick, funky oud like it should be, Bakhoor Khas is not for the faint of heart. It has the infamous roquefort cheese bite that some ouds can have at first sniff. Then it turns softer in some minutes. It becomes more and more balsamic and yes, a bit medicinal. Whereas Dahn Al Oudh Al Nuwayra was about the horse's warm skin, this is more about the barn where the horse is kept. So, animalic to the bone and dense as oud can be. Along with the development of the fragrance, wonderful old wood accords come out and a touch of sweetness and cream comes along, reminding me of sandalwood and varnish. For a fraction of the price that you can pay for a synthetic oud, this is the real thing with all of the challenging notes but also with the incredible punch in the gut that oud can give you. And I write this in the best of ways. But I understand that for a European or American nose that is not accostumed to smelling an oud attar, this may be almost unbearable. Well I can only tell you that oud is an acquired taste and after you educate yourself in it you may become hooked forever. So, my advice is: try this only if you are already initiated in oud.

“Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq is presented as one of the most exclusive perfumes among oriental creations. It is a concoction created around a body of Dahn Al Oudh. The top note carries rich Woody notes in harmony with pure Turkish Rose oil and a blend of exotic Indian Herbs. The heart exudes Ambery and Woody feel with the base culminating in Musky-Powdery, soft-animalic and Rosy notes. Presented in a hand-cut crystal bottle Mukhallat Moattaq is truly a connoisseurs’ collection.” - AJMAL
It is absolutely impossible to talk about this fragrance without mentioning the extremely exquisite package it comes in. I mean, Ajmal is an expert in producing amazing bottles and boxes, but in this case the brand exceeded itself. It's just a parade of opulence. There is a nice brown cardboard box, and inside it there is a brown plastic case that seems like a vault for an expensive jewel. When you open it, you have one of the richest crystal bottles that I have seen. Inside this heavy and extravagant flacon, we have a composition of oriental notes that is enchanting and elegant. This is not one of the heaviest scents in the oils collection of Ajmal. In fact it is floral, spicy and woody and all of these accords gravitate around an anchor of oud.
A fruity, jammy rose is the star as you smear the oil on your skin. It comes with the backup of jasmine and sandalwood. It's sweet, tender, velvety and cheerful. Amber drenches the petals in further caramelised joy. There is a feeling of lush honey dripping on fruits and flowers as they melt into the oud accord of soft nature. This is a very rich and complex concoction that leaves me dreaming and wandering about all the materials Ajmal has put inside it. A warm embrace of dark musk rounds the composition as it unrolls. Then the rose comes again from the fruity background and shines brightly, always in the company of gentle woods and caressing resins. It's a jewel, indeed. And it's a more delicate scent that will not overwhelm you if you apply it wisely. It is calmer than most of the other Mukhallats and Attars. In the end what I smell is an exotic woody base with a carnal touch of purring animalics.

“Uniting deep-rooted traditions with modern times, Alf Lail O Lail Eau de Parfum, comprises Spicy and Smoky notes which evolve into a menagerie of Floral elements, complemented by the lingering effect of Musky and Woody notes. Equally as enchanting as the fragrance and in continuation of the ‘1001 Arabian Nights’ theme, this concentrated perfume oil is encased in an exquisitely crafted bottle resembling a magic lamp. The matt-gold finish of the casing and the silver cap add to the charm of the authentic-look Arabian bottle containing 30 ml of the entrancing scent, capturing the magic and mystery of the orient.” - AJMAL
In my opinion this is the most youthful edition from the oils line of Ajmal. Maybe suitable for users who are not so much into typical hardcore Arabian scents, Alf Lail O Lail (1001 Nights) is still a Middle Eastern fragrance of oriental character, but it is not centered in oud or the combination of oud and rose. It is a very powerful scent with massive projection, perfect for when you want to leave a trail of sensuality. Unisex by nature, Alf Lail O Lail is a full-bodied composition. It fills my nostrils and invades my brain with narcotic sensations. Flowers, leather, spices, woods, a lot of smoke and tobacco... It is really rich and sweet and it evolves in a very interesting way through the long hours of its sillage. Be prepared for a long journey for this lasts forever and it will surprise you at the corner with a new facet every now and then. When you jump on this roadtrip you will start by smelling an orange blossom accord that sparkles with citrus and then the already evident rose theme starts echoing. Then, a huge amount of spices like saffron and pepper brings energy. What follows is an enveloping mixture of oud with fruity, sweet elements that come wrapped in a smoky vibe as a potent leather comes to light in a sexy musky base. The smoke and the leather lead the way into a grand ambery finale that smells like gold and glory.

“Zahee is a floral and spicy fragrance that is a reflection of traditional tastes and designed for those who are deep rooted and enjoy the essence of Middle Eastern notes. It is a Spicy rendition revolving around Floral and Woody notes induced by the use of Saffron Rose and Agarwood. The fragrance is reinforced with Amber and Musk to provide an air of mystique to the accord.” - AJMAL
Zahee is a more traditional rose/oud fragrance which doesn't bring a big challenge to an oriental perfumista. It is elegant and refined and it feels like a cloud of roses. Different roses with facets that go from sweet to jammy, to fruity, to powdery. It comes with a strong woody accord of a comfortable sandalwood. The heart of oud is not very animalic and it unites in deep love with the flowers and the woods. I think it brings to mind a rich rose and red fruit jam sometimes. The drydown turns into a more ambery fragrance with some smoke and the slight touch of Nag Champa incense. Strong but delicate.
My addiction to Ajmal oils is now official. Not only are the scents like a drug to me, but the packaging is stunning. If this isn't luxury, I don't know what is...

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