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Walimah Attar by Areej Le Doré: A Review

February 7, 2018

 

The opening of Walimah Attar by Areej Le Doré is strangely familiar to me, and it haunts me for a while until I realize that it simply shares what I would characterize as the syrupy, sepia-toned density common to all blends of natural floral absolutes in attar or natural perfumery. When you mix a bunch of floral absolutes together, they combine to make a thick, oily-muddy fug of smells only vaguely recognizable as floral in dilution. Unlike the synthetic representations of flowers in mixed media perfumes or commercial perfumery, where you can clearly differentiate one floral note from another, the flowers in all-natural attars don’t give up their individual identities without a fight. They’re melted down into the soup, so to speak. But still, there are markers that can tip you off as to what’s there.

 

So, for example, in Walimah, I can smell the musky, apple-peel outlines of champaca but not its softer, creamier “yellow” parts. The gassy miasma of benzene and grape that lingers like fog in still air tells me that ylang ylang plays a role here, even though it doesn’t really smell distinctly of ylang. A note like lemon peel dropped into creamed white honey, with a cutting green leaf undercarriage – ah, now this has to be magnolia. Finally, there seems to be a big tuberose at loose here (even none is listed), but it’s the brown-green, angularly bitter type of tuberose one sees in natural perfumery, rather than the buttery, candied Fracas kind.

 

This floral miasma all boils down into a sticky, fruity, brown “varnish” of notes that smells more like a balsamic oud than a field of flowers. There is nothing fresh or dewy here at all. The floral varnish smells aged and actually, also kind of vaporous, as if evaporating off a piece of old wooden furniture left to fester in a backroom, sending little spores of varnish off into the ether. That tells me there’s lots of saffron here, with its dusty, potpourri-ish trail.

 

Further on, there is a fabulously grassy vetiver threading in and out through the floral fug – not fresh or citrusy like a straight-up vetiver oil, but more like ruh khus, with its soft, mossy smell of winter greens cooked slowly in olive oil. There is also, at times (but not on every testing), a trace of mushroomy earthiness, creating an impression of either myrrh or gardenia.

 

Texture-wise, Walimah Attar evolves slowly from a dense, syrupy brown varnish to a dusty, soapy base, with a detour here and there to the grassiness of vetiver. The funkiness of the musk gives the scent a sweet, powdery, and vaguely civety finish that, coupled with the oily, abstract florals up top, make me think – ever so slightly – of Gold Man by Amouage, particularly the vintage version. That’s my way of saying that Walimah smells a little dirty in parts, a bit soupy and lounge lizardy, like poor body hygiene covered up with a floral white musk deodorizing powder. And I mean that in a good way.

 

Walimah unfolds to me as a series of block movements rather than distinct notes: first, a sharp, fruity fug of yellow and white florals compressed tightly into an oily brick, followed by the relieving, aerating soap powder of musk and old woods,  and finally, darting through everything, that nutty, almost creamy vetiver note. Personally, although I really like Walimah Attar, I must mention that it gives me a slight headache every time I wear it, and despite its potency for the first four hours, it loses steam quite quickly. Having said that, I recommend it highly for men (and women) who love and wear the following fragrances: Vetiver Blanc (Sultan Pasha), De Vaara (Mellifluence), Champaca Regale (Sultan Pasha), Jardin de Borneo Tuberose (Sultan Pasha), and Gold Man (Amouage).

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