Rivers of honey, dark and raw, flow like molten lava from an exploding honey volcano, running along side river banks made from beefy, spicy, damask red roses that lie at the base of cedar trees. Swirling together like a force of nature, they eventually flow out to a calm, serene ocean of soft amber where there are waves of woodiness and undercurrents of toffee and cocoa.
This is not the tale of Arabian Oud‘s Kalemat, but of Kalemat Amber, its concentrated oil version that takes many of the same strands of the original but highlights different parts in different ways, all in a mix that is as rich and brightly golden as a supernova. It’s so intensely saturated and rich in feel that it blows the slightly similar Amber Oud extrait from Roja Dove out of the water. Kalemat Amber is utterly glorious, a fragrance was a real joy to wear, and one that any lover of the original Kalemat must try.
I’d first heard about Kalemat Amber from some readers of the blog who had raved about it in the comments sections of my other reviews. Alas, there was no way for me to easily obtain it, since it was never one of the handful of Arabian Oud products sold on American Amazon and that was before the company had its strange back-and-forth vanishing act on that site. I didn’t live in one of the locations where Arabian Oud had stores (London, Paris, the Middle East), and none of those shipped out to America, though the Paris manager told me when I was visiting the shop that he could take phone orders and send worldwide. Once in a blue moon, I saw Kalemat Amber on eBay, but I avoid full-bottle blind buys whenever and wherever possible.
Two months ago, a London friend and reader of the blog, Sultan Pasha, told me that oil-based products seemed to bypass the Royal Mail’s draconian mail prohibitions and that he’d had never once had a problem in mailing out international packages of attar oils. No confiscation at all. He had been the one to originally put me in contact with Arabian Oud in London in the first place and, after this latest news, I heard again from the very kind gentleman who is a manager at the London store, Mr. Ahmed Chowdhury. He sent me a box of various Arabian Oud products — Kalemat Musk, Kalemat Floral, Kalemat Amber, the new Sahrul Kalemat eau de parfum spray flanker, the Shoyoukh blend attar, and Desert Falcon Luxury Edition (that some people have compared to Creed‘s Silver Mountain Water) — but, more importantly, he has kindly agreed to a special shipping deal for readers of the blog who want to buy any of the oils. (More details below). I’m going to try to review as many of the fragrances as I can over the next few weeks, starting with the Kalemat trio. Today, Kalemat Amber. Next, Kalemat Floral and Kalemat Musk which surprised me by starting out almost like a chypre-like scent before turning into a rose-woody-incense musk with synthetics.
Mr. Chowdhury provided me with Kalemat Amber’s notes, but I personally think it’s a bit abbreviated, since I certainly smelt more than what is presented (like roses). Nevertheless, the perfume pyramid is officially:
Top notes: Saffron
Heart notes: Plant Amber, Myrrh
Base notes: Cedar Wood, Vetiver.
Kalemat Amber opens on my skin with a tidal wave of pure honey that is raw, deep, thick, and almost a dark brown in its unrefined, intense richness. It just barely resists being a little animalic and sharp, and somehow seems intensely fragrant, as if the honey had been scraped off honeycombs in nature.
The powerful wave is quickly followed by other elements. First, there is a dark, beefy, concentrated, red damascena rose. Kalemat Amber’s perfume list may not mention any flowers, but Kalemat Amber absolutely has roses, and it’s a far stronger chord here than it was in the original Kalemat. At the same time, there is a distinct, noticeable whiff of something that smells as though drops of orange blossom concentrate had been used as well. The floral-honey bouquet is covered by the thinnest veil of spiciness which adds a subtle fiery redness to the roses but only occasionally smells like saffron. It’s more like the idea of saffron at times, but perhaps that’s because everything is so overshadowed by the honey. Finishing things off is a suggestion of cedar that lurks in the background. The whole bouquet is then nestled within a cocoon of goldenness and sweetness. It doesn’t initially translate as either dark labdanum or real ambergris but, rather, as just a heavy, thick blanket of musky, almost chewy goldenness.
For the most part, Kalemat Amber’s opening smells primarily of raw honey that has been laced with roses, lightly flecked by abstract spiciness and cedar, then splashed with a few drops of sticky, sweet orange blossom syrup. All of it is intensely sweet like a Middle Eastern honeyed pastry and, yet, it somehow works together in such a beautiful way that I’m not overwhelmed at all. Kalemat Amber far exceeds my personal sweetness threshold — by a mile — but I don’t mind it at all here. One reason why is that Kalemat Amber never feels sugary, which is one of my biggest issues with sweetness. For another, the dark, raw, almost animalic honey is utterly captivating in its intensity. It works particularly well with the beefy, spicy, saffron rose.
The depth and full-bodied richness of the scent is astonishing. It feels like a non-oud, honey cousin to Roja Dove‘s Amber Oud, only magnified by a hundred and with absolutely nuclear intensity in its first few moments. Kalemat Amber has such heft in terms of both sillage and density of feel that it schools the Roja extrait as if it were a toddler in kindergarten. Yet, Kalemat Amber’s forcefulness and concentration are also unexpectedly airy at times, especially as the scent progresses. It’s as if the sheer force of the honey note bludgeons you into thinking that you’re wearing a tank of a scent, but I’m not always sure the perfume actually is that dense.
There is a difference in my mind between viscous density, the strength of a note, a perfume’s projection, and its sillage. Like the original Kalemat, the Amber oil bears a paradoxical sense of airiness mixed with heft. The best way perhaps to describe it is to compare the fragrance to a thunderstorm. There is a lot of sound and fury as the clouds surround you fully, feeling dark and intense, but, ultimately, it’s still just a cloud of air. Granted, it’s one that swirls around you in such a way that — when I applied a lot of Kalemat Amber — had the scent precede me almost like an advance guard. At a lower quantity, though, the scent was simultaneously strong and dense, but airier and softer, if that makes any sense. For the review, I applied 3 smears of the oil wand, approximately equal to one-quarter of a 1 ml vial, and Kalemat opened with 3 inches of projection that grew to 5 inches after 20 minutes. The sillage was about 2 feet. However, the first time I wore Kalemat Amber for myself, I used 3 smears on each arm as well as some dabs on the neck, and Kalemat Amber’s scent trail initially felt as though it was about 6 feet in length, maybe more.
Yet, regardless of quantity, Kalemat Amber feels like a force of nature in its opening moments. It’s such a delicious scent that I could positively lick my arm. Actually, in all honesty, I did precisely that in one test. (What can I say? I’m simultaneously curious by nature, and obsessive-compulsive.) Kalemat Amber tasted of dark, ambered roses with cedar. The odd thing is that the cedar is much weaker in Kalemat Amber’s first few hours than it was in the original scent. That changes later.
Kalemat Amber essentially has three stages on my skin. The first is dominated by the honey, then the rose, as I’ve described here. The second stage is a transitional phase that begins roughly at the end of the 2nd hour and the start of the 3rd. The perfume feels darker, woodier, less sweet. The honey’s stickiness is drying up, the cedar is slowly (very slowly) starting to replace the rose as the main secondary note, and a quiet smokiness weaves its way through the background. In the base, a glimmer of something toffee’d and almost cocoa-like stirs. It’s a dark, occasionally dusty, musky nuance, though it doesn’t resemble that which is emitted by labdanum. Finally, the amber is starting to seep up to the top to become a much more pronounced element in the scent, adding a caramel-like streak to counter the honey. The perfume feels airier, lighter, and is starting to cling to the skin with only 2 inches of projection and moderate sillage.
The changes are, in essence, a bridge to Kalemat Amber’s heart which is centered fully on amber laced with woodiness. At the top of the 5th hour, the honey has completely disappeared, and the rose is merely the faintest ghostly suggestion of floracy in the far background. The amber has taken on a caramel quality, as well as a subtle muskiness. The scent now feels like a mix of dry warmth and slightly dry sweetness, accompanied by faint smoky and chocolate-y nuances. It basically mimics the drydown of the original fragrance where caramel-flecked amber and woods dominated above all else.
With the disappearance of the honey, Kalemat Amber has lost much of its heft and density. Like most extraits or oil-based attars, the projection is very soft now, and the fragrance coats the skin like quiet velvet. Up close, the notes are still too rich for Kalemat Amber to be a skin scent, but it is getting there. The projection may be 0.5 inches at best. At the start of the 6th hour, the perfume is a skin scent, though it’s easy to detect up close without much effort.
From this point forth, Kalemat Amber basically follows the path of Kalemat. It is an ambered, woody fragrance, lightly tinged with smokiness and nuanced by some caramel, toffee, and, on occasion, chocolate-like undertones. All the notes overlap, and start to lose their clarity. In its final hours, Kalemat Amber is merely a wisp of slightly golden, slightly woody muskiness. All in all, Kalemat Amber consistently lasts over 11 hours on me, depending on how much I apply. With the 3 smears outlined here, I get just under 12 hours. When I applied more the first time (and I’m an over-applier for my personal use), Kalemat Amber lasted just under 14 hours. I was actually surprised that the fragrance did not last longer, given the strength of the first two hours and the fact that it is so much more concentrated than the eau de parfum. Still, those numbers are hardly something to scoff at, and Kalemat Amber was a joy to wear throughout.
If you’ve never tried the original Kalemat and have no point of comparison for all this discussion, imagine a deeply narcotic, heavily honeyed, rich amber fragrance with roses and woodiness, laced with slightly smoky and musky streaks. It is a scent in the vein of Roja Dove‘s Amber Oud, Tola‘s Anbar, or a rose-streaked, honeyed, wooded version of Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute mixed with Hermès‘ Ambre Narguilé. Now imagine all that concentrated tenfold for Kalemat Amber, resulting in a chewy, dense, attar-like oil with powerhouse intensity.
I haven’t found any reviews for Kalemat Amber. There is nothing on the oil’s Fragrantica page, though there is one vote for “very long lasting” longevity and two votes for “enormous” sillage. However, two readers briefly talked about the fragrance in the comment section of my reviews for the original Kalemat and for Ghroob, Woody, and Misty Wood. In the latter, Sultan Pasha wrote:
By the way they have released four 18ml oil formats of Kalemat: Floral, Amber, oudh and musk. I’ve tried all of them and I’ve fallen in love with Kalemat Floral and Amber. To me Kalemat Amber is the very best of what the original Kalemat spray had to offer, and [the] floral to my nose is a rather deep rose/pandanus rendition of kalemat….. by the way avoid kalemat musk and oudh if you can…..too Cynthia(synthetic) for my liking. [Emphasis to names added by me.]
In the Kalemat post, Bernd wrote several separate comments which I’ve combined here for easy reading:
I bought the amber version, which is supposed to be the base oil for Kalemat EdP.
I got this information from the sales manager in the shop. [¶] I tried the oil in the shop, went around London streets for several hours, and then returned to buy the oil. It was still very present on my skin. [¶] The oil is more sweet in the beginning, almost candylike.
But what i realy like is to layer the Kalemat amber oil and the EdP on each other, first the oil, on top of it the Edp. It will bring a deeper Kalemat scent, hard for me to explain with words.
If you have the chance to get the Kalemat Amber oil, first use the oil, then put a spray, or two of the original Kalemat on top. It will give Kalemat another turn, take you even deeper into the amber, but also giving rise to some other colors. It is thicker, softer, more enwrapping.
In the shop in London, they seem to consider the Kalemat Amber oil as the original Kalemat oil, since this oil is used as the base for the EdP. [¶] The Kalemat Oud and Musk seem to be expanded versions. [¶] The sales manager even gave the Kalemat Amber oil to me, calling it just “Kalemat oil”.
Unfortunalelly, this is only what i understood from the conversation. It could be, i am mistaken, due to my limited English. [¶] But i guess, my information is correct, since in my memory, the scent of Kalemat Oud and Kalemat Musk differs from the Kalemat EdP, while the Amber oil is quite close. [Emphasis to names added by me.]
I agree with Sultan Pasha and Bernd that Kalemat Musk is not close. And, like Sultan Pasha, I think Kalemat Amber and Kalemat Floral are the best of the 3 that I’ve tried. I also agree with Bernd that the sweetness is quite profound at first, though I didn’t think of candy so much as a Middle Eastern honey-laden dessert. Still, I don’t think that is the core essence of the scent. Kalemat Amber absolutely feels as though it were the base oil for the original eau de parfum, only with a significantly heightened wave of honey in the opening and a much deeper, more visible rose. It is a beautiful scent that any lover of the original really must try, and it’s very reasonably priced, too. The 20 ml metal-engraved bottle costs £90 (the Floral costs £80), and a few drops go a long (long) way. [UPDATE 3/25: Arabian Oud currently has a 30% off sale until April 6th, making the Amber only £63.]
Unfortunately, none of the Kalemat oils are easy to obtain if you don’t live in London, Paris, or parts of the Middle East (especially Dubai and Saudi Arabia) where Arabian Oud has its stores. It’s not available on the company’s Amazon US site and, in fact, the entire Arabian Oud situation there has been indescribably weird over the last 8 months with constant changes. While Amazon does currently sell 3 Arabian Oud fragrances, it is only Kalemat eau de parfum and the two Woody scents, all via third-party vendors. Bottom line, the oils are not available there, period. One option is eBay, since Kalemat Wood pops up often there, but I’ve only seen Kalemat Amber once. While the reputable Kuwaiti retailer, Universal Fragrances, carries a number of Arabian Oud products and ships worldwide for a low price, they don’t have any of the Kalemat oils at this time. If you’re in mainland Europe, perhaps you can call the Paris store to order. I’ve provided the number in the Details section if you want to give that a try.
For everyone else, especially those of you in America, your best bet may be a deal that I’ve worked out for my readers with the manager of Arabian Oud’s London boutique, Mr. Ahmed Chowdhury. He’s willing to ship any of the company’s oil-based products worldwide, but it’s a complicated situation with a few key caveats. It’s all outlined in the Details section below. Those of you who love rich floral-orientals may want to wait for my review of Kalemat Floral before writing to him, but I can tell you that it’s as good as the Amber with a more floral-centric version of the honeyed opening before eventually leading to the same finish and drydown. I think it may be even stronger than the amber oil actually, especially in terms of sillage. Both are excellent, but fit different moods. I think the Amber is cozier, but the Floral may be headier. [UPDATE: I’ve just been informed that Zahras sells all the Kalemat oils for $99. See the Details section.]
The bottom line is that I found Kalemat Amber to be gloriously intoxicating in its molten depths, and it made me almost giddy with joy. It is one of the best things that I’ve tried this year, no question. It is also more opulent in both feel and quality than many a famous niche scent priced for hundreds more. I think it’s worth every penny, and then some. If you loved the eau de parfum, this one will make your head spin in such a way, you have no idea. It’s outstanding.
Disclosure: My sample was kindly provided by Arabian Oud in London. That did not influence this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
You’re killing me with your reviews. I LOVE my Kalemat. You make this one sound good enough to eat.
Well, considering that I actually licked my arm at one point because of the deliciousness, “good enough to eat” isn’t too far off from the truth. That said, I think it’s best that one sticks to *sniffing* the scent, not eating it….. 😉 😀
lol! I did warn you! it’s really great stuff indeed. you are definitely right to say that the amber is slightly more subdued than the floral which is way more louder but honestly I love them both….however on a windy warm day the floral will certainly announce your presence few minutes before your arrival in a good way heheheh!
In terms of the oils as long they are sealed properly,the volume and the nature of the liquid accurately logged on the customs declaration all should be fine God Willing.
Attars are essential oil blends and as long as they are declared as ”Essential oil blends” with the corresponding volumes, along with the following written in bold letters ”NON ALCOHOLIC and NON FLAMMABLE” all should be fine.
In terms of Volume up to 30ml is fine as beyond that it seems to get flagged up and the shipping gets delayed as the contents are opened and inspected to make sure the contents are compliant and in accordance to what has been declared on the customs declaration; but eventually gets sent to the recipient.
This is the worst case scenario and only happened 4 times in the course of over 300 parcels that i’ve sent so far since January 2014……. last time this happened to me was a month ago when i tried to ship 30ml of Amouage Tribute to the States with 12ml of one of my blends but the recipient received the parcel safe and sound eventually. so the key lesson i learnt was not to go over the 30ml volume but even then its ok as all i’m sending is an oil which is allowed.
I think K it’s also very important to note that although oils can be shipped internationally it’s paramount that one doesn’t abuse the system by falsifying on the decleration using the guidlines mentioned above so as to total banning occurs and spoils it for everyone else.
The floral one ABSOLUTELY announced my presence on one occasion and has absolutely insane sillage at first. INSANE. “Nuclear” doesn’t begin to cover it in the opening minutes. It changes later, and generally becomes a moderate scent when you take its overall lifespan into consideration but yeah, if you apply Kalemat Floral and walk out on a windy day, people definitely will know you’re coming before you actually get there. LOL.
What surprises me is how much BOTH fragrances changed from that initial blast, especially in terms of projection and density because one has the sense that they’re SO impossibly strong and, yet, they actually are airier and softer than they appear. I wouldn’t call either one “Sheer,” because they’re certainly richer in feel than Kalemat EDP, but they aren’t as much of a bulldozing tank as one thinks.
Thank you for adding further details on the total volume issue for shipment. It definitely seems wisest to stick to 20 mls. I also agree that it would be ideal not to abuse the system with falsification, lest we lose that one loop-hole we have left.
Oh darn, another I want it and I want it now! This is NOT an office scent, I take it? LOL. I may make a detour to London after my cruise (begins and ends in Copenhagen) later this summer.
Heh, FURTHEST thing from an office scent, though it’s not as strong as the Floral one. (That one is totally insane!) Off-Topic: I’m so excited you’re going to Copenhagen. One of my favorite cities in Europe because of people’s attitudes and how they live their life. It’s a place that I really wanted to move to at one point.
The entire range of Arabian Oud is available from Zahras Perfumes including Kalemat Amber for only $99 (not £90 !) – samples of other perfumes are sent. http://perfume.zahras.com firstname.lastname@example.org
I hadn’t seen that, so thank you. I’ve updated the review to include the link, as well as to provide additional information on Zahras as a whole.
As a side note, I appreciate the information in this case but, as a general rule, I do not permit marketing links or retail solicitation in comments. You did so once before for a quasi-replica copy of Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute in oil form. I delete such comments. My blog and the comments section are not intended for business promotion.
Arabian Oud and ASAQ sell all of their EDPs as oils, but not all of their oils as EDPs. However, any oil you take a liking to they will make up into an EDP as you wait. They have a generic perfumer’s alcohol base that they use. Certainly in the Middle East, but I don’t know if they offer this service anywhere else.
Thank you for sharing.
Hallelujah, Oh Happy Day! I’ve been waiting all weekend for this review, which made ME giddy. Thank you so much for making this possible to obtain K. 😀 I’m looking forward to hear about the other Kalemats too. They all sound wonderful. Good thing this coincided with my upcoming birthday because I know I’ll be placing an order.
Thank to Sultan Pasha for the advice on shipping/orders. Thanks again Kafka. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Don. 🙂
I read this last night, before the comments showed up. I was going to simply write, “I WANT.”
And it still is. Oh dear.
Honey, lots of honey? Yea! Any resemblance to Miel de bois ? Am still wanting to read your review on the floral version given how taken I was with Fate Woman! Kiste arrives tomorrow so have gone from dipping a toe to possibly taking a plunge. 🙂
It’s been a while since I tried Miel de Bois, but I don’t think there really are strong similarities beyond just having a honey component. For one thing, the honey here isn’t white, sharp, urinous, or civet-y animalic in any way. It’s significantly deeper, thicker, stickier, sweeter, and more like dark, raw, pure honey in a Middle Eastern dessert. There are lots of roses in Kalemat oil (less so for the EDP on my skin). Miel de Bois didn’t have any roses but possibly an iris-y element. The woods in Kalemat smell very different to my nose, and there is also a streak of incense smokiness in the EDP. Kalemat is muskier, significantly darker, and its amber is almost toffee’d and caramel-like in undertone. I would never consider Miel de Bois to be ambered, and it certainly doesn’t feel either oriental or Middle Eastern in nature.
As for the Floral version, there are no similarities at all to Fate Woman, I’m afraid. The one I think you’d love is the Kalemat Amber, but I’m less certain about the floral one for your tastes, my dear.
PS — as I just wrote to someone else below, the best way to think about Kalemat is to compare it to Middle Eastern attars like Amouage’s Asrar or Al Mas. There is way less smokiness, hardly any saffron, not really an oud profile in Kalemat, and way more honey, but Asrar/Al Mas-style attars is the general genre and family to which Kalemat belongs, rather than a honey scent or a traditional amber.
Thanks, Kafka. I haven’t tried Asrar or Al Mas – though I do have substantial decants of Tribute and Homage, though my Homage is mostly jasmine with rose rather than a rose dominant attar. Anyway, I’ve almost convinced myself to spring for Kalemat Amber – especially if it has a rose component. 🙂
It definitely has a strong rose component, my dear! Much more so than Tribute, imo, at least the last version of that scent. Arabian Oud is apparently having a sale right now with 30% off, so this is a good time if you’re tempted! 🙂
Goodness, my comment didn’t even make sense! I was half awake when I wrote it, or simply a combination of excited and upset. . .yes, upset. I don’t need any things to want right now! But, I am more than delighted that this is so good, and I hope it’ll still be available in the future, and that future doesn’t include as much financial pressure in my life. . .
I really AM delighted that this is so good (and it sounds like the floral may be as well). FYI: I think I mentioned in the comments not too long ago that I still hadn’t tried Kalemat, but I discovered that I did indeed have a decant. I’m not sure I’d ever even opened it. How absurd! Well, I’d been wearing it on and off for the last week. . .
I want to smell so good that I have an urge to lick myself, too! It’s really nice indeed (third time I’m saying this) that this is great. Seems to be that some of the prestige noses that one relies on for a great scent now and again are making less and less interesting frags. . .well, I’ve thought that for a while. . . Okay, I’ll stop babbling! Thanks for the fabulous review. . .I think. :-p
LOL! Never worry, it’s great to read such enthusiasm. I’m just glad you finally got to try the original Kalemat, and that you’re enjoying it. Hopefully, you’ll get to try the oil version some time as well. 🙂
Good gosh, this KA does indeed sound divine – tho’ I must admit, as much I do enjoy my K, (& am certainly intrigued) – still, not exactly sure if I could quite stomach an even *more* honeyed & concentrated version (!?) … (unless, if it were significantly woodier, perhaps I might just…?) 🙂
Sounds to me dear Jules that perhaps, might it not be, that your nose is becoming more jaded instead ?? 😉
So, on a scale of the perfect amber scent, where would this one go? I have tried lots of ambers but still cannot find my holy grail. (No I have not tried O Hira and can’t afford that one!) but would love to hear your ranking on your top 5 amber scents.
That’s an incredibly hard question to answer, my dear. First, I don’t really think of Kalemat (in any version) as a pure amber soliflore since there are other things going on, thanks to the varying degrees of honey, woods and roses.
Second, as amongst actual “amber” soliflores, I tend to differentiate things by whether a fragrance is a labdanum one, an ambergris one, a mixed one, or a benzoin-ish generic fluffy amber. For example, Ambre 114 would fall in that last category. Ambre Precieux is a mixed labdanum/benzoin amber soliflore due to the strong benzoin-ish vanilla component, and is one of my favorites as a quasi-gourmand. For ambergris, Profumum’s Ambre Aurea is the clear winner, though it also has a labdanum side as well. O Hira leads in the pure labdanum category. Mitzah is a strong labdanum scent, though it has other elements as well like patchouli and roses. In contrast, Ambre Nuit is really centered on ambergris. Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute is definitely labdanum all the way.
So, you see, I separate things out by type, in addition to having a specific definition of what constitutes a true amber scent. It would have to be a soliflore, and I don’t think Kalemat is *true* soliflore at all. Goldenness may be the predominant vibe but, on some people, the roses are almost as strong as the honey, while others have more woods, and a few experience a very noticeable incense component as well.
I don’t know if any of that helps you. I wish I could be of more assistance.
That was very helpful indeed! I hadn’t thought about all the different types of «amber» fragrances. I appreciate your comments.
I’m so glad my total NON-answer was actually helpful. *grin* ROFL. Believe me, I wish I could have given you a list, and I actually planned about 2 months ago to do a compilation of my favorite ambers by sub-category but… dammit, I have such a hard time choosing. Plus, I’ve been holding off until I could get my hands on one amber soliflore that a friend has raved about for years and, just recently, I got a hold of a sample. Haven’t tried it yet to know if it skews labdanum in type, ambergris, mixed or something else, but I’m looking forward to trying it.
I think the way you need to think about Kalemat is completely different. Don’t think amber (soliflores), but Middle Eastern attars. If you tried and liked what Amouage did with Asrar or Al Mas, then you’ll probably love Kalemat oil. There is way less smokiness, hardly any saffron, not really an oud profile in Kalemat, and way more honey, but Asrar/Al Mas-style attars is the general genre and family to which Kalemat belongs, rather than a basic amber.
Hope Kafka won’t mind me jumping in here, but I had a hefty sample of O Hira and thought it was truly amazing, but nope, not going to pay for it, even if I could afford it. If I remember correctly, Kafka had written it had quite a bit of labdanum in it . . .over the winter I purchased some high quality essential oils and absolutes and discovered that straight labdanum was truly incredible. I love Kalemat and love almost every “amber” scent; if you do, too, try some labdanum!
I’m glad you jumped in, Julie, and you shouldn’t hesitate to do so in the future because I love when commentators talk to each other. Yes, labdanum absolute straight up would give you (some of) what O Hira has, minus the balsamic elements (Tolu and Peru balsam) and leathered smokiness of styrax. But it’s definitely an affordable way to enjoy some of O Hira’s core element. 🙂
Hmm. Now I know what concoction to mix up! Thanks! 🙂
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Oh frabjous day! I frequently yap on about a perfume I smelled on a woman in Egypt a few decades ago, my dream amber, which I refer to as Kalemat Cubed. This one may be close. I have written about buying it, and can’t thank you enough for your description
HURRAH!!! Promise you’ll let me know what you think when you receive it? I really hope it is your dream amber and close to what you smelt in Egypt that day.
That nice Mr. Chowdhury is shipping me a bottle of Kalemat Amber. I also ordered a bottle of Kiste from Twisted Lily. I’m highly tempted to order Kalemat Floral. Or perhaps I’ll just order another Kalemat Original spray. Mine’s 2/3 empty. I can’t control myself. It’s a sickness
I’m so happy (and impressed) that you ordered all 3 in the end. I think it was smart because the oils aren’t so readily available, and I have high hopes for you being blown away by Kalemat Amber in particular. You know, it may be a sickness, but you’re in rather good company. lol.
I ordered a bottle of Kalemat Floral today.
Gosh, that’s wonderful, Rich!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I think you will the Amber. I’m so looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you get the fragrances. 🙂
Update: I ordered the amber and the floral separately and one day apart because of what you said about them preferring to keep shipments to 20ml or less (yes, that’s a lot of shipping cost). Today, however, I got an email that said my orders had been combined and that they were refunding me the 30 pound shipping charge for one. All that AND the oils are on sale?! I feel like I’ve won the lottery. The perfume gods have smiled on me. Thank you, Kafka for alerting us to this wonderful sale.
Also, I got my FB of Kiste today. Heaven. You’d think with all this I might stop and rest. But now I’m itching to buy Penhaligon’s As Sawira. I need an intervention.
How fantastic that you had part of your shipping refunded. That is great customer service!
I received my FBs of Kalemat Amber and Floral today. They are both wonderful. I have actually barely had any experience with amber fragrance up until now. Thanks for the introduction. In addition to the fragrances themselves one must admire the lovely, high class presentation. I don’t know how they can sell them so cheaply. They also sent along a sample of Kalemat Musk. Meh.
I’m really happy that you love them both. They’re excellent quality and packaging for the price, aren’t they? What are Kalemat Amber and Floral like on your skin?
BTW, calling the Musk one “meh” is being far too kind, imo…. 😉 😀
How wonderful that you’ve already received them! I didn’t order mine until early April so I have a bit of a wait yet.
I have ordered a bottle of Kalemat Amber. I don’t normally ‘blind buy’ anything but a friend is going to the UK in a few weeks, so she can bring it back for me (they don’t deliver to Australia, where I live). I blind bought the original Kalemat after reading your review and was so pleased I did. I absolutely love it and it was such a reasonable price for what it is.
Did Mr. Chowdhury say he wouldn’t send to Australia? If so, that’s a shame. So you ordered now with the sale discount but have forwarded it onto someone in the UK where your friend will pick it up and bring it back? If so, that sounds like a good deal that will save you some money. 🙂
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The floral and the amber are both very nice on my skin. I put a different one on each arm. The Amber is indeed very rich and very sweet. I was surprised to find that I love the Floral the most. Much more dusky and sultry than I had anticipated. I was expecting more high-pitched white florals. I hesitate to say more in light of your awesome review and superior nose. I love them both and the ladies I work with were green with envy.
I think you should trust yourself and your nose more, Rich. You shouldn’t be so shy about sharing your experiences, because I’m certainly not going to judge you for it. Plus, I truly enjoy hearing all the ways that a fragrance may manifest itself from one person to the next. There is no right way or wrong way, because skin chemistry is such a variable, and we all have different tastes or places from which we’re coming in terms of how we value certain notes. So, long story short, don’t be so shy. 🙂 🙂
Okay, that affectionate advice aside, I’m really glad to hear that you experienced a sultry scent with the Floral. It sounds like you experienced quite a bit of rose, so good! As for the white florals, I think you’re absolutely right in noting that they’re not high-pitched but very smooth. I think it’s largely to do with the quality of the fragrance, as well as the use of essential oils. In Arabian Oud’s Ghroob, for example, the orange blossom is definitely high-pitched. Here, it’s a much smoother, richer, more balanced note, consistent with the quality of the attar as a whole (and the lack of any noticeable synthetics).
And I’m not surprised at all to hear that the ladies you worked with were green with envy! I think Kalemat Floral is one of those positively head-turning scents. Lord knows, I can’t remember the last time I ever received so many compliments on a fragrance. 🙂
I have just got my bottle of Kalemat Amber that a friend bought back from the UK for me. I love it! It is similar to the original Kalemat but is different enough to have both. I am going to try your suggestion of wearing them together.
This magnificent oil is my first ever blind buy. I don’t know what came over me when I read the review. Mr. Chowdhury was incredible helpful and on point.
I have no regrets at all either this purchase. It brings back waves and waves of living in the Middle East whole being a classy scent that doesn’t just wollop you with oud. I’m thrilled with this first and likely last blind buy.
Blind buys are always terribly risky things, imo, so I’m incredibly happy that this one ended so well! And look at you, Paskale, slowly turning into an amber addict…. 😉 As that old Virginia Slims ad used to say, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” lol
All your fault dear Kafka! Samples of Ambre Loup on my desk, and a FB of Ambra Aurea next to the Ambre nuit 🙂 lovely lovely stuff. Thank you for your guidance
You bought a full bottle of Ambra Aurea???! Bravo, Paskale!!! This is astonishing but super news given just how much you disliked that fragrance initially. I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come on this journey!
Kalemat Amber comes with a glass dabbler exactly like the beautiful old Arab glass bottles for kohl…I really like that touch. On another expanding note-not just Amber, but animals too. So I did post that I really enjoyed Salome (yes expanding tastes, exactly as you point out)… And have found another scent that suits me even more than Salome (or feels more like my aesthetic in that style). L’eau Scandaleuse by Anatole Lebreton. I recently tried his only three scents. All three were well done. Eau Merzhin felt classical with a twist, Bois Lumiere was absolutely unique, the description on lucky scent fits perfectly. I have never smelt anything quite like it in my amateur experience and would love to send you a sample just for fun and thanks. But Eau Scandaleuse stole my heart (and eventually my cash once I save up a bit more). I know that you usually have a plan for what you review etc, and I would be happy to pass on these Lebreton samples. I think, like Slumberhouse, they are a niche offering a bit left of centre while remain true to classical tastes. If you’re interested, do let me know how to pass them on.
I was happy to read about your Salome appreciation, and even happier at the progress that it represented. With regard to the Lebreton trio, what an incredibly sweet, generous offer, my dear. Thank you! I’m very touched. However, luckily for me, Luckyscent recently sent me samples of all three. 🙂 I haven’t gotten around to trying them yet because I’m currently dealing with some other new releases that they (and others) have sent, but I do hope to try them soon. Eau Scandaleuse was actually the one that caught my attention the most out of the three, so I’m very glad to hear such a positive assessment of it. I look forward to try them all, but will definitely start with that one first. In any event, thank you again for your more than generous, and very thoughtful, offer!
Ps. Just to clarify though that Lebreton does not have any of the heft/chewiness or linearity of Slumberhouse. Just the willingness to put different kinds of things together to create something…different
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