Al Haramain Ode of Oudh, Tajibni & Mystique Musk

Mystique Musk. Photo: @Katerina__Russia on Instagram. Source: Arabicoils on (Direct website link embedded within.)

Mystique Musk. Photo: @Katerina__Russia on Instagram. Source: Arabicoils on (Direct website link embedded within.)

An unexpected surprise greeted me when I tried an attar and two eau de parfums from Al Haramain‘s Prestige and Premium Collections: a common theme of refreshing aromatic, herbal, and leafy greenness that tied the three fragrances together despite being in very different genres. It also made them more interesting than I had expected, particularly for an oriental blend from a Middle Eastern company, and even more so for an oud-based one. In my experience, Arab oud fragrances tend to follow certain stylistic conventions or formulas, but Ode of Oudh was a refreshing change and I mean that in the literal olfactive sense as well as metaphorically. Mystique Musk similarly felt more creative than its genre or note list had led me to expect. Both of fragrances are from the Prestige Collection which treads a lighter and quieter path than the Premium Collection attars which have the typically dense, forceful, or powerful aesthetic of their genre. The Prestige Collection follows a slightly more European aesthetic but without completely giving up its oriental roots, and the result is a nice mixing of styles.

I think it bears repeating what I wrote in my reviews for Al Haramain’s other Prestige fragrances, Obsessive Oudh and Arabian Treasure: they may not be the edgiest or most complicated of scents, but they’re not meant to be. What they’re meant to be are polished orientals that clarify the ingredients to remove their bite or rawness, then blend them seamlessly in a lighter, airier, softer bouquet to create an easy-to-wear, versatile, quality scent.

I think Al Haramain achieved that goal with all three fragrances. They may not suit my personal tastes, but I enjoyed testing them and each had parts were either intriguing or brought me back in repeatedly to sniff with appreciation. That happens far less often than you’d think these days. These three were more interesting than a number of “niche” fragrances that I’ve tried lately from well-funded, heavily marketed, popular, hip, or supposedly luxurious brands, both European and Arab. So let’s get to the fragrances in question.


Ode of Oudh via Al Haramain Exclusives.

Ode of Oudh via Al Haramain Exclusives.

Ode of Oudh is a spray eau de parfum which Al Haramain Exclusive describes as a spicy floral woody scent with the following notes:

Top notes: Basil, Anethol [anise camphor], Artemisia [wormwood], Clove
Middle notes: Cedar wood, Freesia
Base notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Vanilla, Agarwood

Ode of Oudh opens on my skin with a refreshing, bright, herbal, aromatic, and green opening centered on fresh basil, fresh mint, and anethol (also spelt as anethole). The latter smells like fresh fennel mixed with drops of tarragon, black licorice, and a eucalytpus-like, herbal camphor note. All of this is then strewn in lavish handfuls over Ode of Oudh’s spicy artemisia which  is semi-woody and semi-herbal in aroma. Slivers of oud, patchouli, and woody vanilla are buried underneath the pile, imperceptibly adding nuance but never overwhelming the refreshing, aromatic, and very green main accords.

Photo: Paul Huggins Photography. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo: Paul Huggins Photography. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Ode of Oudh shifts after 20 minutes. A synthetically clean, slightly watery floralcy pops up on the sidelines, the ostensible “freesia.” Fronds of leafy vetiver greenness sprout up around it, while the artemisia and oud rapidly seep up from the base, joining the herbs on center stage. Cedar follows suit, smelling fragrantly fresh. The cumulative effect is an abundantly green, anisic, herbal, minty, leafy, and woody bouquet, lightly streaked by a few thin threads of dewy, clean floralcy. The musk is subsumed within and eventually becomes far more noticeable, but Ode of Oudh tends to follow an aromatic and rather naturalistic path to “freshness” instead of the typical shower-clean, laundry musk.

Artemisia or Wormwood, photo via

Artemisia or Wormwood, photo via

It’s the reason why I keep repeating the same adjectives, to underscore just how different this take on oud is as compared to the norm. There is none of the common spice, syrupy sweetness, floral heaviness, musky amber, or incense one normally finds but, more importantly, the oud itself is very different. There is nothing raw, cheesy, creamy, smoky, mushroomy, earthy, animalic, leathery, skanky, or barnyard-like about it. Not only has the oud been heavily cleansed of all its funk and grit, but it’s actually not the primary focus of the fragrance at all, at least not on my skin in either of the two times I tested Ode of Oudh. Initially, it’s the herbs; later, in the middle stage, it’s the artemisia/wormwood, followed by the vetiver.

The emphasis on aromatic, herbal, and fresh greenness is not the only surprise. Ode of Oudh is unexpectedly light in body for a Middle Eastern fragrance, not dense, chewy, or thick, though it is strong in aroma up close. The projection was a little below average as well, such that I applied a few smears beyond my standard 2-spray equivalent after a few moments. Let’s call it 2.5 in this case. That yielded about 2.5 inches of projection, at most, and about 5 inches of scent trail in the opening stage.



Ode of Oudh’s second stage begins after roughly 30 to 40 minutes. The artemisia, vetiver, and oud grow stronger, taking over the lead from the anise, tarragon, and basil, while the patchouli arrives to add touches of earthiness, damp soil, smokiness, and a different sort of camphorous greenness. Everything is extremely well-blended, and so many of the notes have olfactory characteristics in common that it’s difficult to know where one ends and another begins. It’s a seamless transition from aromatic, fresh herbal greenness to aromatic, herbal woodiness, leafy woodiness, spicy woodiness, smoky woodiness, and damp earth. Deep down under all this, there is the sense of something resinous, mossy, leathery, and rooty as well.

Vetiver roots, the primary source of the aroma. Photo:

Vetiver roots, the primary source of its aroma. Photo:

The third stage begins in the middle of the 3rd hour, and Ode of Oudh grows simpler in its facets. The focus continues to be the aromatic, herbal, fresh, and minty woods, but it’s fully fused with the vetiver now. There is no sense of any oud at all. If anything, the woodiness smells of cedar and, sometimes, of spicy, nicely bracing artemisia/wormwood more than anything else. The mint is mostly from the vetiver, I think, one of the odd quirks of my skin that frequently happens, rather than a true, separate, or actual mint note. There is a pinch of clove-ish spiciness wafting about the background, but all the herbs have fused into one, a haze of fresh, aromatic greenness. By the start of the 5th hour, the balance of notes tips in favour of the vetiver, and Ode of Oudh becomes an aromatic, herbal, spicy, and fresh woody-vetiver scent. The fragrance remains that way until its final hours when all that’s left is a blur of woody vetiver.

In total, Ode of Oudh lasted just a hair above 10 hours, and the projection and sillage were softer than one normally encounters with Middle Eastern fragrances. I’ve already given the opening numbers. At the end of the 3rd hour, the projection hovered just above my skin. The sillage was about 2-3 inches, or less, and the fragrance extended mostly when I moved my arms. Ode of Oudh became a skin scent after 5.5 hours.

Ode of Oudh is not the sort of thing I personally would wear, but I give it points for being a very original take on oud and rather a different take on woody fragrances in general. One doesn’t typically encounter fresh fennel and basil in such compositions, particularly not with artemisia and the anethol’s subtle licorice and eucalyptus-like nuances as well. At one point when I was testing the fragrance, I was out and about in the summer heat and Ode of Oudh felt surprisingly refreshing amidst the wall of almost tropical humidity that I encountered.

Ode of Oudh has no Fragrantica page and I haven’t found any other reviews for it, so you’re stuck with me for now. The nutshell synopsis is that Ode of Oudh is not purely, traditionally, and predominantly oud-centric, but that’s why I think it’s very easy to wear and versatile, more so than ouds with a conventional and/or barnyard-like character. If you want a more typical oud, you should opt for Al Haramain’s Obsessive Oudh; if you want something more green, fresh, and aromatic, choose this one. All of it is unisex, in my opinion, never masculine or like a cologne, and it has the sort of versatile character that would suit both an office scent and a general “out and about” fragrance. You can test both ouds quite easily via Al Haramain’s sample program which I’ll discuss at the end of this post. All in all, nice job.


Tajibni via

Tajibni via

Tajibni is an attar or concentrated perfume oil (“CPO”) that is also embellished with aromatic, fresh, and green elements. In fact, the fragrance was so much greener than I had expected from the official description and note list that I think the latter is omitting a few things. For example, vetiver, possibly galbanum, and, once again, artemisia. The same thing happened with Mystique Musk, the third fragrance in today’s review; in both cases, the scent was different (and much better) than what I had been led to anticipate based on the official texts.

With regard to Tajibni, Al Haramain Exclusive describes the scent and its notes as follows:

A spicy, sharp and powdery attar. A passionate and impulsive fragrance with an European accent. The fragrance starts with nuances of aldehyde and the rich sweetness of tangerine. The heart notes demonstrate the richness of patchouli and immortelle that reminds you of the smell of earth and fallen leaves after a stormy rain. The quiet heat competes with the sparkling formation of amber, heliotrope, and a spicy-sweet aroma of vanilla. [….]

Top notes: Tangerine, Aldehyde
Middle notes: Patchouli, Immortelle
Base notes: Leather, Suede, Amber, Vanilla, Heliotrope

Bruno Paolo Benedetti, "Lilac Shades" at (Direct website link embedded within.)

Bruno Paolo Benedetti, “Lilac Shades” at (Direct website link embedded within.)

Tajibni opens on my skin with a soft, clean, aldehydic floral bouquet marked by tangerine, aldehydes, and lightly powdered flowers. The latter don’t smell like heliotrope on my skin, but something more abstract and amorphous that is closer to freesia, possibly mixed with something like muguet (lily of the valley) because it’s a very watery, green-white, clean, and crisp floral freshness. All of it lies atop a base that is unexpectedly green, earthy, damp, and almost mossy. It feels like far more than mere patchouli is going on; it’s as though galbanum had been used to recreate the sense of bitter sap oozing from the stalk, mixed with drops of a spicy, herbal greenness that reminds me of artemisia. Finishing things up is clean musk, an indeterminate sweetness, an unexpected drop of what I’d swear is fruity rose (undoubtedly from the patchouli), and a big slug of a suede-like note. The suede is oddly rooty, smelling every now and then like a woody-iris synthetic mixed with clean aldehydes.

What took me by surprise is how the opening bouquet smells nothing like what I’d expected from the note list. It’s a lot more interesting, mossy, and green than I had expected. For a few, brief minutes, Tajibni had a retro-vintage vibe, as though a cool, crisp, Chanel-style aldehydic green floral had been crossed with a Diorissimo-like dewy, green scent, and a drop of something slightly chyprish.

"Fluid-Shape," abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. (Website link embedded within photo.)

“Fluid-Shape,” abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. (Website link embedded within photo.)

Then, 10 minutes in, everything shifts and the retro vibe is wiped away as a wave of fruity, syrupy, jammy patchouli and its rose-like facets sweep over the sleek, cool, sophisticated green floralcy, changing it in favour of a more traditional and oriental composition. Now, Tajibni is centered on a citrus-laced, almost tart, fruity rose nestled within immense greenness. Except for the latter’s bitter undertone, everything is so conventional that, to be honest, it’s a little disappointing. The typical vanilla is there in the base, accompanied by a dry, dusty, quietly smoky woodiness as well as a vaguely herbal, almost oud-ish note (artemisia?), and a woody-amber muskiness. Syrup seems to be slathered all around, but it comes purely from the fruitchouli as opposed to the immortelle listed in the notes.

Only that unexpected bitter greenness and the damp, wet earth of the patchouli add a bite of some sorts. The greenness is the part that interests me because it smells like galbanum, vetiver, artemisia, or some combination thereof, rather than mere patchouli alone. It adds some character, so even if the composition has quickly turned into a more typical oriental blend than the first few minutes had suggested, the overall result is still decent. Not great, not distinctive when taken as a whole, but pleasant and with a nice mix of contrasts: bitterness, damp earth, syrupy sweetness, greenness, fruity rose-like patchouli, dry woods, and a foresty wetness. It’s different from the way Al Haramain describes the scent in its top layer or debut stages, so much so that — if Tajibni did not later turn into something more in accordance with the official description and notes — I’d wonder if I’d been sent the wrong vial.

Art photo by Margriet Smulders via her website. (Direct link embedded within.)

Art photo by Margriet Smulders via her website. (Direct link embedded within.)

I’m not crazy about the opening bouquet, but I enjoy Tajibni more as it develops, thanks to the increasingly prominent whiffs of the other notes that appear all around the fruity patchouli and its rose-like facets. There is vetiver, leather, smoke, more mossiness, rootiness, and still more galbanum or artemisia-like bitterness, not to mention an artemisia-style woodiness that resembles dry oud. The notes vary in their individual prominence, waxing and waning in strength, but they’re definitely there in a distinct form. Once in a blue moon, Tajibni makes me think of an immensely fruity cousin to Lyric Man; most of the time, it strongly resembles the early stages of Unum‘s Rosa Nigra, only with amped-up, super-sized fruitiness, syrup, dampness, earthiness and attar-style heaviness.

Suede. Source:

Suede. Source:

Tajibni’s third stage begins at the end of the 5th hour and the start of the 6th, when the fragrance pivots in a new direction. The patchouli “rose” is now layered with thick streaks of smoky leather, woody-amber (or amber-woody) synthetics, and what smells like tobacco more than actual immortelle. The suede has returned with a vengeance, wafting an almost iris-like cleanness that hangs over the whole thing. It’s not like actual, real iris, but rather that sort of cool, semi-industrial aroma carried by brand new, suede fabric, and it reminds me of Etat Libre’s similarly iris-y, quasi-industrial suede cleanness in the later stages of its Rien. The note works well with the smoky leather, as well as the patchouli’s continued damp earthiness.

Other elements are perceptible as well. In the background, there are puffs of a woodier, aromatic, and almost leafy greenness that perplex me still. Al Haramain pointed to the patchouli and immortelle for “the smell of earth and fallen leaves after a stormy rain,” but that’s not what this smells like on my skin. At least, if this is immortelle, then it’s like no version that I’ve ever encountered before. To me, the note really smells like a vetiver, a nutty, softly rooty woodiness that is laced with slivers of something aromatic, herbal, and quietly spicy like artemisia.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

Whatever the actual source for the note, it eventually takes over in Tajibni’s drydown which begins roughly 8 or 8.25 hours into the fragrance’s development. All that’s left now is nutty, spicy, vetiver-ish woodiness streaked with suede and a lingering touch of something aromatic. It’s interesting and rather cool, drawing me back again and again for additional sniffs. In its final hours, Tajibni is simple woody, aromatic, nutty, greenness.

Tajibni had very good longevity, average-to-low projection, and good sillage. Using one good swipe of oil, roughly akin to about 3 tiny drops, the fragrance opened with about 3 inches of projection and a scent trail that extended 7-8 inches. The numbers dropped after 2.5 hours to about 2 inches of projection, and 3-4 inches of sillage. Tajibni became a skin scent 7.25 hours into its development, but was easy to detect up close for an hour or two after. In total, the fragrance typically lasted between 12.5 and 13.5 hours.

Tajibni has a Fragrantica page, but there are no comments listed there at the time of this review. However, two people voted for a similarity to Tom Ford‘s Tuscan Leather. My experience didn’t remind me of Tuscan Leather at all. As noted earlier, on my skin, the fragrance is more like Unum‘s Rosa Nigra with a drop of Amouage’s Lyric Man. Tajibni is not identical to either, much earthier than both, and hardly incense-y, but that’s the overall analogy, vibe and feel on my skin. Given that all three fragrances are quite popular, I think their fans might enjoy giving Tajibni a test sniff.


Mystique Musk via

Mystique Musk via

Mystique Musk is a semi-gourmand, semi-herbal floral eau de parfum. For the sake of clarity, let me start by saying that Al Haramain has a number of fragrances with either the word “Mystique” (Homme or Femme versions) or “Musk” in its name, but those are not from the Prestige Collection. This is the one in the heavy crystal bottle and with a pink leather box, just so we know which scent I’m talking about.

Al Haramain Exclusive describes Mystique Musk and its notes as follows:

The fragrance is known for its sweetness, sexiness and refined passion. Starting with a romantic blend of chamomile and violet leaves, while joyful notes of mandarin add some playfulness to the opening. Mystique musk continues with a whiff of jasmine, freesia, iris and osmanthus in the heart, making this masterpiece a source of sensuality and sexuality. In the dry-down the base notes are harmoniously combined with notes of leather, vanilla and white musk, creating an aroma of tenderness.

Top notes: Chamomile, Violet leaves, Mandarin
Middle notes: Osmanthus, Jasmine, Iris, Freesia
Base notes: Leather, White musk, Vanilla

Mystique Musk was another surprise for me for two reasons. First, based on its name, I had dreaded an explosion of laundry cleanness the way so many Arab “musk” scents can be. This is not one of them. Second, the fragrance’s extremely difficult degree of sweetness in its first 90 minutes gradually turned into something rather delectable by the end. But, good Lord, that first stage is one best suited for gourmand lovers.

Photo: Jill at (Website link embedded within.)

Photo: Jill at Jull Thinks Different Blogspot (Website link embedded within.)

Mystique Musk’s very first moments can be essentially summarized as a powdery, herbal, girlie, floral fluff-ball. This is “musk” in the old-fashioned, powdery, make-up sense. Sweet and hyper-feminized, it’s infused with softly honeyed floral pollen, herbal aromatic chamomile, crisply fresh violet leaves, and, once again, an undertone of leafy, sappy, aromatic, and slightly bitter greenness as well. The chamomile and green accords really give the scent an unexpected distinctiveness, in my opinion. I can’t recall ever smelling a make-up like, powdered musk with chamomile herbs and such fresh greenness before.

O'Driu's Eva Kant. Source: the O'Drui website.

O’Driu’s Eva Kant. Source: the O’Drui website.

Mystique Musk changes quite rapidly. Roughly 10 minutes in, vanilla stirs in the base and begins to seep upwards. Not long after, it begins to add creamy and sugary touches to the girlie, green-etched, chamomile powder puff. Towards the end of the first hour, the vanilla has fully risen to the top and becomes incredibly strong, wafting butter, heavy cream, and sugared sweetness. I find it not only cloying but sickly sweet as well, particularly in conjunction with the chamomile. It’s exactly like the gooey, heavily buttered, vanilla-herbal-chamomile accord that so dominated O’Driu‘s highly popular gourmand, Eva Kant. Here, something about the combination actually turns my stomach and makes me feel a bit nauseous, but then I have a very low threshold for this sort of buttered, candied vanilla mixed with herbs. (Plus, I’m not crazy about the smell of chamomile to begin with, whether in food, drink, or perfumery. It’s a difficult note for me, even more so when it’s as strong as it is here.)

Chamomile honey cake by Erica Dinho at (website link with recipe embedded within.)

Chamomile honey cake by Erica Dinho at (website link with recipe embedded within.)

This buttered vanilla-chamomile accord dominates Mystique Musk from start to finish on my skin. Initially, it bears the crispness of violet leaf’s green shoots but that weakens after an hour, replaced by an even stronger touch of honeyed and floral pollen. The powder is more vanillic than purely make-up in style, and there continues to be a surprising undertone of bitter, leafy greenness, but, by and large, Mystique Musk has turned into Eva Kant’s first cousin. This is fresher, lighter, less balsamic, more powdery, and with strong green and leafy elements in lieu of citrus or ginger, but they’re still very similar fragrances on my skin because both are heavily driven by quasi-aromatic, quasi-savory gourmand accords.



Roughly 90 minutes in, Mystique Musk pivots and changes direction, turning more balsamic and leathery. Basically, if Eva Kant and vintage Shalimar parfum had a love child, it would be this. The musk’s powder puff gives way to heavy amounts of sweet, syrupy jasmine and resinous leather up top, while spicy benzoin resin rushes through the base. The violet leaf becomes a mere smudge on the sidelines. More importantly, there is something that smells a lot like the spicy, nutty sweet myrrh and incense that runs through Eva Kant. When smelt from afar, Mystique Musk is still dominated by the same savory, gourmand and herbal mix of chamomile-vanilla as before but, up close, the balsamic, smoky, leather and resinous accord that so characterizes Shalimar parfum is almost just as evident. What I particularly appreciate about the leather is how it cuts through the cloying, sickly sweetness of the vanilla and ends its butteriness as well.



The Eva Kant-Shalimar stage only lasts a few hours. By the start of the 5th hour, we’re back to the vanilla-chamomile accord, but there isn’t much else to accompany it. Once in a blue moon, there is a streak of darkness that stirs in the base, more resinous than leathery or smoky. Even more rarely is an elusive hint of something suede-like, but it’s not like iris. There is a petal softness to the scent, but there is no real, clearly delineated floralcy at all on my skin. Instead, the main note seems to be creaminess, and it’s delectable. It’s like the very silkiest, smoothest, softest vanilla creaminess and plushness, infused with a nicely balanced pinch of herbal greenness that only occasionally smells like chamomile. That’s all there is; there is no powder, no makeup note, and no clean musk. It’s all very soft, both in terms of texture and scent, coating the skin discreetly but with just enough richness to feel cozy, inviting, and comforting. Mystique Musk remains that way until its final hours, eventually dying away as a wisp of creamy sweetness.

Mystique Musk had good longevity, initially strong sillage that soon turned moderate, and moderate-to-low projection. Using several good smears equal to 2 sprays from the bottle, the fragrance typically opened with about 2.5 to 3 inches of projection, and about 6-7 inches of sillage. The numbers dropped after 2 hours to about 1.5 inches and 4 inches, respectively. At the start of the 3rd hour, Mystique Musk was closer to the skin. It turned into a skin scent about 4.5 hours in, and surprised me by feeling as though it were about to die at the 8 hour mark. Still, it lingered on, lasting just under 10 hours in total.

There were two unexpected things for me in all this. First was the way Mystique Musk’s strong, intense waves of buttered vanilla-chamomile felt surprisingly light at the same time. I don’t want to say “sheer” or “translucent,” because they were heavier than those terms imply, but the notes were more weightless than I’d expected. The second surprise was how everything seemed to fizzle out a little around the 4th or 5th hour, in terms of note complexity, weight or body, and the fragrance’s overall strength. It was as though someone had suddenly stuck a pin into the balloon.

Mystique Musk has no Fragrantica or Basenotes entry, so you’re stuck with me again. I thoroughly enjoyed Mystique Musk’s pretty, cozy, and inviting drydown, but I think the earlier parts of the scent are best suited for someone who loves a lot of sweetness or gourmands in general. Ideally, you’d enjoy chamomile or a herbal aspect, too. In terms of gender, I think Mystique Musk skews overtly feminine in its opening minutes, if not flat-out “girlie,” before it turns more unisex. Eva Kant is a good point of comparison; if you thought that felt feminine, then you’d probably think the same about Mystique Musk. I’d recommend the scent primarily to people who love immensely vanillic compositions, whether powdery, herbal, floral, or a touch resinous.


Even though none of the three fragrances are for me personally, each one had some very enjoyable parts. I think each of the three suits a very particular taste demographic, but the Ode of Oudh may have the widest appeal and overall versatility.

Tajibni is the one I feel most conflicted about. I thought its damp earth, bitter greenness, vetiver woodiness, mossiness, and artemisia-like notes were the nicest parts, but the syrupy fruitchouli, fruitiness, and rose-like facets felt too ubiquitous, mundane, and generic for my tastes. The Etat Libre-style, quasi-iris-y, clean suede was an interesting choice of additions that was sometimes appealing and intriguing, but sometimes just a bit… meh. Having said all that, I have the feeling that I would be more keen on Tajibni if I were a rose lover because on my skin, that is really what the patchouli smells like above all else.

Mystique Musk is the one that I’d wear if I could bottle merely its second half, but Ode of Oudh that has the most distinctive and original character when taken from start to finish. I would actually recommend it more to people who love artemisia, aromatic herbs, and vetiver than to hardcore oud lovers. The latter group would probably prefer the more purely oud-centric Obsessive Oudh.

One of the good things about Al Haramain is that its Netherlands “Exclusive” branch makes it easy for you to sample all its fragrances. For those of you who haven’t read my prior reviews for the brand, the basic situation is this: there are four affordable sample sets (up from the 3 there were originally) with free worldwide shipping included in the price. Each one costs €25 and you get either 4, 5, 7, or 8 perfumes, depending on the set you choose. Each vial is 1 ml. My samples were 2 ml manufacturer vials, but had perhaps 1 ml at most, with less for the attars (about 0.5 ml), so don’t be surprised if you get less than 1 ml for the attars. I think the sample sets are still a great deal given the price of a full bottle and the fact that a few drops of the attars go a long way. I think the custom set with your choice of 5 fragrances across the different collections is the best way to go.

All in all, Al Haramain did a nice job, and the fragrances have a much better quality than some Arab scents that I’ve tried lately. At some point, I’ll write about Ajmal and the slew of its low or lower-end scents that were given to me via Esxence, most of which were utterly abysmal and unbearable to wear. There are also two or three Arabian Ouds that I’ve given up on writing about entirely. I think Al Haramain’s Prestige eau de parfums are worth trying in particular, thanks to their polished smoothness and approachability.

Disclosure: My samples were provided courtesy of Al Haramain Exclusive. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

ODE OF OUDH Cost & Availability: Ode of Oudh is an eau de parfum that comes in a 70 ml or 2.4 oz bottle for €195. Al Haramain Exclusive in the Netherlands includes free shipping in that price. Retailers generally sell it for the same price, but free shipping is not always included. (As a side note, a few retailers list the bottle as being 100 ml. It is not. Four of the Prestige EDPs, like the two covered here today, are 70 ml. The other four Prestige EDPs are 100ml.) Retailers include: the NL’s ParfuMaria, Parfums Winkel, and Maison du Parfum; and Russia’s SpellSmell. The Italian shops that sell Al Haramain don’t list Ode of Oudh. An American site called Beautyspin lists the fragrance, but says it’s sold out and unavailable.
TAJIBNI Cost & Availability: Tajibni is an attar or CPO that comes in a 6 ml bottle for €140. You can buy it directly from Al Haramain Exclusive which ships worldwide. In America, a site called Beautyspin has it on sale for $87.85. In Europe, you can find Tajibni at: ParfuMaria; NL’s Maison du Parfum; Czech Parfums; Romania’s Parfumas; and Russia’s SpellSmell.
MYSTIQUE MUSK Cost & Availability: Mystique Musk is an eau de parfum that comes in a 70 ml or 2.4 oz bottle for €195. You can buy it directly from Al Haramain Exclusive. Retailers include: ParfuMaria, Parfums Winkel, and Maison du Parfum, all in the NLs; and Russia’s SpellSmell. An American site called Beautyspin has 1 bottle left which it’s selling for $323. The UK Beautyspin is selling it for around £228.
Samples: Al Haramain Exclusive offers five different Sample Sets, each for €25 with free shipping included. Each of the first four sets is devoted to one of the different lines or collections. The fifth one is a mixed custom discovery set of your choosing (5 scents in 1 ml vials). Their Shipping page lists almost every location in the world from the U.S. to the U.K., Russia, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and even island nations. You pay via PayPal. This is the only place that I’ve found that sells samples of Al Haramain.
Middle East retailers: Al Haramain is widely sold in the UAE and parts of the Middle East so, if you’re located there, you can use the Store Guide on their main/Middle Eastern website to find a retailer near you.

30 thoughts on “Al Haramain Ode of Oudh, Tajibni & Mystique Musk

  1. Hi, thank you for these reviews! I remember ordering a sample set from Al Haramain which prompted me into buying my beloved Mukhallath Seufi, I’ll have to try a custom sample set that includes Obsessive Oudh as well! I love Oud!

    I can’t wait to see what you have to say about Ajmal!

    • Glad to hear you found an Al Haramain fragrance you love. As an oud lover, you should definitely try Obsessive Oudh. There are also two new ouds listed in their recently added Elite Collection, Dehnal Oudhs, that you may be interested in testing. I haven’t tried them, but have asked for samples.

      • Dehnal Oudh? Oooh that sounds so good! Thank you for the additional information, I have pored all over the website, I will try finding out if I can add them in the custom discovery set. I look forward to your reviews of these as well.

  2. Kaf, Have you ever ordered anything from Beauty Spin ? Myself I haven’t, and from some of my past purchases from other places I am a little shy . Just wondering .

    • No, I’m afraid I have not. I’ve ordered from another discount retailer a few times in the past and without any issues, but not this one. I know of a few people who have ordered from Beautyspin, though, Amouages, I think, and they haven’t had problems with what they received/ordered. Which site did you have a bad experience with, JBS1, and what happened?

      • I have tried beautyspin and the experience is pretty good. Their ‘original’ price is inflated so it looks like you get an awesome deal, but in reality you might not be. But the goods are legit, shipping is fast and they pack everything really well. Just make sure you have checked other places for price to get the best price

      • One of them was The Perfumed Court. I ordered Guerlain’s Tonka Imperial . I have a sample from Neiman Marcus and I enjoyed it. So I ordered from TPC, which was not cheap, 8mils I believe. Sadly, it was anything but. After I ordered I noticed some negative comments about them, so I tried to stop the shipment before it was sent.That’s when I read about their No Return policy. I also ordered Bois 1920 Extreme from them. It was a little more like the actual fragrance, but it still wasn’t it. Target is another one. They have a fragrance/beauty section. It was very easy to return them. Ebay, what I got from them I just threw out. I wasn’t going to let the seller resell. My skin had a bad reaction.I seem to do better from sites where I can get samples from. I did order the Prestige Set. I am the most interested in Arabian Nights. Clove and Patchouli , mmmm. I have the roller ball of Mona di Orio’s Vannile Some people have a problem with the clove , I don’t. Why I am asking you about Beauty Spin is for when I looked up Al Haramain’s Arabian Tresure, it showed a women’s version for $362.19 .I was nervous for the bottle looked different from the one on AH’s website. Plus there’s a big difference in price. As far as I can see, AH doesn’t offer a women’s version. Maybe it is one that is discontinued , Question , Do you think that how some of these fragrances are stored and for how long there are stored, via warehouse, has any impact on the quality? I should state, if I hadn’t already, that I do not work for any cosmetic or retailer that would have any influence on what I say. Fragrance friend ,ED.

        • Ah, your experiences were with decanting sites like The Perfumed Court, Target, or eBay. Well, that would explain it. I haven’t had great experiences myself with The Perfumed Court, which is why I never link to them for samples. As for Target, I know the sorts of things that they carry, and eBay is always a touch-and-go thing that depends purely and solely on the nature of the seller. There are some great, great, and fully reliable eBay perfume sellers out there — whether for samples or full bottles — but there are always some duds as well. It’s really best to check feedback as a way of winnowing down the lot. And, as you said, order samples first whenever possible.

          I had thought you were asking about the full bottle discount sites like FragranceNet or FragranceX. I’ve used FragranceNet with happy results and no problems. For samples, I stick primarily to a handful of sites: Surrender to Chance (which has unfortunately become a lot slower in terms of processing these days, although they’re still head and shoulders above The Perfumed Court in my experience), Luckyscent, and, occasionally, Twisted Lily. I don’t think anyone has a Return policy on samples or full bottles, though.

          With regard to Beautyspin, their prices seem massively inflated for Al Haramain. If a company sells a fragrance for €195 (retail price and with free worldwide shipping included), then that should not translate to $323, especially not on a discount site. That’s a total rip-off, in my opinion. Discount retailers should be selling things for LESS, no way more, in my opinion. But it is ultimately the buyer’s choice where they buy something.

          With regard to Arabian Treasure being marked as a “Woman’s Fragrance,” I think that’s just something Beautyspin did on their own. They seem to separate fragrances into men vs. women’s categories. A number of shops follow a gender classification system. It’s outdated, in my opinion, but many mainstream perfume buyers think that way about fragrances (that there are men’s fragrances and there are women’s fragrances). Arabian Treasure is extremely similar to Maitre Parfumeur’s Ambre Precieux which is a unisex fragrance, but perhaps some people view the benzoin’s powderiness as more feminine in nature? Who knows. Men and women alike wear MPG’s Ambre Precieux, and both genders can wear Arabian Treasure in the same way. There is just one version of it, not a men’s vs. women’s version, and there is no additional version that has been discontinued.

          As for fragrance warehouses and storing, I’m afraid I have no idea. As I said, I’ve bought fragrances from places like FragranceNet, and they weren’t “off” or spoiled, but I’m sure that can happen once in a blue moon no matter what the company, its storage facilities, or the length of time that a bottle is kept. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help on the subject.

          • O.K. Got it. Comparatively shop. I should say the the bottle and box of Arabian Treasure were completely different then what was being offered at Beauty Spin, but that might be because Al Haramain changed them. I wish I could find an older bottle of Amouage’s Jubilation 25. Mines down in the 2 spritz category I got a sample just recently of it from Lucky Scent, and it seems more thin, not as thick, for lesser words, .The sweetness doesn’t pull up until later and it’s not as prominent . I would say much more Coriander and wood in the opening with the newest sample. I rummaged through my samples, I must have over 200 of them, and I found an older one of Jub 25. It was still good and there’s a difference. So I am thinking that might be why the price is up on Beauty Spins Arabian Treasure.Someone might want to pay up for the older version. Anyways, I just sampled this morning Oriza’s L. Legrand’s Vetiver Royal Bourbon . I like this one, clove . There’s also a nice oil feel to it. I didn’t like their Foin. I had Oriza’s RBV when I went to a coffee and pie shop. I heard one person say, ” Now I like that. It reminds me of an old barber shop”. The gentleman who made the comment was a of the retired sort. So that was nice. I should be getting my Prestige samples shortly. I am excited, so thank you. Also, thank you for the reply.

          • I’m confused, what has Al Haramain’s Arabian Treasure got to do with Amouage’s Jubilation 25???! And there aren’t older versions that I’m aware of for Arabian Treasure. The bottle and box shown on Beautyspin is the existing, current bottle and box offered by Al Haramain. Same bottle and box offered at retailers like ParfuMaria. A crystal/glass bottle in a white leather case with a black interior lining. All the sites have the same thing. Beautyspin merely classifies it as a female scent, and jacks up the price by $100+. It is NOT an “older version.” It is merely simple greed pushing the price hike. That’s it.

          • Well there is a very easy explanation for this confusion . I clicked and was looking at the Haramain Treasure bottle and box, not the Arabian Treasure.I just went back and checked .Felling silly right now. I am really sorry for this.

          • No problem! It happens to all of us, so don’t feel silly. I’m just glad we sorted out the mix-up. 🙂

      • Since we somewhat discussed greed a little bit, I just received my custom sample set from Ellen Covey’s Olympic Orchid. The sample set cost me $29.00 for 6 3mil sprayers. I put on Blackbird last night and I can still can smell it on me right now. A 30mil goes for $65. I don’t think that is being greedy at all. I should be getting my samples from Al Haramain very soon. Thank you for being understanding and have a great weekend.

  3. I have samples of all three from when I purchased the CPO Sheikh, from their Elite Line, earlier this year (a fabulous men’s oil, by the way.) Ode of Oudh is very interesting and has this… classy vibe… to it for lack of a better description. I actually did find Tajibni to be Tuscan Leather-ish. The fruity note, tangerine I believe, gives it the same kind of jammy feel the raspberry does to TL, only there’s a greenness going on. After a while there’s a soft leather accord which, when paired against the fruit, gives it that TL vibe on me. It definitely starts out much more feminine in my opinion, but skews masculine as it goes on. I had samples of the two different musks (Midnight Musk being the other), but honestly don’t remember Mystique and will have to go back and try it. Sheikh does have a similar musk accord to that found in Midnight Musk in its basenotes, though – I could certainly identify it amongst the patchouli, amber, lavender, vetiver and Cambodian Oud. The other fragrance from the Prestige Line that I really liked was Amazing Mukhallath.

    • Welcome to the blog, Mr. Barker. Love the black dog avatar! (Looks like a Neapolitan mastiff or Cane Corso?) I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the various fragrances, and I agree with you that Ode of Oudh has a surprising or unexpected “classy” vibe to it. Like a polished, somewhat understated but well-cut grey suit, if that makes sense.

      I’ve heard some positive things about Amazing Mukhallath. What’s it like on you? Also, how soapy is it on you? I’ve never tried it because I was sent doubles of some of the Prestige line, while several were omitted like the Amazing M., Midnight Musk, and the Rose one. So, I’ve asked them if they could send samples of that as well as several others from other collections.

      The fragrance that actually caught my eye on their website was Sheikh, so I was happy to hear your positive praise for it. Plus, patchouli!! They didn’t carry the Elite line before and are actually out of Sheikh samples at the moment, so it may be a while before they can send it but I’m SOOOO looking forward to it. The notes sound fantastic.

      • Thank you for the welcome! My dog is actually a Shar-Pei mix (with lab, I’m fairly certain.) He’s going to be eleven here in a few short days.

        I’m not a huge vetiver fan, but like Original Vetiver and Vetiver Oriental – both perhaps because the vetiver plays a secondary role. So too is the case with Amazing Mukhallath which, at first, starts out unexpectedly fresh considering some of the notes – but it’s only for a bit and I’m guessing from the juniper. I never really get much soapiness, save perhaps a little at the beginning, but I do get a little powder from the labdanum. The jasmine in the mid notes works so well with the incense, too – it’s like an uplifting, meditative fragrance with warm, spicy, earthy undertones. I do have a bottle of Obsessive Oudh and enjoy it very much and of the others, Amazing Mukhallath would be the second full bottle I’d purchase.

        I also misspoke regarding Mystique Musk as I did not receive a sample of that, rather samples of Arabian Treasures and the Haramain Treasure which was another musky fragrance.

        Sheikh, though, is on a different level. Much more of a presence on my skin as the prestige line goes soft. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, there is floral notes and fruity undertones from what I’m guessing is the Cambodian Oud that feels almost “candied” in the best possible sense. The amber isn’t the deep, dark resinous type that can smell like play dough, either (I’m thinking L’Artisan Amber Extreme) and the patchouli isn’t stringent or harsh on the nose like some can be. It’s just a very well composed scent and the bottle stands heavy and tall above everything else I have.

        • Oh god, you’re killing me with the Sheikh description! The only thing that sounds less than perfect to me is that the amber isn’t deep and dark, but I’m hoping will be better on my skin. Just out of curiosity, do you often find amber skews to Play-Doh on your skin? Are you talking about labdanum/cistus amber or some more benzoin-heavy version cut with vanilla? From what I know of a few L’Artisan fragrances containing an amber note, it frequently seems to be “amber” as a general umbrella term and amber as a benzoin-vanilla blend with barely any labdanum. In reality, only labdanum and ambergris are true ambers, as I’m sure you know, although some might argue that ambergris is really something quite different. One perfumer once told me, “Only labdanum is real amber.” Oops, I digressed into a tangent. My apologies.

          Your description of Amazing Mukhallath raises my interest even more. Like you, I’m not a hardcore vetiver addict and I’m pleased to hear that the soapiness is minimal.

          I hope you won’t be offended if I say that I’m much more interested in your dog than in your perfumes. Big dogs are a passion of mine and I think Shar-Peis are utterly adorable. I don’t know a ton about their longevity potential, but a big congratulations on him hitting 11!! (None of my German Shepherds ever got to 11, alas.) I hope you have proper birthday plans to pamper him like mad, like perhaps a nice steak or a stack of burgers? lol 😀 Is he a black Shar-pei/Lab as your photo would indicate? Does he have the standard purple tongue? I had a red Chow once which had the famous purple tongue, and I thought it was lovely. I bet your boy was to die for as a puppy with all his folds. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to respond to my Crazy Dog Person questions but, do me a favour, give him several huge, massive hugs from me and a kiss on his glorious big head.

          • My dog’s name is Steeler – named by a former neighbor knowing I was a Steeler fan. Funny thing is, she’s a HUGE Seahawks fan and two months later, they were beaten by the Steelers in the Super Bowl. Got him Nov. 2005 from an animal shelter, amongst a litter of several brothers and sisters just brought in as they turned three months. He’s about 72 lbs. and has been in good health save a recurring cell mast tumor on his foot I’ve had removed twice now, the second time last November and it’s already grown back whereas the first time it took a year and a half or so. As a mix, he’s got a partial spotted purple tongue, but I picked him from the others because he has this black stripe running down his back against lighter hair, then something that looks like a black heart on his tail near it’s base. He’s been such a kind soul and even-tempered since I’ve had him – people are surprised how friendly he is whereas I guess some Shar-Pei dogs aren’t. I uploaded a photo of him on flickr from when he was a couple of years old: The stripe on his back can be seen a bit here:

            I did put some Amazing Mukhallath on my hand a while ago and there may be some soapiness to it, but I find it’s more of a creaminess mixed with incense that reminds me a tad of Prada’s Amber Intense, but not as heavy and with a certain amount of “greenness” to it. I would say the amber in Sheikh veers more toward that of Prada’s Amber Man, but not so much the Intense which is a bit earthier, darker, smokier. The L’Artisan Ambre Extreme and perhaps Serge Lutens are the only ones that really veered into play dough territory (a coworker once walked into my office and asked what smelled like play dough, hence the association I can’t shake now from wearing Ambre Extreme, lol.) Tom Ford’s amber, if I recall correctly, had a similar effect. There is benzoin in Sheikh though, come to think of it – I remember seeing it listed on the notes and it is easy to discern for a bit (somewhat medicinal).

          • Awwww, he’s got a beautiful head and such an incredibly sweet face. What struck me most of all is that he’s got “old soul” eyes. Even though the photo was not a close-up or large (I got a hilarious Flickr message saying “Whoa, Tiger” when I tried to enlargen it), his eyes shone through with that particular sort of serene, serious, thoughtful, pondering, gentle, philosophical deepness that “old soul” eyes. You’ll probably laugh at me for that or think me mad, but there really *is* such a thing. Not all dogs have it. In fact, I’d say few do. My current Teutonic Master does, but none of the other 20 or so dogs that I’ve owned had it. Well, maybe the boxer, maybe. Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed is that the dogs with the “old soul” eyes are particularly gentle, calm and, yes, philosophically mellow. Make of that what you will, but I’m not at all surprised to hear that Steeler is kind and even-tempered as well. I’m telling you, “old soul!” 😀

            I was upset to hear about Steeler’s mast cell tumour, and that it was not just once but had come back for a third time! 🙁 At least it’s cutaneous and not on an internal organ so it’s less invasive to remove, but still. What does your vet say about the reoccurrence happening so soon after the last one? Also, are you feeding Steeler a corn-free and limited/no grain diet? Canine cancer is one of the things I fear, partially because of the really distressing speed with which it took my last Teutonic Overlord, so I’ve spent some time looking into canine nutrition issues and I think food issues can play a role. IMO, fillers like corn act as a sort of booster for any latent cancer cells that may be around lying dormant. There are contradictory reports these days on the role of corn or about nutrition/diets triggering cancer in general, but people argue back-and-forth about *all* the roots of canine cancers. I hold firm to my corn-is-terrible theories, and think it should be avoided in a dog’s diet to minimise the chance of getting cancer. Brown rice and some sorts of grains, no problem, but many commercial foods brim to excess with fillers and corn. But I’m sure you know all about the issue of food and have looked into all this yourself. 🙂

            BTW, I don’t know if you have pet insurance, but it was the best thing I ever did when I got my current furry child. Absolute life-saver and so worth it for peace of mind, too. My boy actually has better health insurance than I do, and I paid hardly anything initially per month, like $30 for the lowest plan. Now, it’s significantly more because I’ve expanded the coverage to the highest level given my boy’s particular situation, but Pet Plan is one of THE best companies in America, in my opinion. In ANY field, human or animal. In the case of Steeler’s tumours, those would be deemed to be pre-existing conditions, unfortunately, but you should look into Petplan for any future eventualities (god forbid) if you don’t already have him covered. One of the things that’s so good about Petplan is that they cover congenital conditions, which other pet insurance companies do not. There is a $50 deductible per condition per year and preventative medications like heartworm or flea stuff, for example, isn’t covered but that’s really about it. They don’t nickel and dime you nonstop, they don’t have tons of exemptions that they use to wiggle out of paying. In fact, they’ve never taken longer than 2 weeks to pay me back and never fought over covering *anything.* Their coverage is superb in its scope, ranging from cutting edge rehab options to the latest alternative therapies to lost dog situations and more. I’m truly not exaggerating when I say that I wish my health insurance company were Petplan. I hope you’ll look at this link, for curiosity’s sake if nothing else: It may not help you out with the current cell mast tumor situation or pre-existing conditions, but it may be a good thing to have in your back pocket for anything new that appears as he grows older. I hope you’ll forgive the long digression but, as I said, Crazy Dog Person here. 😉

            Re. Amazing Mukhallath, I wouldn’t be surprised if the soapiness came from real, proper, genuine olibanum resinoid and not the vetiver at all. Real frankincense — the actual stuff as opposed to the synthetics — has lemony, soapy, green, and dusty wood aromas. Lemon and green-like top notes, soapy middle and base with the rest of the bottom layer being woody, faintly dusty and extremely liturgical/High Church. One can smell the lemony and soapy higher notes simply by rubbing one of the resins between one’s fingers and warming it up. There is a definite greenness underlying it, even if it doesn’t last. Frankincense oil can be quite soapy and sharp, depending on whether one is getting Omani or Somali frankincense, but it sounds to me from your description as though Al Haramain is using very good grade materials.

            Personally, I’m not keen on the soapy aspect of actual olibanum, but I will keep my fingers crossed that it doesn’t come out too much on me. The other thing I’ll be curious to see is if Amazing Mukhallath’s vetiver takes on mint aromas on me as it does in 80%-90% of the vetiver fragrances I’ve tried. It’s such an annoying, frustrating quirk of my skin, and it’s the main reason why I’m not a hardcore vetiver lover. I’ve only encountered 2 other people whose skin does the same thing.

            The more you talk about Sheikh, the more eager I am to get my sample.

            PS — I hope I didn’t come across as lecturing re. the corn/diet/cancer issue and I apologise if I did because that was not my intention. I have no doubt you’re the most conscientious, thorough, careful person with regard to every aspect of Steeler’s care. It’s just that most people I meet don’t know much about canine nutrition or the possible link to cancer, so I tend to go off on tangents whenever I hear about the condition. No doubt, it’s the lingering effects of heartbreak from having to put my last boy down less than 20 minutes after I got the news that he had viciously aggressive hemangiosarcoma. Anyway, I hope you’ll forgive my many digressions and the length of this.

  4. He does seem to have old, wise eyes! A friend once said he reminds her of a worried manatee, lol. This last surgery he had a small tumor removed from his behind as well, but there’s no signs of it growing back yet. The vet said the tumor on the foot would grow back, but hopefully it would be another two years. Unfortunately I saw the signs at maybe four or so months. It was initially massing in the webbing between two toes, but after two surgeries and cutting some of that away, there’s not as much room left there for it to grow so it’s doing more so on the top of his foot now. In each case, the tumors haven’t bothered him and bothered me more so – though this last time I did have to give him benadryl to counter the histamine being released, so now I give him a daily dose based on his weight of Quercetin which is a natural antihistamine and some vitamin booster to help his immune system, though I have no idea whether their claims of controlling “free radicals” and helping reduce the blood flow to the affected area are true. Nevertheless, this is the shiniest his coat has been for so long and the least amount of allergies I’ve had to deal with (he’s usually licking his paws raw come summer – haven’t run into that yet at all.)

    Unfortunately I don’t have pet insurance, but I’ve bookmarked the suggested site and will take a look at it later this evening. When I first brought him home (on a Tuesday), he was fine but by that Saturday, he had diarrhea to the extent I finally let him out just on my balcony with the light on and saw there was a little bit of blood – most likely from straining. Since he had just come from the shelter a few days later, I didn’t have a vet picked out yet and ended up taking him to a 24 hour emergency place – you never know whether it could have been parvo at the time or not, despite any vaccinations. He was there a couple of days and they ran a bunch of tests, so my $150 adoption turned into a $1,300 vet bill REAL quick, lol – but he’s been literally priceless and thankfully (mostly) healthy since. My only concern at the moment, aside from just the general aging, is that tumor and whether or not it may require any sort of amputation at some point in the future (the vet said in some cases they’ve had to.) I just hate the thought of something impacting the quality of his life at this point as it’s more likely to be compounded with his aging. He’s my first dog so he’s definitely spoiled and considered “my baby.” As for feeding, I switched him over to grain-free two years ago now after having switched to a mature formula from one of those “leading” dog food brands. A number of months later he was having all sorts of issues with hair loss around his eyes, ear infections, licking his paws, etc., so I got him on grain free after reading up on some issues. One source on-line suggested I go as far as to stop giving him dry dog food and go with wet/canned food to help with the tumors, but I haven’t gone that route yet. And twenty dogs! Can’t even imagine!

    Amazing Mukhallath doesn’t have a minty accord to my nose, but there is that fresh, grassy blast throughout that sort of reminds me of one fragrance that luckyscent sold some years ago that was “mountain air fresh” with minty undertones. For the life of me I can’t recall what the name was, but it’s long gone from their site and, for when it came out, seemed awfully overpriced (I’m thinking 2002-2003.) If I had some unused vials, I’d be happy to send you some of it and Sheikh (believe me, 60ml of that will last me years and years!) – unfortunately I know I’m completely out.

    • First, please don’t think in any way that I was hinting for you to send me samples, though I find that incredibly sweet and generous of you to offer. The company will, they just need a few weeks. But, really, thank you for the thoughtfulness. Second, the “mint” thing is merely a wonky peculiarity of my skin. Vetiver isn’t supposed to smell minty, although it actually contains a number of organic molecule compounds in common with mint (and lemongrass). My skin seems to bring them out. It doesn’t happen to almost anyone else but a rare handful of people, so I guess I’m one of the… lucky… ones. 😉

      Now, onto what matters, I completely commiserate and empathise with you regarding the amputation possibility and I’m glad you see the importance of quality of life issues but, believe me, dogs can do just FINE with an amputated leg. There are a few famous German Shepherd MWDs (military working dogs) and K9s who’ve lost a front leg, and they have a happy, healthy, totally contented life. So, please, don’t think you will have to put Steeler down if, god forbid, you have to take more severe action with regard to the mass. Steeler will NOT suffer from life with 3 legs. I suspect that is your second greatest fear, after the fear of losing him, but he won’t have a miserable life with only 3 legs. You undoubtedly will suffer from it than he would (as would I), but they adapt more quickly than you’d think. I hope that reassures you a little. And if you want to read about one 3-legged hero who’s very happy, you can look at this when you get home:

      Re. the hair loss, leg chewing, etc., it sounds to me like Steeler has what my boy has: a terrible case of allergies. For The Hairy German, it triggers all sorts of constant infections from around his butt; scabs inside his red, inflamed ears; occasional lesions on his inner thigh; constant scabs around his mouth; and so much more, you wouldn’t believe it. Petplan says that the #1 cause of claims submitted to them is skin allergy-related problems. I’ve tried everything, including a complete overhaul of his diet when he was a year old, but Benadryl was the least effective thing I’ve ever tried. Apoquel is the new “wonder drug” for skin-related itching, scratching, paw chewing, etc. It’s a crazily expensive prescription med just released 2 years ago that helps most people and is considered a “lifesaver” even by two friends of mine for their dogs who had situations similar to Steeler’s, like licking their hair off from itching pain, etc. But Apoquel doesn’t completely and fully work for my boy EITHER!

      The only thing that is a fail-safe for him is steroids. Prednisone. The minute I take him off it, everything comes back. But I don’t want him to be on Steroids for life. It’s simply not good, period. Unfortunately, I’m at a loss to know what to do because it’s been 6 months of this and the real problem is that the skin issues/allergies seem to trigger my boy’s PF (perianal fistulas) which can be a life-threatening, often fatal condition if not kept under control. So, for now, it’s steroids. :\

      The point of all of this is that grain-free is great, but mere food changes alone may not fix all allergy or skin issues. They certainly help a ton in most cases and they fix them completely in some, but you’d be surprised how many dogs need the extra step of prescription medication. If you find the Benadryl stops working (or doesn’t work to begin with) and if the hair loss issues come back, speak to your vet about Prednisone. Feel free to email me if you ever worry about the dosage levels and also about the side-effects. I can also give you the name of a great powder to fix any diarrhea issues that may ensue. In fact, if you ever want to vent or fret out loud to someone about Steeler in general, don’t hesitate to write. I’ve been in your shoes. (BTW, it was 20 dogs over the course of my lifetime, not 20 dogs at once. True, I’m a Crazy Dog Person, but I’m not THAT crazy! lol).

      On a related note, while your vet is obviously the only person whose opinion matters, from what little I’ve read on mast cell tumors since your original post it seems that there is an autoimmune aspect underlying it all. Same thing with my boy’s PF condition. And skin allergies can be a side effect of any lowered immune system. Steroids can help that autoimmune trigger as well as the allergies that ensue. Has your vet said anything about putting Steeler on steroids? Because if the 2nd tumor removal was in November and another one is already back… that’s not good at all, imo, and I have to wonder if steroids would keep things under control. (And Prednisone is cheap.)

      The other thing to talk to him about is more expensive but it’s called Cyclosporine (or Atopica), and it’s specifically meant for conditions triggered by auto-immune problems. It’s one of the things that my boy is on for his PF, but it’s also prescribed for everything from Lupus to some types of cancers. Speak to your vet about it to see if it may keep the mast cell tumors in check or if steroids are the way to go. (At this point, after 2 GSDs with health issues that all seemed fixed by steroids and after numerous friends have also had to turn to steroids for their pets’ ailments, I’m starting to think Prednisone may cure all. LOL.)

      Please don’t forget to hug and kiss Steeler from me when you get home. Tell him I think he has “old soul” eyes, and that it makes him special.

      • Oh, no worries! I usually offer up samples to anyone who seems interested or throw them in with unwanted bottles I’ve sold. Once I’ve tried them, mission complete and they end up just piling onto a collection. About 10 years ago, I had several hundred high end ones and ended up putting them on eBay with proceeds going to the Tsunami relief so it was nice for somebody else to get a chance to experience them and helping out those in need.

        If Steeler’s tumor resulted in amputation, we already figured it would be a toe. The vet seemed to believe that would be the starting point and has tried both times to clean it out and cauterize it as much as possible – I’m a writer of thrillers/mystery/horror and I know “amputation” is one of the biggest fears for people, hence my natural concern, though I don’t think a toe would be bad at all for him. And it’s reassuring to see they get along if it results in more than that – I just know he’s hit the age where he’s slowing down and can’t quite jump to the heights he used to (he tried getting up and onto a bed at camp last year that he’s always managed before… and failed. That and the white whiskers :). I think I’m just extra-sensitive to his aging because both my parents are in their early to late 80s and I’ve seen the toll on them and have had to help them up from numerous falls (not to mention my grandfather, years ago, had a condition where first his toe was amputated, then his foot, then his lower leg…).

        As for his allergies, he had them bad up until maybe a year and a half old while we were in the southwest (Las Vegas), and then they weren’t too bad the first few years after moving back to the northeast – it’s only that one stint where for several months they were at their worst. Right now, they’re virtually non-existent – but I will have to ask the vet next time I’m in about the steroids you mentioned. To my recollection, he’s only had one shot of them over the last seven years or so and that was after rolling around on the ground and having been bit by something (I assume) as he broke out with bumps all over.

        Last but not least, the “old soul eyes” thing had me thinking how I’ve always said/believed dogs are a reflection of their owners – he is very much like me and I’ve been described as an old soul since I was probably eight years old. There was just this connection when I saw him at three months old; sometimes I wonder if it weren’t so much that I picked him as he picked me!

        • The steroids I give are a tiny pill, inexpensive, and even available from Walgreens with a prescription. 🙂 Since I’m giving you so many medicine names, here’s another one that isn’t expensive: Tramadol. It will improve Steeler’s mobility when he seems sore or stiff because it eases muscle and joint pain. Humans use it for arthritis, among other things. I try to minimize or avoid giving The Hairy German pills as much as I can manage, but Tramadol is great to have as back-up for those days when his hip dysplasia acts up more than usual and he struggles to get on the bed. (Yes, he has hip dysplasia on top of everything else, poor boy. 🙁 ) I think pain management is a necessity when dogs hit a certain age. They can’t tell us how they feel but, for the bigger breeds, joint and arthritic pain are going to be inevitable (even if they don’t have something like actual hip dysplasia).

          Btw, I empathize enormously with your situation with your parents. My parents are at almost the same age and have had health issues that make me sensitive to loss, too. Actually, because of my childhood, I’ve never handled loss well in any form, be it pets, humans I care about, or general circumstances. Lol. So, I get it, I really do. It’s lovely to hear that you’re close to your parents, too.

          You know, I’m very glad you stopped by the blog, and that you’ve given me the chance to get to know you a little. I’ve very much enjoyed it. I will look at your site and read some of your work at the first free chance I get.

          Btw, from what I’ve seen so far, you and Steeler really do seem to be a reflection of each other, and have a really lovely bond. But I’m pretty sure he’d say that he picked YOU instead. 😉

          • Writing all these drugs down, ;). Steeler is still going on 20 minute morning walks, but I do notice a bit of a difference in his gait sometimes from what I assume is arthritis (it’s more in the front legs and causes his head to dip a little.) It’s barely noticeable at this point, but does become more so every one and a while.

            I’ve lurked here on your board for some time and thought perhaps I had posted before, but it may not have been under my wordpress account. I know your review of Obsessive Oudh was one of the first I read that had me interested in (and ultimately purchasing) it, along with some of Sultan Pasha’s samples (kept coming back for your reviews as reference points.) I hope to get a couple of those in ml sizes later on as they’re on my list.

            If you like film or learning about how storytelling works, by all means jump in and read! I haven’t kept up with it as much because I’ve been busy rewriting stuff. By far the most popular post I’ve had is on the Babadook – I’ve seen the article posted anywhere and everywhere, right to some forum on Texas A&M with students discussing it. Another, on Shawshank Redemption, was shared on some private, catholic girls high school in New York somewhere and would periodically get so many hits, I was wondering if it was required reading (it was posted behind their firewall so I could never find out for sure).

          • Heh, yeah, I’m a bit like the walking canine pharmacologist at times. 😀 For succinctness sake: Prednisone, Tramadol, and possibly Cyclosporine/Atopica. Worth a simple question to your vet, particularly the Tramadol. You want to hear a funny thing? My dog and both my parents are prescribed Tramadol. I sometimes joke to them, “Do you want Zola’s medication?” Heh.

            I already jumped in and read your site much earlier this morning. I enjoyed the Bababook and Schindler’s List posts. I’m not into horror stuff, so I will confess that I didn’t read the Babadook one in detail, but I enjoyed your writing and, most of all, the depth of the analysis in general. What actually intrigued me much more was the mention of the sculpting…. 😉

            Which of the SP attars have you enjoyed the most? Which ones have you narrowed down as being possible ml/bottle purchases? I’m actually expecting a SP package with new things to arrive some time today. We had a package issue in the past with one most likely being confiscated on the UK end (probably because an alcohol-based EDP sample was included in it) and I was starting to worry that this 2nd one wasn’t ever going to be released on the US Customs end, but it is supposed to finally be here today! I’m most excited for the tobacco but there are other new things as well. 🙂

  5. From SP, I enjoyed Cafe Ambre Noir, Inferno and Tabac Grande the most with TG probably the favorite of the three, though lord only knows that would/could change at any given moment. It’s definitely “grande” and I almost thought it too much at first, but really began to appreciate it soon after. I believe I had seven or eight samples in all, but those were the ones that I would gravitate to first. I did try two versions of his tribute to Tribute, but honestly have to say I never felt compelled to buy the real mccoy so while the one was spot on for a while before taking an different, more interesting development, it’s something that would be much further down the want list. Aurum d’Angkhor is very well done as well, but I’d really have to go back and try it again as the first experience was difficult to put into words. It’s been several months since I smelled them, promptly tucking them away once it got warmer – but that Tabac Grande… might have to break out that paperclip and treat myself to a few whiffs later tonight!

    • You know, I think some orientals bloom in the heat, even if most people would find that to be crazy talk. There are some fragrances particularly in the patchouli genre that I think are actually far, far better in the summer heat than in winter. Obviously everyone has different approaches to wearing perfume, different styles that they feel comfortable with from one season to another, but you may want to give a ponder to my philosophy and try it for yourself with a few orientals. I think anything tobacco, amber, or patchouli driven would be superb in summer. In contrast, I think some animalics can be quite dangerous in the heat, at least if one applies a lot. MFK’s Absolue Pour Le Soir is deadly at a high dosage in summer. I learnt that the hard way. LOL.

      • There are some fragrances with patchouli in them that I don’t mind wearing the summer, most recently Herod. Sure, it’s spicy, tobacco-y with incense and what not, but I find it works fairly well with a light trigger and even better at night. Something like Journey Man works on me somewhat as well with its juniper, bergamot and neroli. Heck, I’ll happily wear Jub XXV, too! I had Lumiere Noir Pour Homme and that stuff just sang like a choir during the summer months. Oh, and Sheikh with its spicy-fresh ‘n sweet vibe. Now that I think of it, Heritage Blend from ASAQ, too. It’s somewhat dark and almost chocolatey, but there’s a bright red berry-like accord that runs through it with a number of floral notes that make it feel lighter. I actually bought Sheikh because I wanted another CPO and feared I’d run through Heritage Blend so quick as much as I like it.

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