Azman‘s Majnoon beckoned to me from the moment I read its notes. Coffee, tobacco, leather, rich spices, champaca and rose, two different kinds of oud, incense, patchouli, and amber were just some of the materials holding great promise. There was also the fact that the famous artisanal perfumer, Prin Lomros, was the nose.
I couldn’t wait to try it. For someone with my particular tests, it was bound to be hit, right?
Well, things did not turn out as anticipated.
Azman Perfumes is an Emirati niche brand founded in Dubai in 2016 by Husen Baba. (Luckyscent says his name is Husen Khan.) “Azman” means Hours or Moments in Arabic. To create Majnoon, Mr. Baba worked with Prin Lomros, a highly respected perfumer who specializes in luxury oud-based fragrances. Majnoon was released in February 2022. It is a pure parfum or extrait with 25% concentration.
Azman Perfumes describes Majnoon and its notes as follows:
Yes, Majnoon is a double oud scent but that’s just the tip of a pleasure mountain.
The story begins with the question: Why does coffee make us so inspired, especially when coupled to a lip-smacking blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and a good measure of pomegranate? Is it the arousal of a gourmandy longing?
As moments drift by, the story unfolds to more gradations of inviting tones, such as leather, tobacco and rose. The heart of the scent is crazy, and the madness in its genes is not a question of daring notes but rather a matter of magnetic appeal. Be warned, people around you will ask you what you’re wearing.
The base is built around two types of oud, from Thailand and India, cradled in a swirl of patchouli and incense, and wrapped in amber and vanilla.
Like the names suggest, the scent is a tribute to uninhibited passion and crazy inspiration.
Top notes: Pomegranate – Saffron – Clove – Nutmeg – Cinnamon – Coffee Absolute
Heart notes: Champaca – Rose – Leather – Tobacco – Tonka Bean – Nagarmotha [aka cypriol]
Base notes: Oud from Thailand (Trat) – Oud from India (Assam) – Patchouli – Amber – Incense – Vanilla
Majnoon opens on my skin with a thick, dense wall of dark, dry, dusty, smoky, spicy, coffee, and woody notes. Bitter nutmeg, fiery saffron, black pepper, and chewy bitter cloves are generously strewn over the surface of bitter black coffee swirled with caramel and toffee’d amber. Plumes of arid smoke from dry, dusty, woody cypriol gust all around, adding a black filter to the burnished orange, red, gold, and brown visuals. Lurking in the background is a quiet, tart, red fruitiness, but it never reads like pomegranate on my skin. It’s far more like tart, sour Morello cherries. Beside it are soft wisps of honeyed rose and syrupy, lush, and slightly indolic, magnolia-like champaca.
Majnoon’s base is as dry and dark as its top. There is dry, charred, dusty cypriol along with smoky and slightly musky oud as well as a resinous blackness that feels like leather layered with raw, fulminating tobacco.
I tested Majnoon twice and found it to have the greatest clarity in its first 20 to 30 minutes. When taken as a whole, however, the scent was largely a unstructured, shapeless, dense morass of notes on my skin, a number of which either don’t blend harmoniously together or lack distinct, clearly delineated clarity on my skin.
Furthermore, the composition’s incredible density and opacity and the generally blurry nature of its accords/notes made Majnoon difficult to parse when taken as a whole. I have no problems with an untraditional fragrance structure so long as there is some note clarity and delineation for a fair portion of the scent, but that is not the case with Majnoon on my skin.
In fact, my 2nd test of the fragrance yielded an even muddier, more blob-like and less nuanced or complex bouquet. In my 2nd test, Majnoon opens with a big chunk of all its notes hitting my nose simultaneously in a dense, thick, rather opaque cloud. There is the same spice accord as before but, this time, I can’t pull out individual notes. It’s simply a haze of dark, dry, slightly bitter, and inordinately dusty spices. Once again, the accord lies atop black coffee but, this time, it’s so smoke laden that it strongly evokes Areej Le Doré‘s Oud Luwak. There is little to no caramel- or toffee-laced ambered sweetness as a counterbalance against either the bone-dry aridity of the smoke or the dustiness of the wood.
Other notes weave all around, rather like they’re distinct, unrelated blocs. There is an arid, charred, dusty, and strongly burnt woodiness combined with more resinous, incense-like smokiness. Tart fruitiness dances by itself on the sidelines, smelling again more like sour Morello cherries on my skin than pomegranate. There is a sugared, rather granular white musk weaving in and out. Lastly, there is a wholly abstract, syrupy floralcy; it somewhat bridges a few of the notes — but not fully or well. There is no hint of rose, champaca, bitter nutmeg, black pepper, saffron, cloves, or leather on my skin.
Part of the difficulty in dissecting Majnoon is the scent’s great thickness. The bouquet is a heavy one that feels like a wall of notes. The low sillage doesn’t facilitate matters; I found myself often having to close my eyes, inhale hard, and focus in order to parse the bouquet’s nuances or more muffled elements.
In both tests, Majnoon changed slowly and incrementally. About 35-40 minutes in, the scent grows more floral and woody and also fractionally less coffee-like. At the end of the 1st hour and start of the 2nd, Majnoon is a dry, smoky, spicy, floral woody-amber with smoky coffee and a quiet fruitiness layered within. 90 minutes in, the bouquet takes on a semi-creamy plushness in texture; the scent also grows sweeter. The coffee accord temporarily retreats into the background, though it pops up occasionally on the scent trail when I move my arm around my face.
At the end of the 3rd hour and start of the 4th, Majnoon changes gears. It is now primarily a floral amber blur with indeterminate woody and spicy notes layered within and a fluctuating, increasingly muffled layer of something vaguely like café au lait. I think it’s the champaca which is responsible for the creaminess in both the coffee accord and in the scent’s overall textural feel. The top of the bouquet is lightly dusted with something powdery, while its base seems to have something suggestive of patchouli laced with a flicker of incense resins. The shapelessness and opacity of the scent make it difficult to say with certainty.
By the middle of the 5th hour or about 4.5 hours in, 65% of Majnoon is a creamy, sweet, golden, vaguely champaca-ish floral amber on my skin. The remainder consists of a clean but sugared woody musk that reads like cashmeran, spiciness, dry woodiness, caramel-ish sweetness, flickers of charred wood smoke, a muddy darkness, something vaguely patchouli-ish, and something that smells a little coconut-y in its milkiness. There is nothing that speaks either distinctly or even partially of oud wood, coffee, fruitiness, roses, leather, or tobacco.
What little clarity there is gradually disappears in the hours ahead. By the start of the 7th hour, Majnoon is mostly a sweet-dry amber with fluctuating levels of: woodiness and musk. Its spice and floralcy are rapidly shrinking, dying wisps that I have to sniff hard and focus upon to detect.
I really dislike the musk. Nothing about it smells like the dark or even slightly animalic musk that one experiences with Hindi oud or other oud varietals. This is clean, woody, fluffy, and sugared with cherry-like undertones; I find it to be cloying in aroma as well as somewhat grainy or powdery in feel. It reads like cashmeran – and that impression only grows stronger when Majnoon enters its ridiculously long drydown stage towards the end of the 11th hour. At that point, all that’s left is clean, fluffy, cloying, sweet musk with vague woodiness and sugared cherry undertones lurking within. It lasts for hours and hours.
Majnoon had exceptional longevity and low sillage. In my first test, I used roughly 2-3 generous smears across a 2-inch swathe of skin roughly equal to 2 good sprays from a bottle. With that amount, the opening sillage was about 6 inches, maybe a hair more. That number shrank after 90 minutes in to about 4 inches. By the start of the 3rd hour, there was no scent trail around me unless I waved my arm around my face and nose. About 3.75 hours in, Majnoon projected about 1 inch above the skin. There it stayed until it became a skin scent at the start of the 8th hour. However, Majnoon wasn’t difficult to detect if I put my nose on my skin. That changed around the 14th hour. In total, Majnoon lasted just a bit over 24 hours on my skin.
In my second test, I applied a larger quantity of scent, about 4 smears, or roughly the equivalent of 3 small sprays from a bottle, across a 3.5-inch or 4-inch-wide swathe of skin in order to see if that would amplify Majnoon’s nuances or lend greater clarity to its notes. It did the opposite, resulting in the even more opaque and even more shapeless, unstructured, blob that I briefly mentioned up above. The progression of the scent — from a deeply smoky coffee-based bouquet (with the other notes mentioned above) to a spicy, smoky floral woody amber, a sweet spicy floral amber, a sweet woody amber, and then clean woody-cherry musk bouquet — was roughly similar to what I experienced in my first test, except the notes and main accords were flattened out and even muddier. Given Majnoon’s 24-hour longevity in my first test, I guessed it would last even longer with a larger scent application. I ran out of patience around the 15th hour and scrubbed.
I had high expectations for Majnoon, given the notes and Prin Lomros as the nose. It was, in fact, one of the fragrances that I was most eager to try in my recent Luckyscent sample order. It is exactly the sort of scent that is in my wheel-house and that has notes I love, so it should have been a slam dunk. I was genuinely disappointed that it wasn’t. I think some editing of the notes and accords, a lower concentration for some of them, less overall scent opacity and density, and/or more structure and note delineation might have yielded a different result.
For other thoughts on and experiences with Majnoon, you can turn to Fragrantica. A few people there found it similar to ALD’s Oud Luwak, which I can see during Majnoon’s early hours. However, Majnoon has more going on besides its smoke-filled dark coffee accord, especially as it develops, and a far greater range of notes, so keep that in mind if the ALD comparison excites you. In a different vein, one Fragrantica commentator felt Majnoon was similar to Ambre Loup – which I can’t see at all. They have fundamentally (and drastically) different note lists and focal points.
All in all, it’s a pass from me.