Russian Adam‘s new Ambre de Coco, Malik al Motia, and Le Mitti (petrichor/rain) fragrances will be today’s focus. They are part of Areej Le Doré‘s Seventh Collection and The History of Attars series, though I want to stress that these ones are blended, mixed-material, sprayable eau de parfums, not concentrated soliflore attar oils. That said, several of the new releases, including today’s Malik al Motia jasmine-focused fragrance, incorporate the solifore floral attars, Gulab and Motia, so you might want to read Part II of ALD Attar series which describes their scent, if you haven’t already.
At the end of this review, I’ll briefly discuss the remaining four EDPs in the collection (Beauty and the Beast, Gul Hina, Mysore Incenza, and Al Majmua) and explain why I’m going to skip covering two of them.
AMBRE DE COCO:
Ambre de Coco is influenced by and a derivation of the famous Indian Shamama attar. If you’re unfamiliar with Shamama’s scent profile, Kannauj Attars provides a description that reads, in part, as follows:
Shamama Attar is an herbal attar made using a blend of many different herbs, woods, spices or essential oils. It has a rich spicy aroma. It is originally created in Kannauj of India. Every perfumer in kannauj has their own secret mix of different raw materials for their ‘Shamama Formula’. [… ¶]
Shamama is really the most unique attar you will find in the market. It is spicy, maybe the spiciest out of all. But there is also a refreshing floral (a bit minty) touch in its notes. Its spiciness makes it quite strong for our senses, but that is also the reason for its effectiveness.
Some people also describe it ‘similar to saffron attar but spicier’.
Shamama is manufactured using the ‘deg & bhapka method’, a traditional process developed about 400 years ago in India. The whole process requires intense labor and a lot of time to craft this exotic fragrance.
Let’s now talk about the mysterious ingredients of the Shamama recipe. Every perfumer has its own secret formula. Some of the most common ingredients are Henna, Musk, Amber, Frankincense and more. But each mix has more than 20 different components and each perfumer is using a unique combination of these materials in different ratios to make their own Shamama.
Ambre de Coco is not an attar nor a purely Shamama fragrance but a modern spin on the genre in sprayable eau de parfum form. Russian Adam describes his scent and its notes as follows:
The most popular, complex and intense Indian attar known as Amber Shamama transformed in to a modern sophisticated spicy sandal and oud chypre perfume composition….
Top notes: touch of peach accord and cocoa absolute
Heart notes: up to 50 various Indian spices and herbs distilled on the base of pure Indian sandalwood
Base notes: Indian oud, oakmoss and amber accord [Emphasis added by me.]
Ambre de Coco opens on my skin like a mix of (original) Ambre Loup and ALD/ Russian Adam’s fantastic Russian Oud, only with a more immediate and bigger kick of chocolate than the latter. Moments later, other aromas join the spicy, chocolate-coated bouquet of dark, balsamic resins: cloves; salty ambergris; spicy and smoky Mysore sandalwood; patchouli-wafting oud; amber that smells of toffee (labdanum) and caramel (benzoin); and, in last place, an indeterminate, abstract sliver of greenness.
Covering everything like a veil are the sweet juices of plump, ripe peaches, but it is a delicate, sheer veil that struggles to assert itself over the heavier, thicker, and darker aromas of chocolate, different types of amber resins, different woods, spices, and the patchouli-like aggregate side-effect.
Ambre de Coco changes at a glacial pace and in small, incremental degrees. 10 minutes in, the Mysore sandalwood blooms and becomes a dominant note, smelling just like the fantastic version in ALD’s recent floral-santal attars. It is highly resinous, spicy, musky, sweet-dry, ambered and, now, laden with incense like undertones. 15 minutes in, the peach begins to weaken, melting into the cocoa and unable to get the space or air to exist as a separate, prominent note.
55 minutes in, Ambre de Coco begins what is essentially is long heart stage. The fragrance is a simple, increasingly blurry bouquet centered mainly on a trio of chocolate, Mysore sandalwood, toffee and caramel ambers with quieter and lesser degrees of clove-ish spices, wisps of smokiness, generalized woodiness, and a thin veneer of sweet peach juice on top.
The overall result feels significantly simpler on my skin than either Ambre Loup or the highly multi-faceted, prismatic, and complex Russian Oud. In fact, Ambre de Coco no longer smells like an identical fusion in its specifics on my skin. It simply inhabits their general, large universe. Call it a cousin, if you will, rather than their love child.
If anything, what comes to mind repeatedly over the next few hours is the Italian style of perfumery, a style that emphasizes a streamlined, linear, and minimalist blend centered on only a handful of notes. Brands like Profumum, Armani Privé, SS Farmacia Annunziata, and Santa Maria Novella are good examples of that aesthetic. Further to that point, what Ambre de Coco specifically reminds me of after the opening 30 minutes is Amber Chocolate by AbdesSalaam Attar of La Via del Profumo. The bouquets are similar on my skin, although Ambre de Coco is significantly spicier, more resinous, thicker, more concentrated, richer, and more chocolate-y.
90 minutes in or during the middle of the 2nd hour, Ambre de Coco shifts slightly. A buttery textural quality inundates the notes, compliments of the santal.
At the end of the 2nd hour and start of the 3rd, the bouquet begins to veer in its focal point or central emphasis between a resinous, spicy, chocolate amber woody scent and a spicy, resinous chocolate woody amber.
3.5 hours in, or in the middle of the 4th hour, the driving force and focus is on a plush, spicy, chocolate-flecked, woody, ambered caramel. However, from this point forth, Ambre de Coco begins to slowly, glacially, turn more resinous in its nuances.
The start of the 5th hour marks a new stage, the long, drawn-out beginning of the drydown. In essence, Ambre de Coco becomes extremely resinous, more like Russian Oud again, minus any oud, or similar to the drydown of some of Russian Adam’s attars, only with chocolate added. Basically, Ambre de Coco is a semi-gourmand, dry-sweet, chocolate-layered, caramel-heavy, spicy, balsamic and dark resin fest wrapped up with thin filaments of incense-ish smoke.
Ambre de Coco remains unchanged for a long time. In its final hours, all that’s left is a sweet-dry goldenness infused with suggestions of spiciness and woodiness.
Ambre de Coco had initially average sillage that took a few hours to turn softer and excellent longevity. I used 2 spritzes from my sample atomiser. I should point out that, to my eye, the atomizers seem to have a smaller aperture or opening than that on a number of full bottles I own, so I don’t think my sample spritzes would be exactly equal to 2 sprays from a bottle unless they were on the small or smaller side. (Maybe 1 whopping spray?)
Anyway, with 2 spritzes, Ambre de Coco opened with about 3 inches of sillage that turned into 7 inches after 30 minutes, forming a small cloud around me. The aroma at the center is concentrated and strong, but it diffuses and grows softer at its periphery. 2.5 hours in, the sillage drops to about 4 inches. 3.75 hours in, Ambre de Coco projects 1.5 inches above my skin and there is no scent trail or cloud around me. At the end of the 7th hour or about 6.50 hours in, Ambre de Coco is almost a skin scent, but not quite, as it hovers just barely above the skin. The fragrance becomes a skin scent on me 8.25 hours in or early in the 9th hour, but it isn’t difficult to detect until the 12th hour begins. In total, Ambre de Coco lasted just shy of 14.75 hours on me.
Ambre de Coco is a solid, perfectly nice fragrance, but it didn’t blow my socks off. I think a few factors are responsible for my nonchalance. First, I think Russian Oud was a better, more complex, nuanced, and beautiful take on this genre of chocolate, woody, amber oriental. Second, in terms of spicy, smoky, resinous ambers, it’s been done before and, in my opinion, better in (original) Ambre Loup. If Ambre de Coco hadn’t turned so simple and so blurry so quickly on my skin, I think it would have had more olfactory details or facets to render it interesting but, to be honest, even then, I don’t know if the fragrance would really stand out. This is such well-trodden ground.
Also, it simply lacked sufficient, well-delineated spices on my skin to render it like a Shamama bouquet and, thus, less mundane. By skewing so heavily towards the gourmand, caramel, chocolate, and santal side, Russian Adam removed Ambre de Coco from the Shamama universe, in my opinion, and put it in direct competition with his own prior scent, only in blurrier, more opaque, and less complex form.
While it’s true that Russian Oud is no longer available and that Ambre de Coco could possibly be a fair substitute for those who missed out, ALD will reportedly release a Russian Oud 2.0 in the coming months that will be extremely close to the original. Since ALD is a brand with an extremely dedicated, long-standing fan base who know and, in many, many cases, already own the earlier famous best-sellers, I don’t know how much Ambre de Coco will feel redundant. I certainly wasn’t impressed or moved by it, and it definitely felt redundant to me.
My guess is that the issue will come down to personal skin chemistry and the extent to which the scent closely mimics Russian Oud (or a chocolate-version of Ambre Loup) on each person.
MALIK AL MOTIA:
Malik al Motia is an eau de parfum that is described as follows:
Modern, heavy oriental twist on one of the most beautiful Indian jasmine attars called attar Motia…
Top notes: grandiflorum jasmine, blue lotus and davana
Heart notes: motia (jasmine sambac) attar based on Indian sandalwood, oud from Thailand, Prachinburi province
Base notes: sandalwood, benzoin, peru balsam and amber accord.
I’ll be referring a lot to Russian Adam’s Motia attar which, as you can see above, was used in this eau de parfum and to how its jasmine bouquet compares to that of Malik al Motia, so if you haven’t caught up on that review yet, you may want to do so before you read further.
Malik al Motia opens on my skin with a deluge of jasmine that is lush, indolic, musky, bright yet also ripe to the point of carnality, green-skewing, and incredibly heady. If the scent were just this, it would basically be Motia attar minus the mushrooms but other notes quickly arrive on scene to remove Malik al Motia far, far away from the attar’s bouquet. First up is the davana which adds a fruity bouquet and just a wee bit of booziness. Next are tendrils of smoke that smell both of incense and singed wood.After that is the Blue Lotus flower, and this is where I begin to have issues with Malik al Motia. The blue lotus covers the jasmine with a multi-faceted aroma: earthiness; a vegetal sort of fruitiness; tree moss; and, unfortunately, a vegetal and rooty greenness that reminds me of concentrated, slightly fetid vase water or even the surface greenery on a small, murky pond. I’ve liked blue lotus when I’ve encountered it before (and I really love pink lotus absolute), but I’m unenthused by the note here in terms of both its individual scent facets and, more importantly, by how it quickly overshadows the jasmine.
Lastly, the bouquet is set against a darkened, bronzed backdrop comprised of resinous, tarry, spicy, ambered, musky, and smoky woods (oud and Mysore), laced together with thin strands of slightly gourmand amber.
I continue to struggle with Malik al Motia as it develops and continue to wish it were closer to the aroma of Motia attar. Unfortunately, on my skin, the balance of notes skews more and more towards the blue lotus and davana as the first hour progresses. The result turns the bouquet sweeter, more liqueured, fruitier, more vegetal, muskier, danker, earthier, and more pond/vase water-like.
When the amber takes on a sugary quality to its caramel aroma after 20 minutes and when that sugariness becomes stronger after 30 minutes and rises to the top to fuse with the fruited davana booze and the extremely vegetal blue lotus greenness, I begin to shake my head “No, no, no,” figuratively speaking. It doesn’t help that the sugary facet of the ambered caramel combines with the davana’s liqueur in a way that makes me feel queasy.
What truly and fundamentally frustrates me, though, is the way that the davana, amber, and that wretched blue lotus in particular detract from, muffle, minimize and, frankly, ruin the fantastic jasmine. The balance of notes on my skin just doesn’t work for me, period, and is a huge disappointment.
Things are no different when the second hour arrives or in the third hour. The overly vegetal, earthy, blue lotus vase water greenness suffocates much of the jasmine and takes first place in the horse race. The boozy davana fruitiness and sugared caramel (amber) follow as the second and third most dominant notes, respectively, on my skin. The jasmine is in 4th place like a partially lamed race horse that trails the pack leaders by several furlongs. Last place continues to belong to the combined accord of various incense-laden, resinous, musky, smoky, ambered, and spicy woods.
2.25 hours in or early in the 3rd hour, Malik al Motia turns blurry. The balance of notes remains the same, though the blue lotus has lost about half of its concentrated, murky, 5-day-old vase water aspect. But I remain unenthused and frustrated. I guess my skin chemistry is simply not suited to this particular set of notes or to the ratios thereof.
3.5 hours in or in the middle of the 4th hour, Malik al Motia is a soft, blurry, woody floral dominated by large swathes of syrupy, boozy, vegetal, indolic, and green- and pink-skewing mixed flowers that are laced with spicy, smoky, and slightly buttery woods before the whole thing is placed within a cocoon of sugary caramel amber.
It’s an improvement, I guess. The blue lotus’ verdant pond aroma has finally vanished, thank god. Also, the whole things feels — relative to the preceding hours— much better balanced and more harmonious.
Malik al Motia continues to shift and improve as the hours pass. At the end of the 5th hour and start of the 6th, the balance of individual notes feels less disproportionate and the blue lotus’ many nuances continue to recede from dominance. If anything, the bouquet is starting to skew more towards the amber side than to the previous syrupy, green-infused, fruity, vegetal, earthy, and non-specific mixed floralcy. Also, the buttery quality of the Mysore grows more pronounced, lending a lovely velvety texture to the notes. There is no sense of any oud, smoke, or incense on my skin and only a light smattering of spice and fruit.
At the start of the 7th hour or roughly at the 6.10-hour mark, Malik al Motia begins to transition into its drydown. In essence, the fragrance turns into a floral-laced woody amber with ever decreasing levels of the amalgamated floralcy and ever increasing levels of mixed resins and amber.
8.25 hours in, the drydown commences. Malik al Motia is a simple, dry-sweet warm ambered goldenness with a woody, suede-like textural plushness subsumed within. The scent remains that way until it finally dies away as a blur of warm, sweet-dry softness.
Malik al Motia had good to average sillage and good longevity. I used about 2.5 spritzes from the sample atomizer because the nozzle made my first spray a bit of a spluttered, blocked minimal thing that didn’t emit much juice. With that amount, the scent opened with about 6-7 inches of sillage that rapidly expanded into a soft, airy, yet strong, cloud of scent around me with a radius or roughly 1 foot or 12 inches. The numbers drop slowly in the hours that follow. About 1.50 hours in, Malik al Motia’s sillage is about 6 to 7 inches again, then diminishes further to maybe 1.5 inches, at best, above my arm in the middle of the 4th hour (or 3.5 hours in). The fragrance turned into a skin scent on me about 8.75 hours in or late in the 9th hour. In total, it lasted just a bit under 13.5 hours.
I had high hopes for Malik al Motia after discovering just how transformational, amazing, lush, and opulent Motia attar was when layered with mixed-blend Western fragrances like a truly vile version of vintage Shalimar EDT or with my beloved MPG Ambre Precieux. Those outcomes blew me away, as did similar layering of the Areej rose attar with fragrances like vintage Lagerfeld cologne and other compositions. (To read about the full impact of adding an ALD attar to 7 modern and vintage fragrances, both EDT and EDP, you can turn to Part III of my Areej History of Attar series.)
Given Malik al Motia’s note list and heavily ambered base, I really thought the scent would have the same opulent, intoxicating, addictive ambered floralcy as when I combined the same jasmine attar used here with Ambre Precieux. Holy moly, was that staggeringly good! It also essentially created an entirely new fragrance, showing the versatility of the soliflore attars as did my experiments with the jasmine as a curative remedy to a terrible Shalimar formula. It transformed a cheap-smelling EDT into a gorgeous, heavily vintage-style parfum-level scent.
I don’t know what exactly and precisely happened here with Malik al Motia on my skin or why the Motia jasmine failed to achieve anything remotely similar in effect. I can only guess that it is due to a multiplicity of factors working together: the blue lotus’ particular olfactory characteristics; the green side of the Motia; possible side-effects or byproducts of the Thai oud; the davana; the proportion of individual notes and accords; and, of course, my personal skin chemistry.
I don’t pretend to know how Malik al Motia may turn out on you. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may depend on what happens to the blue lotus, but maybe I’m mistaken in singling that out as the primary troublemaker in my experience and maybe it was a fusion of other materials creating challenging side-effects instead.
Whatever the case or cause, I’m going to stick to using Motia soliflore attar as an elevating and improving agent with pre-existing Western eau de parfum blends in lieu of bothering with the Malik version.
May you have better luck with it than I did.
Le Mitti belongs to the rare petrichor category of fragrances. Petrichor is the scent of the outdoors after a rain shower or rain storm. India’s Kannauj area is particularly famous for their Mitti petrichor attars which they’ve been making via hydro-distillation in copper pots with mud cakes or chunks of mud for thousands of years. (Kannauj is considered the perfume and attar capital of India.)
An article from The Better India entitled “This Indian Town Has Been Bottling the Scent of Rain for Thousands of Years” describes the methodology and process used in great detail. Here are a few snippets.
Sometime in the past, the legendary perfumers of ancient Kannauj created a unique scent that would capture the fragrance of earth when first touched by the monsoon rains. Extracted from parched clay and distilled with ancient techniques, it is today known as mitti attar – Earth’s perfume. It is also called itr-e-khaki. [… ¶]
Little clay shards are made in neighbouring villages before they are sun baked and placed in the degs. The craftsmen put these shards of half-baked clay (instead of vetiver roots and flower petals) into the deg, cover them with water, hammer a lid down on top, and seal it with mud. They light a wood or cow-dung fire underneath, before filling the bhapka with sandalwood oil and sinking it into the water trough. The deg and bhapka are connected with a hollow bamboo pipe that carries the heady vapours from the simmering pot into the receiver, where it mixes with the sandalwood oil base. Every few hours, the receiver is switched and the deg cooled down with wet cloths, to stop the condensation. [… ¶]
The fragrant essential oil trapped in the sandalwood oil base, contained in these leather bottle or kuppis, is placed in the sun to allow the excess water to evaporate and for the true scent of attar to develop – warm, organic and mineral-rich.
An Atlantic magazine article entitled “Making Perfume From the Rain – Indian villagers have found a way to bottle the fragrance of monsoons” has some fantastic olfactory descriptions of petrichor’s many facets, how they depend on locale, and the molecules (like geosmin) at play:
Every storm blows in on a scent, or leaves one behind. The metallic zing that can fill the air before a summer thunderstorm is from ozone, a molecule formed from the interaction of electrical discharges—in this case from lightning—with oxygen molecules. Likewise, the familiar, musty odor that rises from streets and storm ponds during a deluge comes from a compound called geosmin. A byproduct of bacteria, geosmin is what gives beets their earthy flavor. Rain also picks up odors from the molecules it meets. So its essence can come off as differently as all the flowers on all the continents—rose-obvious, barely there like a carnation, fleeting as a whiff of orange blossom as your car speeds past the grove. It depends on the type of storm, the part of the world where it falls, and the subjective memory of the nose behind the sniff.
City rain smells of steaming asphalt, in contrast to the grassy sweetness of rain in the countryside. Ocean rain smells briny like Maine clam flats on a falling tide. In the desert of the southwestern United States, rare storms punch the atmosphere with creosote and sage. In the southeast, frequent squalls leave the damp freshness of a wet pine forest. “Clean but funky,” Thomas Wolfe called the exquisite scent of the American South.
Russian Adam described his Mitti eau de parfum version very simply:
Single note composition made by the most unique Indian traditional distillation of dry clay in a copper pot.
Not a perfume rather a bottled emotion that represents the moment of first rain drops hitting the dry clay soil…
Le Mitti opens on my skin with a highly atmospheric, evocative, and multi-faceted bouquet dominated heavily (but not solely) on the scent of a natural environment after hours of cleansing rain. Liquid wetness abounds, the wateriness inundated with the smell of: earthen baking pots; arid, dusty soil; loamy and wet dark earth; greenness; dry grey minerals; dusty cedar and its pencil shavings; old parchment manuscripts or books; and an indeterminate, difficult to describe, abstract, pale, cool cleanness.
There was something else, too, an aroma which preceded all these other notes and whose unexpected appearance led a second and side-by-side test of the scent on both arms. It was a synthetic, almost antiseptic-like aroma that evoked scented pink acetone nail varnish remover. On my main testing arm, it was the very first thing to hit my nose before the other nuances described above quickly followed suit and replaced it. I don’t think it lasted more than 10 seconds on my skin.
Yet, the unexpectedness of its appearance an scent that is supposed to be a single-note natural distillation led me to test Le Mitti again in a side-by-side that included my non-testing right arm with its wonky skin. And the aroma popped up there, too, only it now smelled astringent and sharp before turning into something that smelled extremely (and wholly) metallic.
There were other scent differences with the bouquet on my right arm. The opening consisted of a significantly simpler scent with few of the aromas that made Le Mitti so interesting on my regular testing arm. There was simply the smell of clay pots and clay earth, wetness, the unexpected metallic zing that grew and grew in presence, and a wisp of something vaguely dusty.
The metallic note must be the same thing described in the Atlantic article quoted above:
The metallic zing that can fill the air before a summer thunderstorm is from ozone, a molecule formed from the interaction of electrical discharges—in this case from lightning—with oxygen molecules.
On the wonky skin of my non-testing right arm, Le Mitti is such a simple, minimalistic, flat, and uninteresting bouquet that I might as well finish telling you how it develops before returning to the other version. In essence, the bouquet develops during the opening first hour into a trio of wateriness, metallics, and dry, earthen, baked clay pots that dissolves further at the 75-minute mark into metallic wateriness imbued with a certain dusty earthiness and musk like cleanness, and then into nothing. Like, actual olfactory nothingness that only had a textural remnant left.
Put another way, my skin didn’t smell of anything specific whatsoever, but it had a sort of textural softness that was minutely clean and that separated it from the rest of the skin on that arm. I suppose it was the ozonic oxygen molecules that the Atlantic article referenced, but I’ve never encountered anything quite like it.
Things were significantly better in terms of Le Mitti on my standard testing (left arm), so much better than I’d initially thought the scent was interesting enough for me to possibly consider buying when it was offered as an individual bottle in a month. To refresh your memory, there, the acetone-like pop disappeared after 10 seconds, leaving a myriad other aromas that evoked both nature after a rain storm and paper, books, and woods.
After that opening, (standard arm version) Le Mitti cycles rapidly through a series of small changes. The degree, power, and solidity of the wateriness weakens after 5 minutes, overshadowed by a heightened sense of dusty parchment paper, dusty old books, and faintly smoky cedar wood.
10 minutes in, a damp, cool, and vegetal rootiness pops up on the sidelines and begins to move closer to the main notes. It smells like the byproduct aromas or side-effect aromas of iris but not of iris in any clearly delineated, solid, unmistakeable, or floral form.
30 minutes in, the opening bouquet — dusty parchments, wet earth, dry earth, earthen clay pots, and cedar wood pencil shavings — basically vanishes, leaving behind something extremely different in scent. Now, Le Mitti eau de parfum smells primarily of a quietly, vaguely iris-ish floralcy and damp iris roots, all infused within non-calone-like aquatic cleanness. Slivers of soft, pale, green-tinged woodiness (raw, young, green santal juice?) and a slightly leafier or grassier sort of greenness lurk within, but they’re too abstract, amorphous, and muted for me to pin down with certainty of clarity.
At the end of the 1st hour and start of the 2nd, Le Mitti changes yet again. Now, all that’s left on my skin is clean, cool, floral-laced water. There is no more iris-ish byproduct aromas like rootiness and also no more greenness or woodiness, either. There is, however, an almost suede-like plushness which begins to run through the bouquet at the 75-minute mark and, a short time later, a fluffy sort of cleanness that I can only analogize to a sort of natural, clean musk. It baffles me, to be quite honest.
Le Mitti on my standard, left testing arm goes through one other major change. About 2.75 hours in or late in the 3rd hour, the fragrance loses all remaining olfactory traits and transforms into mere skin texture.
To be precise, all that’s left now is a skin-like quality with plushness that kinda evokes clean skin, but not quite. I suppose soft, new suede would be a better comparison, the sort that you can press your fingers into it and leave an indentation. That is all there is on the patch of skin where I’d applied Le Mitti. There are no aquatics, no coolness, no dampness, no rootiness, no dustiness, no floralcy, and no cleanness.
Yet, it is clear that there is something on that patch of skin which there is not on the surrounding skin or on other areas. I’ve never encountered anything like it, so I’m not certain how to describe it. Might it be the leftover effect of the oxygen molecules which were referenced in the Atlantic article? I don’t know.
No matter which arm I applied Le Mitti to, the sillage was on the low side and the longevity was average. Using 2 atomiser spritzes, Le Mitti opened with about 3 inches of sillage, maybe 4 at the very best. At the start of the second hour, the scent hovered about 1.5 to 2 inches above my arm. 2.75 hours in, Le Mitti was a skin scent with that textural plushness evocative of suede-like skin. In total, Le Mitti lasted just shy of 7 hours, all three times I wore it.
ALL IN ALL + SOME HOUSEKEEPING MATTERS:
I had expected to really like a number of the fragrances in the Seventh Collection based on their note lists and on the use of an attar within the blend, so it pains me inordinately to write that none of the collection works for me. I have supported Russian Adam since even before he began Areej Le Doré, I like him, I respect how he’s grown as a perfumer, and I love much of what he does, but none of these fragrances feels like masterpieces that I want and must have, unlike many of his fragrances of the past or even 3 of the soliflore attars.
I have, by now, given a first test to the remaining four scents and, unless something changes dramatically in my second test, all I can say is that they are perfectly solid, nice quality compositions, each with some interesting or appealing bits and each bound to appeal to someone. For example, there are parts of Beauty and The Beast (the rose) and of Mysore Incenza (the amber) that I really enjoy, even love on occasion.
Still, despite that, I’m not moved enough by their totality to actually want any of these fragrances for myself. It’s not simply that I didn’t fall in love at first sniff; that’s actually not required for me to really like a fragrance. It’s rather that, with the exception of Beauty and the Beast, they lacked great complexity on my skin to keep me interested and to create a really distinctive character. Even in the case of Beauty and the Beast, however, I’ve preferred what others have done with the oud-rose duet significantly more like, for example, Agar Aura‘s now discontinued Layali.
And I think the issue of comparable releases is one part of my nonchalance or my emotional indifference to the scents that wafted from my skin. Let’s compare these fragrances to songs that all share somewhat similar melodies even if they are not identical. With the exception of Le Mitti and petrichor, which I’ve never tried before, I’ve heard many of these strains before and I’ve preferred them when done by other artists. In some cases, I prefer the version Russian Adam did himself earlier (Russian Oud and/or Russian Oud layered with Ambre Loup) or the version that one of his creations (the attars) enabled me to achieve for myself when layered with blended fragrances in my existing collection.
Another part may be that none of these fragrances — with the exception up to a point (a small point) of Beauty and the Beast — felt bold and raw enough to be transportative and/or to move me emotionally. If I felt any flatter about Series Seven, I’d be a crêpe. They’re not big, honking masterpieces suited to operatic music like Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries the way that the original Siberian Musk, Ottoman Empire, War & Peace (review thread on Twitter), Antiquity (review thread on Twitter), and some others. My god, I remember when I first smelled Antiquity, I thought I’d die if I didn’t have it.
To be clear, something doesn’t have to be operatic, big, hefty, and raw to make me love it. I loved Chinese Oud, a much softer, more refined, less divaesque, very elegant, and beautiful fragrance by Russian Adam that showed off just how far he’s progressed as a perfumer.
But the ones here… they’re nice. Nice with some enjoyable bits. But I’m not particularly sure I will remember the details of a few of them in 6 months from now unless it is a troublesome note or how much more I preferred a different fragrance.
For that and some other reasons, the next reviews will cover Beauty and the Beast and Mysore Incenza, but I’m not going to write about Al Majmua or Gul Hina. Neither one moved me or wow’d me. (Also, I did not like the white musk base in which Gul Hina’s heart notes were distilled.) Since I don’t think I’ll remember anything about either one of those scents even in a month from now, I’m going to avoid the painstaking efforts of secondary tests and detailed descriptions in a long article.
A related truth other than the sheer amount of work that I put into these reviews is that I just don’t want to write about those last two fragrances. I’ve reached that point in my career where I have limited tolerance to put myself through hoops for stuff that is “just fine” or that evokes so little in me that writing feels like an ordeal. I prefer to move onto something that makes me happy, like Slumberhouse’s Kiste 2022, or to try some of the new samples I bought in late August, including those from brands that are new to me and with potentially exciting offerings (a lilac fragrance!).
As always, any one of these ALD eau de parfums could be very different on your skin, to your nose, and for your personal tastes. So, if you can, see if you can test them for yourselves. And, as a side note, I truly hope many of you do end up finding a great new perfume love (or two) amongst the Seventh Collection even if I didn’t.
Disclosure: My samples were provided courtesy Russian Adam/Areej Le Doré. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews and my opinions are my own.
Cost & Availability: Each fragrance is an eau de parfum that comes in a 48 ml bottle. (That amount is just short of the standard 1.7 oz size.) Ambre de Coco costs $360; Malik Al Motia costs $260; and Le Mitti is $75. Once the pre-order period is over, you can buy them individually from Areej Le Dore. They will be listed on the Fragrances page. Please note, they are not available in solo form at the time of this post, October 8th, but they should be in about 3 to 4 weeks once the pre-order period is over. Areej offers a Full Set of All 7 EDPS that usually costs $1725 but it is discounted right now during the pre-order period to $1500 with free express/courier shipping. After the pre-order period ends and once the individual bottles are available, the full-set price returns to $1725 with a shipping fee. There is a sample set of all 7 eau de parfums, each in 1.5 ml to 1.7 ml amounts in spray vials, but they tend to sell out very quickly and may not be available when the pre-order period ends in 3 to 4 weeks time. At the time of this post, October 8th, the full bottle set and the sample set are all listed without individual page entries on ALD’s overall Fragrance page.