Beauty and the Beast is a dark, sultry, occasionally gourmand, rose-oud fragrance that is part of Areej Le Doré‘s newly released 7th Collection.
Beauty and the Beast is an eau de parfum that is described as follows:
The most luxurious and costly natural ingredients of Indian perfumery Rose and Oud presented a perfectly harmonius [sic] and classy composition.
Top: Indian Rose
Heart: French cocoa
Base: Indian Oud distilled in rose water and other various Indian ouds.
Beauty and the Beast opens on my skin with roses dripping with honey and jam. The flowers are lush, ripe, red-blooded, heady, practically meaty in body, and concentrated in aroma in a way that is more akin to an extrait than to an eau de parfum.
Yet darkness hangs over the crimson affair as well, curling, singeing, and withering the petals through dry wood smoke from charred oud as well as a more incense-like smoke. Below the flowers, the ground is thick with the oud’s black, tarry leather and treacly resins while the air above is delicately dotted with creamy clouds made of blue-green Gorgonzola cheese.
Beauty and the Beast shifts in its nuances and facets quickly in the first hour. Less than 5 minutes in, streaks of red-gold spices flare out from the sun, wafting the aromas of fiery, buttery saffron and pimento chili pepper. Puffs of animalic fur and gobs of dark, animalic musk rain down beside them, adding barnyard undertones to the mix.
10 minutes in, the Hindi oud surges from the base, grabbing the rose in arms sinewy with leather and beefy with resinous woodiness, damp earth, and a light dusting of dried green herbs. The roses change, too, a little; their jamminess now wafts the distinct aroma of raspberries.
25 minutes in, Beauty and the Beast grows sweeter yet also earthier and a touch more herbal. The oud’s chili-like fieriness disappears, replaced by sprigs of fresh green mint. At the same time, the clouds of creamy Hindi oud blue cheese begin to melt, soften, and dissolve into the other notes.
55 minutes in, Beauty and the Beast shifts again. The fragrance’s sweetness doubles or triples, thanks to a red, sticky, jammy, and now fully gourmand rose. It is woven seamlessly around leathery, earthy, musky, smoky, resinous, incense-laden oud that bears a quiet skankiness subsumed within. The sprigs of fresh mint and dried green herbs have disappeared; the blue cheese is now the merest blip in the background; and the saffron is fully fused into the main notes alongside the dark musk. Everything overlaps, one flowing into another.
I want to be clear about one thing with regard to the aforementioned quiet skankiness: there is nothing fecal, urinous, sexual, or truly, profoundly raunchy on my skin. Beauty and the Beast is too refined for any sledgehammer dirtiness. In fact, much of the fur and barnyard aromas have disappeared in a clearly delineated, concrete way, leaving more of an aura or a suggestion of skanky sensuality, if that makes any sense. To put it another way, nothing here is remotely akin to the sort of raunch that one encounters in Papillon‘s Salome with its cumin, hyraceum, and other unrelated raw materials.
I wouldn’t even compare the dirtiness here to that in Areej’s War & Peace or to Dusita‘s Oudh Infini, another rose and Hindi oud eau de parfum. The latter had much dirtier aromas during its opening on my skin in addition to much more overt blue cheese and barnyard qualities. Similarly, the former (W&P) had significantly heavier, darker, more intense, and more urinous dark musk and skank on my skin. Beauty and the Beast differs from Oudh Infini and War & Peace in other ways, too. Its roses are triple or quadruple the richness, density, and sweetness of the Dusita rose. They are also co-stars of the show in a way that could never be true of W&P with its heavy emphasis on different sorts of animalic musks and animalic leather. The rose there was a supporting player, not a central driving force.
As a side note, I wouldn’t compare the rose here in solo form or the rose-oud in combo to their analogous counterparts in DI SER‘s Kyara nor to the ones in my beloved Layali from Agar Aura, either. Beauty and the Beast’s rose is far too gourmand, singularly gourmand, in its sweetness to be identical. It also doesn’t feel as multi-dimensional or 3D as the one in Layali. Further, whatever greenness there may be in this fragrance — either as part of the rose or from the oud — it is not remotely comparable to the levels in those other fragrances due to the type of the agarwood used here (Indian) versus there (non-Indian).
Roughly 2.5 hours in or in the middle of the 3rd hour, Beauty and the Beast changes when the second stage begins. The oud’s birch-like leather turns creamier, losing much of its tarry feel, while the rose loses its unbalanced sweetness, growing softer and more feminine. Joining them for the first time is a light dusting of unsweetened, dark cocoa powder. At the same time, the smoke becomes purely like burning incense resin smoke instead of also having charred wood or campfire facets. The oud’s spices, earthiness, and dark musk are now quiet background notes, replaced by a soft, slightly golden warmth and slightly ambered sweetness. There is nothing animalic, furry, or cheese about the oud now. If anything, it smells more like chocolate-coated patchouli slathered with woody creaminess and dark resins, almost like the base of the Mysore sandalwood in the Areej attars.
The overall vibe of the bouquet is different now, too. Beauty and the Beast feels drier now than before, particularly its rose which is no longer gourmand, jammy, fatty, or meaty as it was during the first 90 minutes to 2 hours. Instead, it feels more withered, compliments of the oud’s significantly greater degree of incense smoke. I should mention that, quite separate from all this, the rose is airier, more diffuse in body, and has lost that extrait-like concentrated richness. The scent as a whole is quieter on my skin, but I’ll elaborate further in the sillage section later.
Beauty and the Beast shifts further as its 2nd stage progresses. Early in the 4th hour or about 3.25 hours in, it dissolves into a simple, blurry, but lovely bouquet of creamy, buttery, rose-scented suede dusted with cocoa.
Darkness descends upon the notes when Beauty and the Beast enters its 3rd stage at the end of the 4th hour and start of the 5th. It’s as though an eclipse has swept over the bouquet, an eclipse that is predominantly made of tobacco. It smells, simultaneously, raw and musky, like dry cigar leaves, aromatic cigar smoke, and cigarette ash. It’s obviously a side-effect of the oud, and its presence serves to blot out the creamy suede, turning the scent drier. The rose, like the suede, is blotted out, though it returns later during the drydown. Following the tobacco is incense, then waves of arid woods laced with dry-sweet, lightly spiced amber. When taken as a whole, I’d estimate that at least 75% of Beauty and the Beast consists at this stage of various types of tobacco aromas, laced with smoke, on my skin. The remaining percentage is composed of the oud’s woody facets, its dry amber, and quiet, muted whispers of dark, soft spices.
Beauty and the Beast enters its drydown or last stage in the middle of the 8th hour, or roughly 7.5 hours into its development. It is now a simple, dry, warm, woody bouquet infused with soft pink roses and occasional pops of chocolate cocoa powder. The fragrance remains this way until it finally dies away as something vaguely woody.
Beauty and the Beast had initially strong sillage that became low after a few hours and good longevity. I tested the fragrance 3 times to be sure about my feelings about it but also to nail down the longevity due to a less than consistent, standard testing amount. The issue was that the nozzle in my atomiser sample seemed smaller than what I encounter in many full bottles so 2 spritzes wasn’t really equal to 2 sprays from a bottle which is my generalized, standard testing amount. The squirts looked pretty small and, more importantly, did not always yield the same amount per spray, so the amount I used in 2 of my tests could be deemed about 2.5 sample spritzes. In a 3rd test, I used 4 spritzes.
With the 2.5 spritz amount, Beauty and the Beast opened with about 6-7 inches of sillage that grew to about 11 or 12 after 20 minutes. The trail began to drop when the 2nd hour began and became about 8-9 inches. At the 2.5-hour mark, Beauty and the Beast extended about 4 inches and was significantly quieter in feel. Roughly 3.75 hours in or towards the end of the 4th hour, the scent projected about 1.5 inches above my skin. At the end of the 5th hour, Beauty and the Beast hovered just above the skin. It became a skin scent on me when the 7th hour rolled around or roughly around the 6.50-hour mark. The fragrance became difficult to detect around the 9th hour. It lasted just shy of 11 hours on me.
Increasing the scent application to 4 small atomiser spritzes or about 2.5 to 3 big sprays from a bottle increased my numbers somewhat. Though it added only a few inches to the sillage, it extended the duration of each stage or micro-stage by about 90 minutes to 2 hours. It took Beauty and the Beast about 7 hours to hover just above the skin, 9.5 hours to turn into a skin scent, and 11 hours to become difficult to detect. In total, the eau de parfum lasted about 13.45 to 13.50-hours, or just shy of 15 full hours.
As a side note, with the increased amount the purely dark stage without roses was drier, smokier, and more imbued with wood smoke than the same stage with the smaller 2.5 spritz application. Also, the degree of roses during the drydown was greater and richer, comparatively speaking.
Beauty and the Beast has some very pretty parts to it, and I have no doubt that it will appeal to many lovers of the rose-oud combination, particularly those who like Hindi or Indian oud’s aromas.
Speaking purely for myself, though, I didn’t fall in love with it and was occasionally underwhelmed. The problem stems from a confluence of factors. I didn’t find the Hindi oud to be all that complex in its facets as compared to the non-Indian oud in fragrances that I’ve tried by Agar Aura or Ensar Oud. The lack of complexity rendered Beauty and the Beast less interesting to me as a result, a situation accentuated by the fact that the fragrance is largely centered on just two raw materials. (And the rose doesn’t have much to it other than sweetness after the first hour.)
Now, as I have stated often throughout the years, there is absolutely nothing wrong with soliflores or linear, simple fragrances, depending on the price and quality in question. Some of my favourite fragrances are uncomplicated, linear, and/or simple. Here, there is no question that Beauty and the Beast is a refined composition with very good quality materials.
That said, in my opinion, Beauty and the Beast is neither sufficiently interesting nor unique enough for $390 for 48 mls or more than $400 with shipping. I attribute the limitations on the scent to the fact that only Hindi ouds were used. With the exception of the tobacco stage, the ouds’ facets after the typical opening bouquet of creamy blue cheese, barnyard funk, animalic musk, and tarry leather simply weren’t all that absorbing, evocative, or transportative to me. I realise that a collection centered on Indian raw materials had to use nothing but Indian agarwood but, if chocolate could be added as a tertiary note, then perhaps something else could have been added as well to yield more distinction to the central accords?
Let me repeat again so that there is no mistake: there is nothing wrong with a basic rose-oud combo or soliflore, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Beauty and the Beast, but I personally would like far more facets and a kaleidoscopic personality for a price that exceeds $400 for less than 1.7 oz or 50 ml. I would gladly have paid such a price (if I had the money) for even 25 ml or 28 mls of Agar Auga’s Layali, another rose-oud, but that’s because the two materials there felt like 10 and yielded a multiplicity of notes and nuances far in excess of what is here. What is here is nice and it has some very enjoyable parts, but it didn’t blow my socks off.
This is a purely subjective reaction based upon what appeared with my skin chemistry, so Beauty and the Beast may be different on you, with your chemistry, and to your tastes. Pricing valuations are as subjective as the rest, so maybe the outcome on you will leave you feeling Beauty and the Beast is absolutely worth over $400 a bottle. If so, I would understand and be glad that you found something you loved.
The only way to know for certain is to try Beauty and the Beast for yourself.
Disclosure: My sample was 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: Beauty and the Beast is an eau de parfum that comes in a 48 ml bottle. (That amount is just short of the standard 1.7 oz size.) It costs $390. Once the pre-order period is over, you can buy it individually from Areej Le Dore. It will be listed on the Fragrances page. Please note, Beauty and the Beast not available in solo form at the time of this post, October 11th, but it should be in about 3 to 4 weeks once the pre-order period is over. ALD 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 11th, the full bottle set and the sample set are all listed without individual page entries on ALD’s overall Fragrance page.