Lush, almost tropical florals drenched in honey and cocooned in golden amber. Clean, sugared roses laced with black incense and woods. Those are the faces of Kalemat Floral and Kalemat Musk from Arabian Oud. One of them is a variation on the theme represented by the gloriously opulent Kalemat Amber. The other is not. I’ll take a look at each one of them in turn.
Kalemat Floral is an attar or concentrated fragrance oil that was released last year. Its notes on Fragrantica are incorrect, judging by the information provided to me by Mr. Ahmed Chowdhury of Arabian Oud London who kindly sent me my sample. He said the perfume pyramid is officially:
Top notes: Heliotrope, Jasmine
Heart notes: Hibiscus, Rose
Base notes: Vanilla, Cedar Wood & Musk.
A brief word about the hibiscus note. I don’t recall the actual flowers having any smell at all. Furthermore, the “hibiscus” bath or body products that I’ve tried smell primarily like frangipani or plumeria. On Fragrantica, hibiscus is defined as a “soft note of flower recreated in the lab.” In a discussion on the Fragrantica boards, Doc Elly of Olympic Orchards Perfumes bears out my view that the flowers have no scent and that the “fantasy accord” is primarily based on “tropical flower notes like frangipani,” unless the goal is more of a musky scent in which case ambrette seeds might be used. Here, in Kalemat Floral, the aroma is absolutely the tropical one of frangipani (or plumeria).
Kalemat Floral opens on my skin with honey, lots and lots of dark, raw, sticky honey in a heavy, thick stream that feels as dense as molasses. Trapped inside, like flies caught in amber, are a slew of flowers dominated first and foremost by what really seems to be orange blossoms. To be precise, orange blossoms splattered with the sweet juices of sun-ripened oranges, as well as Middle Eastern orange blossom syrup and more honey. They’re a smoother, deeper, more fruited but a less shrill, overpowering and nuclear version of the note in Ghroob, which is clearly an orange blossom fragrance. Arabian Oud makes no mention of the flower in its notes, but then again, they don’t mention the roses that are such a clear part of Kalemat, either. Regardless, every time I wear Kalemat Floral, “orange blossoms” are what come to mind in the opening moments, and I wasn’t the only one. When I brought the oils to a family testing session, my father had the same reaction.