a journey of the senses
TRIBUTE ATTAR – 2009 – ♀♂
Top Notes: Saffron, Frankincense
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Rose of Taifi
Base Notes: Leather, Patchouli, Tobacco, Vetiver, Cedar
Price: $665 for 30ml bottle
The Arabian house of Amouage was born in arid Oman in 1983, and is the brainchild of His Highness, Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud Al Busaid. Amouage has done a superb job of producing some pretty memorable perfumes over their reasonably short history, Gold and Jubilation XXV to name but a few. Amouage also has the ability to entice its customers with a five millennium-old perfume-making technique, which produces a little gem officially know as an attar. What is an attar you ask? An attar, or ittar is a perfume oil derived from the distillation of flowers, herbs, spices or other natural raw materials. Oils such as sandalwood or materials capable of absorbing aroma, are the more common base components. Generally, Westerners are not terribly familiar with attars, although interest and production have remained popular in Middle Eastern cultures. Amouage has successfully created a few attars that are geared towards more Western tastes, while still paying homage to their Middle Eastern roots. The attar I’m focusing on today is Tribute Attar from Amouage. Is Tribute Attar a treat for the senses? I’m afraid it is.
Attars are certainly one of the most interesting and compelling scent structures I have experienced. There is something inherently natural that makes attars seem the most obvious way to perfume oneself. Because attars are oil-based, the liquid does not evaporate in the same way traditional alcohol infused perfumes do when applied to the skin. Attars meld with the natural oils of the skin easily, creating a very personal fragrance. With alcohol infused perfumes, there are the familiar phases of the perfume’s structure, top, heart and base notes. With attars, there is less of a focus on a evolution of the three phases, and the perfume is much more amalgamated. An attar’s note structure changes subtly and graciously without distinct phases. Just as interesting as its rival, perfume, but on a much less predictable level. But how does Tribute Attar smell?
The opening of Tribute Attar is focused on spicy saffron and smoky frankincense, giving an Oriental impression at first sniff. Personally, I find this collaboration successful and intoxicating. I love a little saffron in my rice, and a whole lot more in my perfumes. Tribute Attar’s opening combo is a predominantly masculine onslaught, at best, but thoroughly enjoyable and warming. The oil-based concentration of this attar clings to the wearer’s skin endlessly, while developing a deeper, richer, more comfortable texture as time passes. You become hypnotized by the spicy and smoky opening, but you are then unknowingly tricked by the heart of Tribute Attar, which is clad in delicate flowers. Sweet jasmine and spicy rose are but a scrim over more overtly hot and smoky embers. The warming opening does not wane, but becomes just another layer in the evolution of Tribute Attar. Amouage departs from its Arabian roots with a modern Western inspiration; leather. The introduction of leather offers an interesting animalistic element and a complete contrast to the earlier spice and smoky opening. The fragrance takes on a completely masculine accord. It is further complicated by the addition of earthy patchouli. The introduction of fragrant tobacco and aromatic cedar are perfect, but oddly predictable partners. Cedar grounds this fragrance and adds clarity. Finally, a trace of vetiver gives all the mostly heavy notes a slightly lighter green, unpretentious temperament. The saffron has now comfortably settled in, and once merged with the vetiver, allude to a soft powdery accord.
I find Tribute Attar to have a captivating sense of antiquity. This fragrant attar has a timelessness and attractive demeanor. Because the manner in which attars are created, a little goes a long way. Attars should be worn in areas of the body that generate heat. The inner elbow, chest and neck are great places to apply an attar. The bloodflow in these areas will help keep the oils in the attar brewing for hours, and promotes the oil’s ability to emanate. Attars are subtle and more personal scents. Their personality is not loud and boisterous but soft, comforting and alluring. The end result is equally divine and heavenly, as well as precious and potent.