Mercilessly, the scent of a young girl inflicts a pubescent boy with an unshakable obsession. Such impossible lust, enough to turn the young Jean-Baptiste’s fixation on the scent of female flesh into a fetish. Leopold Bloom gazing at his limp languid member, like you too once relished the smell of the baker’s breath down beneath.
Fictional, perhaps, but not far-fetched. Just as certain perfumers have gotten requests from their significant other to bottle up their musky armpit sweat and make a perfume out of it, this is a bottled up memory of coming of age, elevated to the immaculate olfactory vistas of none other than a Sultan’s finest rose harvest.
Perfume can be intensely carnal. And it would be chicanery on my part to shy away from the all-too-human eroticism we are meant to indulge in, not deny. Bygone lovers who sought out and lacquered their bodies in expensive perfume to meet, newlywed, behind the curtains, and let sweat meet rose, emit musk, leaving that lingering scent of spent skin as your body slips into soma, gratified and wet.
Instead of that, branded synthetics reflect the monuments we erect to our hollow, empty, sex-obsessed selves who no longer dare yearn with a lover’s passion for the smell of her nape, for your soft cheek on his sweaty chest. Glaring each at his Exegi Monumentum, holding a magazine loaded with one synthetic more tawdry than the next, one-dimensional man is losing that all-too-intimate, willing-die-for – to kill for – passion for Lola. When was the last time a fragrance moved you? Made you tingle down there and your cheeks blush? Made you want.
Perfume has become just an aftershave in a hyper-sanitized world. BigMacs with big budgets for big posters of big stars. Designer colognes that will forever remind you of the airport Duty-Free, where they stand for marketing and glitz next to tax-free drums of cheap whiskey, cartons of cigarettes and slabs of KitKat. To remind you of Hollywood’s latest show, not the ravishing libido of your embarrassed teenage self, discovering your sexuality, fantasizing without a flinch of those moments where you’d lie there smelling his armpit sweat, in love, wanting more. The scent of the ointment that sticks to her hair that sticks to your cheek. The scent of rose, of the Himalayan oyster, the Greeks’ red grape. Makes you wonder, when did the rose gardens dry out? for what did we sacrifice the vigor of young Jean-Baptiste?
Through Qaboos’ rose and the Sheikh’s musk, Sultan Red Rose Attar sets out to conjure not animalics but these human, all too human odors that we encounter in our most passionate moments.
When did rose beds and the raunchiest musk lose their carnal intimacy? Why did perfume turn into little more than a poster of bad boy actor X or the sad shallow image of a saucy looking actress?
Just like that plastic flower at the department store gives you as much oxygen as the plastic pot it’s in, muscone isolates and lab-made rose stir up sales, streamline and cut costs, but are bereft of soul. That’s why natural ingredients matter, and why I used aromatics that are the crème de la crème in each genre, some of which I’ve had to wait years to acquire, others I’d kept for years waiting for the right time to bring them out.
Sultan Rose Attar was composed of three ingredients. Sultan Red Rose Attar adds thirty more, including Hainan 2005 for its sleek orange zest and virgin musky allure. On top of that, a thick dose of the most expensive Kambodi oud we ever distilled to round the scent out with a über-rare oudilicious base. Even the carrier is a 40-year-old vintage Mysore.
The Sultan’s private harvest from the early 80’s, musk pods ground and crushed by the Sheikh’s own hands fourteen years ago. The reddest rose, oud dripping from its petals, infused into pods potent with primal charm. A motif that celebrates love and rosy-cheeked blushing hot-blooded play. A risqué aphrodisiac that kisses your skin and stokes the titillating flame between the two of you.
This oud parfum is my humble rendition of those timeless fragrances so pheromonal you feel that sultry musc a la musc carnal lick-your-lips primacy, just as you felt it for the first time at your sweet sixteen. When you felt it again, but deeper, as you dreamt of holding her hand. As the poets taught you, to fancy a kiss. And more than that.
Older as I now am, I remember fondly and uncomfortably my coming of age. A single swipe of this red rose pastes it all onto a canvas for me to behold. My finest ouds, a Buddhist master’s finest sandalwood, a Sultan’s rose harvest, in a scent that lets you look back at the teenage you; your first look at her, her first look at you. Young love. And lust. Ultimately, for many a dedication to such intimacy lost.