Amouage Tribute Attar: The Devil’s Elixir

Amouage TributeWhat sorcery is this?! What dark magic created such a devil’s elixir? It’s simply cruel to make something that smells this good, and make it so expensive. It really verges on the sadistic.

Those were a few of my thoughts as I tried Tribute, an attar from Amouage. A reader of the blog, “Dubaiscents,” whose generosity is only surpassed by her thoughtfulness, sweetness, and kindness sent me a sample of the divine scent. Tribute seemed to by-pass most of my normal analytical skills, going straight for the jugular, and triggering an atavistic, primal, wholly incoherent desire to dive headlong into a pile of old leather jackets topped by a blanket of roses in a tarry birch woodshed filled with frankincense smoke. Honestly, the thought that hit me from the start was that Tribute was Darth Vader’s perfect rose — and I mean that in the absolute best way possible.

Source: all-wallpapers.net

Source: all-wallpapers.net

One can’t explain Tribute without first taking a small detour into what constitutes an “attar.” Attars (or ittars) are concentrated perfume oils made from natural botanicals and without using an alcohol as a base. As Wikipedia explains, the process goes back thousands of years in the Middle East and India, whereby the essential oils left from distilling flower petals, woods, and herbs are often distilled down further into a base, then aged. The site, Broken Earth Naturals, explains the difference between attars and essential oils:

Source: Broken Earth Naturals.

Source: Broken Earth Naturals.

Traditionally Attars are similar to essential oils in that they are distilled using water or steam and are the pure oils taken from the distillation of botanical material. Attars are different from essential oils because Attars are usually herbs and flowers, or even woods and resins which are being distilled into a base oil such as sandalwood. These distillates are then allowed to age for varying amounts of time. Some attars are aged for only 20 days while others may be aged for many years. Like fine wines, when properly stored, attars grow in perfection.

An even more technical, detailed explanation of the process is available at Bio-Bytes, which seems to imply that paraffin is used nowadays to compensate for the lack of real sandalwood oil as a base.

Amouage’s Tribute attar does not have the traditional sandalwood base, but the process which has been followed is the ancient one and seems to include the aging process as well. In a press release quoted by Now Smell This, Amouage describes Tribute as follows: 

Combining with frankincense in graceful accord, the subtle majesty of saffron forms with it the top chord of the fragrance, and heralds the transition into an elaborate and powerful range of floral heart notes, chief among which are Jasmine and Rose Taifi.

Once it reaches full maturity, warm, richly spiced base notes such as leather, tobacco, cedarwood, patchouli and vetiver emerge to round out the fragrance, creating a gentle but powerfully intriguing finish that harks back to the traditional use of attars by ancient healers and prophets, who employed them to enhance moods, and uplift the soul.

Tribute was released in 2009, and Fragrantica says that it was made with the help of perfumers from Grasse, France. According to Luckyscent, its notes include:

Rose Taifi, Jasmine, Saffron, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Tobacco, Leather, Patchouli, Vetiver.

Elsewhere, I’ve seen other ingredients mentioned as a part of the scent, from Cade and Juniper (which is where cade oil comes from) to Birch Tar. As the Perfume Shrine explains, all three notes are common sources in perfumery for a certain kind of leather aroma. To me, Tribute is all about the birch tar and not about the more piney nuance that I associate with juniper, so I strongly agree with Mark Behnke who, in an article for Fragrantica, talked repeatedly about the birch tar aspect to the attar’s leather facade.

The concentrated nature of attars — and those from Amouage in specific — lends to some caution in application. I’d read repeated reports that a mere drop of Tribute could last well over 24 hours in duration, a fact commonly pointed to as a justification for the perfume’s incredibly high price for an incredibly tiny bottle. Given my wonky skin, I decided to go a little wild, live on the edge, and apply two mediumish drops. By the end of the day, I had wished I had doused myself in the oil, as Tribute simply gets better, and better, and better….

Source: wallpaperfo.com

Source: wallpaperfo.com

Tribute opens on my skin with a burst of birch tar, cedar, rose, frankincense smoke, saffron, leather and patchouli. Each note is crystal clear for a second, hanging in the air like a bell, and, yet, part of a greater, gloriously well-blended sum total at the same time. Within seconds, however, certain notes converge to dominate, and to create the impression of a rose taken to the woodshed where it is surrounded by black leather set on fire with tar and dark incense. It’s all done in the best, darkest, dirtiest, smokiest way possible. As those two, small, satiny drops of dark, thick oil melt further into the skin, the birch tar rises like Darth Vader breathing blackly from the bowels of frankincense and leather. You can almost hear him heavy-breathing in the corner as the rose turns into smoky leather. Swirls of blackness abound all around, from the incense to the phenolic, tarry birch so beloved by the Russian cossacks of old for their leather. Cedar circles around the vortex, adding a woody touch to the smoky elements. And, behind the dark clouds, lies the shining ruby light of the rose.

Photo: Jon Gonzo on Flickr. (Site link embedded within photo.)

Photo: Jon Gonzo on Flickr. (Site link embedded within photo.)

Like black-garbed knights, the notes in Tribute follow in a definite progression of strength in those early moments. General Birchtar leads the troops, carrying the leather banner loudly and proudly, with frankincense as his roaring second in command. Lieutenant Cedar follows, then the Sargeant Taif. The rose is beefy, concentrated, and blackened, but a touch spicy, too, thanks to the fiery saffron. The remaining elements bring up the rear in a much more indistinct form, though the patchouli occasionally pops up to make his voice heard. Only the jasmine is a no-show at this point.

Source: wallpaper-source.com

Source: wallpaper-source.com

I love the rose in Tribute, simply love it, especially at the end of twenty minutes when it becomes much more pronounced. I’m generally not one to go crazy about rose notes, but this one is simply beautiful. If flowers were meat, the Taif rose in Tribute would have the refinement of Filet Mignon, but the large, thick feel of a Porterhouse or a mammoth slab of Prime Rib. At all times, it’s done rare, dripping its juices as dark as blood. It’s spicy, syrupy, smoky, leathery, beefy, woody, and jammy, all at once, and its growing prominence makes Tribute the most fascinating blend of tarry blackness and sweet crimson. Forty minutes in, the Taif rose takes its place as the star of the show. Infused with the tarry leather and frankincense, it’s a tough, butch rose that is well-suited for those men who think rose scents are girly things that they can’t wear. Yet, there is more to Darth Vader’s rose than just leather and smoke. The spicy saffron lends it a touch of fieriness, while the patchouli adds a subtle undertone of beautifully balanced sweetness.

Lara Stone, the dutch model, photographed by Mert & Marcus for Interview Magazine.

Lara Stone, the Dutch model, photographed by Mert & Marcus for Interview Magazine.

Slowly, very slowly, Tribute shifts a little. At the end of the second hour, it mellows, deepens, and softens, turning into a well-blended bouquet whose tough, sharp edges have been smoothed out. It’s still a dark fragrance, but Darth Vader has left the building and Lara Stone has taken his place. The fragrance wafts about in a mellower, deeper, richer cloud of leather, rose, tarry woods, and smoke. Tribute stays on this course for hours to come, with the leather becoming more aged, oiled, burnished, and smooth with every moment. At the start of the fourth hour, the fragrance finally drops in projection, no longer radiating out across the room.

The sillage is a point worth explaining in detail. Tribute doesn’t start as a nuclear-tipped perfume which can knock out someone across the room, but it definitely creates a small cloud around one. While walking around my house, I was surprised to detect little wafts of a smoky, dark rose lingering in a tiny, faint way in the air in a place I had been about ten minutes earlier. Tribute definitely sends little tendrils of scent out in a soft wave, but this is a naturally made fragrance oil, not a conventional perfume with its synthetic elements or alcohol base. As such, the scent never feels powerful or overwhelming in quite the same way a normal fragrance — even one of Amouage’s regular, powerful perfumes — does. The best way I can explain it is that there is a softness to its presence, no matter how strong it might be. Tribute doesn’t pulsate out like a tidal wave the way something like a Tom Ford Private Blend or a 1980s powerhouse like Poison might, but, then again, I only put on two small drops. What might happen if you went overboard, and put on the true equivalent of a spray of perfume, heaven only knows.

Aged, antique leather. Source: buffaloleatherstore.com

Aged, antique leather. Source: buffaloleatherstore.com

There are other changes to the fragrance, too. About 3.75 hours in, the leather is no longer so tarry and smoky, but, instead, has turned into a smoother, richer, oiled leather. In addition, the rose is not quite so dominant, though it is still wholly intertwined with the leather. The frankincense has been smoothed over and softened. Faint traces of the saffron, cedar, and patchouli remain in differing degrees, but the vetiver vanished long ago on my skin. As a whole, Darth Vader has been left well behind, and Tribute now feels like a very beloved, well-worn, warm leather jacket whose inner collar and neck carry the lingering traces of a deep, dark rose. At the 4.5 hour mark, the fragrance starts becoming closer to the skin, and the rose has retreated somewhat, leaving a scent that is primarily smoky, incense leather at its core.

Source: saab92x.com

Source: saab92x.com

I thought Tribute was a sexy scent from the start, but the fragrance ramps it up in its middle and final stages. About 5.25 hours in, Tribute is an intoxicating swirl of smoky woods and rich, aged leather that is faintly infused with sweetness and a lingering trace of rose. Quiet, muted flickers of saffron have popped back up at the edges, but they’re nutty rather than spicy or fiery. Towards the end of the 6th hour, Tribute turns into a skin scent, but it’s one that is so warm, rich, and sweet, it’s positively addictive. Something about the scent makes me feel like diving headlong into a pile of aged, burnished leather, burrowing my nose deeper and deeper into its multi-layered richness. If you’ve ever worn your boyfriend or partner’s old leather jacket, it’s that smell, only infused with some floral sweetness and incense.

Source: Hdwallpaperes.com

Source: Hdwallpaperes.com

It just gets better with time, as Tribute’s final stage takes that beautiful leather richness and mixes it with jasmine. Midway during the 7th hour, the jasmine finally comes out to play, and its addition lends a touch of feminine softness to the leather. Tribute is now sweet, warm, jasmine leather with a touch of frankincense smoke and nutty saffron. Even as a skin scent, the intoxicating aroma is still somewhat potent when you put your nose right on your skin. Despite the thinner, lighter feel at the end of 8 hours, the scent itself remains rich, deep and smooth. It’s utterly sexy, and stays that way until its final moments when Tribute is nothing more than a soft blur of sweetened leather. All in all, two tiny drops lasted just short of 10.75 hours on my perfume-consuming skin. It’s not the 24 hours of legend with a single drop, but then, my skin is wonky and doesn’t retain fragrances like other people. It certainly doesn’t hold onto natural perfume oils for such a long period of time, so I’m still very impressed.

As you can tell, I loved Tribute, but it is not a scent that I would recommend for everyone. I think men who love dark, smoky, slightly tarry, and very masculine leather fragrances should run to try it, especially those who normally find rose scents to be too feminine. On the other hand, women who are used to traditional feminine fragrances, delicate florals, and soft, sweet, dainty rose scents will want to stay far away. Tribute’s Darth Vader opening and the focus on tarry leather make it a scent that will skew very masculine for some women. Yet, those who like very dark, smoky, leathery fragrances may well fall in love with Tribute’s multi-faceted richness. If you can handle something like Bandit or Black Afghano, Tribute will be your cup of tea.

Tribute is enormously beloved by men (and some women), but out of the many positive reviews out there, my favorite may come from The Perfume Posse who raves about it in two separate, humourous posts. In the first, Patty writes, in part:

I barely dotted a drop on a wrist, went downstairs to talk to my son, and his first comment was, “what smells so good?”  That drop was permeating the room and wafting like  a pig farm in the summer.  Of course I mean that in a good way.  I went to the movies about 30 minutes later, and I was filling the theater with this magical scent — all Amouage Tribute Attar. […][¶]

This thing comes out of the bottlle like the fiercest, smokiest rose covered in leather and tobacco you have ever smelled.  Think Hell’s Angel Rose.  Put your nose down to it, and it’s floral dipped in diesel, mostly diesel, not so much floral.  I say that with love because I’m fairly fond of that.  But  if that’s not really your thing – diesel, I mean –  just wait a while, put it on in a location far from your nose and wait for it to perfume the air with saffron and spices.  This thing spins and whirls and changes in the drydown, leaning more to the leather, then the rose comes back through, and then it feels like almost all spice and saffron, then it starts huffing smoky vetiver like a coal-fired locomotive.  I don’t know that I’d say it’s a rose perfume.  It is, but it’s so much more than that. […] I’m bewitched.  

In the second review (for another Amouage attar, Al Mas), another Perfume Posse reviewer, Musette, talks about her experience with Tribute:

My first introduction to Amouage attars came in the form of  Amouage Tribute.  I was immediately smitten but it’s one of those attars I can only wear …..where?  There are so few comfortable places.  I mean, it’s so gorgeous!!!  But it’s so smoky, so complex, so…..foreign…that it …well, after a few nervous glances towards nearby fire extinguishers  I now tend to wear it At Home.  Lounging around in a silk caftan, on a silk divan, fanning myself (with a silk fan, scented with Amouage Tribute Attar).   Or tucked up in bed, apres-bain, with the Really Good Sheets.  Or at the opera.  Seriously.  It’s perfect for the opera.  Or a gallery opening, where you want to make a Statement.   One drop of  Amouage Tribute will scent your 3/4 length leather gloves for a month!  It lasts for a day and shimmers and glows through all its smoky-deep facets to an incredible drydown but, make no mistake – it’s deep.  

Source: The Telegraph newspaper.

“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Source: The Telegraph newspaper.

As you can see, women love Tribute, too, though they aren’t always sure where to wear it. While I can easily envision a woman wearing Tribute while lounging in a silk caftan at home, a better image for me personally would be a young Hugh Hefner in his silk pajamas, with a velvet robe, smoking a pipe in his leather-filled study, and being caressed by beautiful women who can’t stop sniffing his neck. I don’t see Tribute fitting in even remotely at the opera, but I can easily imagine Clint Eastwood wearing Tribute in his Sergio Leone western days to go with his cheroot cigar and squinty-eyed toughness. Or Darth Vader rising from the smoke. Tribute reflects all their different, contrasting sides. It is every forceful, tough, macho, dark, aggressive, but very sexy, man imaginable — concentrated into one or two silky, unctuous drops.

There seems to be one big problem with Tribute, beyond that of its astronomical price: batch numbers. On Fragrantica, there are a few references to differences in scent from one batch of attars to another, though it seems to be less of an issue for Tribute than it is for Amouage’s sister attar, Homage. Homage’s Luckyscent page is filled with talk about how the attar’s aroma can vary from one bottle to another, so it’s something I wanted to mention. As one Fragrantica commentator wrote with regard to Tribute:

I went to Amouage’s factory. The truth is that Amouage produces its attars with varying quality. I am not sure why this is happening but they have some problems controlling quality of the end-product, probably because they have different inputs for each batch. I personally got my hands on 3 different qualities of the Tribute. Only one of them was as good as it was supposed to be. The other two batches had either too much tobacco or too much vetiver or too little rose etc in the final bouquet. So please try the bottle before you buy it, don’t rely on the tester, try THAT VERY BOTTLE. The same problem is with other, originally excellent, attars – Al Mulook, Al Mas, Eidyya, Bard al Budur, Al Andaluz. The way to correct the Tribute that has too much tobacco is to add further 5-15% of Ajmal’s rose oil – the spicy and zesty Kashmiri rose that they widely sell in their shops in the arabic countries (they also call it Ruh al Ward). After mixing wait for 2-3 months keeping the bottle in the dark cool cabinet. The result exceeded my expectations! Good luck.

The issue that he references may explain one of the few, persistent complaints regarding Tribute: some people think the fragrance smells too strongly of tobacco and, in specific, of cigarette smoke. As one Fragrantica commentator put it, she smelled like “a smoky camel”:

Not a single waft of rose, jasmine, or any lighter essence. On me, the scent became thickly redolent of tobacco and leather, and for some reason I kept thinking about camel hide. I grew up in parts of the Middle East, and know what camels smell like. I’m very fond of camels, and defend them against their nasty reputation. I’d be crabby too if I had to carry loads on my back through baking hot terrain.

I just don’t want to smell like a smoky camel now. And I did all day.  

Obviously, all of this is a problem at $370 (without tax) for the smallest, tiniest bottle. Not everyone can visit the Amouage factory in Oman to test the fragrance and to choose their own bottle to minimize the risk of getting an excessively smoky, tobacco version. Amouage is charging too high a price for there to be such discrepancies, but the simple fact of the matter is that the very process of attar creation may make such variations an unfortunate part of the process. I’m not trying to minimize the problem, but it does seem to be somewhat unavoidable.

Yet, despite the occasional off batch, the majority of people seem wholly enamoured with Tribute. Take, for example, Basenotes, where the fragrance has an overall 93% positive rating with 79% giving it five stars, and 14% giving it four. If the fragrance were cheaper, I think those numbers would be even higher, because the issue of cost does come up repeatedly. Only one person gave Tribute a single star, and that seems to be because, four bottles of Tribute later, he claims the fragrance in 2012 was reformulated from its original 2009 version. There may have been reformulation or maybe it was a batch issue, I don’t know.

All I can say is that I would absolutely buy Tribute if I had a spare $370 lying around for a bottle a little larger than Visine or Tic-Tacs — risky batch issues be damned. I would buy it, try to suppress the urge to slather it on all over, then burrow into its rich, fiery, smoky depths, and sigh with pure contentment. Unfortunately, neither my wallet nor my somewhat cheap-skate side (which really mentally struggles with that 12 ml size, no matter how much I try to rationalise the longevity of single drops) will put up $370. So, I’ll simply treasure my remaining droplets, and wear it on those days when I would like Darth Vader’s strength mixed with the sweetest flowers of the East. Tribute is dark magic of the very best kind, and its smoky lure has bewitched me, too.

[UPDATE: Amouage discontinued Tribute and all its attars in Spring 2014. You can read the reasons here. The retailers linked below sold out of Tribute in 2014, and it is virtually impossible to find these days except on rare occasion on eBay. The closest thing to it is Ame Sombre (Grade 1) attar from Sultan Pasha which was intentionally designed as a tribute to Tribute, only in much stronger, heavier, and more powerful form.]

DETAILS:
Cost, Availability & Stores: Tribute is a concentrate perfume oil, an attar, and is available in three sizes: 12 ml which costs $370, €265 or £225; 15 ml which costs $420; or 30 ml which costs $665, or £400.00. The perfume is not sold directly through the Amouage website, but is available through a number of different online vendors. In the U.S.: Tribute is available in all three sizes from Luckyscent, along with a sample for $14. It is available in the smallest and largest sizes from Parfums Raffy, Amouage’s authorized distributor in the U.S., along with Parfum1, and MinNY, all of which also sell samples. The small $350 bottle is also offered by ZGO.  Outside the U.S.: In Canada, you can get Tribute from The Perfume Shoppe which sells the perfume oil in the small 12 ml size for US$350. In the UK, Tribute Attar is available at Harrods which sells the large 30 ml size for £400, but they are sold out at the time of this post. London’s Les Senteurs also carries Tribute which it sells in the small 12 ml size for £225. In the Netherlands, I found Tribute at Parfumerie.nl for €265 for 12 ml. In Italy, Tribute seems to be available from Alla Violetta for €266 for 12 ml, but it’s unclear to me whether they are currently sold out. In Germany, Tribute is available from Parfumerie Brueckner for €267 for 12 ml. Germany’s First in Fragrance also carries Tribute which it sells for €265 for 12 ml, but they are currently sold out. In Russia, I found Tribute at Eleven7ru. Kuwait’s Universal Perfumes sells the 30 ml bottles of Tribute at discounted prices, but I’m not sure what they mean by discontinued batch and “new version.” The prices, respectively, are $499 and $599 for 30 ml, which is lower than retail cost. Samples: Vials of Tribute are available from many of the retailers linked above, but also from Surrender to Chance which sells Tribute starting at $14.99 for a 1/4 ml vial.

77 thoughts on “Amouage Tribute Attar: The Devil’s Elixir

  1. I was just wearing Tribute again yesterday (I think this tiny sample will last forever). I don’t know what to think about it. It is sooooo strong. With just the tiniest dab it is a powerhouse. Smoky and dark. I like your Darth Vader roses reference. I wore it a few weeks ago and then wore it again yesterday. It is a fragrance I want to experience intermittently and I think I need to mature into it. There is something attractive about it, but at the same time something off-putting.

    • It might be a scent that works better on your particular skin in winter than in summer, even if it is the end of summer. I’m sure the heat brings out the smokiness. Then again, there is always the thorny issue of the batches varying in terms of smokiness and strength. Either way, I think Tribute is a scent that may take a little getting used to at first, but I’m sure it also depends on one’s personal tastes, yardstick, or experiences. One certainly has to love very smoky or tarry fragrances to enjoy Tribute. I happen to really enjoy birch tar, but I know it isn’t for everyone. 🙂

      • on a positive note, with a %15 off coupon code on Parfum1 the 1 oz is a whopping $100 off resulting in a bargain basement price of just $565. I’m kind of glad when I don’t fall in love with uber expensive fragrances, but judging from all the love for Tribute I wouldn’t doubt that one day I might find myself lusting for it.

        And on another positive note, you found another love Kafka!

        • ROFL. “Bargain basement price of just $565.” Hahaha! It’s so damn ridiculous, isn’t it? The thought of $400 (with tax) for 12 ml floors me, so I’m afraid the bargain price just makes me want to howl at the moon. As I said at the start, it’s almost sadistic to torment us so….

          As for the positive of my finding another love, damn me and my expensive tastes. Why can’t I fall in love with a $60 fragrance??! 😀

          • I’m wondering what other batches of Tribute smell like. I put some on again today and it is soooo smoky. I should mix it with my Homage sample. It has a beautiful rose scent. How could anyone reliably buy Tribute not knowing what batch they would receive? It is a bit of torture isn’t it?

          • It may well be a batch issue in your case. Then again, it could be a question of the birch tar. How familiar are you with the note, Cohibadad? I know you’re somewhat new to perfumery, and birch is not enormously common in perfumery now. It has a very strong, tarry smokiness even apart from any incense that may be used. Have you tried Andy Tauer’s Lonestar Memories? It’s very prominent in there. It’s also noticeable, though to a slightly lesser degree in Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline. (It’s handled with much greater lightness and with compensatory sweetness in Serge Lutens’ Boxeuses, and countered with herbal and amber notes in Santa Maria Maria Novella’s Ambra.) If you have experienced a lot birch tar, then your Tribute may be an issue of batch numbers, especially if you get a lot of tobacco in the smokiness. If you’re not, then it may be a question of a slight learning curve with the note, an issue of batch numbers, or some combination of both factors.

          • I mixed a little Homage with the Tribute and it makes a world of difference. Something to cut the smoke down. If this is a batch problem then what in the world is wrong with Amouage quality control? I am just imagining someone falling in love with the real Tribute only to end up with the cigarette smoke Tribute through an online purchase. It must happen.

          • I wonder how much more difficult the attar process is than creating a regular perfume. To me, it seems like something which is less precise, almost inherently, than creating perfumes with an alcohol and water base. Either way, if someone ends up with a bottle of Tribute that they don’t like, it wouldn’t be hard to sell it. The perfume was sold out at a number of vendors, and it’s such a worshipped, beloved cult favorite, I’m sure you could always find a buyer if your bottle seems a little off.

          • I have tried Lonestar. This is nothing like that. It is so smoky that it is difficult to smell anything past the heavy smoke. And by heavy smoke I would say on the level of being in a car full of smokers on a 5 hour drive with all windows rolled up and ashtrays overflowing. I kid you not. After sitting for a loooong time, the smokiness fades enough to smell past it. I was pretty amazed at what a little Homage did to it and it made me think of the advice you quoted about adding the rose oil. When I read that I thought that’s crazy and I would never do that, but after seeing how a little bit totally smoothed the over the top smokiness I think that advice is probably spot on.

          • Given what you’re describing, it DEFINITELY sounds like you got a bad batch! Seriously, it was nothing remotely like that on me. Smoky, yes, but nothing close to smokers or ashtrays. You only have a small sample, right? Not a full bottle? It would be interesting to order another vial from a different vendor and see if you get something closer to the Tribute that I and others smelled. None of the people who’ve commented here about it mentioned anything about ashtrays or cigarette smoke, so it don’t think what you’re experiencing is the norm by any means. Such a terrible shame. I’m so sorry. Where did you get your sample? LuckyScent? Surrender to Chance? A Basenotes member?

          • Ok. Added Tribute to my next Surrender order as well. My sample came from Luckyscent and after reading the glowing reviews I was so looking forward to it and wondering how in the world would I ever spend that much if I fell in love with it? And I thought I was pretty fortunate to not fall for it, but I couldn’t figure out how women raved about this when it is sooooo smoky. If it is just a bad batch then it would all make sense. But then the problem of how would I ever spend that much if I did fall in love with it? Those oils last forever though.

          • Awwww, in some ways, I almost hope you don’t fall in love with the proper/correct version because …. Ouch. BUT, look what I found at the place where I discovered the other two Amouage attars, Al Mas and Asrar: Tribute at a discounted price! Or, to be precise, at the usual, lower Dubai price! 12 ml of Tribute attar for $298!! http://www.asf-dubaishop.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ProductName=Tribute+Amouage+Oil+perfume++12+ml+&PGFLngID=1&ItmID=8553063

            Given how long a single drop seems to last on your skin (you lucky devil, you!), then 12 ml may last you for ages. And $300 is much more manageable, no?

          • That Dubaishop is a nice find Kafka. Thanks for linking to it. Now I’m back in the “can’t wait to try Tribute” mode again 🙂

    • Cohibadad, I just thought that I would add my two cents to the conversation since I have the same batch of Tribute as Kafka reviewed. I just put it on again yesterday evening and to me, it is completely smokey and definitely very very strong. I am not disagreeing with Kafka that she gets so many more nuances from it than I do (I swear she has an amazing superhuman sense of smell!) but, I don’t really get much more from this than that smokey, birch tar and frankincense. But, this is why I love it so much! There certainly is some of that ashtray smell which, I think is the birch tar aspect. I really searched for some rose and couldn’t find it but, that is the fun of skin chemistry and different noses – more so than various batches from the manufacturer. Although, I don’t disagree that the attars probably vary a lot more than a standard alcohol based scent. It would be interesting to hear if you get a difference from another sample.

      • LOL at my superhuman sense of smell. Remembering the celery note at dinner? 😉 😀 I’m sure skin chemistry plays a large role in things, as well as the batch issue. I certainly got enough smoke to bring up Darth Vader as a reference, but it seems that I get much more floral nuances than you and the two guys here, and no ashtray. I’m relieved, because I’ve smelled ashtray notes in perfumes in the past (M. Micallef’s Royal Vintage had a big one!), and shuddered.

        • Well, I got another Tribute sample, this time from Surrender to Chance and the verdict is . . . it is almost unrecognizable compared to the first one. The smokiness is so much better balanced here. It is really lovely. I just can’t stop myself from sniffing it. Wonderful.

          • Oh, thank God! I was actually thinking about this very issue just yesterday, and had concluded that your radio silence on the new sample ordered from StC bode ill but you were merely too polite to say so. So, I am HUGELY relieved that you had an experience closer to my own and that the smokiness was completely downtoned and balanced, as compared to your Luckyscent version! Do you get any hints of florals, Cohibadad? Darth Vader’s rose? More importantly, now that you can see a clear difference in types and versions, with the version that I experienced beinng wholly addictive on you, what are you going to do? LOL.

          • Yes. With the smokiness muted it allowed the rose to come through and it is really lovely. Better than my Homage/Tribute experiment. I would love to have this one. Even if the price wasn’t such a hurdle, I fear that I’d end up with the ashtray batch rather than the Tribute batch. The difference is so huge. Thankfully a tiny dab goes a long way so I’ll savor my sample and hope I don’t become too attached when it comes to an end 🙂

          • There is a new fear now, Cohiba, to add to the problem of batch variations. There is talk that the attars are being discontinued…. 🙁 And there seems to be a solid basis for them: http://www.basenotes.net/t/377792/amouages-attars-will-now-be-discontinued. Talk about adding one type of frustration to another! Guess one has to order directly from the Middle East. You may get a bad batch, but given the discontinuation in the West, you could easily turn around and sell that version to someone in a second. Just something to ponder. Perhaps you can ask for it as a Christmas present. lol

  2. These notes are actually giving me the warm fuzzies for the Maryland Renaissance Festival; walking into the woods, leaves crunching underfoot, woodsmoke from the bonfires, the smell of patchouli and rose oils on sale in the stalls, candles burning, leather moccasins and clothing, a faraway smell of someone’s cigarette. This intrigues me.

    • I don’t know if this would be too smoky for you, Vicki, but I think you may enjoy the spin nonetheless. It all depends on how you deal with birch’s tarriness. 🙂

  3. Ah Kafka it’s so nice to see you genuinely rave about something! You are a hard nut to crack and with your impeccably high standards this must be a truly wonderful scent. I know that it won’t be for me but I want to smell it anyway now! Alas I doubt that will ever happen *sigh*.

    • Alas, I wish I had less expensive tastes. I know I don’t rave often (at ALL), especially given all the fragrances I review, but it would be so nice to fall for a cheap perfume instead of languishing away for these ridiculously priced bottles. 12 ml?!! Insane. I mean, seriously, 12 ml???!?! It makes Puredistance look like a positive bargain. LOL. Thank God for Serge Lutens, or I wouldn’t be able to afford anything I really loved. 🙂

  4. Oh Kafka, I’m so happy you love this one!! It was my first Amouage Attar and still one of my favorites (with Al Mas being the other true love). I love to pair this with Interlude Man for ultimate smokiness and just wear it alone. And it seems I was lucky with my batch (purchased in 2012 in Dubai btw). If you ever want a bottle let me know. I need to check the prices but, I know 12 ml in Dubai is closer to $275 not $370. Still a lot of money but, as you see, it is definitely quality stuff! Absolutely gorgeous review, I couldn’t agree more and can’t wait to wear this again when I get back home!

    • Don’t tempt me, woman! 😀 LOL! Tribute is something I would definitely consider saving up for, though the whole 12 ml thing is something my brain has difficulty wrapping itself around. (Seriously, 12 ml?! Ouch.) My cheapskate side notwithstanding, I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to try this glorious, glorious fragrance. It’s really special, and I can’t get over how beautifully it develops. The start seriously conjured up Darth Vader rising up in smoke. The “Dark Side” of a rose, indeed. I’m going to treasure my remaining drops, and contemplate perhaps saving up for a bottle. 🙂

  5. This one sounds so nice, but oh the price (prepares to faint) lol Why all the scents I think I would love, so uber expensive? Maybe it’s a good thing that its out of my price range, keeps me from falling in love with it. I might just try a sample someday. I love when a great fragrance surrounds me with its smoke. Great review!

    • I wouldn’t recommend Tribute for you, Mr. Hound. I know you’re not very keen on birch tar, so I don’t think this would be your sort of thing. Perhaps the sweeter, more floral Homage attar might work better. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard good things about it, and I think it would be a better fit for you, both in terms of the floral notes and the less leathery, smoky aspects. 🙂

  6. Tribute is riveting – so smoldering and sexy. I actually think it smells a lot like Verop Profumo Onda, except of course there is the rose note in Tribute that one doesn’t find in Onda.

    One thing I loved and couldn’t believe about the Jovoy Boutique in Paris is that they have bottles of both Amouage Tribute and Amouage Homage open and on display, so that anyone is free to dab on as much as they want to sample. 🙂

    (Btw, I got a kick out of your line, “If flowers were meat, the Taif rose in Tribute would have the refinement of Filet Mignon, but the large, thick feel of a Porterhouse or a mammoth slab of Prime Rib.” You’re my kind of person, Kafka … you’ve got me craving a big juicy steak at 10:30 in the morning.) 😀

    • So great to know Tribute has another fan! And to know that women can love it as much as men. It’s so incredibly sexy, isn’t it? Smouldering and sultry, then so rich, deep, and jasmine-y. The rose is really incredibly unusual, as well. As a whole, Tribute makes one see why so many consider Amouage to be the Rolls Royce of fragrances! BTW, thanks for the tip on Jovoy carrying the Amouage attars. I’ll be in Paris in October, and I definitely plan on visiting the store. 🙂

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  8. Now please don’t be mad, but this is the scent that was so scarily fierce on me that in my review I dubbed it ‘Amouage Tribute Attila The Attar’. Dear Kafka, you are hardcore, that is all I can say! This was like Yatagan on steroids. My reivew is from July 2, 2010 if you are curious. The fact that you can appreciate this and it ruined a perfectly nice day out in Chester in my own case is further confirmation of our amusingly polarised tastes. 😉

    • I would never be mad, dear Vanessa. You and I have completely opposite tastes, and I was actually thinking of you when I wrote that women who like very wispy, delicate, feminine scents should stay far away from Tribute. 🙂 I guessed that Tribute was the famed “Attila the Attar” that you’d once mentioned to me (and whose review I read a while back). You don’t like orientals at all, and very few ambers; I do. You love iris, green scents, chypres, pastel florals and the most ephemeral of whispery gauzes on your skin; I don’t. So, if you’d like Tribute, I would have keeled over in shock. LOL! Having totally opposite tastes is fun for me, and it makes it enjoyable for me to see how much I can traumatize you with the things I love. *grin* 😉 😀 I’m sure you get the same sort of whimsical amusement when you write about a scent that you know I hate. It’s fun because it’s always done with affection, right? 🙂 The world would be a terribly boring place if we all loved the same thing, after all, no?

      • Absolutely! Agree with all you say. :-). And you were dead right to ward off people with delicate ecosystems like me! That said, I do like orientals though, especially woody and floral ones, occasionally spicy ones, as long as they are fairly restrained, nuzzly and preferably vanillic. It is my favourite category – and Guerlain Plus Que Jamais my favourite scent – though I find myself more commonly waving a flag for the wispy gauzy brigade which needs all the fans it can get, hehe. Such that that style gets more prominence in my writing / commenting.

          • If anyone ever replaced me as your ultimate opposite and your greatest Evil Scent Twin, I’d be very hurt. You make sure you keep me at the very top of your Evil list. *grin*

        • Hahaha, powdery vanillic scents are so not me, that I just find myself smiling at your comment. But I’m glad you’re waving the flag for the Wispy Gauzy Brigade (sounds like a very peaceful, 1960s activist group, hehe), because ALL perfume styles should be represented out there. I’ll stand up for Darth Vader’s Dark Side. 😉 😀

  9. This is one of my favorite scents ever. I tried it a couple of years ago at Aedes and fell hard, very, very hard, very very fast. So hard I shelled out $50 for a 1ml decant. I’m lucky that one drop on my lasts and lasts, but what I wouldn’t give to slather myself in it.

    Of course MY Amouage would be the most expensive per ml!

    • Hurrah for more Tribute love. Knowing your tastes, I suspected it would be completely up your alley. And it sounds like you got a great version, too. Some of the guys don’t seem to have been quite as lucky. As for the price, well, NATURALLY you’d love the most expensive one! LOL!

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  11. Another review that riveted my attention, Kafka. I have a 3 ml decant of Tribute and was excited to see your review of this scent…and your review confirms both my fears and also explains my confusion regarding my decant when compared to yours. My decant came from a 12 ml bottle from a BaseNotes split – bought direct from Amouage in London. Tribute for me is the camel on the old Camel cigarette box dressed in a leather jacket. Alternately smoky with occasional cigarette ash, or leathery, a brown leather which compliments the character of the tobacco so that they seem naturally paired together. Tribute does sometimes offer a morsel of a floral scent – a sweet exhalation of jasmine or sometimes a deep red rose – but both florals are released as if from the La Brea tar pit – secreted pockets of scent bubbling through to the top. Not unpleasant, but lacking the balance your review presents of the fragrance. I think it calls for experimenting with other fragrances so that it’s smoky leathery character enhances and is enhanced with something else. I may try it with Mitzah, or perhaps Fate Woman…:-) Regardless, it was delightful to read your review of a fragrance you really like. I am also tempted to try the Amouage Al Mas!

    • Oh dear, it sounds like the batch number problem has hit again, though your version sounds better than poor Cohibadad’s sample! I had to laugh at the reference to the La Brea tar pits. Hilarious. If you’ve read the comments, then you’ll see that Cohibadad had success in layering another perfume oil with the fragrance. I’d be really interested to see how both Mitzah and Fate Woman might work as a counterbalance, though I wonder if you may need something even more hardcore floral (ie, really indolic or sweet) to undercut the smoke, leather and tobacco. At least your version wasn’t wholly cigarette/ashtray in nature. : How terrible, I’m very sorry. It’s such a shame there seems to be inconsistency from bottle to bottle.

  12. Taking into the account the longevity of the perfume it might be much cheaper “per wear” than many $100/bottle perfumes so if you liked it so much I would recommend to stop buying samples of Iso E Super-laced perfumes for reviews and start saving for the perfume you will enjoy wearing 😉

    I tried a couple of Amouage attars and wasn’t impressed by either one. Homage was nice and had an interesting development over time on my skin but I thought it was too unisex for my liking. Amanie wasn’t interesting at all. I was rather disappointed because I would love to try something that just sweeps me off my feet – no matter howexpensive that something is.

    • Oh, how interesting that Homage didn’t sweep you off your feet! I had thought that may be the one to appeal to you, but it sounds like it wasn’t sufficiently feminine enough and a wee bit too masculine still? Pity. I haven’t heard of Amanie at all, but then Amouage has soooooooooooo many attars (and so many of them seem to start with the letter “A” – lol).

      PS — I would give anything to stop buying samples of ISO E Super perfumes! If only they’d tell me which ones had it in there, I could stop being so terrorized! 😀 But cutting out all the samples I buy won’t be enough. I’d have to stop buying $120-a-month dog food as well. Yes, His Highness’ basic, simple (but prescription) food is that much, and that’s not even considering all the extras that get tossed in each day. I sometimes tell him that he’s eating the equivalent of a very nice bottle of perfume. 😉

  13. Given my proclivity for dropping my tiny sample bottles (seriously, my hands turn to butter when handling a decant!), I think I could only ever apply this in a padded room! Although perhaps the cardboard box I’d have to live in if I ever bought this would provide sufficient padding. 😛 But seriously, this sounds like a total stunner – so rich and decant and beautiful. Glad you had the chance to try it even though it is sort of taunting with its price. Beautiful review of what sounds like a beautiful attar.

    • I think you’d love this one, Kevin, assuming you didn’t get a wonky batch like poor Cohibadad or experience the La Brea tar pits that Two2aHorse did (though his version seems slightly better). If you ever visit The Scent Bar, you’ll know what to look for!

      • I finally smelled this! Very lovely and I liked it a lot, though I have to say I got primarily smokiness. I will need to test it a few more times in the hopes more of it unveils itself to me. I would absolutely wear it as is, but my inability to recognize some of the other facets of it kept me from falling head over heels. Well, that and the price + unavailability. 🙂 Still, I’ve no doubt I’ll gladly drain my decant sooner rather than later, and now I’m excited to try the rest of the attars.

        • Sounds like your batch had very little or no rose at all! Was it ever ashy on you, like cigarette ash? Some people have reported that, though I think it may be a batch issue in part. I’m so glad that you got to try Tribute, though! And please let me know what other layers you detect as you test it further. 🙂

          • It was ashy! I hate to say that because it makes it sound unpleasant – but it really wasn’t and in fact I really *did* like it, even if I got an odd batch that didn’t quite represent how it’s truly supposed to smell. It wasn’t aggressive in it’s ashiness/smokiness, but was in fact very refined and elegant, if that makes sense. I’m going to keep trying, though, and will report back if/when I experience more from it. It wouldn’t be the first time a perfume takes its time in revealing itself to me. 😀

          • I think “ashy” is (or, should I now say, was) the newer versions, but that is just a vague sense I get when reading other people’s reports. My sample came from Rachel and her bottle which she bought eons ago, while newer samples from places like Luckyscent seem to reflect a definite ashiness. I think Surrender to Chance used an older bottle too, because someone who had difficulties with his Luckyscent sample followed my suggestion to try Tribute from STC, and they had a totally different experience which was much closer to what I had.

            Bottom line, yeah, I think there are definite differences between newer and older bottles. But I hope you get to experience more layers with your sample as you test it over time. 🙂

  14. My bottle is pretty much smoky tobacco as well, but I like that about it. However, now you’ve inspired me to layer it with some Homage or perhaps some jasmine oil. Could be fun!

    • Lovely to see you here, Tara! That makes me really happy. 🙂

      I think Tribute would be gorgeous layered with some jasmine oil or Homage. Perhaps you could go completely hog-wild and mix it with both, and see what sort of leathery, tobacco-y, smoky, floral brew ensues! 😉

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  22. What is the difference between the Tribute that is available in the White Box vs the one that is available in the brownish red box? I was looking online and most of what is available is the one in the brownish red box. I wanted to at least try it before its not available anymore. It sounds so wonderful.

    • The White Box is the original formula of an Amouage scent, what might be considered as vintage or, perhaps one should call it “vintage-vintage,” given that even the subsequent Reddish-Brown Box version has been discontinued as well.

      Smell-wise, what I described in the review, is essentially the White Box version of Tribute. I got my sample from someone who had the White one (I think. It’s all a bit hazy at this point in time.) Generally speaking, the White Box balances its smoke with more of a leather undertone, stronger tobacco nuances, and more balsamic resins as well. It’s beautifully balanced in terms of the competing notes. I think there is slightly more rose lurking in the background as well.

      From what I’ve gathered and read, the Red-Brown Box version of Tribute skews towards the unbalanced side with a truly hefty amount of smokiness that verges on ash. Tobacco ash, ashtray ash, and smoke ash — I’ve heard all three but particularly “ashtray.” The rose seems even more minimal or muted than it is in the White Box version. It doesn’t seem to be as rich, resinous, thick, or heavy as the White Box version, either.

      The thing is, with ALL the attars and regardless of White/Red, there seem to be divergences based on batch formulations. Even within a particular formulation (say, White), one might get a smokier batch from one bottle to the next. People go on and on about Creed batch differences, but they are true for the Amouage attars as well. When I posted my Tribute review, I had one reader talk about how his sample was basically heavy “ashtray.” When I asked some questions, it turned out that he’d obtained it from Luckyscent. I told him to order a vial from Surrender to Chance, and you know what? The Tribute was totally different! Perfect for him. Balanced, full-bodied, rich, wonderful tobacco and resinous aspects, but without the smoke turning to “ashtray.” Now, neither of can know if Luckyscent had the Red Box or the White one, because the batch variation issue meant that it could have been a flaw in that cycle in either version.

      HOWEVER, I suspect he got the Red Box version because what I’ve read on Basenotes and elsewhere suggests the ashiness and excess smoke was much more prevalent with the Red ones. I basically saw an uptick in the number of comments on that issue, but rarely did so for the older reviews whose dates would imply the White Box. (Plus, in general, the common consensus is that ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the Amouages were better, richer, and deeper in their White Box formula. It’s why they’re so expensive on places like eBay, if they ever show up there at all.)

      There are solutions if your only option is a Red Box Tribute and if it turns out to be too, too smoky on your skin. What I wrote about in the review and what is a common remedy or “hack” is to layer the Tribute with something else. Usually, most people recommended layering Tribute with a drop of Homage, but that’s obviously not an easily available solution these days. My suggestion is to counterbalance any potential smokiness by applying a drop or a few sprays of something more ambered, sweet, floral, or some combination thereof.

      Honestly, the version of Tribute that I wrote about was one of the very best things that I have smelled in YEARS! It is absolutely worth trying, in ANY form, if one has that option and if you like dark, resinous, smoky orientals. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky in terms of the batch you try but, if not, there are ways to fix it. Plus, any bottle (no matter how small) that you get of Tribute can always be resold without any difficulty at all. I personally think it is much more popular, admired, and revered than Homage.

      I hope this helps, and isn’t too much information. I’d love to know what you decide or what happens.

      • I have been looking around all day, trying to decide what to do. I may just try a sample from surrender to chance and see how that goes. I will let you know. Thanks so much. The problem is that they are so expensive and who wants to pay upwards of $400 for something that isn’t balanced. I wanted to buy a 12ml bottle but I’m a little afraid to do that with so many different possible batch discrepancies. I really want to try it and I think it will be safer just to order a smaller sized sample. I do hate they are all gone. I hate all the restrictions placed on fragrance, its interfering with my ability to indulge my passion.

        • I sympathise greatly, and fully understand your predicament. Batch variations are an incredibly frustrating thing in general, and with even more uncertainty than mere reformulation changes. But when one tosses in a $400+ price tag, it becomes a thing of the great risk as well. I certainly don’t blame you for your caution or reluctance, and would have it myself. The thing is, though, it’s not as though one can really wait with something like Tribute. Not now, not these days. It’s not as if bottles are likely to continue showing up in great quantities or on a consistent basis. If you hate your bottle, you can sell it easily on eBay. Easily.

          All that being said, I would probably do what you’re doing, and sample it first. Probably. I think. I’ve been scalded too many times by blind buys, and skin chemistry is such a variable. The only problem then is, if you end up loving the STC sample, you *still* won’t know if any full bottle that you stumble across and buy will actually be the same thing. In other words, the risk is *ALWAYS* going to be there, but the bottle may not be.

          It’s a devil of a dilemma, and I don’t envy you for it. I will say that one of my greatest perfume regrets is not buying a bottle of Tribute when I could have. I didn’t buy it because of the batch issue, and because of the price was a bit too much at the time given some vet bills I had. I could have gotten it cheaper from a Middle Eastern vendor than a US retailer, I think, but I still hesitated. Now, I kick myself for it each and every time I think of the attar discontinuation. I should have bought it. Now, some of the bottles are $800, and it’s totally outside my budget. Gah, perfume regrets really suck.

          • I did it. I took your suggestion. I purchased a 12ml botttle from a seller on ebay. It is a red box version completely sealed and new. The version I received is beautiful. There is no ashtray smell. It has smokiness, rose, frankincense, saffron. All that you discribed but not too much of anything. Its perfect. I have had it on now for about 1 hour and the rose note is so prominent and smooth at this point. When I first put it on it was sitting on top of my skin glistening, pure beautiful oil. As you discribed in another post, it just seemed to melt into my skin after some time and it just became more layered and nuanced. I love it I must have gotten a good batch and how happy I am. I had been nervous all week waiting but I am so excited that I received the one you discribed in the red box no less. Thanks for the suggestion and I am thrilled that I took the chance, So far I’m blown away.

          • I was really pleased that you took the risk, John, but I was absolutely OVER THE MOON to hear how wonderfully it worked out for you. My God, that’s wonderful news. I’m truly so happy, I feel as though I bought a bottle for myself. HURRAH, John, HURRAH!!!! Each word of your description made me grin, and every part of it was a relief as well. The fact that you got something just like what I described, and from a Red Box version…. well, saying “I’m so glad” would be a monumental understatement. Tribute is, by far and away, the very best thing Amouage has done, in my personal opinion. A truly glorious, beautiful, complex, decadently rich masterpiece. Thank God you took the chance, because there are very few scents to compare to the magnificence of Tribute, imo, and I doubt we’ll easily see its like again. Not easily, and certainly not frequently.

            You know, I suspect you’ll fall in love with it the more you wear it, John. Have I mentioned lately just how happy I am that you have it and that it worked out for you?! I’m so damn happy, you have no idea! 😀

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