Arabian Oud Kalemat: Rivers of Gold & Affordable Luxury

You have to buy this! I don’t usually start my reviews with that blunt, bottom line, but stylistic rules be damned. Kalemat from the company Arabian Oud is a gorgeous amber in a rich, heady, potent, incredibly long-lasting brew that is both affordable and utterly addictive. From its start as a molten river of caramelized amber creme brulée, Kalemat turns into a heady cloud that encompasses every nuance and range on the amber spectrum: a floral amber, a slightly fruity one, a woody one, a herbal one, a musky one, a sweetly honeyed one, and a lightly pipe tobacco and oud one. It’s beautiful, I bought it for myself, and the mere scent of it on my skin led a family member to purchase a bottle moments later! There are a few practical draw-backs to the Arabian Oud system, and you basically have to order blindly, but we’ll get to those issues at the very end of this review. The thing you need to know is that Kalemat is absolutely gorgeous, and if you love opulent amber Orientals, you really should consider it.

Source: rockgem-at-deviantart http://stock7000.deviantart.com/art/Stock-Texture-Molten-Lava-165584521

Source: rockgem-at-deviantart http://stock7000.deviantart.com/art/Stock-Texture-Molten-Lava-165584521

Having started with the end of the story first, let’s go back to the beginning. Kalemat (sometimes written as Kalamet and a few other linguistic variations) is an eau de parfum from the Saudi perfume house of Arabian Oud. I’d heard a lot about the fragrance from such perfume sites as Basenotes where it is a small cult favorite, so I couldn’t resist popping into Arabian Oud‘s Paris Champs-Elysées store upon my recent trip. I’ll talk more about that store and their bewildering array of options at the end, but all you need to know now is that Kalemat was actually the third or fourth on my list of favorites. I think that tells you something about the other three, as well as the quality of this perfume house as a whole.

One downside to the brand is that it is an organisational nightmare in terms of all practical considerations as an uninformed shopper or curious, prospective perfumista. There really is no other way to put it but the phrase “hot mess” — and even that doesn’t give you the full picture. Take the issue of perfume notes, for example. It’s not exactly easy to find out what is in each of the perfumes, as the accounts vary depending on site and source. In fact, the main Arabian Oud site has no description for Kalemat at all. Luckily, I stumbled upon the UK version thanks to the company’s (totally unused) Twitter account. It’s slightly easier to navigate and substantially more informative.

Kalemat with its box that opens like a book.

Kalemat with its box that opens like a book.

According to the London Arabian Oud website, the notes in Kalemat include:

Bilberry, anise, rosemary, Kashmir wood, musk, sweet amber, honey leaves.

Fragrantica gives a slightly different list:

Top notes are blueberry and anise; middle notes are rosemary, cashmere wood and floral notes; base notes are musk, amber and honey.

Kalemat opens on my skin with an enormous burst of richness and opulence. Two small squirts from my sample vial led to a heady, billowing cloud of amber infused with a fruity berry note. I’m not generally one for fruity fragrances — and Kalemat isn’t one at its core — but the berry element works wonderfully. If I didn’t know it was “blueberry” or “bilberry” (whatever that is), I would never have guessed it. To me, it smells more like a tangy, tart, juicy touch of black currant, mixed with a hint of blackberry. It’s never cloying or syrupy, though it initially feels as dense as the rest of the perfume.

Source: fr.123rf.com

Source: fr.123rf.com

Kalemat’s opening symphony is deepened almost instantly by a touch of honey and musk, resulting in an aroma of a creme caramel whose top has been lightly singed with a cooking torch to create a delicate shell of darkened, caramelized sugar. There is a touch of some fresh, aromatic green herbs, but it’s just a light touch that is soon overtaken by a rich Ta’if-like, ruby rose. Ta’if roses are a type of Damask rose but with 30 petals, and, according to Fragrantica, have an aroma that is significantly richer and deeper than most Damascena varieties. It is very common to Arab perfumery, and to attars in specific. Within a few minutes, the rose note has turned Kalemat into the loveliest, attar-like, opaque, boozy, floral amber with just the lightest hint of honey. Its richness feels like a running river of molten lava and gold. In fact, my skin actually has a light gleam and sheen from the concentrated oils that make up the fragrance. This is serious stuff.

Ta'if rose: perfumemaster.org

Ta’if rose: perfumemaster.org

Yet, for all of Kalemat’s richness, I really don’t think it’s ultimately a heavy perfume in terms of its weight. The potent, heady, concentrated, and very narcotic cloud that billows out around one is not unctuous, gooey, or dense in mass. As an analogy, I would say that Kalemat feels less chewy or opaque than some Profumum Roma fragrances, but significantly more powerful in sillage, especially in the first two hours. At the same time, Kalemat is substantially heavier in weight to the LM Parfums line and, once again, stronger in initial projection. In short, it is very typical and representative of traditional Middle Eastern perfumes, and yet airier in feel than something like Amouage‘s concentrated attars.

Dried tobacco leaves. Source: colourbox.com

Dried tobacco leaves. Source: colourbox.com

There is a subtle undertone to Kalemat that repeatedly reminds me of Serge Lutens‘ much adored, cult favorite, Chergui, only concentrated by a thousand. Something in Kalemat feels very much like sweet pipe tobacco, even if it’s just a subtle vein running below the perfume’s surface. Tobacco is not listed in Kalemat’s notes, but the reference to “honey leaves” (honey has leaves?) makes me wonder. Chergui’s aroma is, in part, of sweetened tobacco leaves set out to dry in the sun. Perhaps that is what Arabian oud means by its term? All I know for certain is that I was walking around Paris one evening, wafting Kalemat, and repeatedly wondering why the fragrance felt so familiar when I suddenly realised: concentrated Chergui! There is much more to Kalemat — and I was reminded of many other fragrances as well, as you will soon see — but I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a bit of some tobacco in Kalemat as well.

Kalemat isn’t a twisting, morphing creature with many stages, but it’s not completely linear either. The fragrance does subtly change, but over time and without fanfare. It is such a superbly blended fragrance that it slides almost seamlessly from one stage to another, rippling as smooth as water. In its very first opening hour, Kalemat is an opulently rich, custardy smooth, silky amber that is perfectly blended with fluid swirls of ruby Tai’if rose, dry woodiness, musk, honey, and hints of tobacco, herbs, and berries. There is almost a gourmand feel to the richness of the sweet brew, but it is not an actual gourmand fragrance as a whole. Perhaps a more helpful description would be to say that Kalemat’s opening phase comes close to straddling the Oriental and Gourmand genres, but never fully tips over into the latter.

The sweet, opulently over-the-top richness of Kalemat’s first stage explains why some people think the fragrance bears a resemblance to Tom Ford‘s Tobacco Vanille. Judging by what appeared on my skin, I think the two fragrances are different. On me, Tobacco Vanille has a plum pudding feel that is heavily accented with tobacco, and an almost potpourri-like blend of spices. Kalemat lacks those elements, along with the vanilla heart underlying the Tom Ford fragrance. To me, Kalemat seems much closer to Serge Lutens’ Chergui, only without the latter’s touch of powder and, as stated, a substantially more concentrated feel. It’s also much sweeter, deeper, and creamier than the Lutens.

To me, in the opening stage, Kalemat bears a closer resemblance to another famous amber fragrance — HermèsAmbre Narguilé — than to the more heavily spiced Tobacco Vanille. If you took certain aspects of Ambre Narguilé, changed the type of fruit to a blueberry, combined it with Chergui, and reduced the overall mix down to a thicker, more dense, almost vicous-like attar, then you’d have Kalemat. I think fans of Guerlain‘s much loved Spiritueuse Double Vanille would adore Kalemat, as it shares some similarities in terms of richness, but with honeyed amber and woodiness as the focus instead of ambered vanilla.

Source: fr.123rf.com

Source: fr.123rf.com

Slowly, slowly, almost before you realise it, Kalemat turns softer, woodier and bit darker in visual hue. At the start of the third hour, the fragrance is gentler, more rounded, and a bit blurry around the edges. There is something like the most restrained touch of oud flickering just below the surface, along with a gentle, slightly fresh, green herbaceousness. Kalemat has lost more than half of its rose floral undertone, and is less sweet, less honeyed. Now, it slowly begins its second phase where it is primarily a woody amber infused with a whiff of oud, tobacco, musk, and herbs. Only the lightest fruity and floral elements remain, but they’re minor, light, and blended seamlessly into the larger whole.

Near the end of the third hour, Kalemat also feels softer in weight and projection, though that is only relative to the powerhouse opening of the first hour. Now, it hovers 2-3 inches above the skin, and is noticeable when you bring your arm near to your nose. It doesn’t announce its presence with quite as much fanfare in the space around you. Honestly, I find Kalemat to be so addictive that this lowered sillage phase always leaves me wanting to spray on more. More, more, more, until I have surrounded myself with a nuclear mushroom cloud. Luckily for me, Kalemat comes in a 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle because I have plans to lock myself in my house on the night that it arrives, insulate all windows and doors, and apply at least 10 sprays. The Mars Rover may be able to smell me in outer space, but I don’t care.

"Abstract streams of gold." Photo: Jason Tockey. Site: jstimages.wordpress.com

“Abstract streams of gold.” Photo: Jason Tockey. Site: jstimages.wordpress.com

Kalemat’s sillage continues to drop, though the perfume gives absolutely no signs of dying anytime soon. Around the 4.5 hour mark, Kalemat hovers just an inch above the skin as a woody, sweet amber. It’s as golden as a cloud, but still much richer than that comparison would imply. Oddly, I’m somewhat reminded of a honeyed, unpowdered, more opulent version of Ambre 114 from Histoires de Parfums. Kalemat has the same sort of golden aura that made Ambre 114 conjure up James Bond’s Goldfinger for me.

Yet, for all that visual similarity, Kalemat is now primarily a woody sort of amber. The oud element waxes and wanes in how noticeable it is at the very top layer of the fragrance, but it is always there. Around the 5.5 hour mark, Kalemat is an amber with slightly musky oud, vaguely herbal dryness, an occasional flicker of rose, and a lingering whisper of tobacco. At the 7.5 hour point, Kalemat turns into a complete skin scent. The notes are almost wholly abstract: amber, a blur of sweetened wood that is barely decipherable as something oud-y, and other indistinct, dry elements. In its very final moments, Kalemat is nothing more than lightly sweetened dryness.

Kalemat’s longevity is fantastic. With two tiny squirts from the atomizer, Kalemat lasted just a fraction over 12 hours on my perfume-consuming skin, though the sillage was moderate to low for about 7.5 of them. In the past, when I’ve worn Kalemat, I’ve applied a far greater amount, and both the longevity and projection were even higher. On one occasion, I applied 5 sprays (from an atomizer that yields much less than a normal bottle would, due to a small hole), and Kalemat lasted over 16 hours on me. As regular readers to the blog know, my skin is absolutely voracious when it comes to perfume and I struggle constantly to find things that will last. If Kalemat gives me these sorts of hours, I think normal people would get astounding results.

Source: wallsave.com

Source: wallsave.com

I think Kalemat is something that people should try for a number of reasons. First, it is a completely versatile, extremely easy to wear, very cozy, comforting fragrance. It is far too powerful to wear to a really conservative, perfume-phobic office environment, but it works almost everywhere else. Second, I think Kalemat would work wonderfully on both a man and a woman. While men seem to be the ones who talk about it the most on sites like Basenotes, it was a female family member who took one whiff of Kalemat on me, and purchased it ten minutes later. If you’re a woman who likes Tobacco Vanille, Chergui, or Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille (and there are vast numbers of you who do), then you can absolutely wear Kalemat.  

Third, Kalemat has the quality and richness of some incredibly expensive, very high-end perfumes. Kalemat is not comparable just to the prestige lines of such brands as Hermès, Guerlain, or Tom Ford, but also to such luxury perfume houses as AmouageIn fact, I’ve heard that some people think that Kalemat is very similar to Amouage’s Interlude Man, due to I think its second stage as a woody, slightly oud-y fragrance. I’m not sure I’m really qualified to speak to that, because, on my skin, Interlude Man was such a shape-shifter that it manifested itself differently on each of the 3 occasions that I tested it. It is such a complex chameleon that I could probably wear it 10 times, and experience 10 different versions.

However, judging by the three types I encountered, I think Amouage’s Interlude is different. Its herbal start can be enormously dominant, and sometimes aggressively pungent. Kalemat is hardly a herbal fragrance during any of its stages, and has only a little green touch in the background. With Interlude, its sharp greenness is then followed by a significant incense, smoky period, before ending in a stunning sandalwood drydown. Kalemat is substantially less complex. In addition, whatever smokiness it has is extremely subtle and seems merely to be the effect of other notes, instead of actual frankincense, let alone a lot of it!

Source: paradiseperfumesandgems.co.uk

Source: paradiseperfumesandgems.co.uk

There are other differences, too. Kalemat is more floral and fruited at the start; the oud is extremely mild; it has no sandalwood; but it does include some honey. I would say that all the individual elements are toned down more, and that the overall effect is substantially smoother. The elements also blend into each other more seamlessly. Yet, it does share the luxurious feel and richness of an Amouage fragrance. When you consider that you can buy 100 ml of Kalemat on Amazon at a discounted price of $59.99 (without shipping), versus the $290 retail price of Interlude Man, I honestly don’t know how you can beat this amount of richness, depth, body, and addictive opulence for the price.

The only drawback I can see to Kalemat is that the company simply does not make it easy for consumers new to the brand. I’m going to spend a bit of time on this issue because I think it’s important to understand what your retail options are, some of the practical difficulties in learning more about the line, and the reason why Arabian Oud may be a brand you’ve rarely heard discussed. I truly think that Western perfumistas are missing out in not trying some of the company’s amazing fragrances, and that easier, more straightforward access would make them a name on everyone’s lips. As it is, however, it’s an extremely frustrating situation.

In addition to Arabian Oud’s aforementioned disorganisational chaos on its website, there is no place where you can test it or sniff the perfumes outside of London, Paris, or Arabian Oud’s several hundred stores in the Middle East. The decant/sample site, Surrender to Chance, does not carry Arabian Oud. The Perfume Court offers a few of its fragrances, but not Kalemat. And Arabian Oud does not sell samples on its website.

In fact, trying to navigate Arabian Oud’s websites consistently makes me want to throw something at the monitor. The main Saudi version is in English, but it’s a hodge-podge of categories, it doesn’t list perfume notes in a particular perfume entry, and the similarity between some perfume names is confusing. The fact that “Mukallet” seems to be the term for an attar or perfume oil that is stuck on half the perfumes doesn’t help.

The real problem, however, is sheer, overwhelming quantity of selection. According to Fragrantica’s page for Arabian Oud, Kalemat is one of 160 fragrances (!!!!!) offered by the house. The fact that that long Fragrantica listing does not include three of my favorite Arabian Oud fragrances should tell you just how many fragrances we’re talking about. Fragrantica also says that the 160 perfumes were “all launched in 2012″ — something which is not only highly unlikely, but also inaccurate. The 2012 mistake (along with Fragrantica’s description of the company as a “new” one) is undoubtedly yet another victim of Arabian Oud’s utterly disorganized state of affairs. While the Saudi site provides no details, the London version says the company’s history actually goes back to 1982 when it was founded by Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Jasser who opened his first store in the old Alzal souk of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you’re lucky enough to be in London or Paris, with easy access to one of the Arabian Oud stores, and want to just pop in for a sniff, you’re likely to be overwhelmed just as much as if you merely checked out the company’s website. When you go in, you’re confronted by shelves of elaborately ornate, fancy, decorated, Middle Eastern bottles which rarely seem to have an actual name on them. To give you an idea, I’ll share with you some photos I took in the store, though I need to repeat my frequent caveat that they won’t be great. As I’ve said elsewhere, my camera seems to have chosen this holiday to decide that it absolutely hates perfumery, so 6 out of every 10 perfume shots were wholly unusable. In the case of Arabian Oud, only two are decent (and a third is blurry), but a least it will give you an idea of things. Photos of just one small portion of the Paris store:

Arabian Oud2 Arabian Oud

So sorry it's blurry!

So sorry it’s blurry!

It is a testament to the quality of Arabian Oud’s products that Kalemat was actually not my favorite of the things that I tried. One of them, a perfume attar called Taj Mahal blew me out of the water. It is one of the most spectacular florientals I’ve tried in years, surpassing any and all Amouages (including Fate Woman) in its lush, deep, opulent beauty. Based on my memory of it, it was an orange blossom, jasmine, rose, sandalwood oriental oil that almost glowed in its rich sheen on my skin, and which cost (at its lowest, most affordable price) about €60 or $80 for a few drops. (Something like 4 ml. Its price on Zahras, the American-based website for Middle Eastern perfumes, is inflated to a ridiculous $371 for a tiny 6 ml bottle!) If I’d encountered Taj Mahal at the start of my trip, and had time to test it out properly on my skin, I would have bought that small vial without a qualm. As it was, I went to Arabian Oud on the last day of my holiday, after having purchased many other fragrances, and while wearing too many scents for a proper test, so the situation didn’t quite work out. The high price also made a mere sample impossible to obtain. 

It is a true sign of Arabian Oud’s disorganized chaos that Taj Mahal is not even listed on the company’s own websites. (Neither is another one of my other favorites, Dinon or Dinan, whose name the salesman wrote down for me in a scrawl to ensure that I had the correct spelling!) Happily, interested parties can always call the Paris store directly to order it, and one day, I shall have my Taj Mahal. The third one on my list of favorites was Ghroob, a concentrated perfume attar which is listed on the original Arabian Oud site without any notes, but which isn’t listed on the London version no matter what sort of spelling variation I tried. (Are you getting an idea yet of just how complicated it is to try to order a perfume from these people without pre-existing, advance knowledge?!) [UPDATE: In the comments below, you can read more about Ghroob, its floral-oriental-sandalwood notes, and its supposed resemblance to Amouage's $350 Homage attar. I have reviewed Ghroob here, and don't see an similarity to Homage. Arabian Oud has discounted it on Amazon at around $44, and offers a lower price of shipping if you purchase more than one item. Also, as a side note, if you are relying on the Zahras site that I linked up above for information, please be careful. The notes that they list are not always accurate or the same as what Arabian Oud lists for their fragrances.]

Thankfully for my fourth favorite, and the subject of this review, Kalamet is easily available not only on all the Arabian Oud company websites, but also on Amazon (U.S.). Arabian Oud is the actual vendor and seems to have discounted the listed retail price of $99.99 by 40%, selling the 100 ml bottle of eau de parfum (really more like pure parfum extrait, if you ask me!) for an incredibly low price of $59.99. There is a shipping cost of $16.48 for a total of $76.47, but I paid no tax, and the final price is still substantially lower per ml for any analogous pure parfum extrait of that quality. You’re essentially paying about .76 cents per ml, when Amouage’s stunning Tribute attar is available from decanting sites for $14.99 for a 1/4 ml! Granted, the two fragrances have substantial differences in notes, smell, ingredients and concentration, but still!

Helping matters further, Arabian Oud’s Amazon shipping (from Saudi Arabia?) seems to be both fast and extremely professional. The company’s Amazon rating is 4.8 stars out of 5 with 48 votes, and consistently positive praise from buyers. A friend of mine purchased Kalemat blindly on the basis of my passing raves about it, and he was extremely pleased with the speed of the delivery, the packaging of his bottle, and Arabian Oud’s polite service. Another reader of this blog, “Laird Angus,” bought Kalemat blindly and his gushing review on Amazon talks about both the perfume’s original packaging, and the beauty of its smell. It’s an extremely accurate assessment and the best one I’ve seen on the scent, so I’d like to quote a large part of it.

Calling Kalemat a “reference amber,” he writes:

In ancient times, books were rare and precious objects. The learned elite treasured them. Scholars and holy men spent countless hours transcribing and illustrating them. Calligraphy held a place at the high table of the arts.

Kalemat, which means “words” in Arabic, pays tribute to this lost era in its exquisite packaging. It arrives in a beautiful oversized box designed to look like an antique arabic book. When opened, the box reveals a smaller, ribbon-bound tome which contains the bottle of perfume itself. And so even before the first spray, you know that this an oriental perfume in its full glory–dramatic, confident, mysterious, exotic, precious beyond compare.

Inside Kalemat's "book." Photo via eBay.

Inside Kalemat’s “book.” Photo via eBay.

The juice itself does not disappoint. Kalemat opens with a lush jammy berry accord, balanced perfectly by incense and a hint of dry woods. The berry note is apparently bilberry, which was new to me. It is sweet and perhaps slightly tart. Wonderful. Novel. 

After 20 minutes or so, the berry notes recede, leaving behind a sumptuous base of incense, woods, and lightly jammy rose. This is the heart of Kalemat, and it is apparently inspired by the Middle Eastern hospitality traditions around bakhoor, a household incense of dried wood and rose. It reminded me somewhat of Jubilation XXV by Amouage, but Kalemat is somehow deeper and rounder. There are no jagged edges here. Although it is not listed in the ingredients or the notes, I am convinced that there is a trace of high quality synthetic oud in this as well. It is used here not as an individual note, but as a fixative and an amplifier of the other notes. Perfect!

Over the next 8-10 hours, the rose fades out, then the incense, leaving only the driest cedar-like scent, like the inside of an ancient chest found in an old Cairo apartment.

Kalemat is everything I had hoped it would be. I’ve been searching for an authentic and wearable Arabian scent. It is no easy thing! I’ve sampled virtually every offering from Amouage, a number of rare attars, low cost oils from al Rehab, and various western “interpretations” of middle eastern fragrances. None has come close to Kalemat. It is a deeply relaxing scent, perfect for stressful days at the office. It speaks something of eternal truths, of timeless values, of the cycle of life-death-rebirth that renders all of our transient worldly concerns puny by comparison.  [Emphasis to the names added by me.]

I would hardly go so far as to say Kalemat speaks to eternal truths, but, yes, it is an absolutely gorgeous amber that is opulent, heady, full-bodied, and deeply comforting. That is why I will go to so far as to say that you should definitely consider a blind buy of Kalemat if (but only if) you’re a huge fan of any of the perfumes that I’ve mentioned in this review. If you love wispy, gauzy, sheer, light, fresh, clean scents, Kalemat is not for you. This is a fragrance for a die-hard lover of amber, oriental or oriental-gourmand fragrances, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

You should consider a blind buy even more if some of those other fragrances I’ve mentioned have been out of your reach due to their high cost. I can’t recall if I have ever recommended that people buy a perfume blindly and untested, but Kalemat’s price is low enough that I’m breaking my usual rule. If you absolutely hate it or if your skin chemistry inexplicably makes things go wonky, I don’t think you’d have much difficulty in selling your bottle on eBay, where Kalemat is usually listed for almost double the Amazon price and rarely offered by US sellers.

If you’re located outside of the United States, I don’t know if you can purchase Kalemat at the discounted Amazon price and have Arabian Oud simply ship it to you elsewhere. I couldn’t find Kalemat on the Canadian, German or Brazilian Amazon sites, so I suspect that price is limited to U.S. buyers. Even without Amazon, though, it’s still not hugely expensive to buy Kalemat as it retails for $99, and you have several other vendor options. You can find the fragrance on the Arabian Oud site for 300 SAR which seems to come to a little over €58 at the current currency conversion rates, and I believe they ship internationally. On the UK Arabian Oud site, the perfume is offered for £52, discounted from £87. The site’s flash options don’t seem to let me use a direct, saved link to Kalemat’s specific page, but you can find it easily with a word search. (You may want to immediately mute the volume on the site as it plays annoyingly repetitive music incredibly loudly.)

For all other countries, you may can use the Universal Perfumes retailer in Kuwait that I introduced to you months ago, and which is very reliable. It sells Kalemat for $99, with a flat-rate, international shipping price of $6.99 for the first item. I’ve heard it takes about two weeks for its packages to come from Kuwait to the States, so I assume it will be around the same for other destinations. Lastly, you can always try eBay which has a number of British and Middle Eastern sellers who offer the fragrance.

At the end of the day, Kalemat is not a revolutionary, complicated, complex scent, but it is such an utterly addictive, luxurious, rich, comforting, soothing one, that I find it utterly irresistible. If you hear a bellow of joy on or around November 8th, you will know that my perfume package has arrived, that irrational amounts of spraying will follow, and that a golden mushroom cloud of amber will explode shortly thereafter from this part of the Western hemisphere. I cannot wait.

255 thoughts on “Arabian Oud Kalemat: Rivers of Gold & Affordable Luxury

    • I hope you will! I think you will, though I think you’ll find the sillage light on you after a few hours as compared to your Amber Absolute. Still, you do have unicorn skin, so I know it will last and LAST like crazy, even if the sillage drops. More importantly, I hope the hubster likes it since you already have your favorites and I’m not sure anything can ever compare to your beloved Oud Wood!

  1. Yep, this may have been made for me (fan of SDV and TV and on a budget) and I am in love with Raghba after getting a decant recently. Thanks so much for the review Kafka. Given how confusing the AO site is and how hard it is to find information on the arabian fragrances, this was a much appreciated PSA

  2. Bought one. I found Kalemat Arabian Oud for $59.99 in Amazon instead $99.99.
    Thanks for your fantastic review. I found also Sehr El Kalemat (Top Note: Cardamom, bergamot, pink pepper Middle Note: Saffron, coriander, Bulgarian rose Base Note: Amber, vetiver and sandal ). But the one with honey leaves is the first one.

    • Walter, you bought it from Amazon US, at the site I linked? So they would ship outside the US and to South America???! HURRAH! That’s wonderful! So others can buy it for the $59 price (with the $16-something shipping) even if they’re not in the US as well. I’m so happy. You’ll have to let me know what you think of it!

        • Oh BOO! Drats to Amazon’s no outside-the-US shipping for this one, but I’m so glad you managed to get it by using a US address. From what I know of your family’s tastes, I think everyone from your wife to your daughter to you will love this one, Walter. But especially you. :) I hope it doesn’t take too long to get to you.

  3. Sounds made for me. I have ordered one despite a firm rule about buying unsniffed bottles, because the price is reassuringly moderate, and let’s face it, you had me at “opulent amber Oriental.”. I will report back, and I hope that others will as well, but I’m sure that we would never have come across this one without you, Kafka. I often remember how good people smelled when I was traveling in Egypt many years ago, and have tried to penetrate the maze of Arabic fragrances, but without much success, since I don’t have your persistence. Now, if you ever figure out how how we can get hold of some Taj Mahal, do fill us in.

    • I could do a happy dance right now, honey! Seriously, I could. I’m thrilled. I know blind buys are always super risky, and I truly don’t think I have EVER suggested one, let alone actually urged people. But for $74 (with shipping), I simply had to. And when you think that this was my FOURTH favorite from the line…. Sweet God above, why is it so impossible to get access to these things?!

      As for Taj Mahal, I think I’m going to call the Paris store and see how much it would be to ship that tiny (ridiculously sized) 4 ml, or save up a bit more and buy a bigger size. Ideally, I’d have an idea of how long it lasted or how it projected on my skin, but given that it is an oil and I remember at least 6 hours, it’s bound to be good enough. But $371 for 6 ml via the US Zahras site?! Pffffffffffffffffffffffftttttttttttt!

      When your Kalemat arrives, will you let me know what you think?

      • I have to add that I looked through the Perfume-E-Store on Ebay for other Arabian Oud offerings and was delighted to read in their Terms of Service that “We are totally IRRESPONSIBLE if you didn’t like the smell.”

  4. Mmmmm- sounds yummy!! Though perfumes like Tobacco Vanille (and By Killian Back to Black) are firmly not the type I like. Though I do like Ambre Sultan, Chergui and love ambers like Puredistance M, Tolu..Will I like it? I was hoping to go to the Arabian Aoud store when I visit London for a few days towards the end of this year. They do have a store there no? Which were your other faves from the line?

        • Oh and I’m assuming it is cheaper to buy this online than in store? :)
          I went back and read the paragraph..:) Are you going to talk more about (from memory, I presume) Dinoon and Ghroob too?

          • Yes, even with the current discounted London price, it is still cheaper via the Amazon store. Even with that $16 shipping. At today’s exchange rate, the discounted UK price comes to $83.48. And I don’t know how long that sale will last, so it is definitely safer to buy it in the US from Amazon.

            As for Dinoon (which, looking closer at the chap’s scrawl on the piece of paper, may possibly be spelled as Dinan?), I’m afraid I have no memory of it. I merely remember that I asked him to write things in the order that I liked them, and it is listed second.

            No memory of Ghroob either, and it’s not listed on Fragrantica. However, it is shown on the Zahras site with the bottle that I remember but with a different name spelling: http://zahras.com/Perfume/Catalog/ArabianOud/default.htm

            Mokhalat Al Ghoroob
            $78 – 25ml
            Sandalwood, Istanbul Rose
            Saffron, Vanilla

            The problem with that day is that I visited Arabian Oud as my 4th or 5th stop, and I had so many other things on me already. I was also wiped out, not just from that day, but from a complete lack of sleep and endless activity for more than 2 weeks. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised I can remember as much as I do about certain perfume episodes of that trip. It was an utterly INSANE whirlwind from start to finish, even without the perfume side of things.

        • LOL, not a problem, truly. But I only hope that they have Taj Mahal at the London store, so that you can give it a sniff. I can’t believe they don’t even list it on their bloody website! If I didn’t have a piece of paper with all these names written down, I would think I had hallucinated and imagined it all.

  5. Well, I’m sold :) Great review! Chergui is one of my favourite perfumes and I you to thank for that :)
    The first time I tried my sample of Hermès‘ Ambre Narguilé I wasn’t crazy about it but the second time around I loved it. Weird. Anyhow, Kalemat sounds like it would be right up my alley and the price point!?! Amazing!!
    xo, Jackie

    • Yayyyyyyyyyyyy, Jackie! First Chergui, then Ambre Narguilé, and, hopefully, Kalemat to make it a hat-trick for you. I think it will be a perfect Fall scent, but even better during a chilly winter. I really hope you love it. Can you get someone in the US to send it to you? Perhaps your brother who, if I remember correctly, lives in the US? That way, you can get the discounted $59 Amazon price. xoxoxo

  6. Lol! My dear dear special K……. LMAO! Wowser! What a way to start a review! Anyway just to let you know I’m good friends with one of the Managers of Arabian Oud London and if you need anything let me know. Secondly I can get an oil variant of Kalemat if you require a stronger and longer hit you amber fiend you! ;-)

    • Hahahaha, I just couldn’t help it. As for your inside connection, Hmmm…… Oh God, I feel the quicksand pit of temptation opening up to swallow me alive! Oh God, my head is now spinning! What I’d like ideally is bloody samples of these things to test out on my skin! At the Paris store, they could only give me Kalemat — which is precisely why I ended up buying it, not to mention reviewing it. Given how crazy my skin can be (even for Middle Eastern perfumes), I want a bloody test vial!

      You know, I even wrote to the Arabian Oud website (at least, the main, Arab one) to ask if I could buy any samples. I haven’t gotten any response. :( I can get Ghroob from the US Zahras’ website for $78 for 25 ml, but Zahras seems to be super-inflated in price for Arabian Oud. Next time you’re by the store, can you perhaps get UK pricing for Ghroob (sometimes spelled as Ghoroob) or Dinoon (perhaps Dinan?) and Taj Mahal? None of them listed on the UK site, but I know they have to have them!

      Actually, scratch Ghroob from the list. I just saw that it’s sold at a discount on the US Amazon site for $44!!! http://www.amazon.com/Ghroob-Oil-Women-25-Ml/dp/B00BGO8S1M/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1383257835&sr=1-1&keywords=ghroob

      Notes are:
      OUD , SAFFRON , CINNAMON , ORANGE BLOSSOM, JASMINE , GARDENIA , SANDAL, WHITE AMBER, CAMBODIAN OUD , MUSK

      God, I must have that. I wish I’d seen or thought of it at the time I ordered Kalemat because Arabian Oud combines shipping on its Amazon orders, by charging a lower rate for the second item. Dammit.

      Er…..I just realised….I sound completely insane and utterly obsessed. o_O lol

        • I’ve linked to it in the review a number of times, but I don’t think it’s all that much civilized. I suppose it’s all relative. And their hideously monotonous (and extremely loud) music simply MUST go!!!

          That said, regardless of the organisational chaos, I am incredibly impressed with their perfumes. I would definitely review more of them if I could get my hands on them!

  7. I visited the Arabian Oud store in Paris several years ago and bought a bottle of Ghroob (had no idea what it was called but I recognize the bottle on the web as the one I bought). I ended up with that one because I had a vial of Amouage Homage with me and asked the sales person to recommend something similar. :-) Kalemat sounds wonderful too!

    • Ghroob is lovely! And the bottle is very different and cool! Congratulations on a super buy, Tara. I’m envious, though Ghroob may be next on my list if I get too impatient to save up for decent amount of Taj Mahal. (Measly 4 mls….. pffffffffffttttt!!!) How interesting that Ghroob was suggested as something comparable to Amouage’s super expensive Homage. I haven’t tested that one yet, so it’s good to know. Thank you!

  8. This sounds quite intriguing! I really like all the reference scents you mention, too. And I just got a $51 Amazon gift card from eBates. Dare I take a gamble? :) I need another perfume like I need a hole in the head, but I’m trying to think if you’ve ever steered me in the wrong direction and I think about 98% of the time your recommendations have been well-aligned with my tastes. Should I really venture down this rabbit hole?!

    • Before you buy it, you should read the comment I just made to SultanPasha with the discussion of Ghroob. And Tara’s comment about how Ghroob is said to be comparable to Amouage’s much vaunted, much loved, $350 Homage attar. You really should…..

      • Well, Ghroob sounded Amazon. And I somehow *accidentally* managed to buy both. :D But it was basically justified. Because of combined shipping. Or something. Just don’t question my logic!

        • DUDE, I LOVE YOU!!!! You, your accidental trigger finger, and your absolutely LOVELY logic about saving and combined shipping rates. If you hate Ghroob, I’ll buy it off you. But you won’t hate it. I know you won’t.

          • I don’t think I’ll hate it! When you described Kalemat as an opulent oriental, of course my head turned. But the fact that the bottle in the first picture reminded me of the vintage Opium bottle surely was a sign this was meant to be!

  9. Kafka, looks like I might be in the distinct minority of your readers who won’t be buying this, lol (because I’m done with buying for the year, no matter how fantastic something smells). But I’m happy that you found another amber perfume that is so very you and turns you on to this degree. (And especially that you found it at such an affordable price..!) Rave on! Great review. <3

  10. I’m a sucker for a good amber. Bought it. Arabian Oud should do you a solid after this article and the many lemmings who fall into the sea…….

    • Ha, if only! They can start by changing the music on their UK/London website so that it isn’t so damn monotonous, and adding some facts to their listings as a whole. Then they can send me some Taj Mahal….. *grin* ;)

  11. I am very intrigued! I went to the Arabian Oud webside and it is waaay too confusing for me. More helpful is Zaras Boutique Islamic Style, google as not sure I am allowed to post a link. The Arabian Oud products section does have notes in most cases! I am dying for Taj Mahal! Lots of exploring to do Prices seem to be in dollars.

    • Judith, I posted the link to Zahras (same thing as the Zara’s Boutique Islamic Style) and going specifically to its entire Arabian Oud catalog in the article in the discussion section for Taj Mahal. :) But I’m glad you find the site helpful. (It’s certainly better than the Arabian Oud website!)

      The thing to watch about Zahras is that their notes don’t always seem to be accurate. In the case of Kalemat, for example, their notes are TOTALLY WRONG! Take also, for example, what they list for Ghoroob versus what Arabian Oud themselves list for the perfume on their Amazon listing. (You can read about Ghoroob more in the discussion in some comments up above, like with Sultan Pasha and in Tara’s comment.)

      So, yes, Zahras lists notes, but they may not be accurate. Zahras may actually give you a completely *incorrect* idea of a particular perfume!

      Also, their prices seem to be substantially higher than Arabian Oud. Substantially higher in the case of Taj Mahal, if not almost doubled! Please be very careful if you order from there. You may want to even consider calling the Paris or London stores to see their prices on things, do a price conversion, and see what the difference is. For Taj Mahal at least.

      Also, as I noted in the article, The Perfume Court has about 6 of the Arabian Oud fragrances that they offer in sample form. You may want to check there to see if any of the perfumes that catch your eye are available to test. The link to their Arabian Oud offerings: http://theperfumedcourt.com/Categories/Parfum-Oils/Arabian-Perfumes-and-Oils/Arabian-Oud.aspx Please remember that Mukhalat is simply another word for “perfume oil” when you go through the listings. I hope that helps! :)

  12. Browse through Zahras Boutique perfume listings, make a list and email the bouque and they will email back with cost and shipping!! Sounds good to me!!!

  13. On the Zahra’s site it says they have samples of most popular items, they want four ordered at a time.. sorry to keep posting!

    • Judith, that’s great and don’t worry about continuing to post! I’m THRILLED that you’re so excited. LD But read my comment up above first about their pricing on some things. Also, the Perfumed Court sample option. And come back and let us know what Zahras’ sample pricing is like. You’ve been a great help, and I’m so glad that you’re on the case! :) :)

    • I know that’s a big love of yours, Little Red. I’m afraid that I haven’t tried MPG’s Ambre Precieux. I’ve heard it’s a bit powdery, and that’s not really my thing, but I do plan to get around to testing it eventually. I’m sorry I can’t offer a helpful comparison to the Kalemat.

    • “Sample”? Rofl! Yes, definitely the biggest sample that *any* of us have ever bought. LOL. I love that, Hajusuuri. Very funny! And I’m so glad your “sample” was essentially free. You crack me up, my dear.

  14. I´m always impressed to see you rave about something Kafka! You seem like someone hard to please and very knowledgeable about perfume, so this must be some very deep and intense scents, and I love you Oriental and Middle East perfumes. I hope to see these line at Jovoy so that I can smell them and see if I like them as much as you do, by the way I love your Paris photos, they are not blurry, those bottles are lovely :) .

    • I’m very hard to please, so yeah, raves are few and far between. :) As for the perfume line, you won’t find it at Jovoy but I know *YOU* in particular won’t have problems finding Arabian Oud if you want. It’s just a little bit up the street from Guerlain on the Champs Elysees, and on the opposite side of the street. So, essentially diagonally opposite from your beauty Mecca. LOL.

      As for my photos, thank you. But you’re not seeing all the ones I’ve had to delete! :)

  15. I am not trigger happy, and I do appreciate your comments on Zahra! May look into samples, didn’t notice what they charge for shipping. Will check out the Perfumed Court. I used to order from them, and it seems they are rarely mentioned as opposed to Surrender. I will most certainly check prices. I have learned about a fool and their money!!!! LOVE reading your blog, have for a long time, love you love Amber as I do! I prefer on the sweetish side and love learning from you as you compare. I have Cherugi and love it is included!!! I just may see if I can sample the four you mentioned!!!! Cannot believe there is not a USA store!!!

    • Oh, I’m so glad that you like the blog, Judith. I’m really happy and touched. I just hope you’ll feel free to comment more often. :)

      As for The Perfumed Court, I never buy from them or mention them if I can help it. I had a bad experience once with customer service that came with a SERIOUS attitude, and *extremely* slow shipping. The one thing I do not put up with is snotty, arrogant, or snide customer service, or people who need an attitude adjustment in general. They didn’t know I was a perfume blogger, so it seemed to truly reflect their business approach to customers. It’s left an extremely sour taste in my mouth, so I see absolutely no reason why I should send any business their way.

      I’ve never once had a problem with Surrender to Chance, they’re always incredibly polite, they will go out of their way to make life easy for you, AND they ship out immediately! Not days and days later. So, I will always recommend them instead.

      • I’ll join you in NOT recommending The Perfumed Court. I had a horrible experience – they have this really ASININE way of packaging the 2 mL atomizers – they packaged 4 atomizers inside a heat sealed plastic bag with 2 of the atomizers upside down – why, what is the point? They also KNEW that their atomizers were leaky AND they DID NOT tape seal the seams. HOW STUPID WAS THAT??? So my first package leaked and when I went to see what I had to do to get a refund or a replacement, I had to take a picture of the leaky bag. It took them OVER THREE WEEKS to replace my perfumes because they HAD NO ATOMIZERS on hand. AND, I asked that everything in that package be replaced because the leakage contaminated the two that did not leak as much – NO GO…in the picture, the atomizers looked full – WTF…Anyway, NEVER AGAIN>

        Surrender to Chance is really classy and has GREAT customer service. I join you in HIGHLY RECOMMENDING STC!

        • Part of me is taken aback at the extent of your Perfumed Court ordeal, and the other part isn’t remotely surprised at all. Not ONE BIT! Plus, I bet they gave you attitude with emails whose false, very thin veneer of politeness was fraught with snottiness. *snort*

          And how the hell does a “professional” decanting site have no atomizers on hand to provide replacements for ones that leaked due to their own handling in the first place? It’s not as though 2 ml atomizers are such a rare thing for people to order. How could they not have any for three whole weeks???!!

          • I have had a similar experience with them, but do have to add that recently I ordered a decant from them because STC didn’t have it, and for once received prompt shipping. My prior experience was shipping two weeks after the order and supercilious snottiness when I inquired. I hope that competition from STC is helping them wake up to the idea of actual customer service. But due to residual bad feeling, I would always order from STC if I had that option.

          • Yeah, two weeks to ship out doesn’t seem highly unusual for The Perfumed Court…. Funny how a company all the way in Saudi Arabia ships out the next day or, in one case, 30 minutes after the order was placed, while The Perfumed Court will act like they’re doing you a favour if they send it out a week or 10 days later. But man, the tone of their emails are the worst part!

          • Will do. Thanks so much for giving my inquiry so much thought. Fact is, I love anything based on high-quality jasmine, so I would probably love them all!

  16. Good grief, now on Zahras I cannot find myself back to where I left off! Yes, dazed and confused always! It wasn’t a download and had note pyramids! I may have to continue tomorrow with a refreshed mind!!!!

  17. And last, it seems shipping for samples is $12, seems fine, samples are free, somewhere I read they require four, and samples are free???? Sweet amber dreams to all!

    • Hahaha, I’m reading all your comments with a grin, Judith. It seems as though both Zahras and Arabian Oud have got you all upside down. That’s what happens when you have a massive, monstrous catalog of things, and not the easiest guidelines or details to help you along the way. It’s all simply TOO much at times, and without a single bit of straightforward clarity, no? But it’s fun finding a new line to explore, at least when the prices are reasonable, so I hope you find some nice gems, honey. :)

  18. Would you believe that I have smelled maybe one or two of this line despite them being available everywhere over here? Unfortunately, the stores are often as confusing as the websites. The SA don’t always speak very good English (not their fault, I should speak better Arabic!) and with the plethora of choices it is very overwhelming to even know where to start sniffing. But now with a few specific ones to try I will definitely go in and start testing! (As if I need more perfume to buy :-) ) I would also be willing to offer splits of this line if people want to be able to test before buying.

    • I would COMPLETELY believe it! The store I went to was so overwhelming, I don’t know how anyone ever finds anything. One is completely dependent on a sales clerk to guide you on the basis of their knowledge. Otherwise, it’s just walls of perfume bottles with little to no markings, names or information– unless they’re in a language you can’t read! It’s not like you can just walk in, pick up something and have an idea of what sort of perfume it may be (like, for example, Un Bois Vanillé, Tubereuse Criminelle, Tobacco Vanille or Plum Japonais).

      So, yeah, it’s too, too much! BTW, since I know you love very buttery, intense saffon, you may want to look into their “Woody” line of perfumes. I think it’s the original “Woody” that I smelled and which had a very strong, intense saffron presence. Too much so for me given my current saffron fatigue, but it’s one of the more popular Arabian Oud perfumes, I think.

  19. You Pied Piper of Arabian Oud! :) Really enjoying reading about all the perfumistas surrendering to your words and going trigger happy. That’s love.
    As a side note, to add to confusion, it seems Ghroob comes in two versions: as a 3ml mukhallat, and as 25ml elaborate boxed bottle. Are these the same juices? We will find out. I am sure. :)

    • Heh, thank you, Bruno. It’s all been a lovely compliment, and I’ve been enormously touched. I think I was positively stunned, dazed and a little giddy last night at the response. :)

      As for Ghroob, I definitely tested the 25 ml bottle version because I remember it well. And the sales clerk was offering some things from the spray line, as well as a few more concentrated oils. The 3 ml mukhallat of Ghroob is essentially a perfume oil that, I suspect, is probably a more concentrated version.

      Did you look into any of the links or perfumes? If so, did you find something tempting?

      On a side note, I don’t know how you feel about saffron and a heavy touch of it in perfumery, but if you haven’t had enough yet of the rose-saffron-oud combination that is everywhere, then you may want to consider “Woody.” I think that’s the one which he made me try and which had that trio of notes. I’m totally over saffron-oud with jammy roses, and I’d had an overdose of Safranil at Viktoria Minya’s perfume studio, so I recoiled a little but I know Arabian Oud’s “Woody” line is quite popular with some people.

      • Oh, yes, I checked out almost all the links, of course! Some of them I was familiar with, as I mentioned to you before, as confusing as they are… Such an intriguing part of the perfume world.
        In any case, a Kalemat decant is already on its way; I succumbed even earlier, right after your Jovoy post. I was that easy. :) Ghroob will happen too, I am sure, one way or the other. If it has ANY similarity to Homage, well then…
        Woody I know of, but have never tried it; I have a feeling Kalemat, Raghba and Woody are the three most talked about “western-style” Arab scents. I’ll check it out, I am sure, although the rose-saffron-oud combo is so very Montale in my head. Quite a challenge to make it original and different.
        But what I am now really looking forward to is for all the new Kalematers to come back and report on their Kalemating!

        • “report on their Kalemating”??! *grin* :D Sounds so lascivious. Either the lemmings had an orgy, or …. er… never mind. I must be 12 on some levels. ;)

          I think the rose-saffron-oud combo is exhaustingly tired out. It’s probably why I kinda just shrugged at Roja Dove’s Amber Oud. Travesty, I know. And it’s probably total heresy to say this (do I even dare?) but Arabian Oud’s Woody kinda reminded me of…. *ahem* I shall stop there. I fear I may have to go into hiding if I finish that sentence, or don’t do proper obeisance before the Roja altar. Perhaps if some of his things were less outrageously expensive, I would have a less skeptical reaction on occasion.

          • Noooo…really? Amber Oud and…Woody? Do tell. :)
            I agree, Roja Dove is way overpriced. While I love some of his creations (well, especially Puredistance M and Danger Pour Homme), come on. On the other hand, it all comes down to business anyway – I am certainly not his target buyer.

          • I never put either one on my skin, but when I smelled Woody, it seemed extremely familiar to me. I had smelled Roja Dove’s Amber Oud the week before, and while I don’t recall it having a *heavy* sandalwood presence from what I smelled on the strip, it has a lot in common with Woody. Same opening profile, overlapping notes, and extreme richness: explosion of saffron-rose-oud, woody notes, sandalwood, patchouli. The Roja Dove is listed as having substantially more notes with many that are floral in nature, so perhaps its subsequent development differs. It has to. I can only speak to what the opening was like on paper. And they both share a very common, very central thread. Of course, at the end of the day, all rose-saffron-oud fragrances DO, but it’s a question of richness and heaviness.

            I haven’t smelled his Danger, but I really liked Fetish and have samples of both genders to review one of these days. My wallet hopes that I don’t love them as much as Puredistance M…. ;)

          • BTW, Bruno, speaking of Arabian Wood’s similarities to other perfumes, you may be interested in the comments of someone who emailed the blog’s FB page about the line. She went to Arabian Oud’s Dubai store today to try some after reading the Kalemat review. She’s someone who is a die-hard Amouage and Guerlain fan, and she wrote to me about a few Arabian Oud fragrances that she loved. She found one of them to actually be superior to the Kilian Incense Oud that she is a big fan of:

            “Al Aasy and Majestic Special Oud. Real winners. Al Aasy is a bit pricey at shop 2800. No fiddling in the shop everything wrapped from factory. I love Kelamat also. Wonderful.. I will give some views. I found these 3 superior and equally enviting to western taste experimenting with Ouds. They are smooth. Majestic Special Oud is far superior to Kilian Incense oud. And that is coming from a Kilian patron. The bottle for al Aasy is not as beautiful but the parfume is pretty pricey 100ml is 2800AED ,*Im guessing about 800USD. but its wonderful. I found Kelamat so enviting as well.”

  20. the perfumista svengali beckons & i the faithful acolyte comply. found it on ebay for 55 euros.
    as well as the command to buy, i think you saying “absolutely gorgeous” with such abandon & “chergui without the powder” were enough to blind buy. i’ll keep you posted, oh wise & terrible fume guru ;)

    • ROFL! I love that “oh wise & terrible fume guru” and have concluded I must make up business cards with that as a subtitle! ;) :P Jokes aside, and being serious now, I am glad you succumbed, Tim. I think you’ll enjoy Kalemat as a comfort scent on a cold, dreary, winter night in your neck of the woods. I don’t think that it’s revolutionary or edgy, but it *is* beautiful and incredibly comforting. For me, at least. And given your love for Chergui, I hope that it will manifest itself on your skin in the same way that it did on me. :) Will you come back when you receive it and after testing to let us know what you think?

      • you know i will!
        while i was in ebay central i thought i’d grab some mukhalat malaki, black afghano, noora, and dehn al oud – all from swiss arabian – to complete my first, tentative foray into arab perfumery.
        btw i wore zafar the other day & thought of your courtroom travesty. seems you’re never for from my consciousness, dearest (and wisest & most terrible) kafka….

        • “Travesty”? ROFL. Hahahaha, I’m so sorry, dearest Tim, I know how beloved Zafar is to you! I shall promptly go to the corner to give penance for my temerity. *grin* I can’t stop laughing at the choice of words. :D :D If it makes you feel any better, I truly do believe it must be glorious on your skin, given the other sorts of perfume that you love. And I think of you whenever someone mentions Zafar! Speaking of Xerjoff, what damage you could do if you ever to went to Jovoy! You would be in utter heaven.

          PS– I’ve got my eye on Swiss Arabian as a brand, and I think they just won a Saudi FiFi award today for one of their fragrances! Let me know what you think of the ones you got as samples. xoxox

          • so it came, resplendently wrapped – big bucks presentation! on application i was prepared to be quite miffed: for its first half hour it was almost identical to l’artisan l’eau d’ambre extreme, which has been collecting dust in The Drawer for some time. So it’s a powdered, honeyed amber, big whup…. Then it happened, the woods, the spice and.. the incense! it started to dally in filles en aiguilles territory from say hour 1 to 3. this of course was confirmation that your tip was a winner :) afterwards it did indeed resemble the structure of another (much more loved) l’artisan: havana vanille, and in its final denouement a cousin to chergui in a slight vanilla, resiny sweetness. So, I did in fact find it quite a shifter, and not linear at all, which is always a bonus. after the initial meh stage, aptience paid off and I really did enjoy it. True, absolutely nothing groundbreaking, but a solid winter scent for a song (and it does smell so much better when you plaster it on a bit ;) )
            as far as the other attars I ordered in my arabian scent foray – from swiss arabian – al dehn was the real winner, an oud-y take on birch tar a la lonestar memories. in fact they’re a lot alike & I see myself wearing this a lot. the black afghano (not to be confused with the nasamotto) was very nice as well, having a fruity incense vibe akin to jub xxv. noora was a simple if pretty rose that kinda smelled like old fashioned soap. the malaki was pretty old skool floral…. i also scored a 100ml raghba for twenty euros and while is has a nice cinnamon ambery vibe, I prefer to stick some diffuser sticks in the bottle – better as an ambient. so, overall, a pleasant pop-in with the inexpensive side of arabian perfumery – 100ml kalemat & raghba edp/t plus 4 3ml concentrated attars for 100 euros. we all know how much amouage that gets you…… i will try taj mahal when in London next, can’t imagine what that’s like. thanks w&t k

          • Hahaha, it definitely requires plastering on! It’s surprisingly airy, despite how thick the notes feel initially, and its sillage does drop. I’m glad Kalemat ended up working for you and being similar to so many of your favorites, Tim.

            Re. the Swiss Arabian scents, the Black Afgano (not from Nasomatto) sounds really appealing, especially if it has a Jubilation XXV feel! Very appealing, as does Al Dehn. Noora…. eh. Thanks for the warning on the soap. God, I hate soapy perfumes. Blech! As for Raghba, I’ve never been swept off my feet. The raspberry note isn’t for me, but I think it might be great as an air diffuser. Good thought! It’s fantastic that you managed 2 big perfumes + 4 small, concentrated attars for €100. Nice! The cheapskate side of me is enormously admiring of such a good bargain. lol. I’d be interested in your thoughts on Ghroob if you go to the store. I’ve heard Taj Mahal was totally discontinued, and they’ve discontinued the bottle form of Ghroob which is meant to be like Amouage’s Homage attar. But the latter is still available online. If you go to London, try to sniff that one.

            All in all, I’m just happy that the Kalemat worked for you. It’s a really great scent for the price, though it sounds considerably more woody and dark on your skin than on mine. (Fille en Aiguille smokiness? I wish!)

  21. I see you found an Oud! Yah. The pictures of your private collection are stunning. I will be over to smell them all.

    Zahras is the most clunky website. Byzantine without any glamour. They also have amazing stock. You have to download each catalogue as a PDF to browse.
    But reliable to deal with commercially. I am a customer. They are very good an email response. That can take several days but they do reply. I have had the note nightmare though.
    I wrote a review…

    Noora is a mukhallat with rose, jasmine, marigold, mimosa, saffron, red berries, oud, sandalwood, musk and vanilla, none of which I can smell. The wonders of marketing imagination! To me, Noora is more like a blend of plum, orange, honey and ginger, with a delightful zephyr of hyacinth.

    It turned out that the notes were indeed wrong. I had also checked them via email with Zharas but I guess all they did was check their own incorrect listing. Took me months to get to the bottom of that!

    • OK!!!!!!!!!!!!! With heart thumbing I am about to hit buy on Amazon, one last question. I know with fragrances being unisex I need to ask, is this what could be defined as ‘masculine’. I love strong, I love sillage, I love amber when it tends to sweeter than dry, so off to the market and hoping there will be response when I return! I don’t know why I hesitate because I have squandered far more than $80 in my day! I am sure if I don’t care for it someone here would gladly take it as a gift. I believe in passing on goodness!!!

          • Hahahaha, you’re killing me here. That last line…. lovely wordplay!

            BTW, wise people always admire those who do what they themselves cannot. :)

          • I tell you, I’ve heard fantastic stuff about their Amazon shipping from people who have ordered from them. My friend who blindly got the Kalemat on my say-so after the Jovoy post, couldn’t believe how fast and professional the service was.

            I’ve got a shipping estimate of Nov. 5-10, but there is no way it should take that long. But I’ve put my mind on November 8th for delivery, so that I don’t get my hopes up too much. I can’t wait to hear what you think when you get it, Judith! :D

        • Done deal! The way we are descending on Amazon I expect it to be sold out, or for Arabian Oud to raise the price! They must be wondering just what is going on!!! Now, I must turn to something else to fret about, and there is always something! Thank you ALL!

    • Naaaah, I would never describe Kalemat as an oud! Not even remotely!! It has almost none in it, just woodiness that sometimes has a tinge of an oud-like whiff. But it’s certainly not meant to be a real oud fragrance by any means!

      As for those photos, I hope you’re teasing me, dear Jordan, because it’s hardly my private collection. LOL! More like just one alcove or part of one wall section at the Paris Arabian Oud store. :)

      GAH for Zahras’ note inaccuracy!!! That said, your Noora sounds very pretty. But plum, ginger and…. hyacinth??! I’ll have to ponder that intriguing, unexpected, and somewhat surprising addition.

  22. Must. Own. Now.
    I love Chergui and Ambre Narguile is my favorite scent ever. I know others say it smells very Apple pie-ish (even my son, who approved of that scent lol), but on me it smells like the best cinnamon surrounded by the best cedar. When I wear it, I cannot stop sniffing my wrist.
    A lovely combination of those scents must be amazing. I’m off to Amazon!

    • Hurrah! I’m so happy, Kellilee! In this case, substitute honey (and, in the beginning, a ruby rose) for cinnamon, and you’ll be closer. Same sort of smoky cedar-ish and oud underpinnings, though.

      • I love honey scents, so there is still nothing that I don’t love about this. BTW, when I hit Amazon, I went crazy and bought Ghroob as well. :)

  23. My dear Kafka–I am SO happy to read your glowing, gorgeous review of this fragrance. I treasure it. And I’m honored beyond belief that you quoted me!

    • Oh, I’m so glad you liked it, Laird Angus. And it’s nothing about the quote. I loved your assessment, and thought it was very accurate. My skin brought out tobacco, but we essentially had the same experience and reaction. :) I only hope that others love Kalemat as much as you and I do!

  24. Kafka–Your description off Ghroob sounds incredible. It is listed as a women’s fragrance–is this accurate, or do you think a man could wear it?

    • Laird, I’m the worst person to ask about gender classifications because I really believe anyone can wear anything, if they feel comfortable enough with it and if it suits their style. Some guys wear Amouage’s Tribute, some wear Homage, some wear both. It really is up to the person in question. If you feel you could comfortably wear something like Amouage’s Homage, then you could wear Ghroob. It all depends on what suits you and you’re comfortable with.

      I will say, though, that I’ve never seen ANY reason why guys can’t wear fragrances with floral notes! Remember, in the Middle East where perfume really originated, men have worn attars with Ta’if roses, jasmine, and/or other flowers for centuries. Centuries! It’s only in the West where some prissiness took hold, and made men think that they were limited to crisp colognes, citruses, or woody scents. Bah! Ridiculous. Would you tell some Arab sheikh that he was less of a man because he wore a perfume oil whose sandalwood notes were also joined by jasmine and rose? I highly doubt it!

  25. Kafka, this has been a fascinating post and discussion. I am going to ask for help from you and your readers. I am convinced that somewhere among the Arabian offerings lurks a jasmine with wood and spice. Might have a lot of other notes too, but those three predominant. Can anyone steer me to anything available on Amazon fitting that description?
    I am chasing the memory of a scent I smelled long ago in Egypt and loved, and those scent-memories are worse than old songs for hanging around in your brain and getting you crazy. Far more fun, though.

    • I wish I could be of help, but I can’t think of one that sounds like that. I didn’t get to explore much of their line because they have just SO much stuff, and I was dependent on having the sales clerk show me things. But I have asked one of my Facebook readers to see if she can knows of one. She wrote to me after the Kalemat post, went to explore Arabian Oud for the first time at their Dubai shop, and tested a number of things from the line. Hopefully, she will remember one that had the aroma profile that you’ve described. One other solution might be to email Arabian Oud at their UK site to see if they can help you out. (And then check Arabian Oud’s Amazon page to see if they stock it over here. lol) Contact info is: sales @ arabianoud.co.uk (all one word) or
      info @ arabianoud.co.uk (again, obviously scrunched up into one word).

      I’ve tried to do a little digging to see if I can find an Arabian Oud fragrance that has the notes you mention but it’s been difficult. They have one pure jasmine, one Jasmine with other white flowers, and then…. well, it gets confusing due to the conflict in notes from one site to another. Basically nothing with what you’ve listed. So, really, your best bet may be to send them an email and see what guidance they may be able to offer.

  26. I bought one just now! On Amazon. Meant to do it earlier but got busy. In fact, I’ve been so very busy!!!! Can’t wait to get it in the mail and smell it. You absolutely sold me on this one. Great review! I don’t know how you can be so specific in what you smell and then communicate that. I doubt I could even come close. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hurrah! I’m so glad I could tempt you with something that might suit your tastes, MeganLisa. Fingers crossed you like it as much as I do! You’ll have to let me know what you think when it arrives! :)

      • Will do! I just got shipping information this morning.
        Not so hard to tempt me unfortunately! Your review on this one was a clear “buy” and it sounds amazing. I’ll let you know!

      • I just got mine in the mail! First, the packaging and presentation are among the most beautiful I’ve seen. They also send a silver “sample” that’s a few inches high (I think it’s the same scent but it just got here so I haven’t had time to confirm)….and it’s in it’s own gorgeous box. And, I love the scent! I agree that it smells like a higher end scent…of which I have only a little experience via a visit or two to Neiman’s (and their specialty $200 plus boutique fragrances). One of my favorite purchases of the year. Thanks for recommending!!!

        • Hurrah! I’m so happy you’re enjoying it. And very relieved, too, if I can confess. Let’s hope others like it as much as you do. I’ve never made a fervent “Buy” recommendation, so it’s rather nerve-wracking right now. LOL. Isn’t the little silver flacon pretty with the perfume oil? I haven’t tested it out properly yet, but I do wish they had put some sort of name on the box so that people would know what perfume it is!!! The rest of the packaging is also well done, in my opinion, but then, I love the whole “book” concept. :)

          • I absolutely love it! So even if you don’t make everyone happy you made me happy. Thank you. I just called my mom and asked if she wanted one for Christmas…and she said yes. She will love it two (so you’re two for two in my book). The book concept is stunning. Great “buy” recommendation!

  27. Another one bites the dust. :-)
    I swear, they should totally GIVE you that Taj Mahal for all the business you have given them. Thank you for a wonderful and informative post (as always). First time I comment on here but I do real all your lovely posts.

    • I don’t know what makes me happier: that you’ve posted here for the first time, or that I found a tempting perfume that you may like. Honestly, I think it’s the former, CC! I hope you will feel comfortable and free to post any time, CC. Perfume is always best when shared. :) And thank you for your very kind words about my posts!

  28. Hah! I’d seen a comment of yours on fb about this and bought it blind (along with some Ghroob oil based on the notes) right then on Amazon because of the way you spoke of it. Now that I’ve read your review I feel even more confident in my choice…. you know how I love ambers, and how I absofuckinglutely adore Chergui!

    Now, hopefully I don’t have another horrible allergic reaction to these as I just did to Parfum DelRae’s Bois de Paradis, damn oversensitive histamine response. But if I do, I shall certainly send them on to you, dear Kafka!

    • I have Cherugi, and I cannot find it! What a bummer! I had to live downstairs for a year as could not climb stairs (knee injury, two surgeries) and my goop was all over the place! Since our Dear Kafka posted about The River and many comments have mentioned Cherugi I went in search! It will show up, someday, somewhere among The Chaos of my life! However, wonderful to be looking forward to the new delivery!!! I am happy!

      • I’m glad you’re feeling better, Judith. That does not sound like a fun situation at all! Let’s hope you find your bottle of Chergui soon, but if you don’t, you’ll have a richer form in Kalemat coming to you soon. :)

    • Yayyyy, sweetie! I’m glad you succumbed, because I actually almost wrote you a note about it. I remembered our conversations on the light(er) weight of Ambre Russe, and some other ambers, so I really thought this may be up your alley. But how super that you got Ghroob as well! And without knowing or having read the review. Awesome! Let me know what you think when you get them.

      I think the way that Arab attars and perfumes rarely have a lot of synthetics and are usually very focused on pure perfume oils means that you might be same on the allergic reaction front. Let’s hope! xoxoxo

      • Good lord, not only was the shipping incredibly quick (less than a week, which is quicker than ordering regular UPS from within most of the US to my remote locations), but they also sent me a small bottle of a rose-oud oil, as well as a complimentary WHOLE 100 ml bottle of Woody Black, who does that?

        …. truth be told, I’m not really sure about that one, it smells rather like the herbal essences plumeria shampoo of the 90’s layered over candied oud, but it was still incredibly generous of them! I can’t find notes for that one right now, but it’d definitely oud-rose-saffron-plumeria something.

        And I couldn’t help myself, I have Kalemat on one arm and Ghoroob on the other and I am in looooooooovvvvvvvveeeeeee with both. I can’t believe I just found an utterly amazing amber AND also this incredible attar that I didn’t even know I needed, but clearly do ;) And for this price. It’s utterly ridiculous…

        No allergy troubles either, thankfully.

        Happy happy happy! Thank you, Kafka!

        • I am going for Ghroob (sp?) to go for this as soon as I can ‘launder’ the $. I have promised to be on good behavior for my excesses, we know it wasn’t going to last! Where have the days gone when we could simply write a larger check at the grocery store!!! (Please know there is always a bit of humor in my life, necessary!). I must behave… I must… I must…I won’t!

        • Hurrah for no allergy troubles or reactions! And they sent you a WHOLE 100 ML PERFUME for FREE??!!! Good heavens! Woody Black doesn’t sound great from your description, but I love the generosity! Way to go, Arabian Oud!

          Even better is the fact that you adore both Kalemat and Ghroob! I’m so thrilled. Ghroob is fantastic, isn’t it?! What an amazing price for the quality, too. Apparently, according to Tara, it’s supposed to smell like the $350 Homage from Amouage. I can believe it. But really, I’m just so happy that you love both fragrances. So happy!

          • I do! I’m afraid my other ambers will languish now…. I’m too in love to see any other amber perfumes for a while :)

            I’ve never smelled the Homage Attar (didn’t even want to consider it, ack), but Ghroob/Ghoroob is utterly fantastic. My bottle leaked just slightly in the mail thanks to a loose lid, and my room is absolutely filled with the scent, from just the little bit that had gotten on the outside the bottle. Powerful and gorgeous.

            The Woody Black isn’t awful, it’s just light and floral and sweet in a way that doesn’t suit me… and I used that shampoo when I was in junior high so even a hint of plumeria or freesia tends to turn me off lol. And yeah, the generosity is quite incredible, and I very much like the small silver bottle of oudh/rose oil, it’s very high quality and lovely. It came in a fancy box too, but no perfume name and I can’t place it on any of the sites, so I’m not entirely sure what it is.

            You’re such a siren, kafka, you write about scents and everyone dives face first into them… and rightly so.

          • Oh dear, the more you talk about the shampoo and the plumeria, the more I’m wincing a little. It doesn’t sound like either of our personal styles. But….BUT…. the Ghroob is love, as is the Kalemat, so that’s all that matters. Hopefully Woody Black can go to a good home. Do you happen to know any teenagers? ;) :D heh.

          • Heh, I have a 13 year old daughter utterly in love with perfume (she’s currently doing dishes while covered in a sample of Coromandel.) She’d probably love it, especially the oud drydown, I think I may save it for a christmas present for her.

            Also, one spray of Kalemat lasted over 30 hours on my skin! I think the only ones I’ve had last longer are Dior’s Oud Ispahan (hm, I think I got nearly 50 hours from that once), vintage Opium, and vintage Bal à Versailles.

          • 30 hours? 30??!!!?! From a single spray??! My God, I knew it has serious longevity — even on me — but that is astounding. I’m a bit shell-shocked at some of the numbers you’ve given, and I think I need to go lie down to get over my envy! ;) :D lol

          • I don’t have perfume eating skin, but (and especially in this dry climate) don’t have that perfume loving skin that keeps it forever either… so I’m quite surprised, and usually when something does really last, like the Oud Ispahan, it’s one note (in that case, the cedar), but with Kalemat it’s actually a more well rounded and complex skin scent that’s left. In fact, I can still smell it if I actively huff my arm, mm, 34 hours I think now lol. It doesn’t have huge projection on me (well, one spray didn’t at least), but I still had swirls of lovely amber floating all around me.

            Also, I was really pleased that a number of super picky perfume friends who mostly only like naturals and find most ambers with any synthetic elements to be harsh or sharp, actually thought Kalemat was entirely natural and were all swoony for it. It can’t be all natural, of course, not and last like it does, but it speaks very well to the composition to my mind.

            And hell, I’m tempted to get more Ghroob if they’re going to discontinue it… what the hell are they thinking?

            Will you be doing a separate review on Ghroob at some point? I have to collect all your reviews of my favorite perfumes, you know….. I hope you turn them into a book someday, so much more enjoyable than certain other books of perfume reviews.

          • WOW, that’s fantastic that your friends thought it was an all-natural perfume without synthetics. Wow, that’s a big plus, and definitely speaks to the quality and luxuriousness of the ingredients!

            Re. Ghroob, I have to actually buy it first, but I will definitely review it once I do. I simply need to save up a bit more after some rather crazy perfume buying in Paris. (I haven’t covered even half of what I ended up with!) About the discontinuation, it seems unclear to me if they are simply discontinuing the 25 ml bottle, or something else. Perhaps they will offer it in a smaller size, but I don’t know. I’ve actually reached out to Arabian Oud to get an email address of someone whom I can talk to about the brand, its perfumes, and buying samples, but I haven’t heard back yet. Hopefully, soon. But yes, I definitely plan on covering Ghroob at some point!

            As for a book, I think the problem would be the photos which really convey so much of what I feel or how I see each perfume. The mood, the visuals, the world they create, or just simply, what some of the more unusual notes look like. I couldn’t use the photos in a book, but perhaps I could do one without, even if it wouldn’t be as explanatory. It’s certainly something to think about! But thank you for your faith in me. :) :) It means so much more than you could know! xooxo

  29. Kafka-
    I am having a hard time finding anything from Arabian Oud called “Dinoon.” Is it possible that it is Dehn al Oud? Or possibly Diwan?? Would love to be able to sample this if it was your 2nd favorite from the House!

    • The perfume isn’t listed on any of their sites, just as Taj Mahal isn’t. The chap’s writing on the piece of paper is a bit of a scrawl, but it’s definitely either Dinoon, Dinan or Dinon. (It’s hard to tell what the vowel or vowels may be after the very clear DIN-part.) It’s absolutely NOT Diwan. The very fact that you’re struggling to find anything similar on the site is a sign of just what a hot mess their websites are. Take, Taj Mahal, for example. Someone in a perfume group went to the Paris store after my post and actually tested it. So, it’s there. They have it. But not a mention on their websites. Not a single one! It’s the same story with Dinoon/Dinan/Dinon.

      I would start with Ghroob, as that is easier to get a hold of. And, if you’re crazy about saffron, you may want to consider “Woody” as well. Too much saffron for my tastes, but then I’m completely over the (now annoying) Saffron-Rose-Oud-Amber combo. But if you’re looking for a very well done version of that, Woody would be something for you to consider. I believe it is one of their more popular fragrances, because they seem to have come out with a whole sub-collection around it and with some flankers as well. One flanker recently was nominated for (or won, can’t recall which) the Arab FiFi awards. So, start with Woody and Ghroob if the notes in those appeal to you.

    • LairdAngus, you (and some others) may be interested in this assessment of *other* Arabian Oud fragrances from a Facebook reader of mine. Ruby posted this to the Kafkaesque Facebook page (along with a photo of an Arabian Oud bottle) after reading my original post and going to Arabian Oud’s Dubai store to try some things from their line:

      From reading Kafkaesque Perfume blog on Kalemat by Arabian Oud, it took me on fragrance adventure to the Arabian Oud boutique. I never realized what quality ingredients the shop holds.
      Regarding Kafkaesque blog on Kalemat, Spot On. Amazing it is. Kalemat gets better and better by the moments and hours that pass. So elegant and subtle. Wonderful is putting it mildly.

      In preference I enjoy Smokey perfumes (Dukhan or bakhour scent) Frankincense preferably white frankincense. I am a huge admire of the composition Amouage Clan of perfumes brings forward. Other pleasantries I hold admiration for would be some of the lovely creations by Tom Ford and Guerlains legendary perfumes as well as Elixir line, amongst a few others.

      This is Exceptional. It is Listed As a single ingredient from my findings and inquiry in Arabian Oud as a just Oud. But There is a gentle smooth Balsamic and a very light possible flower scent in the background in the mildest form. This Oud has a very inviting vibe. Vanilla is not in this nor white francensense but I feel there is or its just such superior oud that it plays evotive roles in its levels.

      An honorable meantion is another Arabian Oud front runner: Al Aasy. While Majestic Special Oud is a clean Oud scent that is pleasantly unisex, Al Aasy is leaning toward Woman. However A Gentleman of any age could easily wear it. Both are truely nice and not seasonal or limited to occasion.
      Lovely is best way to describe what comes to mind upon smelling its mild gentle haze.
      Sillage is gently moderate. Longevity is a good 12 hours. Bliss in a bottle.
      This is Exceptional. It is not offensive and smell of pure luxury in a very beautiful way. No short cuts and well constructed. I believe there are some other notes not listed. As this is something too special to be of a single note.
      Pure luxurious bliss. Price is 800aed (approx. 217USD)100ml and quality is beyond outstanding. Smooth and lovely. This pretty Victor it is the Conductor of any other Oud scent that is pleasing to Western and Eastern tastes. It is exceptional and luxury.

  30. I’m kind of with you on the whole Rose-Oud-Saffron thing. I do really like Dior’s Oud Ispahan, mainly because it a) uses a burnt or smoking agarwood accord rather than a resinous oud, and b) lasts forever.

    Today is Sunday, so I’m getting ready to put on my wonderful Incense Avignon and head to Mass! Embarrassing to say, but it really adds to the experience for me.

    • I don’t think it’s embarrassing at all. It’s actually brilliant! I love the whole thought of an incense, High Church-y fragrance to go with actual Catholic Mass. Totally genius, LairdAngus, totally genius!

      • Have you sampled Oud Ispahan yet? I’d love to get your take on it.

        I tend to be a sillage freak, but O.I. is the only fragrance that actually me feel somewhat self-conscious when wearing it. It borders on chemical warfare.

        • Not yet, Laird Angus. I have a sample, but I almost never sniff something until I’m ready to do a review. That way, I avoid being influenced by misimpressions due to haste or lack of sufficient time. :)

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  33. I’m.. genuinely surprised. Arabian Oud is one of those brands I avoid like the plague. Avoid as in, I choose to never walk in a mall hallway that has one of their branches! Everything I tried from them I felt was absolutely revolting, my family feels the same way too. I’m too curious about this specific perfume though.. Maybe I will send someone to buy it for me.. I wouldn’t want to personally go to the store lol.

    • Heh, you sound so utterly horrified, my dear! Utterly horrified. *grin* :D Arabian Oud certainly doesn’t have the prestige or glamour of high-end brands like Amouage, Puredistance, Roja Dove, or the like, but I was truly surprised by the quality of those that I tried. Ghroob, Taj Mahal, Kalemat, Dinoon/Dinan/Dinan-whatever… they were lovely. The “Woody” was too, too sweet for me with the saffron, but the rest were very well done. And it’s not just me, but many others who have tried the perfumes and think that they have an Amouage-like quality to the richness and depth.

      However, given that there are AT LEAST 160 perfumes in that enormous collection, I’m sure there are some total duds in there as well. There has to be, given the law of averages! Perhaps for those who live in Dubai and the Middle East, the ubiquitousness of the brand and the tacky look of some of their bottles makes Arabian Oud seem like a common, cheap line that can’t be very good. It would certainly be understandable. But I stick with my love for the ones I tried, like Ghroob, Taj Mahal, and Kalemat. See if someone you know is willing to brave the horrors of the store ;) and if they can get you a sample of those 3 for you to test. For the price, they’re really excellent!

    • Darling Gioff, you’re here! How lovely. I had no idea you liked ambers. (Do you??? I always see you as such a citrus guy!) You’ll have to let me know what you think of Kalemat. xoxoxooxx

  34. Kafkaesque, I, like many others on here, have just received my bottle of Kalemate which I blind bought on Halloween night after reading your glowing, fantastic review. The service from Amazon, Arabian Oud, and the shipping company were fantastic. Besides the astounding price of this jewel of a fragrance, they threw in a sample of Arabian Oud, which is fantastic. You were right about if I like various fragrances I’d probably love Kalemate. I, along with many others, I’m sure, oh you a great big THANK YOU! Not only for the wonderful treasure that is Kalemate, but for introducing me to Arabian/Middle Eastern perfumes and oils, as I went ahead and ordered a total of 9 of them between Halloween and this past Monday night. Not only are the overall prices very reasonable, but the shipping charges are, too, and from what I’m seeing, they expedite the shipping – such excellent service. Again, THANK YOU!! :-)

    • I’m so incredibly happy that you liked the fragrances, Mark (may I call you Mark?). It’s incredibly risky to go with blind-buys, I know, so I’m thrilled that you think Kalemat is a treasure. I’m also rather relieved, as it feels rather nerve-wracking to wait for people’s reactions. I’ve never once given a “BUY THIS!” recommendation, and one never knows how people’s skin chemistry may affect things.

      Isn’t the book lovely?! The packaging is so fantastically brilliant. As for the little sample, I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a perfume called “Arabian Oud.” That’s the company’s name, and they’re a hot mess when it comes to perfume names, so I think it’s just some random fragrance in an un-titled box. I haven’t tested mine yet, but a brief, very passing sniff told me “orange blossoms.” I wish they would put names on things!

      You ordered 9 Middle Eastern fragrances in one night???!!! My kind of perfume addict! :D I’m impressed. I’m generally leery of the sweetness of some Middle Eastern potions, so you have much more nerve than I do. If you’re curious as to some others from Arabian Oud, you may want to scroll through the comments to the blog as I have a big quote from one of the readers of the blog’s Facebook page talking about others in the line. In specific, two with ouds, one of which is supposed to be a better version of By Kilian’s Incense Oud. And she said that as a big Kilian fan! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be quite as affordable as Kalemat and the others.

      I’m so happy you wrote to me. Thank you for taking the time, but most of all, for trusting me. That means a lot.

      PS — What else have you liked thus far that you’ve ordered?

      • By all means, please call me Mark! How is it that you are able to reply to each and every person who leaves a comment? And your replies aren’t quick one or two liners, either. It is evident that you are interested in each person’s perfume experience. Thank you for that. That is why it is so much fun reading not only your blogs, but the comments as well.

        I am not new to blind buying. In fact, most of my initial purchases when I was first getting into this fragrance game were blind, and I would say that I’ve been happy with about 90% of them. When something is so highly rated as Kalemate, and can be had for a such reasonable price, I think that the risk is worth the (small) potential loss.

        I was extraordinarily impressed with the packaging. Up until I opened it up yesterday, the nicest packaging I had seen to date was from Ormonde Jayne’s sample set. I would put the two on par with one another – both are absolutely superb.

        I didn’t order all 9 Middle Eastern perfumes in one night – just six of them. :-) The other three I ordered this past Sunday night, those being Raghba, Raghba for Man, and Ameer Al Oudh. The others, that arrived on Monday, include Noora, Dehn El Ood Mubarak, and three from Al Haramain (Badar, Hajar, Khaltath). They were all cheap (especially the Al Haramain’s at only about $9 each), so if I don’t like them, there is nothing lost. So far, they seem to be a bit too sweet for my taste, and since they are concentrated oils, they are quite potent, and almost too much for me to bear. I’ll give them a few more wearings, but if they don’t work out, I’ll see if there is anyone willing to take them off my hands, uh, I mean wrists. :-) I think that I prefer the woody incense scents. I may end up ordering some Middle Eastern incense, fitting as it is the smell of burning incense at a shop in San Francisco as a child that is one of my very first memories of loving fragrance.

        Thanks again for the wonderful recommendation. I usually don’t like buying full bottles anymore, as I will never use everything I have, but for $59 + shipping, it was a bargain, and I’m sure that I can do some decanting and making a few others very happy.

        Truly,

        Mark

        • Re. my replies: for me, that’s half the fun, if not perhaps even more. You see, I think of perfume in the same way I do food. It’s really best when shared. Actually, I think perfume should be like a cocktail party where experiences are passed around like wine and tidbits, and everyone is chatting, comparing, and sharing. It makes it much more fun for me. It doesn’t matter if people can’t describe in depth what they smell or if they have a different perspective/opinion. All that matters is that there are no judgments, no “right” or “wrong,” and that people have fun. :)

          So, okay, you ONLY succumbed to 6 on that first night….. ;) *grin* It’s funny, you chose a number that were on my list or have been saved on my Amazon list too: Noora, Hajar, and I think some other -AR ending name from Al Haramain. The reason I haven’t actually bought them yet? The exact reason you gave as to why you’re struggling with them. I dread the possibility that they will be too sweet for my tastes. And I find a number of Middle Eastern fragrances have that issue, especially if saffron is involved. Plus, my skin tends to take basenotes and run with them, amplifying them like mad. Sweetness in particular. So, even if they’re cheap, do I really want to risk 3 blind buys that will undoubtedly have problematic sweetness?

          Can I make a suggestion for you? Layer them. Find the driest perfumes you own, and spray them on top of a tiny layer of the perfume oils. Have you ever tried something like Naomi Goodsir’s Bois d’Ascese? That would be glorious with one of these Middle Eastern fragrances, I think. Really a severe, monkish, ascetic explosion of campfire smoke and woods. Or, if you’re one of those who has ever had a bad batch of Amouage’s Tribute, this would be the answer. Same with Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque (a more hardcore, smoky, tobacco-y version of Chergui) but that one seems, alas, to have reformulated. But layering can definitely help make a few fragrances work for the better, so consider it before you give away your oils.

          I don’t know your personal tastes, so hopefully, you’ll pop in from time to time so that I can get to know them better, but if you’re interested in some seriously smoky, dry, woody fragrances, try the Naomi Goodsir. (You can read my review of it if you’re interested.). Or maybe your skin will have better luck than I did with Olivier Dubano’s Black Tourmaline. My skin made it very wonky, but I know a lot of people love it. Of course, if you want some truly balanced, gorgeous frankincense-woody-plummy heaven that is perfect for this time of year, I have to recommend one of my all-time favorites: Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles. Tom Ford did a recent knock-off of it with his Plum Japonais, except all the proportions were wrong, the balance was wrong, and it wasn’t as good. None of these are Middle Eastern fragrances of course or oud-y things, but they may satisfy your itch for some smoke and incense. :)

      • Kafkaesque, I had the kalemat for some time now and I’m on my third bottle. It’s been so difficult to attain because I have to rely on friends in the Middle East who either never heard of arabian oud or think its too generic! I went on amazon to stick pile and bought ghroob because of ur review of kalemat. They way u described kalemat spoke to my heart and I just knew I would like ghroob. I absolutely love it and can’t get enough! A few months ago, I bought By Killian incense oud. On a teachers budget, that was an insane $400 purchase I regret much! I went back through all the comments and can’t seem to find the one from a reader about the arabian oud one that smells like it. I would love to blind buy that one as well! U inspire me to start a blog. I live in a part of the USA with a huge population of Arabs who all smell like the counters at Macy’s. No one dares ventures into Arab perfumes because they think they are old-fashioned or ‘FoBbish’. It’s an alienating world here and I try to sneak my love for fragrances on tiny dabs throughout the day on my wrist so as not to offend my coworkers. But Tomorrow is all out Ghroob day! I think my kids will love it, as they frequently gift me bakhoor and oils from rehab because they know of my love for this stuff. It makes my heart swell because it makes them proud of their heritage. A lot of them come to class smelling like oud or bakhoor because their families are fairly new to this country and miss the comforts of home. But living in the Midwest is hard because even the word ‘niche’ is not part of our vocabulary. Even our saks and niemans don’t vary Christain Dior ispahan and just recently started carrying Tom ford private blend. So your blog means a lot to me! Thank you so much for your in depth posts and comments!
        – arabellastory

        • Awww, what a lovely note, Arabella. Thank you! So, did you have Kalemat originally but couldn’t find other sellers for it outside the Middle East until my post? Or, did you buy Kalemat because of my post and are now on your third bottle? If the latter, then I’m very happy happy indeed! Wonderful. I’m so glad I could make you find something that spoke to you so much. And hurrah for the Ghoroob working as well!

          With regard to the Arabian Oud fragrance that one of my readers compared to a Kilian scent, it was a comment left on the Kafkaesque Facebook page. It’s been a while, so my memory of all the specific comments is very hazy now, but I think I either quoted her from her Facebook comment or perhaps just referenced it in passing. Okay, I went to look it up. It was a private FB message from a reader in Dubai whom I turned onto Arabian Oud and who found some she loved in their store. All of them being the much higher priced Arabian Oud fragrances. She wrote that “Majestic Special Oud is far superior to Kilian Incense oud. And that is coming from a Kilian patron.” The price for Majestic Special Oud that she quoted was AED 800, so that is definitely not cheap.

          I hope that helps a little, my dear. I’ve recently ordered a ton of samples of Amouage attars with oud, and I hope to get them in the next few weeks. I have a source in a Facebook fragrance group that you can use too if you like the sound of any of them, as she sells the attars to a lot of people in small amounts but for MUCH less than Western prices. The reason is that the Amouage attars are priced much less in the UAE than in the West. (In fact, the Amouage attars are being pulled entirely from Western distribution.) The Amouage attars can vary in price, but a little goes a long way, so if you’re ever interested in a small amount (like a couple of mls each), that may be another way to go. They will be more expensive than Arabian Oud for the most part, but much better quality.

          If you’re on Facebook at this time, join the group Facebook Fragrance Friends (FFF) and you will be able to get in on some perfume splits for the Amouage attars too. They are sold by Rachel Grot Dobson, and she’s extremely safe, reputable, and honest. She doesn’t make a single penny in profit, either. I’ve gotten attars from her in the past, and they’re always the genuine thing. You can always ask her to buy something special for you over there and have her send it to you, with you paying cost and shipping. So, I hope that helps a little in terms of filling up the hole left by living in the Midwest, and in terms of finding the smell of home and oud at an affordable price. :)

  35. Gaaaaaah! These recommendations were great ones! I was truly astounded by the packaging. The cost of shipping is fairly high, but it seemed quite reasonable when you consider international postage + the size and weight of the packaging. The Kalemat bottle is so heavy and beautiful. The packaging of both Ghroob and Kalemat creates the illusion of “no expenses spared” which is unusual in general, but especially for such affordable fragrances. Plus, I got a little small bottle of something as an added bonus. Ghroob is BEAUTIFUL! It’s exactly what I expected. Kalemat morphed so quickly – at first it was rich and custardy, followed immediately by earthiness, then by something else. I don’t know how to describe it, but it smells great and it’s not like anything I own. I am so, so happy with these and like Mark, I’m definitely keen to explore more from them, and more Middle Eastern perfumes in general.

    • YAY!!! I’m so glad, Kevin! Isn’t Ghroob fantastic? Someone told me the other day that they’re discontinuing it, the crazy bastards. (WHY??!?! Gah!) I’m glad you’re happy with Kalemat too, and that you loved the packaging. Thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts on it. It sounds like Kalemat is much more woody (and earthy?) on you than on me, and much less sweet, too, but I’m glad that you love the final result. :) :)

  36. I got mine today, too!! As the others have mentioned, the packaging is gorgeous! Now I am pissed at myself for not having ordered Ghroob along with this order. Grrrr.

    What a terrific blind buy…thank you so much!! I smell FAB, if I do say so myself. :-)
    And since tomorrow is my birthday I am extremely happy I gave myself this birthday gift. I am a philistine when it comes to picking out notes but I do smell sweet pipe tobacco (on my skin, at least). And you are exactly right, it doesn’t feel heavy at all, which I was a wee bit worried about (i.e. Mecca Balsam…I know it gets raves from all the perfumistas and I should probably turn in my perfumista card but on me it is just too much and feels oppressive. I still have the sample and have tried it a couple of times hoping to “get it—what am I missing?” Hasn’t happened yet, alas. However, I am thrilled with my Kalemat. Thanks again, Kafka!

    • CC, you *do* smell FAB, even if I’m biased in saying so! ;) :D Joking aside, I’m so relieved you love it, especially given the situation with Mecca Balsam. Phew! What a relief. And yay that you smell tobacco as well.

      Much more importantly, however, let me wish you an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (Scorpios rock, btw. ;)) And I’m so touched that you chose Kalemat as a birthday present to yourself. Hopefully, you can get Ghroob as an early Christmas present…. lol. I’m going to have to order it soon as well, since I just heard that Arabian Oud is discontinuing the fragrance. Idiots. But HURRAH for Kalemat! I’m truly so happy that it worked for you!

      • Arrived and was packed to survive a drop from an airplane! Included a little silver toned packaged sample? no identification that I can read! Quick spritz and out the door! I can tell from the get go I will love this! Not sure how much spritzing it needs, so went light, which is not my form! I am not one to identify exact notes, so when I sniff more I will be back. I am delighted!!!!!

        • It dropped from the airplane??!!! O_O Oh my! Thank God, they package up their boxes with every possible form of tape and protection. As for the little silver bottle they’ve thrown in for free, I have no idea what it may be, either! Arabian Oud doesn’t seem to value the importance of easy markings or giving us actual perfume names! lol. I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know what that perfume oil is like, but a really quick, fleeting sniff told me orange blossoms. I’ll have to put it on my skin and see.

          I’m so glad you liked the Kalemat! Go to town with your sprays, because it is quite an airy perfume and the sillage drops. I think applying more will give you a better sense of it, too. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my own excessive spraying of Kalemat. ;) ;) lol.

          • LOVE excess!!! Well, not in everything, but in fragrance yes! I love to leave a trail behind me! A woman of a certain age has to let go of some of the glitz and shimmer in makeup, another passion… still we find a way to be beautiful with some restraint! Fragrance enhances what we put into ourselves and project outward!!!

  37. I ordered mine on 10/31 and I now have Kalemat in my hands. I also got the silver thingie but somehow couldn’t pry it out of its housing. In any case, I am wafting pipe tobacco right now. Good call, Kafka! By the way is Ghroob only available in perfume oil format? I dare not go to their website…if I thought the Montale line was over the top with the sheer number of perfumes, I would probably go catatonic if I see 3x that number on the Arabian Oud line!

    • Go to the Amazon site and order Ghroob in the 25 ml bottle for about $44. Apparently, that will soon be discontinued. http://www.amazon.com/Ghroob-Oil-Women-25-Ml/dp/B00BGO8S1M That way, you’ll be spared the ordeal of the website, and it’s discounted on Amazon too! As for the format, yes, it seems to be in oil only, like an attar.

      As for Kalemat, I’m glad to hear you detect a tobacco note too. Is it more ambery, rose-y, honeyed, or woody on you as a whole?

      • Ordered Ghroob with one click! I love being here with Kafka! The first note I detected was tobacco, but still much to my liking ambery sweet…simply just what my heart desires!

        • I think the Elixir is definitely strong enough to interfere with the notes. But I see you’ve left an updated comment with your experience, so I’ll respond to that one instead. :)

      • I don’t typically use oils but let’s see how this works on me…maybe I can water it down with perfumer’s alcohol or something. In any case, this is free as I used Amex points :-)

        • Ha, I just remembered your particular way of applying perfume with the whole “walking through the mist” thing, so yeah, oils clearly wouldn’t work for that. And who wants the hassle of watering it down into an aerosol-practical spray? Too much work for you, if you ask me, even if it is a lovely scent. :)

      • So I wore this today – 2 spritzes lasted me all day. It started pipe tobacco + ambery sweet and chocolatey, akin to Dior Mitzah! I got rose in the extreme drydown and it was the pencil-shavings-oily-rose type not as strong as in Mohur (I got hit with pencil shavings immediately) but definitely there! Overall, this is a winner for me.

        • “Pencil shavings” is cedar. :) At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re detecting in all these perfumes; it’s the way your mind registers and translates the particular wood note. How interesting that you got some chocolate-y bits and that the whole thing reminded you of Mitzah! It must be how your skin is processing the amber, turning it into something like labdanum amber. Very cool! It sounds great on you, Hajusuuri! An affordable version of Mitzah and Mohur in one! I’m so glad you like it and find it to be a winner!

  38. I got my bottle yesterday and haven’t stopped smelling my arm. This is wonderful and the presentation is outstanding as well. Thank you so much for writing about this and inspiring me to buy it.

    • I am in LOVE! I am not getting great sillage, however I always carry a decant in my bag! I can keep on keeping on all day/night long!! I have ebayed for a few nice handbag spritzers… thank you our Dear K. I keep saying I will come back with a ‘review’ however not my abilities. Starts off with leathery/woods and morphs to sweet amber, which I adore!!! I love surprise packages! I am hanging around here for other amazing suggestions!!! Confusing world out there with the fragrance bloggers, one gets dizzy, I respect and love the straight forward GET IT!

      • You are directly responsible for this. I love amber and I love orientals. This is just so….yummy…..for want of a better word. Thanks again.

  39. I just received my bottle of Kalemat today. I have NEVER purchased a scent without testing it first…but your description and scent memories compelled me to jump in and buy it. The scent is EXACTLY as you described, heady and redolent of honeyed smoke. I teared up as I could recall the smell of my beloved father’s pipe tobacco ( slight echo). This scent makes me very, happy. I am garnering compliments left and right. I can’t wait until it gets cold and windy here ( So Cal, 80 degrees today….sigh…I have to wait!) so I can envelope myself in this mesmerizing scent. Thank you so very much!
    Michele

    • Thank you so, so much, Michele, for adding your experience. I know it will be a huge help to anyone who is trying to make up their mind as to whether they should risk a blind buy. THANK YOU! *hugs*

      • NO, thank you, I agree with the lovely reader, Cacomixtle who urges you to write a book….you have an extraordinary gift, you can evoke the scent images that come with a whiff. You conjures up moods, the visuals are already in own heads as we read. I read A LOT of perfume blogs, and none are as honest, beautifully written and spot on as yours.

        • I’m so very touched, you have no idea. Really, I mean that. It’s been a rough two days, mostly for reasons of exhaustion and scheduling, so reading that gave me a badly needed smile and energy boost. I’m actually feeling rather sniffly now, so I should cut this short, but thank you for words that mean a lot more than you can know, dear Michele. Thank you, truly.

          • can you make an elixir of “thieve’s oil”?
            Cinnamon bark, clove bud, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oil.
            Rub some on the soles of your feet ( it sounds odd, but it works!)
            tea with lemon and honey….lots of rest…old movies from the 40’s
            Please feel better

  40. I just read on the thread that Ghroob will soon be discontinued…..I put down my tea and ordered a bottle with one click! Thank you for always providing us with direct, honest, up to date information. Kalemat has made me (albeit it temporarily!) put down my bottles of Serge Lutens;
    no easy feat, let me tell you!
    I am so happy that I went from a “lurker” on your site, to a subscriber. I appreciate the time that you take to answer each post, as I seem to learn more and more from you and the other readers. Thank you for feeding my lovely addiction!

    • Your wallet may not thank me…. ;) :P Teasing aside, I’m happy that you’ve stopped lurking because it adds to MY enjoyment of the scents. And, of course, us Serge Lutens fanatics must stick together. As a totally unrelated question, have you ever tried Alahine or Dior’s Mitzah? There is a reason for my question which will become apparent tomorrow, but those are two of my Top 5 (modern) fragrances. Mitzah has been officially “discontinued” but bottles are still available on the Dior website, and I think you may want to consider reading those two reviews at some point. Tomorrow’s review will be for a scent that is proving to be Mitzh’s twin, and it may be very much up your alley if you’re a fan of dark labdanum amber. :)

      • No, I have not….I am intrigued….I will search for your reviews, as yes, I love the dark ambers….also clove, cinnamon.. smoke
        Yes, I have to say, my pocketbook has been shaking of late! I am a child abuse investigator, and (sadly) have a ton of overtime….my justification for some of the recent purchases!

        • Oh God, what a terribly painful, emotionally difficult, frustrating and stressful field! And what a hero you are for doing it, as I know it can’t be easy at all and must wear you out emotionally. I hope that perfume can be a haven, a cocoon, and a sort of armour for you, against it all. I really do. I send you a very big hug, Michele, for all that you do, and the endless kindness that you have shown to me.

          BTW, I don’t turn to old 1940s movies (though I love Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper), but I am pretty much a television junkie in order to keep my mind sane. Or, to be more precise, to shut it off, as it is one of the only things that helps. That, and a giant German shepherd who owns me and has me VERY well trained. ;) I am the perfect, obedient slave to His Imperial Teutonic Majesty. Speaking of which, I think I have some paws to kiss and rub. lol

  41. I just have to say it is so lovely to read everyone is happy with their purchase. I’ve already shared 4 (5ml) decants with friends and sis!
    I also … um … er … just did a one-click Ghroob purchase and am looking forward to receiving that one, too! And since I have not had the opportunity to sniff any Amouages (I know, I know) I am very happy to know it bears some resemblance to one of their attars. To use the technical term … yippee!!!

    Thanks again, Kafka. :-)

    • Oh, “YIPPEEE” indeed, my dear! That’s wonderful, I’m so glad you’re enjoying it and that you’re spreading the love with friends/family. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it too. And way to go with Ghroob! :D :D

          • OK, got the Ghroob sorted out, but can’t find Taj Mahal. The Ghroob is an oil, right? You would recommend? And you feel about Taj Mahal, how?
            After Kalemat, I so appreciate your recommendations.

          • Yes, Ghroob is an oil. And I really loved it, but my lack of clarity about the notes makes me less certain to recommend it to someone whose tastes I don’t know. It’s a floral and it’s said to be like Amouage’s Homage, so that’s a reference or comparison that may help you. :) As for Taj Mahal, it is another floral as I described in the post. However, it is not available online anywhere, and it seems that Arabian Oud is discontinuing it for some crazy reason. :(

  42. My bottle of Ghroob arrived this afternoon. Once again, I am gobsmacked by the packaging and overall feel of luxury/quality in these products from Arabian Oud. Shipping took only 10 days.

    I’m not as enthralled with this one as I am with the Kalemat. It has a somewhat overpowering honeyed sweetness to my nose. Heavy on the white floral notes, too. I am not getting the sandalwood or cinnamon notes at all.

    And…this is the dealbreaker for me…gardenia. Ugh. I seem to have an instinctive revulsion to gardenia, and it is rather prominent in Ghroob.

    A lovely composition, but probably not for me.

    • Oh dear, a gardenia mystery note for someone who loathes gardenia. Oh dear! I deeply apologise, my dear LairdAngus, on my own behalf and that of the company whose note list is always a minefield of ambiguity, contradictions and vagueness. But most of all on my own behalf: I’m very sorry.

      I can’t imagine you in gardenia either. I personally love it (and big white florals), but we all have those special notes that we loathe with a passion and that are deal-breakers. You poor thing.

  43. …and now that several hours have passed, the dreaded gardenia is gone and the cinnamon and sandalwood are emerging. Much, much better.

    • Still, that’s too, too many hours with a note you dislike. Perhaps you can try it a second time and see if the gardenia is equally forceful on that occasion too. If so, then you should re-sell it. I don’t think you’d have any problems in finding a buyer. I’m very sorry about the gardenia, Laird Angus.

      • Quite alright, Kafka. It’s really about the experience and the learning for me at this point. If you’re interested in buying or swapping for my bottle of Ghroob, let me know!

        • I’d be happy to buy it off you. :) Send me an email later & we can talk PayPal or Amazon gift card, and the shipping amount. I may not be able to respond until this evening or tomorrow morning though, as my day is rather crazy, esp. with the giveaway stuff.

  44. Hi Kafka, you may be thoroughly sick of this post by now, but I wanted to comment about my experience with Kalemat. Gorgeous packaging just like everybody said. I. Got the same rose scent sample as everyone else, but on me it was rose soap, heavy on the soap. Then I turned to the Kalemat.
    At first I have to admit that I was disappointed. I sprayed very tentatively, imagining a real amber-spice bomb. Almost couldn’t smell a thing. I gave my hand a good spray, and over the next two hours I smelled everything that I want in an amber, but very faintly, and there was no sillage. I went on to other scents, but I kept thinking about the spicy vanillic amber that had everything I want except strength. I tried spraying heavily, then very heavily (5-6 sprays), and that was more like it. I wore it days in a row. I went back through my whole amber collection, and none of them had exactly the spice notes that I crave. So Kalemat is getting quite a workout. I don’t get rivers of amber from it. More like trickles of amber. It may be that our desert climate is a factor in why the scent doesn’t carry and lasts just a few hours; this is a frequent problem, since scent carries very poorly in dry air and evaporates quickly. Amber Absolute fills rooms though, and I wish Kalemat would pump up more. It isn’t just my nose, because others agree that they can barely smell it on me unless they lean close. But it is my amber, no question. So I owe you a major thank-you. Now I’m thinking about Woody and Ghroob…

    • I’m not at all sick of this post, and I’m very glad you wrote, Feral Jasmine. I had assumed you hated the perfume, so it’s a bit of a relief to hear that it is the perfume’s sillage and longevity that was such a huge, huge issue. Kalemat is much airier and sheerer than I would have liked — hence the comments in my review about how I planned to put on 10 sprays and barricade myself in. But lordie, it is terribly weak on you! :( Are you putting 5-6 sprays all over, or all concentrated in one place?

      I would think that your desert weather and dryness may be a factor, but Amber Absolute doesn’t have that problem. Then again, A/A is in a whole other category in general, and you do mention that perfume has a “frequent problem” in your climate. Still, I’m very saddened that it’s not staying on you. When you can smell it, is it primarily just vanilla-amber with a light dusting of spices? Does it have more sides to it?

      Dammit, I wonder why it doesn’t project or last on your skin??! It must be the desert, but you should be having cold(er) weather now, so surely that would help? Maybe it needs heat to bloom since it was originally made for a hot desert climate? No, that doesn’t make sense either, because dryness is dryness. I’m so sorry, Feral Jasmine. :(

      • Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Somehow this isn’t come through my email as most replies do. Nothing to apologize for, since I love this one and wear it a lot, and only wish it came in an extrait strength. Besides, it was my decision to buy it! In composition it’s my favorite amber. I have even considered putting some in a bottle with a porous cover to try to evaporate it down.The sillage and longevity problems are a constant for us desert dwellers, and I can only long for a patch of your friend’s “unicorn skin.” Seriously, I would pay good money for a little graft that she would hardly even notice ;-).
        On me it’s very complex, with the amber, vanilla, spices, and a pronounced and beautiful leather note. Lately I’m spraying it on my husband too, and on him there is less leather but darker amber. So please, no apologies. Our climate is not your fault!

        • Thank you for letting me know, Feraljasmine, and thank you especially for describing how Kalemat appears on you (as well as your husband). I’m always interested in how a fragrance can manifest itself on different people, since skin chemistry is so significant (no matter what Luca Turin may think!). As for my friend’s “unicorn skin,” you have to stand in line and behind ME for that skin graft! ;) :P

          • Poor Kafka, this must seem like the zombie post that will not die, but keeps stumbling along eating the brains of perfumistas until they just HAVE to order Arabian Oud. After living with Kalemat for weeks, and noticing how many days either my husband or I reach for it, I went back to Amazon and put Ghroob, Woody, and Sehr al Kalemat in my cart. Then I had a sensible talk with myself about real life, surgery bills that are still coming in, and What’s Really Important. Then I pressed “Place Order.” It’s really LairdAngus’s fault, since he said that Ghroob had gardenia, and I am crazy about gardenia. Then the saffron in Woody, and then the cardamom in Sehr al Kalemat. I do love saffron and cardamom.
            Also wanted to add that I have found exactly one scent that has real lasting power, even on my skin and in our climate, and is a lovely skin scent even at hour 12, which just doesn’t happen to me, and that is Profumum’s Amber Aurea. The first hour, though, is ghastly, with a lot of gasoline/kerosene stuff flying around before it settles down to being an amber. So maybe the Arabian Ouds can be used to mitigate the initial assault?
            Thanks again, I am still enjoying this post!

          • First, I’m really enjoying the life of this post, and most definitely do NOT regard it as an inconvenience. Truly, I’m happy that people want to explore the line more, especially if it is the result of Kalemat working on them (sillage or no sillage). As far as I’m concerned, you ALL can talk to me about Arabian Oud as long as you want. I just wish I knew the full range better, so that I could advise people without sometimes feeling as much in the dark as they are.

            Surgery bills? I do hope you and your loved ones are okay, Feral Jasmine. :

            Re. Profumum’s Ambra Aurea, that is one of my favorite ambers too. I split a bottle with 2 friends. On my skin, there is absolutely no gasoline or kerosene notes, which sounds pretty rough! I’m wracking my brains to figure out which ingredient could have turned so sour on you, because ambergris doesn’t usually turn to petrol. Either way, ick. I’m glad it’s only an hour though. :)

            Do let me know what you think of the other fragrances when you get them, my dear. I think that would also be a great help to anyone else who is trying to navigate the complicated waters of ordering blindly from Arabian Oud!

  45. When I read your buy recommendation a while back I just went to Amazon and bought it. It was a no-brainer. Kalemat is just as you describe and a wonderful deal as well.

    • Oh, I’m so glad. Thank you for letting me know, Cohibadad. I was having a bad day, and this really picked me up. I’m really happy it worked for you and that it was as described. :)

  46. Pingback: Arabian Oud Kalemat Eau de Parfum Review & Photos | FFBlogs

  47. Kafka, Kafka… you are such a bad influence! ;-) About four paragraphs into this review I accepted my inevitable doom, opened a new tab, and ordered a bottle of Kalemat. Then a few paragraphs later – oops, a bottle of Ghroob somehow fell into my Amazon shopping cart! Both of these fragrances sound like they’re right up my alley. Can’t wait to try them (I’ll spend the next week thinking IS IT HERE YET? every time I hear a noise at the front door).

    Your trip to Europe must have been wonderful (if hectic!); I’m envious of your Peregrinations in Parfum Paradise.

    Somewhere back in August my life got crazy-busy, then things escalated to chicken-with-its-head-cut-off levels of insanity and I didn’t have time to comment (or even read) my favorite perfume blogs. I missed your lovely reviews! Things have slowed down a bit now and I’m poring through your archives enjoying every minute (you never disappoint).

    Thanks so much for recommending the Arabian Oud lovelies; I’ll let you know how they play out on my fickle yet amber-loving skin [stares at front door impatiently].

    • Stina! I’ve missed you! I’m glad things are finally slowing down and becoming calmer for you, though isn’t the holiday season when things generally heat up and become hectic? Regardless, I’m so happy to see your face again. :)

      As for being a bad influence, my dear, well… heh, that makes me even happier. I hope both fragrances work well on your skin, and become favorites. Do let me know what you think when you get them, okay? I’d love to hear your thoughts. :) *hugs*

      • Well, *that* didn’t take long! I ordered Kalemat and Ghroob last Saturday afternoon (11/30) and they showed up on my doorstep around 10 a.m. this morning (Wednesday 12/4). That’s… let me see… a little less than four days to get from Saudi Arabia to Michigan. The shipping department at Arabian Oud must be staffed by djinn!

        Kalemat is absolutely amazing… on me it’s a rich yet sheer amber twined around a lovely cedarwood, with whiffs of luscious berry in the top notes and smoky vanilla/honeyed tobacco/spices in the heart notes (I got little or no rose). The best comparison I can make is that it’s an Ambre Narguilé that doesn’t bite your face off. Mind you, I *like* amber fragrances that bite my face off, but a smoother, more sheer version would be great for someone who isn’t a total amber fiend – and I can see myself wearing Kalemat for social occasions where AN or Ambra Aurea would be too obtrusive.

        I didn’t think Ghroob was as gorgeous overall as Kalemat, but the opening is definitely spectacular. On me, it’s orange blossom and silver frankincense in a backdrop of rose-jasmine; something about the smoothness and richness give the impression of heavy watered silk. If it’s actually oud or sandalwood in there like the notes say, they’re a remarkable facsimile of Amouage’s signature Omani silver frankincense. I can see why people compare this (favorably) to Homage attar.

        About 20 minutes in, I pick up an odd musk note in the background; it’s animalic and a bit jarring in this particular composition. The muskiness disappears in about half an hour (it might be a quirk of my particular skin chemistry, which does odd things with musks). Ghroob settles down and gets a bit sweeter and more floral after that, but not cloying (thankfully).

        The 25-ml bottle for Ghroob has an Arabian Nights/Mad Orientalist vibe that’s a hoot; I’m glad I snagged one before they’re discontinued.

        The attar in the little silver flacon reminds me of the rose-jasmine accord in Chanel No. 5, but without the over-the-top aldehydes that always back me into a corner and pistol-whip me. It’s a bit soapy, but in a bearable way (at least for me).

        I’m so glad I purchased both of these fragrances (I never blind-buy except for something inexpensive at a discount website now and then); they’re tremendous value for money, especially given the supernaturally fast shipping. Thanks for being my enabler, dear Kafka!

        P.S. – my best to the Hairy Teuton! Give him a scritch from me.

        P.P.S. – sorry for the über-long comment, but there was lots to say!

        • Never apologize for a long comment or an “uber-long” one, either! Look who you’re talking to!! lol Seriously, the more detail the better for me, and I loved hearing about all 3 perfumes, how they were on your skin, and what you thought about them. Given that these were blind buys, I’m even more glad for all the information. Small side-track: FOUR days to get from Saudi Arabia to you??!! Whoa, that is fast indeed. Really amazing. It certainly took longer for my package. lol!

          It’s fascinating how different Kalemat can be from person to person, especially with regard to the rose. I’m glad you got so little of it, as I don’t think it’s the prettiest part of the fragrance, but then I’m not really a rose person. Ghroob’s opening is indeed spectacular, and your experience with it matches closely what I remember of my own. It was definitely an orange blossom with silver incense, and both delicate but heady. The freebie little silver attar, well, that one I can’t stand personally as it gives me an intense headache somehow. Plus, soapy! But, hey, it was free and the silver vial is pretty cute. :D

          I just gave The Hairy Teuton some chin scritches and told him it was from you. He closed his eyes and looked like her was about to purr. lol. For such a giant fanged one, he’s remarkably like a cat some times. lol xoxoox

  48. Complete and utter newbie to the world of fragrances. I recognize none of the similar fragrances you described but your description is really in-depth, wonderful and captivating. I came to your blog after seeing this post on Temptalia and this post simply had me jumped in blindly. Ordered Kalemat and here I am waiting for it to arrive after lemming for it less than two weeks. Nope, no idea why but can’t really see myself regretting it.

    I would love to see how it plays in person and not the type to jump in like that but for this one, I simply couldn’t resist. I don’t even know why really. As soon as I receive my bottle, I will come to update you on my introduction with it. If it reacts horribly, ah well…there is always Amazon (coincidentally where I got mine from). :)

    • First, welcome to the blog, Vi! I’m so touched that you trusted the review or my writing enough to risk a blind purchase. I really can’t wait to hear what you think of it, good or bad. I am glad you’ll let me know. As for being a newbie, we all start somewhere and you’ve chosen a great scent with which to explore the world of niche perfumery! Bravo for taking a risk and jumping in blindly!! I think that’s fantastic! :)

      • IT ARRIVED and whoa. I got a sample with this order (ordered it the same way Christine from Temptalia did) that I think is Ethar Oud. Nicely packaged but first impression….not sure I will like it but testing shall be pursued. If anything, I got the sense it cleared my nose right up. It’s a lot more….clean/sterilized/surgical…ish kind of feel version of Kalemat. Just, different in a way.

        But to the point of the matter, Kalemat. I get an incense vibe (think Buddhist temple/pagoda burning incense kinda scent…or at least for me) from it but a lighter concentration of it? Certainly I can smell that sweet tobacco (or at least I think so: from my experience of getting people black and milds cigars thingy – or in that general area where most grocery store keeps the cigars stuff separate) though still a more incense vibe. Probably a combo of the two for me. Although I hate smoking (I tend to cough a lot from the second-hand smoke) this isn’t like it’s Marlboro but that sweet tobacco feel yet it doesn’t make me cringe. Side note, YSL’s Opium makes me cringe. Accidentally sprayed too much on my hands somehow when trying to get just a light whiff and oh man was it horrible (to me). I am glad Kalemat wasn’t like that for me.

        This is less than 20 minutes of spraying it onto my wrists and I really should be going to bed soon so more testing shall ensue. I don’t hate it and it really is something new to me (so, so very curious that I can’t stop sniffing my wrists as I type this). The only perfumes (besides samples) I have are: Fresh’s Brown Sugar, LaVanilla’s Vanilla Grapefruit and the Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gioia (I think I read somewhere you dislike this with a passion {ps, if I’m wrong then I apologize because I have no idea where I got that from}…but I like it. x) Completely different field of fragrances so I really took a leap. I don’t really like florals, they don’t bode well for me or at least the strong ones. Can’t think of any and my smelling experiences are limited to what Sephora and Ulta have.

        So, sooooo very different from Arabian Oud Kalemat. I mentioned earlier that it reminded me of Buddhists’ incense burning and that sweet tobacco feel (more strong of the two). It is comforting, at least on the incense influence because that’s what I grew up with and I like that scent. I didn’t really notice any other scents (no experience so can’t speak for sure) but those two first and foremost. My nose feels oddly cleansed (but slightly clogged up from something else) if that makes sense and as I wrap this up, it is not as strong as first spritz (or, the first official one after making sure it could spray) and the sweet tobacco (hmm…doesn’t make me cringe but I’m undecided) comes out more so now. Probably something else as well but can’t put words to it. I kinda want to spritz some more on…

        Bahaha….I realize how incredibly long this is but there you go. My first impression of Kalemat and I: like it, incredibly curious, undecided, not cringing or repulsive and who knows. It also has that kind of feel (I think you said cloying) that I usually associate with traditional Asian medicines/remedies (…kinda like the white oil used for aches and stuff). I like that smell. I don’t even know if I make any sense, this is long and rambly but again; there you go. xD

        • You’re doing very well to explain what you’re smelling for someone who is totally new to perfumery. :) Don’t worry about the length, I enjoyed your various impressions. I don’t think I said it was “cloying” but, rather, that its sweet side *wasn’t* cloying. It definitely has an incense element, but there is also woodiness from the cedar. Perhaps, if you’ve ever smelled an old chest of drawers made from cedar or gone into a sauna, you might recognise the note.

          As for the freebie in the silver vial, you are right that it smells clean. :) It’s a totally different scent that has a lot of soapiness, and some clean, synthetic musk that I find quite strong. Actually, the whole thing gives me a little bit of a headache. It’s not a version of Kalemat, but a totally separate fragrance in an attar or perfumed oil form. It’s not really my personal cup of tea, but then I don’t like very clean, fresh, soapy things. :)

          • Aha, thanks. About 12 hours later, I can still smell it on my wrists. My mom and brother dislike it when I asked them to smell. It still gives me an incense/sweet tobacco feel and possibly woodiness. The only sauna I went to is the one located inside a gym so maybe not. xD

            I think this scent is the type that will grow on me but probably not many other people (around me) will like. Ah and that vial, I think I dislike it too. I don’t go for the “very clean, fresh, soapy things” myself. I can always go to the laundry aisle in a grocery store and I would be good. ;)

          • It sounds to me as though ambers, incense and tobacco fragrances are not really your genre or style. And that’s fine, as we all have different tastes and preferences. :) I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.

          • Aha, no I wouldn’t say amber and tobacco (I do love incense though) is my cup of tea and although I don’t love it I do quite like Kalemat. It would probably be reserved for certain situations but be assured I will keep it and I will use it. I like how it makes my nose tingle in a pleasant way when I smell it. xD I still very much appreciate your introduction to it and no, I don’t regret purchasing it. :D

            It is also incredibly long lasting on my skin. I put it on at midnight and it still lingered until about 3p. My other little brother (10 years old, the other one 21) quite like it though. ;)

  49. Not to be too stupid, but what is the other oil which is included? I got an elaborate silver building like case with an oil inside. I’m not sure what it is. Is this the oud which should be layered?

    • It’s not a stupid question at all, especially as there is no name on the box of the other item. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s something completely separate and different, an attar or perfume oil that is very soapy, rose-centered, and, to my nose, painfully synthetic. Something about it gives me a headache. Probably the white musk, though there are a lot of aldehydes as well, giving it a very soapy characteristic. I’m not a fan of it, though I think it’s lovely that they threw in a freebie in such a pretty vial.

      • Hello, I am sure you are confused about the White Musk or you mixing with other Musk from another company. This particular Fragrance is made by Louise Turner (see other Brands made by this perfumer at the following link http://www.parfumo.net/Perfumers/Louise_Turner

        As for the Fragrance it self:
        Olfactive Family: Musky Floral Powdery
        Inspiration/Description:
        Musky Dream is the perfect olfactive creation to represent the scent of white musks. Its floral aldehydic aspects express the delicate purity of the musks while the musky and vanilla notes in the bottom translate the warm and comforting side of the musks…a perfect dream!

        However I thank you for the above report, and if you need any further information about the company or the products please feel free to communicate with me.

        Ihab Ezzat
        Projects and Overseas Business Development Manager
        Arabian Oud

        • Hello there, and welcome, Mr. Ezzat. :) I don’t think anyone is confusing items with those from another company, as we’re talking about the free silver vial sent by Arabian Oud with a purchase of Kalemat. Thank you so much for the information on White Musk (or is it “Musky Dream”?), and for the description. That’s incredibly helpful, especially as there is no name to go along with the fragrance, and nothing listed on the box. I’m grateful.

          I also appreciate the offer to help out with information because I’ve been trying very hard to contact Arabian Oud, and have written a few times, as well as tried to reach out via Twitter. I haven’t had much success, until I finally was connected to someone in your London boutique. I will definitely take you up on your offer to write to you, as I would like some help in obtaining or buying samples of more of your fragrance, so that I could review them. The London office may not have the easiest time in shipping things out to the U.S. I will write to you. Thank you again.

          • Anytime, Yes I think you might be talking about the Kalemat Musk oil.
            just drop me an email with your requests and I will be more than happy to send you your requirements
            All the best wishes

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  52. Kafka, if you ever find a reliable source for samples of these, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. I’ve been in contact with Safia at Zahras and winging around the internet and it IS confusing. I just want to sample Kalemat and Taj Mahal. As per Safia, Zahras does not have Taj Mahal any longer, but she can send me a sample of Kalemat. I’m just not sure if they one they carry is the one I actually want.

    • I will, I promise. If I didn’t have such a total phobia about the post office and if I didn’t dread going to it to the point of anxiety, I would send you some. I’ll see if I can work up some nerve for the whole decanting, mailing process, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, unfortunately. I’m sorry.

      As for Taj Mahal, it seems wholly discontinued from the official sites, so it may not be worth the frustration of trying to find a sample of it.

      • Oh good grief, no…. don’t go to the post office! Ack! I feel the same way. I appreciate that you even thought of it, so thanks.

        I realized after pinging emails back and forth to Safia (Zahras) that I’d forgotten my middle eastern etiquette and my polite refusal to list other samples I wanted were met with increased fervor to send them. Anyway, she wants to send me 4 samples plus Kalemat for $15 including shipping. I am now cringing in the corner as I actually don’t want 4 samples of who knows what. She mentioned Surrati. So, in case you get any other inquiries, that may be helpful. The sample offer is on the Zahras website, but what is available and prices are not specified.

        • Yes, another reader commented (wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy back when) about the Zahra’s sample deal and how it was $15. The thing is, I don’t trust Zahra’s one bit when it comes to the notes they list or what may be in a fragrance. I think it’s a great opportunity *IF* one already knows what one wants to try, but otherwise, it’s problematic. In your case, I think it’s a great opportunity. If you like orange blossoms and florals, try Ghroob.

          I may be getting a few samples of things from Arabian Oud sometime in the next few weeks, but I don’t know what precisely is being sent. I’m looking forward to trying more things from the line, though.

          • Thanks. Ghroob is on my list.

            I hope you do get some samples from Arabian Oud. I’d love to visit one of their stores. The bottles alone are exquisite. And of course a review from you would be as well :-)

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  55. Dear Kafkaesque,

    thank you for your very inspiring reviews!
    Because of my restricted English, i do not have the right words for explaining my view on your writings, but, in short: thank you for being you!

    I am an amateur, someone, who has little knowledge and experience in the world of perfum, but already i am on the edge of addiction to some of the of the incredible creatures, inhabiting it.

    If you have the chance to get the Kalemat Amber oil, first use the oil, then put a spray, or two of the original Kalemat on top. It will give Kalemat another turn, take you even deeper into the amber, but also giving rise to some other colors. It is thicker, softer, more enwrapping.
    During a visit, i found the Kalemat Amber oil it in the London shop (although, i did not find it on their website), where i was asking for an amber based fragance.

    My first experience with amber, was in the room of my first girlfriend.
    (since i was young, i believed, she was the love of my life – and in this moment she was) There was a little wooden box, with holes in it. Sometimes it would release sudden waves of something unbelievable. As i was told, this was real ambergris from a whale.
    Until now, i could not find this smell in any perfume, although some got near.

    If you have the chance to try the above combination, i would be happy to hear your thoughts!

    Best to you, dear!
    Bernd

    • Dear Bernd, first, welcome to the blog! Second, your English is superb, in my opinion. I realise it’s very difficult to converse in a different language, but I do hope you will feel free to stop by and comment whenever you can. If you have to use Google Translate or something, do so, and don’t think I will judge your English in any way. I love to hear from people, but particularly those who are just starting out on their fragrance journey. So, don’t let the language barrier stop you!

      Finally, how lovely to hear about your experiences with Kalemat Amber oil. A London friend raved about it to me as well, saying it was simply fantastic. I can well imagine how deep and rich it is, but how wonderful that it brought back the smell of real ambergris for you. What a lovely memory, as well. Any fragrance that brings back memories of one’s first love is a fragrance to cherish!

      It is very hard for me to get a hold of Kalemat Amber Oil over here, and it’s not sold on the Arabian Oud Amazon website, but I will see if I can ask some London friends if they can help me out. After your description, I want to try it more than ever.

      • Dear Kafkaesque,
        thanks for your kind words!

        If you cannot get the amber oil, and if you wish to try,
        i could send you a share of mine.

        The oil is very good.
        But the special experience was, to mix the oil with the Kalemat alcohol perfume spray.

        I have heard from the nice gentlemen of the London shop, who sold the oil to me,
        that mixing, layering oil and alcohol perfums is a common practice within the oriental clientele.

        I liked the Kalemat perfume spray a lot. It was a blind buy, after reading your review.
        But applying the oil and lightening it up withe the spray gave a new dimension. At least for my nose. Not lighter, but deeper.

        Today i have heard, that the ingrediant of real ambergris is forbidden here in Europe. I do not know, if that is true.
        But if so, my search for an real ambergris perfume would be
        in vain.
        Do you have any ideas about these regulations?

        As far as i know, the ambergris is found on beaches, and sometimes swimming in the ocean, and then just collected.
        Also to develop the desired ambergris smell, it has to mature in the sea for several years.

        So, do you know, if there are any perfumes with the real ambergris?

        Sending my best to you!
        Bernd

        • You are very kind, Bernd. And I thank you enormously for your incredibly generous offer of a small sample of the oil. I could not accept, but I am very touched by the thought!

          BTW, your English is really excellent!

          Regarding the ambergris, I may be mistaken but I believe that the issue is HOW the ambergris is harvested or sourced. There are ethical rules in place designed to protect the whales, but I think the found, floating kind is perfectly fine. So, I’m not sure it has been actually and totally banned in all forms. I’ve never checked into that in detail, though, mainly because real ambergris is SO expensive that few people use it anyway. I think I’ve seen one or two press release claims that a scent includes real ambergris, but those are for super, super, super expensive perfumes to begin with, so…. I don’t know.

          I was thinking that you may like to look at La Via del Profumo. That is the Italian company run by the legendary, highly respected Abdes Salaam Attar (real name, Dominique Dubrana) who is an all-natural perfumer who also sells various, high-quality perfume essences. He may have some of the best qualities, richest ones around. His general website is: http://www.profumo.it/perfume/home_english.htm It has a LOT of things which are really interesting to look at, including sample sets of oils, aromatherapy stuff, holistic things, and much, much more. Obviously, his perfumes, too.

          His Ambergris section is here: http://www.profumo.it/perfume/aromatherapy/essential-oils/ambergris_1.htm I just noticed that he talks about the ethical sourcing issue there as well.

          One thing he offers is a kit where you add real animalics to your existing scents. Another thing is a kit of essential oils. You may find that interesting, beyond just the ambergris essential oil, so browse the website. He ships worldwide and very fast, too. If you’re interested in any of his fragrances, I’ve reviewed about 7 or so on the website.

          Have a lovely day or evening, Bernd!

          • Thank you very much, Dear,
            for all the information,
            and the time, you spent answering to my reply!

            Just now i ordered a small bottle of the ambergris tincture from him.

            Reading about all the extracts, has strongly turned on my greedy mind, and made me wanting many more of them.
            But unfortunatelly price is an issue for me.
            So i will start with only this one.
            But it is good to be with one scent only, for some time. To get familiar with it and get to know it’s behavior.

            Since quite some time i have the fantasy of a certain fragrance in my mind. And i want to experiment. I know the main ingredients, but have to be more clear about the surrounding ones, before i invest some money in ordering more. Also i have just vague ideas about the process of making a perfume, no practical experience at all. For now i just combine the fragrances in my mind. So it is a mere fantasy.

            Thank you again,
            and all the best to you!
            Bernd

          • You’re very welcome, Bernd! I hope you enjoy the ambergris, and perhaps you can let me know what you think of it when you have time and after you’ve played around with it a little.

            I know essential oils are not cheap, especially for valuable items like ambergris, but there are much cheaper alternatives around that you may want to consider. Just for the practical experience that you mention. If you’re ever interested, there is a site you may want to bookmark or save for the future called The Perfumer’s Apprentice which has various kits for all levels of experience or newness: http://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/ Essential oils, ingredients, and even aromachemicals. The oils may not have the quality of the Via de Profumo stuff, but that makes them better for simple experiments and tests.

            Many of us have the fantasy of creating a specific fragrance that we have in our mind. I hope you don’t give up on your dream, and I also hope that some of these links may help. Maybe not now but at some point in the future, you can get one of the Perfumers Apprentice kits and start. Just to play around a little and have fun. :) All the best to you too, Bernd, and have a lovely day.

  56. Dear,

    thank you for the good idea and the link!
    Sorry to reply a little late,
    but i was busy,
    and also,
    i am not using the internet media every day!

    I will follow your advice.
    Did you do it yourself, also?
    And if so,
    where you happy with your results?

    Tha amber did not arrive yet,
    but i will tell you about my impressions,
    when the time has come!

    Be well and happy!
    in this miraculous and unpreconceivable world!

    Yours, Bernd

    • I haven’t ordered any of the sample kits, yet, but I hope to do so one day. My reviewing/testing/writing schedule is such that it is incredibly rare for me to have time to put on perfume for my own use, let alone try to make perfume. But, one day, one day, I hope to experiment and play a little. :)

  57. I purchased this blindly from Amazon based on your review. I can not tell you how much I LOVE it! I laughed at your description of closing up the house and applying 10 sprays… for I think I did just about that today… It is an incredible fragrance and I also want to say how amazed I am at the customer service of Arabian Oud. I placed the order on Amazon Wednesday evening and Tuesday morning it had come all the way from Saudi Arabia and was in my hands in North Carolina. The box is beautiful and they included another box inside with a gorgeous little bottle of oil and some small dabbing samples.

    I lived in the Middle East as a girl and remember lots of incredible fragrances but I think this is the one to beat them all. Thanks for the outstanding review and recommendation!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Tammy. Second, your comment brought a big smile to my face. It sounds like you had the same gut-level, immediate response to Kalemat that I did (right down to the 10 sprays reaction, lol). It’s such a wonderful fragrance, and even more so for the really great price. I’m also really happy to hear that Arabian Oud’s speedy service remains the same, and that you had such a good experience with your order. The packaging with the book is lovely, isn’t it? I often debate whether or not to throw away a perfume box, but I will always keep Kalemat’s “book.” So different and original.

      So, how does Kalemat smell on your skin? Do you get more amber, or is there a very strong rose aspect as well? Any honey-ish undercurrents or tobacco?

      • I am smelling more honey, smooth rich delicious honey. I have a bit of a hard time picking up amber so it may be there and I just don’t know it. Another thing I have realized is that It is also extremely long lasting. I went by the perfume counter yesterday at Saks and it had been about 36 hours since I had first applied it, and taken 2 showers, and the SA could still smell it on my arm. She actually loved it so much she went and wrote down the name as said she might get some for herself!

        • 36 hours???!! Through TWO SHOWERS???! Man, you lucky devil. You must have amazing skin. I’m completely and utterly envious, as I can’t think of any perfume that lasts that long on me. A few rarities may last something like 18 hours, but 36 and with showers en plus??! Never. You now go into my mental library of those rare creatures with lucky unicorn skin. ;) lol

          • I now live in the humid south portion of the USA, which I have found makes the perfumes last much longer then when I lived in a drier climate. I also have quite oily skin, both a blessing and a curse. But also use loofahs consistently, learned from my childhood in the middle east, and lotion-up immediately after showers so that too helps. Many perfumes that most people complain fade after only a few hours last a full day on me. I am not sure which of the above I attribute it to most and it is probably a combination of all the above I am guessing.

            Having said all of this, this perfume seems to have especially long life on me, more like an oil than a spray perfume!

          • I live in a very humid, hot, lower portion of the US too, and use loofahs like you do, but neither one has helped me with longevity. LOL. I stick to my view that you have magical unicorn skin. ;) :D

            It might interest you to know that Kalemat apparently now comes in an actual perfume oil version, one that is said to be beyond fantastic from those who have tried it. From what I’ve gathered, it basically seems to be some sort of concentrated attar type of thing. Alas, it seems to be limited to their stores for now, like the London one, and I’ve never seen it shown on Amazon. The lack of wide accessibility to the Arabian Oud line is frustrating, but at least there are a few on Amazon for those of us located in this part of the hemisphere. If you like saffron-rose combinations with oud, or SUPER-concentrated, massive orange blossoms, you may want to look up the review I wrote for Ghroob, Woody, and another one.

            After time and exposure, I think I actually have ended up liking Kalemat much more than Ghroob and definitely more than several others which Arabian Oud London sent me samples of earlier this year. Many of them have a synthetic twinge in the base that I don’t think Kalemat has at all, but you may still be interested in looking up the reviews, especially if you like the Middle Eastern style of perfumery at all.

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  59. Hello, Has anyone compared Kalemat edp to the new oil version you can get online now? I recently ordered the 20ml oil of Kalemat and thinking the oil would perform just as good if not better, i purchased and its on the way to me via mail. I’ve also heard of some people layering the oil with edp. Can anyone shed any light on this one? Im really looking forward to receiving this in the mail.

    • I haven’t tried the Kalemat oil, but a few people have talked about it in the comments here or in the Arabian Oud Ghroob/Woody/Misty Wood thread. You may want look at them, because I have a vague memory of one person talking about layering the two products together. May I ask where you got the oil? I’ve been eager to try it, but I just heard yesterday that Arabian Oud has completely vanished from Amazon, so that makes access even harder than it was before. :(

      • Hello Kafkaesque,
        Thank you for your reply and also providing a path way for fragrance lovers to analyze and discuss great perfumes. I ordered my Kalemat oil on Amazon. I saw all the great reviews on the edp and happened to see the oil the bottom of the page. It was a little more expensive than edp I believe 106 shipped. I still want the edp version, but want to try the oil first but it sounds like they are a hot item on amazon and stock has run out for now.
        I also understand that sometimes buying the oil version of some perfumes doesn’t equate to better scents. So glad to hear from you and other members regarding this high ranked fragrance.

        • Great to know that it was on Amazon, at least back when Arabian Oud sold there. The recent situation baffles me, but at least you got a hold of it before the company vanished. I don’t think it’s a mere stock issue, as other companies which have run out of stock continue to have their listings but with a simple “Not currently available” notice. When I did a word search for Arabian Oud on Amazon, absolutely nothing turned up in the results search. It seems a little strange, as if all the listings had been wiped from their database, and I’ve never seen that before.

          Regardless, you have the oil, and Bernd has given you some great suggestions on how to use it in terms of layering. I think you’ll smell fantastic!

  60. Dear Chaz,

    i have bought Kalemat oil in the Arabian Oud shop in London.
    They offer three kinds of oil:
    Kalemat Amber
    Kalemat Musk
    Kalemat Oud

    I bought the amber version, which is supposed to be the base oil for Kalemat EdP.
    I got this information from the sales manager in the shop.
    I tried the oil in the shop, went around London streets for several hours, and then returned to buy the oil. It was still very present on my skin.
    The oil is more sweet in the beginning, almost candylike.
    The sales manager was happy to see me comming back, obviously liking the perfume, and he revealed some other personal secrets to me:
    One, to try and layer the oil with the EdP Kalemat.
    Second,(his favorite) to put the oil under both ears in front, plus using another perfume (an EdP, “Oud Mukhallat Mumaiyaz, which i also bought) on the chest.
    The Oud Mukhallat Mumaiyaz is a wonderful oud , floral , white light, the oud not at all medicinical, or sharp, but smooth, with a hint of (not unpleasant) soapiness. I might not have detected the oud, if i had not known.
    It is a wonderfull combination. Not real layering, but using different spots on your body!

    But what i realy like is to layer the Kalemat amber oil and the EdP on each other, first the oil, on top of it the Edp. It will bring a deeper Kalemat scent, hard for me to explain with words. Best you try it yourself!

    Greetings!
    Bernd

    PS:

    Dear Kafkaesque,
    sorry for not getting back earlier, but i was very busy during the last months,
    and kept hiding from internet.

    I got the amber (Amber Grigia) from la via del profumo.
    It reminded me of my youth’s amber experience, but could not totally resemble the scent from back then. I suppose not all amber pieces are the same. My girlfriends piece was more deep amber, sweet, only very slightly animalic when i put my nose near it.
    From the distance, i did not get any animalic impression. To me it was just pure happiness.

    The profumo amber, on the other hand, after losing the alcohol smell quite quickly, has got a strong animalic quality. But this does not stay very long in my conciousness. Soon the background deepness will prevail. Maybe it mixes well with my own animal skin elements. But i would not wear it by itself, only in combination.
    It is an extraordinary scent, but not easy at all.
    The most astonishing thing is, that, when layering it with other scents, essences, or perfume, it will totally change their quality, and also its own quality, most of the time towards the better, or much better, not showing animalicity anymore.
    It is a little wonder, at least to me.
    Probably the perfumers would smile at my words, since it is an obvious fact to them.
    But i am only an fresh amateur (= lover), with little knowledge, discovering a new world
    (although, what i discover is somehow old knowledge, from somewhere deep inside my cells, bones and brain)

    About the Kalemat oil, if you have difficulties getting it, i can only repeat my offer from last time!

    Warm greetings, also to your german fourlegged companion!
    Bernd

    • Hello Bernd, Thanks for the wonderful and detailed insight about this amazing sounding fragrance. I can hardly wait until its arrival in the mail. Sounds like in order to take this oil to another level, it will be best to layer it, not saying the oil itself isn’t bad. Now Id like to try the Musk and Amber versions of the oil. Im a big fan of Amber Oud by Roja Dove. What an amazing combination of notes. If I can find an amber on this level for a fraction of the price, that would be nice. As Kafkaesque said, Amazon is out of stock already of the oil and I believe the edp of Kalemat. I really hope they continue to restock these and more items. This is the quality we all seem to be looking for.

      • Dear Chaz,

        i do not know, which version of the Kalemat oil you ordered.
        In the shop in London, they seem to consider the Kalemat Amber oil as the original Kalemat oil,
        since this oil is used as the base for the EdP.
        The Kalemat Oud and Musk seem to be expanded versions.
        The sales manager even gave the Kalemat Amber oil to me, calling it just “Kalemat oil”.

        Unfortunalelly, this is only what i understood from the conversation. It could be, i am mistaken, due to my limited English.
        But i guess, my information is correct, since in my memory,
        the scent of Kalemat Oud and Kalemat Musk differs from the Kalemat EdP, while the Amber oil is quite close.

        Please enjoy your Kalemat!
        Greetings!
        Bernd

    • It’s great to hear from you, Bernd, and I trust you had a lovely summer? I loved hearing all the details about your La Via del Profumo raw materials experiences. So, when you reference your girlfriend’s piece, that was another vial of the Ambergris as well, and one that was more in tune with what you had hoped for as it was more purely ambered, less animalic in nature? What I think is great is how well layering worked for you in terms of the ambergris adding more depth to other fragrances and losing its animalic quality at the same time. It sounds like a wonderful solution to some modern fragrances that lack a really strong ambergris element. As for Kalemat’s oil, I may take you up on your offer at the end of the year when my reviewing schedule calms down and get through some of my large back-log of fragrances to test! :)

  61. PPS:
    The amber perfume, who`s amber component comes closest
    to the smell of real amber, as i remember it,
    is “Ambra Mediterranea” by Profumi del Forte.
    If they use real ambergris,
    or if they are magicians, who can do it by blending, i do not know.

    I also tried “Ambra Aurea” by Profumum Roma. It is a extraordinary perfume,
    and to my nose also contains a hint of the real thing.
    But also here i would not be able to find out, if they use ambergris extract.

    Greetings from Berlin,
    where in this moment the sun finds it’s way
    trought the grey clouds,
    and the winds announce fall!

    • I’ve heard a ton about Ambra Mediterranea, with comments very similar to yours in terms of the ambergris note. It has long been on my list of things to try, but getting a sample hasn’t been easy. I will work on it. As for Ambra Aurea, it is my favorite ambergris that I’ve tried thus far. A lovely, super-concentrated, very dense, rich fragrance as a whole.

  62. PPPS:
    Dear Kafkaesque,

    sorry, to repost this, since i am afraid my message to you got mixed with my reply to “Chaz”!, and maybe only part of it got through to you!

    PS:

    Dear Kafkaesque,
    sorry for not getting back earlier, but i was very busy during the last months,
    and kept hiding from internet.

    I got the amber (Amber Grigia) from la via del profumo.
    It reminded me of my youth’s amber experience, but could not totally resemble the scent from back then. I suppose not all amber pieces are the same. My girlfriends piece was more deep amber, sweet, only very slightly animalic when i put my nose near it.
    From the distance, i did not get any animalic impression. To me it was just pure happiness.

    The profumo amber, on the other hand, after losing the alcohol smell quite quickly, has got a strong animalic quality. But this does not stay very long in my conciousness. Soon the background deepness will prevail. Maybe it mixes well with my own animal skin elements. But i would not wear it by itself, only in combination.
    It is an extraordinary scent, but not easy at all.
    The most astonishing thing is, that, when layering it with other scents, essences, or perfume, it will totally change their quality, and also its own quality, most of the time towards the better, or much better, not showing animalicity anymore.
    It is a little wonder, at least to me.
    Probably the perfumers would smile at my words, since it is an obvious fact to them.
    But i am only an fresh amateur (= lover), with little knowledge, discovering a new world
    (although, what i discover is somehow old knowledge, from somewhere deep inside my cells, bones and brain)

    About the Kalemat oil, if you have difficulties getting it, i can only repeat my offer from last time!

    Warm greetings, also to your german fourlegged companion!
    Bernd

    PPS:
    The amber perfume, who`s amber component comes closest
    to the smell of real amber, as i remember it,
    is “Ambra Mediterranea” by Profumi del Forte.
    If they use real ambergris,
    or if they are magicians, who can do it by blending, i do not know.

    I also tried “Ambra Aurea” by Profumum Roma. It is a extraordinary perfume,
    and to my nose also contains a hint of the real thing.
    But also here i would not be able to find out, if they use ambergris extract.

    Greetings from Berlin,
    where in this moment the sun finds it’s way
    trought the grey clouds,
    and the winds announce fall!

    • Don’t worry, Bernd, I saw your comment but I was having internet difficulties yesterday, so I could not respond right away. But I did respond to your original comment about the Via del Profumo and other ambers. :) Have a lovely day in Berlin, and may the sun keep the grey skies away!

      • You know how the mind works
        and it is not sure,
        if my memory of the smell of this piece of ambergris
        is undeluted.
        Could be, i am just fantasizing, as usual!

        About the oil, just contact me, when the time is right.
        Then i could also get a sample of the “Ambra Mediterranea” by Profumi del Forte for you. It is easy here.
        Have a lovely day, too, and be well!

  63. Ok just received my Kalemat Wood Oil in the mail today and had a chance to swipe from the wand a dab on the back of each hand. And i have to tell you, its something glorious. Im in hour 2 yet have a ways to go, but so far, this is all that and a bag of chips. I was trying to get a comparison of this to the kalemat Oud edp. I don’t know what Kalemat Oud edp smells like but someone on fragrantica mentioned Kalemat Wood Oil was close to the same only stronger with a little more sweetener and woods with longer staying power. It comes in a beautiful 20ml sold brass bottle. The presentation from the company for the price is nothing short of amazing. I was able to purchase this on Amazon before they went away, but if you contact Arabian Oud house though amazon, they will work with you. The other thing is they are first class. Can be a little slow but never the less, a class act. I asked them if they had samples of others i might like. I gave them the notes i like most. Ambers, Musk, Ouds, Leathers and Patchouli. They included some very nice samples and some were in very nice Tola type containers. So you can still obtain these fragrances if you email or call them. Now i have to try the Amber oil, Musk, Oud and Black from this line. All in all, a solid 9.5/10

    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Arabian-Oud/Kalemat-Wood-21715.html

    • It sounds wonderful! I’m so glad you found a fragrance that you love so much, Chaz. And thank you for letting me (and others) know about how to get a hold of the fragrance given the current Amazon situation. I greatly appreciate it.

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