I don’t typically post about new or upcoming launches, but the fantastic debut collection from Areej Le Doré, the limited 100-bottle quantities for the trio, and the speed with which they sold out made me decide to make an exception to my usual rule. This is a brand where the particular circumstances make it worth having advance notice to order samples, having some time to spend getting to know the fragrances, and then deciding if one wants a bottle. Plus, I was once chastised for covering a fantastic Areej Le Doré fragrance soon after it sold out, albeit for completely understandable reasons because it’s frustrating to hear about great scents that come in limited quantities, but I’m not going to make that mistake again, so I’m telling all of you about their launch before I write even a word about them in an actual review.
Maharajahs dripping with diamonds, a trip back in time to India, narcotic opulence, heat, lust, and sensuality — Ottoman Empire is all those things and more. It is such an utterly over-the-top floral oriental and with such a hedonistic grandeur that it’s a pity the name “Shalimar” with its palatial Indian inspiration was already taken, because it would suit this one quite well. In fact, I find that vintage Shalimar parfum (in its oldest form) and Ottoman Empire have a few strands of DNA in common.
In the case of Ottoman Empire, I was swept off my feet with heady 3D roses married to honeyed jasmine, tropical frangipani, plush oakmoss, warm spices, buttery sandalwood, several different kinds of oud, smoldering vetiver, and gorgeously molten labdanum amber — all enveloped with a fur coat of muskiness.
It’s sybaritic, it’s divaesque on a grand scale, it’s got the heft of a tank, and it turned my head from the very first sniff all the way to the addictively cozy, sexy last. It impacted me immediately, instinctively, and on a visceral level, transporting me back in time to one of my favourite days and memories of India. Without a doubt, hands down, Ottoman Empire is one of my absolute favourite things that I’ve tried this year and will be high on my year-end list of “Best Fragrances of 2017.” It will be the focus of this review, but I’ll have a short review for Oud Zen, the third Areej le Doré release at the end as well.