Although perfumes originated in Ancient Egypt, it was Arabs who were the masters of perfumery. They know how to perfectly develop new techniques to produce perfumes. Their exceptional interest and skills in perfumery gave them a monopoly over the spices and aromas trade. Be it the best perfume for men or feminine fragrances, Arabs have the best range of perfumes to offer to the whole world.
Due to the religious and cultural bond with fragrances, Arabic traditions have played a vital role in the development of European perfumery. At Wani, we dive into the history of fragrances and today we make a stop in the ancient civilizations of Arabia to help you understand all about Arabic perfumes and attar perfume and its influence on the whole world.
History Of Fragrances in the Middle East:
The first use of perfumes or fragrances is recorded in the VI century. In the Middle East, attar perfumes are the symbolic representation of individuality. It is used to grasp the attention of benevolent spirits and shoo away the evil ones.
The Emiratis and their Persian Gulf neighbours countries, including:
- Saudi Arabia
All these countries are the biggest spenders of luxury perfumes in the world. The craft of perfumery is the essence of Muslime culture. They are known to create incredible Arabic fragrances. Men and women of the Middle East have rituals of fragrances involving layers of multiple oils. It includes oud, must, rose, and jasmine. They even infuse their clothing and hair with the fragrance of bakhoor. Furthermore, Arabian families prepare bakhoor to purify their homes.
You must have heard about Arabian perfume. Arabic fragrances are alluring the entire world with their distinct fragrances and are synonymous with the ancient heritage of fine luxury. With a remarkable history that stretches back 5000 years, Arabic fragrances are steeped in exotic and local traditions. Take a stroll down to any of the Middle Eastern souks, like Khan Al Khalili street – Cairo, Frankincense trail – Salalah and Dhofar, or Sikkat Al Khalili street – Dubai. Any of these places will surely be one smelly affair that would have a permanent imprint on your mind.
Middle Eastern Scent & Culture:
The Arabs were the masters of making special combinations of aromatic oils, woody essences, floral essences, and spice essences. Their specialization in perfumery gave rise to simple aromas full of elegance and freshness. Be it resins, spices, musk, exotic woods, or even animal essential oils, Arabic perfumery is known to use these raw materials to create enchanting scents. Moreover, flowers like jasmine, rose, or orange blossoms are also commonly used in Arabic fragrances.
In Islamic culture, perfumery is deeply rooted to link with religion. The use of fragrances was encouraged by Muhammad ibn Abdullah in the Quran. Since then fragrances became not only a cultural staple but a religious one in the Middle East’s post-Islamic world. The sacred texts in the holy book evoke a garden full of fragrant plants and a paradise of scents. There are even writings about women made of the “purest musk”.
Since then fragrance and perfumery have been ingrained in the deep culture of the Arabian Peninsula. The common types are oud and bakhoor apart from natural and concentrated oils. Even today the culture has not changed; if you visit there you will smell the sweet aroma lingering in their malls, houses, and even in shops.
The Evolution Of Ingredients & Formulations:
The most promising features of Arabic perfume are its sensuality, intensity, and exoticism. Arabic fragrances are usually stronger and more intense, due to the culture and hot temperature. Their evolution in fragrances has led to the introduction of new ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, and honey.
Oud, both in its pure and blended form, is still one of the most popular notes in the Middle East. This beloved fragrance has never lost its spirituality and it is evolving with modern blends. It is mainly because Middle Eastern fragrances are more aromatically influenced by their climates. They are more inclined towards nature-inspired notes. Oud is now invited to the crafting of perfumes all over the world. It is also burned as the incense in form of shavings to enjoy its leathery, animal, and absolutely sensual aroma. Due to its rarity and longevity, it is appreciated all around the world.
Other popular ingredients of this region include jasmine and lavender. These ingredients are common among those who fall for summer scents. Whereas on the masculine front, woody and citrus fragrances are popular. The basic fragrances are blended with new ingredients to cope with modernity and freshness.
Arabic fragrances are now pursued internationally, as they are a symbol of intensity, quality, and sensuality.
Influence Of Middle Eastern Fragrances On Western Perfumes:
Middle Eastern origins like musk, sandalwood, and oud can be commonly spotted in every beauty store in the United States and Europe. Both Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin have formulated many fragrances in ode to the region’s relationship with perfumery. Such fragrances are formulated to celebrate the essential contribution of the Middle East. Furthermore, many popular brands have crafted fragrances as a tribute to Middle Eastern notes and include the notes of three native flowers of this land. It includes jasmine, orange blossom, and Damascus-derived rose.
The Middle East is the leader and pioneer of perfumery and has been crafting masterpieces for ages. The mysterious and delicate nature of their alluring and bewitching fragrances is timeless.
To know the significance of Arab perfume it is impeccable to quote this:
When Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth cried while looking at her bloodied hands at the climax of the story all the perfumes of Arabia could not sweeten them. Perhaps she also knew that the enigmatic scent of jasmine, rose, and spicy amber incorporated mystical power to wash away almost anything.
Between traditions and alluring scents, our fragrant journey to the Middle East comes to end! At Wani, we have a wide catalog. Among these, you can find the best Arab fragrances. Discover them!