Tonight The Scented Salon is in The United Arab Emirates. With us is Saeed Al Khaili.
Peace to you and your family Saeed. Welcome to The Scented Salon. Thank you for joining us from Abu Dhabi. Let’s have a look at your Private Collection.
What was your first fragrance?
Peace to you and your loved ones too Jordan. I am happy to be present in this Scented Salon. My first fragrance was a gift received from my Mum when I was 10 years old. It was Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren. I still buy this fragrance to this day.
What did you wear in the ’80s and ’90s?
All I can remember is M7 by Yves Saint Laurent, Safari by Ralph Lauren and Lolita Lempicka for women by Lolita Lempicka.
M7 was a radical release in 2002. It was years later that other perfume houses started to include Oud in perfume for the west.
Do you buy for yourself?
Oh yah! I love it. The mission of buying a new fragrance for myself these days, always starts online. First, I read about the perfume and look into the notes and then wonder how would it smell like all put together. Plus, I like to read all the reviews and people’s thoughts who have tried that particular perfume. This all adds to the experience before I actually try the fragrance on myself.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼What are your perfume preferences or notes that you like?
Recently, I have been loving everything green and fresh. Probably that’s because of the current weather here in Abu Dhabi; it’s summer already and the temperature reaches 46 degree celsius in the afternoon. However, let me give you a mini-day-to-night journey from light to dark when it comes to my perfume preference.
First comes Eau de Campagne Sisley, which I love to wear in early morning after a cold refreshing shower. Then, during the afternoon and after work when I’m home, I love to play around with my perfume collection and rediscover some of my fragrances. Pretty much I’ll end up wearing something spicy and that is “the one and only” Rose 31 by Le Labo. Finally, for a night out I like to wear something uncommon and unusual; a good example is Comme des Garcons 2 by CDG.
￼Will you tell us about Oud?
I feel that Oud still seems to be a very mysterious scent in western society. Speaking of Oud oil, I can describe it as a leathery dark scent; it is heady jasmine and metallic at the beginning. Then, it wears close to the skin and turns to a leathery sandalwood and has great longevity. Oud by itself is a masterpiece; layering it with any fragrance at home creates an amazing contrast. These days, a lot of perfumes and major brands seems to have a similar approach to Oud presenting it as sweet patchouli/sandalwood fragrance.
If Oud was a person, he would definitely have a bossy and moody character. In my opinion, Oud should have its own freedom in any perfume composition. Over-mixing it may either lead to a sweet perfume that is not related to oud or end up smelling odd and metallic. I believe that Oud should stand out on its own, creating a beautiful, bizarre, and alluring scent blended into any perfume and creating a beautiful ugliness.
Oud is not only used as a base note in fragrances, but the actual Oud wood is used as a burning incense in the Gulf countries (UAE, Saudi Arabi, Kuwait, Oman.etc.). Oud in the Middle East is mainly sold as pure Oil or actual wood, plus mixed in a lot of perfumes.
Prices of Oud, both oil or wood are quite high according to its quality and origins. For example, Dihn Oud, which means Oud oil in Arabia can range from $300 to 500$ for 3-5ml. Whereas, Oud wood is sold by kilo and priced according to quality.
One way you can test the quality of Oud Wood is by the fizzy reaction the Oud shows when it put onto the coal fire. You can see the wood edges starting to burn and then the amazing small bubbly suds all around it.
￼￼￼￼What is in your collection?
A picture is worth a thousand words!
￼￼What suits you for work?
Anything green and uplifting, and that’s if we are talking about daytime office work. I always prefer applying my perfume directly to my body before I get dressed. This creates a very discreet charm and protects the fragrance, letting it last longer under my clothes.
What do men smell like in The UAE ? At the mosque, at work, out and about, on a date?
Local men in UAE smell pretty amazing and delicious. At work, some guys tend to go very avant-garde and intense and wear something like Mughler’s Angel or A-Men! Or even Tom Ford Black Orchid. Men in the gulf region, do not really like to categorize perfumes into ‘for men’ or ‘for women’ as marketed by the brand. They buy and wear whatever they enjoyed smelling at the perfume counter.
I must point out some perfumes that really made a big buzz and set the bar high with perfume standards in the region.
First comes, Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford, then Black Afgano by Nasomatto, Amber Aoud by Roja Dove and Portrait of a Lady by Fredric Malle. These perfumes had great demand in the region and saw a lot of success in the Middle East.
At work, or to the mosque or even to a date, local men in the UAE have no certain type of fragrance to wear for certain occasions. Local men can rock a floral perfume just as well as a classic vetiver and create their own signature with a touch of oud.
The Gaining of Knowledge
Where and how did you gain perfume knowledge?
I learn about new perfumes and gain my knowledge mainly online. I enjoy reading about new fragrances and then go on a field trip to my local store and experience the perfume.
Do you think perfumery is art, artisanal, design and manufacturing, molecular architecture or something else?
Perfumery is an art absolutely! From the notes, to the bottle design to the packing.
What is the purpose of perfume?
I believe that a perfume main purpose is to add to your personality. It enhances your character, highlights your look and gives you presence. It is the first magical impression people get when they get closer to you.
Do you and your family exchange fragrant gifts?
Yes we do, and especially on occasions like weddings. Families exchange precious perfume oils and Oud as gifts to the bride and her family along with other gifts.
Thank you for sharing your fragrant world with us Saeed. Have a great week ahead.