Monday, January 21, 2008

Arabian Oud Siraj


Every once in a while, I come across a fragrance for which the only corresponding feeling is a “religious” one, as if the act of applying it were ritual. Certainly I don’t mean to cheapen the experience of other fragrances but, assembled there on the vanity, the differences in breed and station become strikingly apparent: there are dance-hall tarts and roaring boys, lords of finance and flower children. Then, there are the quiet ones that keep to themselves ... out of discretion, or otherwise. (I call these my parfums au bibliothèque.) And, finally, there are the religeuses, usually the least austere of the lot and often downright superficial. Like fervid youth, they require a modicum of patience. You’d invite them to afternoon tea, but oh how you’d tire of their prostrations and proselytizing, their eternal clarities. Part of them is ancient: you respect that. And the other part is terribly postmodern: you’d rather not respect that, what with its flouting of convention and any shred of rational analysis such as you were raised on. They remind me of the Evelyn Waughs of this world: the-love-and-do-what-you-will type. Even, that is, as they dine at the Savoy and drink only vintage Malmsey or something like that.

The Arabic world has them, too. Siraj (Arab. meaning “lamp”), has quite pronounced religious connections. The phrase Siraj um Munirah describes the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace!) as a bright light, or lamp, by which his followers can be led through the darkness. Arabian Oud’s Siraj perfume oil is held inside a miniature oil lamp, housed inside a bamboo-slatted basket. It is such a wonder of a scent that I can’t help but declare that “this little light of mine” shines indeed. And brightly, as if through the gloaming in a Southeast Asian grove. It is a warm scent that draws you into a special inner space, a space of assurance and trust. Rich, deep Cambodian oud comes forth in the top notes beside the intense and complex Turkish rose (rosa damascena). Emanating from below is a glowing heart of amber, supported in the depths below by Mysore sandalwood and delicate, fresh tobacco flower. I get a touch of patchouli, as well. As with the previously reviewed scents, this is a blended oil and thus not the best example of how classically composed scents evolve within the olfactory pyramid. Everything is held, seemingly as it were, in marvelous suspension. I can only conceive of it as moving, conversely, through the stages of prayer, as who wouldn’t utter some form of thanksgiving after smelling what the good earth has, herself, produced?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, that sounds wonderful! Where could I buy the samples? Or the oil for that matter?
Veronica

January 22, 2008 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Veronica, You can try googling The Perfumed Court and ordering a decant from them. I've had nothing but good experiences. As for the gorgeous lantern filled with 23mL of the oil, try Agarscents Bazaar online shop. It shd run you around USD 100 plus shipping. Good luck!

January 22, 2008 at 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, I can't wait to try them!
Veronica

January 23, 2008 at 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zahras Boutique sell such oils and fragrances and half the prices of others.

http://www.zahras.com

June 13, 2008 at 3:53 AM  

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