Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Abdul Samad al Qurashi

I have recently become quite interested in Middle Eastern perfume, or at least, the concept of it. I say this because up to now, my only exposure to this style/idea has been through sampling the Amouage line and trying some of the Montale ouds. However, I have not tried anything from perfume houses that are, to me at least, slightly more exotic and less accessible. Price is probably one factor, particularly with real oud, which can be prohibitively expensive, and another consideration is that unknown factor; the fear that who you're buying from over the internet is some fraudster. Perhaps I am too conservative. In any event, I ordered some samples of oils/blends through The Perfumed Court that are made by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi. At least I think they are. I get a bit confused by perfumes made, marketed and sold in the Middle East because the names can be quite confusing to a westerner, and very often an outlet may stock a number of perfumes by different manufacturers. I ordered the Al Qurashi Blend, Musk a Ajeeb oil and an Oud Musk attar. 

The blend is a wonderful classic combination of oud, saffron and rose, with some woody notes. If this sounds familiar, you're right. If you've ever tried a Montale oud, such as Black Oud, for example, this will be a very familiar association. In fact, in many ways the blend is almost a dead ringer for Black Oud, but where it excels is in the superior blending, at least in my opinion. It opens with that medicinal, band aid oud and saffron accord, perhaps a bit less pungent than Black Oud, but quite assertive nevertheless. The saffron is beautifully  aromatic, spicy and dry, and there's just enough dewy, slightly sweet rose in the background to balance the oud and saffron. Whereas Black Oud assaults one's senses, Qurashi blend feels like a better-balanced, more refined take on oud, rose and saffron. What I find interesting is that after the initial medicinal opening, the oud shifts to a more woody, slightly musty/mushroomy accord, quite similar to that encountered in By Kilian's Pure Oud. I apologise if I am using western oud perfumes as a reference point, but I have not been fortunate enough to try the real stuff and therefore I have no idea whether the Qurashi blend contains any real oud, or if it is entirely synthetic. But I don't think it matters; it smells wonderful anyway. The rose thickens to a jammy, sweet syrup, which counterbalances the drier and woody oud perfectly. In the dry down the notes all soften considerably, until what is left is a dry wood and oud accord, which is quite lovely.  I find Qurashi blend to have more clarity than Black Oud. I detect each one of its notes more distinctly, whereas Black Oud muddies the waters a bit, in my opinion. I do like Black Oud, but I just find the Qurashi blend to be a more sophisticated and clearer take on this classic combination.

I am not going to review the two musks I sampled; this will be the subject of another post, as I think they warrant separate discussion. However, what I will say at the outset is that I found these musks to be totally confusing, and they have possibly permanently altered my perceptions of musk. If that sounds confusing, it is! All I do know is that as someone who enjoys musk, particularly animalic musk, and admittedly has only really tried a number of more mainstream/Western-style musks, I could not get my head around these. 

To end, I would certainly encourage you to try some of the Abdul Samad al Qurashi blends or oils. I'm sure some would be hit or miss, but they are certainly different and very interesting.


  1. Question: would a Full bottle (or the equivalent) be a better buy than the Montale? I've been saving up for a bottle, but this sounds lovely.

  2. I must be honest, I haven't looked up prices on either line. I would imagine that neither is cheap (relatively!) I preferred the Qurashi Blend, but Black Oud is still a very good perfume. I would suggest ordering a small sample of each and making a decision based on that. If you're ever interested in doing some swops I could always send you small amounts of each, but I only have samples, and not much left of my Black Oud.



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