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For perfumer and writer Tanaïs (they and their eponymous beauty brand namesake), attars are an olfactory expression of the culture and geography in which they form. They grew up in the American South, Midwest, and New York, and a small bottle of these essential oils symbolized their family life as Bangladeshi Muslims, far removed from their external realities. The attars began to embody the wonder of the streets of New York City when they saw vendors from the Muslim and black diaspora selling them at sidewalk tables. Finally, attars have a strong bond with their mothers. “She brought home a small bottle of perfume oil from her pilgrimage to Mecca, and it was sacred to spritz large quantities of the precious perfume.” In their award-winning book In Sensorium: Notes For My People, Tanaïs writes about how odor memories form a psychological link between all olfactory genetics they are drawn to. “Attars is a decorating ritual that invokes the scents of my ancestors: jasmine, violet, rose, betel leaf, coconut oil.”
Haisam Mohammed, founder and creative director of fragrance company Unifrom, with Cultural influences across religious integration, inheritance and adoption, and immigrants’ desire to preserve what was lost and left behind share similar connections. He grew up in Sweden, the son of Eritrean refugees, and he encountered the holy oil during Friday prayers at Stockholm’s Grand Mosque. “When you enter a mosque, you want to present yourself in the best possible light, which means being well-groomed and presentable,” he said. On days when he forgets his perfume, he can count on someone passing the vial to and fro, from hand to hand and back to the original owner. A small shop inside the mosque also sells atar – one of the few places in Stockholm 767 Selling this sesame oil. The aroma of agarwood, myrrh and frankincense filled the mosque and imprinted itself in Muhammad’s olfactory consciousness.
Attars is an essential oil that has been a time-honored method of fragrance-making in South Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa for centuries. Now, a new generation of brown and black brands is trying to launch Attar 2.0: a budding revival and reimagining of this time-honored fragrance tradition. For the founders, it’s not just about building a fragrance house or offering a new format: it’s a way of honoring the seminal olfactory impact their culture had on them and the world of fragrance. It’s also an attempt to negate the erasure of people of color in the modern fragrance industry, which has always been Eurocentric. “I have worked with many attars from Kannauj, India – from farmers to stills, blenders and the family business from which I buy them – attars have botanical and historical information about the perfume, revealing how it has endured over time intellectual, long before the European obsession,” Tanaïs said.
What is Attar?
The word attar or ittar is derived from the Persian or Arabic word for perfume “itr”. “From a generic word defining fragrance, it has evolved into a separate category of fragrance, referring to a form consisting solely of perfume oils,” says Rawya Catto, fragrance expert and general manager at the Dubai outpost of CPL Aromas, an international fragrance company. Perfumes in the Western world mainly range from five to Fragrance Oil Percent is diluted with alcohol and spread in a spray. “Attar is a pure, undiluted fragrance,” Catto explains. Attars are sold in delicate glass bottles (one drop is long) and do not spray, but dot the pulse points with a long thin glass rod attached to the top, although the roll-on dispensers are now too a kind of thing.
Technically, every fragrance oil is not a fragrance oil. Atal is 93 percentage of sesame oil, no added fillers or carrier oils. Today, some brands offer oil-based fragrances structured in an aromatherapy-like fashion, some in unscented carrier oils, making them more affordable and accessible to a wider audience who may not have access to pure fragrance oils. Purists don’t consider them true attars – while they may not be formal, they are spiritual, bringing an olfactory signature and the millennia-old historical and cultural backstory that makes attars unique. Whatever the recipe, brand owners and perfumers alike have a reverence for cultural heritage. “I was very careful about commercializing a product that had been around for centuries, rather than paying homage to where my interest in scents began,” Mohamed said in a previous
The founders also wanted to respect its true form At the same time, it injects fresh ideas into the format. To this end, some have invited renowned perfumers to create traditional and never-before-smelled notes in Omani fragrances, as they have done at Omani luxury label Amouage. Others, like Soma Ayurvedic, have an iteration sure to please clean beauty users and retailers alike, including only those oils and synthetic ingredients that are widely accepted in those circles. LilaNur, a luxury perfume house from India, has found a way to combine tradition with modern extraction techniques. One of their three Attar Absolus was shortlisted by the Fragrance Foundation 1000 Innovative Fragrance Product of the Year. “We infuse high-quality tuberose, rose and jasmine essences with traceable, sustainably sourced natural sandalwood oil for a hundred days to obtain a modern infusion. This extraction technique provides greater clarity, Reproducibility and yield,” said Paul Austin, co-founder of LilaNur.
What makes Attars so captivating?
Attars is the antithesis of perfume with operatic throw and flair. We wear fragrance for the world, but fragrance for our inner circle. When balm is applied to pulse points, the intoxicating aroma spreads with every heartbeat, like whispering a fragrant secret to those fortunate enough to be allowed near.
“Laying fragrances to achieve a unique signature scent is a very common practice in the Middle East,” says Catto, and Attar is a fundamental part of the layering process. Clothes are scented with a scented mist called bakhoor, a sesame oil is dabbed on the pulse points, and one or more eau de toilette is sprayed on. “The real idea behind layering is not to mix different fragrances together to create your own new scent, but to use different fragrance products at the same time. One does this by understanding the technical aspects of each product,” says Amouage’s creative Director Renaud Salmon said. Alcoholic fragrances have a wider range, pushing the scent out into the world and enveloping the wearer in a cloud of scent or silage. Attars, although stronger due to the high proportion of perfume oils, last longer and are closer to the body, since there is nothing to diffuse the fragrance molecules into the air. “When wearing them together, people smell the EDP on first contact, and if they get closer, the oil on the pulse point projects in a thicker way. These are two different evolutions,” says Salmon.
What is the difference between South Asia and Middle East Attar?
There are even differences between Atar, and the term has different meanings depending on the part of the world where it is used. In India and South Asia, attar is very special: it is the result of careful steam distillation of flowers, aromatic woods and resins into a base of sandalwood oil. It turns out that sandalwood has other practical uses besides its intoxicating aroma. “It acts as a fixative, helping to control the diffusion of other materials. It captures and retains the more ephemeral notes, so the scent of jasmine continues to bloom instead of passing away,” says Austin.
In the Middle East, the definition is not so narrow, Refers to a blend of pure essential oils. “Historically, attars have been bold fragrance compositions, made of beautiful, high-quality ingredients, and built around a few key notes that express their original personality, unlike EDP or EDT where you often can’t tell the difference ,” Salmon said. There are also differences in the sense of smell. “Indian attars have herbal and natural cultural elements such as attar mitti, an earthy herbal element, while Middle Eastern attars tend to blend around the staples of musk, rose, saffron and agarwood. Historically, in Arabia World, even Tokyo (deer) musk or ambergris are highly sought after in the form of attar,” says Cato.
Amouage at 2000, and for Salmon, it was a challenge to find the balance between traditional heft and a more contemporary interpretation. “I wanted to respect tradition and the ingredients usually associated with it, but I also wanted to push a new vision,” he said. He enlisted master perfumers Dominique Ropion, Cécile Zarokian and Julien Rasquinet to create a series of six attars, four of which are more traditional expressions rooted in rose, saffron, incense and agarwood, while two are Unexpected notes of orris and vanilla. For the first time a perfumer has created a fragrance with pure essential oils without fillers such as alcohol or carrier oils.
In the Middle East, Attar culture is a thriving, living history and a treasured part of everyday life. “Families make their signature pottery for different occasions, like holidays, celebrations, or just to welcome guests. Every family has a mix of recipes they know will work together perfectly,” says Salmon. In South Asia, when the popularity of Western perfumes eclipsed them as tastes changed, attar was all but extinct. In an effort to revive that tradition, brands like Boond have sprung up to revive the moribund fragrance oil industry in the northern Indian city of Kannauj, where perfume shops have been ubiquitous for centuries. Kannauj has been dubbed the “Glass of the East,” a catchy moniker that underscores the point the brand’s founders were trying to make – that everything in fragrance is seen through a Eurocentric lens, despite the time when Kannauj created the fragrance centuries before France.
Bond (translated as “drop”) is focused on producing through methods that haven’t changed since Traditional oil CE, water distilled using deg-bhapkas or copper stills. “We grew up in Kannauj, lived there during the lockdown, and witnessed the struggles of artisans and perfumeries. It is heartbreaking to realize that the pandemic may be the final blow to this ancient craft,” said Krati Tandon, whose Co-founded Boond with her brother Varun to prevent this from happening. Their flagship fragrance, Maati, is a quintessentially Indian fragrance that poetically mimics the smell of first rain on dry land. This is one of the wedding favors in big Bollywood weddings which helps in introducing attars to the new generation.
TikTok is one step away from becoming mainstream, A global butter revolution. I can imagine now: Gen Z finding these neutral juices to play into their ongoing quest for individuality by encouraging them to experiment with fragrances and create a customizable, one-of-a-kind silage, all while correctly centering the brown and black founders. This is internet catnip and I can’t wait for it to blow up. tag me.
Tanaïs Matí Rollerball Perfume Oil
Tanaïs created a new product by mixing it with another typical, though full, The much-maligned scent of the subcontinent – betel leaf. It’s a surprising ingredient that elevates this humble ingredient and produces a juice like no other.
Tanaïs Matí Roll-on Perfume Oil
Lila Nur Tubéreuse Attar Absolu
Traceable, sustainable sandalwood oil is the base of this sexy, transportable tuberose that will linger for years, making it a lighter, more An intoxicating base note of green notes. Equally ecstatic is LilaNur’s Rose and Jasmine Attar Absolus, both available in generous 1-ounce sizes with generous amounts of bee oil.
Amouage Attars Discovery Set
Good luck to all who have to choose one from this from Oman Six fragrances from the luxury perfume house of . Save some money and get this set (or upgrade to the deluxe set), both of which include rose, vanilla, agarwood, saffron, incense, and iris (a sleeping pill).
Amouage Attars Discovery Set
Bond Fragrances Five Fragrance Set
while Instead of one musician, you get the whole orchestra, it’s really a symphony. Boond’s attars are as close to an archive as you can get, a set of the biggest hits featuring Kannauj rose, jasmine, vetiver, agarwood and matty. Present a handwritten poem from the founder’s father.
Soma Ayurvedic Mysur Sandalwood Essential Oil
Fan of Sandalwood Incense – We know there are many many of you – don’t miss your chance to add this rollerball to your woodsy wardrobe. Inspired by the world’s finest sandalwood from Mysore, India, it veers into iconic scent territory. No notes.
Unity Maghrib Perfume Oil
Maghrib, which means sunset in Arabic, was the first fragrance created by Haisam Mohammed, inspired by his childhood home and agarwood, myrrh, and incense from the mosque. The smoky, woody base is sweetened by apple top notes.