A report published last year by the Smithsonian Magazine in the US revealed how scientists had managed to research, experiment and recreate the scent profile preferred by the famed ancient Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.
Creating a unique scent dating back to 51BC to tickle the whims of regular customers might be a bit of a stretch for the most seasoned perfume house, but demand for curated perfumes exists and is in fact rising, say UAE perfume brand owners. However, there are challenges too, feels Mustafa Firoz, Managing Director, My Perfumes.
“The art of perfume alchemy is too complex and intricate to allow on-the-spot formulations,” says Firoz. “It requires a deep and through understanding of notes, accords and facets, and years of expertise. A real high-quality perfume is not something that can be created on the spot. Having said that, My Perfumes went ahead and created My Perfumes Select, promoting the art of perfume creation as a multidisciplinary approach juxtaposing art and science, and driven by creativity, demand and innovation.
“Select is a palette of scent signatures created for the millennial connoisseurs of perfumery,” explains Firoz. “My Perfume Select scent signatures are envisaged as odes to individual personas — moorings, aspirations, yearnings, desires and moods.” And different moods are triggered by varied scents, again preferred by individual customers during this festive season, says Abdul Rahim Shaikh Shahid, Head, R&D, Lattafa Perfumes.
“As the demand for curated perfumes grows, customers in the UAE have been reaching out to us with very different requests. During the Eid season, many customers request for oud fragrances that are blended with ingredients, such as rose or amber.”
Agreeing with Shahid’s views, Adham Kamal, CEO, Swiss Arabian, says, “In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards customised fragrances, and we see an increase of this trend during Eid. At Swiss Arabian, we believe in providing the perfect mix to customers. With many different layering options, customers can visit our stores and choose a unique scent curated by our team, perfectly catered to their preferences.”
Sharique Khan, General Manager, Rasasi, also reads differing trends between his B2C and B2B customers when speaking of curated perfumes.
“Individual customers want to create their unique signature scent for special occasions, especially during Eid. At Rasasi, our fragrance advisors suggest a combination of fragrances that customers can wear to suit the occasion and the individual’s taste. We suggest layering as a concept in detail to match the requests of the customers. Asking consumers the right questions is a critical part of the entire process. B2B clients, though, often request to have a bespoke perfume created for them based on their companies’ overall preferences.”
And like the scents, the packaging for curated perfumes is also usually one of a kind.
“Some B2C customers request to have their perfumes packaged in a unique and limited-edition design, such as their names on the bottle, or a special box with a mix of spray and attars. We do facilitate such requests,” says Khan. In fact, Rasasi designed a unique Ramadan Box by virtue of which consumers chose from a range of oils or Dhanal oudh oils to complement with agarwood and curate something unique for Eid.
Shirin Ali Fakhruddin, Heading Hamidi Sterling Perfumes Industries, seconds the curation trend. “Of late, we have seen a lot of curation and customisation requests coming in from customers, especially when it comes to Eid and gifting. The regular requests Hamidi [a Sterling brand] receives from consumers are customisation and the layering of fragrances for that personalised touch, along with personalised packaging.” And when it comes to unique ideas in the UAE, customers can be fickle, but brands are happy to meet the challenge.
Abdul Rahim Shaikh Shahid, R&D Head at UAE perfume brand, Lattafa, which released some limited-edition Eid perfumes, says, “Customers ask us for luxury packaging using everything from crystal bottles to bottles encrusted with jewels.” And the brand has delivered the goods each time, every time.