Skip to main content

Arabie – The Meaning of Spice (April 27, 2012 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Istanbul Dervish Dancers - Josep Renalias - January 2008

 Here’s a recipe for the best spice frag:

¼ c. each cedar shavings and sandalwood resins
¼ c. each dried mandarin peel, figs, and dates
1 tsp. each cumin, bay leaf, Ceylon cardamom
1 Tbsp. clove and nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp balsamic resins
1 tsp Tonka bean, powdered
¼ tsp.Siamese benzoin
½ tsp. myrhh
¼ tsp. labdanum (rockrose)
Generous pinch of aged tobacco, rum-soaked
10 drops musk
Liquid to make smooth solution

You could try to make this crazy-impossible recipe or you could get your hands on some Arabie, and just dab a bit behind your ears. Then you’d experience the best spice frag.

Arabie, by Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake, is really an experience as much as a perfume. You may not have heard of it, because it doesn’t have a high profile in the Lutens line, and is misunderstood, under-appreciated, over-shadowed by his other Oriental monster, Ambre Sultan Arabie is a powerhouse frag, and makes a bold statement about the Meaning of Spice.

BUT - if you regard yourself as being somewhat of an accomplished cook, a person with esoteric global tastes, a wannabe gourmand, an adventurer, or if you’re a scent-seeker who hungers for dense, sumptuous, exquisitely decadent and larger-than-life aromas that cause swooning fits, you will understand and love Arabie from your very first sniff. If you’re not, then, you’ll think it’s weird and just too damned MUCH.

Arabie is a spicy Oriental – pure and simple - done as a hyperbolic Big “O” Oriental, and it was inspired by  Serge Lutens’ memories of travelling through the Middle East. He wanted the scent to capture the smell of the markets, the food, the landscape, the culture - to make it alive and enveloping  - and Arabie does this to perfection. It’s a place in a bottle.

The notes literally fly out of this magic bottle in the listed order – a rush of sunny notes first, pungent orange peel mixed with cedar and creamy sandalwood, layered on top of the dried dark fruits, which almost immediately start to become boozy. Then the spices tumble out like proverbial Whirling Dervishes – clove, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin – stomping and flattening the figs and dates, swirling and swooping with the orange and woods and fruits, creating a dense heady aromatic cloud. When the dusty Tonka bean, benzoin and sweet myrhh arrive, I’m ready for a more sedate Act ll. In the heart, the fruit and spice start to blend into a smooth, rich, exquisitely warm, expansive, opulent scent, which washes over me in waves into the dry-down. This smells sooo good!
In the dry-down the fruit and spice combo is softened more by the woods, and is made slightly complex and a little mysterious with hints of leather (labdanum), tobacco notes  and soft musk – snippets of animalics. Through the next few hours, Arabie performs another magic act and reveals itself to be an engagingly beautiful and generous perfume, not overly sweet or foody, but aromatic and lightly woody which lasts and lasts on my skin.

Maybe I have skin that tames difficult frags, maybe I have strange tastes, maybe I smell things differently or I’m anosmic to certain notes, but I don’t find Arabie to be TOO MUCH. I use spices every day of my life when I cook. I love their aromas when I measure them out, I love how they scent my home, and above all I love how spices, with a shake of the bottle, allow me to change simple ingredients into such delicious flavours.  “Mmmm, what’s in this soup?” “How did you make this – spectacular flavours!” Spices make me feel good, bring me lots of compliments, and yup, even make me feel creative and powerful. Hell, wars have been fought over spices.

Arabie is about spice, the whole spice, and nothing but the spice, and I think it absolutely is the Numero Uno All-time BEST Spice Scent ever!
Today, we’re adding Arabie to our decant listing. Decants are $5.00.