Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were not only the precious gifts the three wise men brought from the East; they are also the luxurious ingredients of Amouage, the range of the world’s most precious perfumes, commissioned by the Sultan of Oman. But to dispel all the myths and tales surrounding the brand, here on WOWwatchers today you can watch a film showing you the real story: The true story about Amouage.
By Anja Van Der Borght
Many stories have been told of Amouage’s beginnings. Who was behind the idea that gave birth to the ‘Gift of Kings’ and what was the dream that gave the world Amouage ? The time has finally come for Amouage to tell the true story. An homage to the man whose vision was to revive the perfume traditions of Oman by creating a crowning jewel set by knowledge and craftsmanship. A House that has become synonymous with generosity, integrity and olfactive rarity. For almost four decades, Amouage has been creating some of the most finely crafted fragrances in the world. A unique union of East and West, it expresses Oman’s contemporary majesty with immortal collections that linger through time.
All over the world, Amouage fragrances are regarded as the pinnacle of wealth, success and refinement because of their origin, quality and luxurious aspect.
In the distant past – even before the dawn of our era – Oman enjoyed the reputation of the most important supplier of incense. No coincidence, because the Omani province of Dhofar is not only one of the rare areas where the frankincense tree grows, this incense is also of an exceptionally fine and very fragrant quality. The so-called frankincense route, a trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean to China, ran straight through Oman and the flourishing trade in the sweet-smelling substance brought a lot of prosperity for the country. Wealth that is also concentrated in Amouage, the only fragrance that can rightly consider itself as ‘heritage of the 2000-year-old, rich Eastern civilization’.
More than 120 rare, natural ingredients from all over the world form the building blocks for the Amouage fragrances. They are therefore considered to be the ‘most precious perfumes in the world’.
A few thousand years later, in 1983, the Sultan of Oman decided, in consultation with Sayyid bin Hamud bin Hamoud al bu Said, another member of the royal family, to create the most valuable perfume in the world. The fragrance, which was to put his region on the global map, was to become a Western perfume, bathed in Eastern atmospheres based on sensual Arabic ingredients, such as frankincense and myrrh. The well-known French perfumer Guy Robert, whose names include Calèche by Hermès (1961) and Dioressence by Christian Dior (1979), was assigned the heavy task. It was of course an assignment that involved much more than just developing a ‘conventional’ fragrance. With the fragrance, the client wanted to establish a link between the refined, modern luxury of French perfumery and the traditional values of the ancient Arab culture. Guy Robert succeeded with verve. He put his heart and soul into ‘Gold’, Amouage’s first perfume, which he describes as: “a symphony that crowns my work as a (perfume) nose.” Entirely in line with the oriental perfume tradition, Gold is a strong, very recognizable fragrance. The heart consists of an incense extract that is only found in Oman, and is mixed with myrrh. The top note is rather floral thanks to ingredients such as rose, jasmine and lily of the valley, while the sensual base is laid using sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss.
In the meantime, numerous perfumes were reviewed, some more luxurious than others. The Amouage perfumes – Amouage in Arabic means ‘waves of emotion’ – are still produced in Grasse in southern France by internationally renowned perfumers. For twelve years – until May 2019- they were led by Christopher Chong. Today, Belgian-born Renaud Salmon leads the Amouage creative team.
Iconic fragrances like ‘Gold’, ‘Dia’, ‘Ciel Reflection’, ‘Silver’, ‘Ubar’, ‘Jubilation’, ‘Lyric’, ‘Epic’ and Memoir; the scents of the house distinguish themselves by feeling like a second skin, a tailor-made suit.
Thousand and One Nights
No expense was spared for the flasks, decorated with expensive Islamic designs, finished with gilded silver and crystal. The Amouage fragrances are packaged in precious crystal bottles with a handmade cap adorned with one Swarovski crystal. The caps of the bottles are inspired by motifs from Omani culture: the graceful dome of the Muscat mosque for women’s perfumes and the khanjar, the typical Omani dagger, for men’s fragrances as a symbol of emerging masculinity. A recurring element on all bottles is the oriental wickerwork motif in sterling silver, optionally covered with a layer of 24 carat gold leaf, which refers to the age-old ornamentation for the windows of houses in the Middle East. Each bottle is finished by hand in Muscat and comes with a certificate. However, not all vials (flacons) are for sale. The most luxurious can only be admired in the Amouage showroom in Muscat (open to the public) where they are waiting to be offered as gifts to dignitaries visiting Oman. If you’re ever in Muscat, be sure to check out the Amouage perfume factory. The program includes an explanation of the ancient Arab art of making perfumes by hand and also offers you a visit to a real perfume bar. You will experience a story from the fairytales of a thousand and one nights.