On Friday, Nava asked if any of us noticed the subtle change in the weather, with slightly shorter days and that strange shift in the blue of the sky..I’ve felt it for the past 2 weeks or so and lay blame on the insane heat of late June – July, incessant 100+F, drought-plagued days and nights. A sudden cooling rain, followed by a drop in temps to the mid-80s now has me thinking Autumn…weird, but true. Remember when August was the Dog Days of Summer? Well August is the New Fall, baby. You heard it here first.
So what did my autumn-turning mind turn to, when the temps dipped into the frigid 80s? I went to Amouage Ubar. I got a bottle of the original in the last Swapmania and it was sitting right in front on the shelf and I was curious. I had a little sample of current Ubar from Luckyscent but to be honest, I’d done that Maggot Broth thing I do, where I just Make Stuff Up – and apropos of nothing decided that Ubar was a masculine and I would get to it when I got to it.
Okay. Not saying a man couldn’t wear Ubar – it’s just that he would have to fight me to the death for it. Both the original and the current are gorgeous. I was
too lazy having difficulties coming up with definitive notes on the original, so I went to the incredibly charming and gracious Christopher Chong (yet another Maggot Broth Moment, where I just assumed he would be difficult to reach and haughty when I did reach him. Nothing could be further from the truth. So delightful to chat with! Ubar, Marketing, roses, how do you hold a moonbeam in your hand…..I could’ve yakked with him for hours, even though he promises there will never be a Tribute Attar cream (sob!)…but I digress…
On to Ubar! Ubar was a long-lost, fabled (and fabulously wealthy) city located on the overland incense trail. According to legend it was the Arabian version of Sodom and Gomorrah – destroyed by God for bad doin’s, it became the Atlantis of the Sands. Well, bad doin’s or not, the original perfume conjures an aura of ancient luxe, lush life in the Arabian desert, with incense-scented silken draperies opening onto carefully cultivated roses and citrus trees surrounding splashing fountains in jealously guarded, high-walled gardens. A veritable oasis.
Bergamot, lemon, lily of the valley, damascene rose, jasmine, civet, vanilla – those are the notes of the current Ubar. It’s a much warmer and softer version and….don’t bite me! I might just like it a tad more than the original (no, I have not been podded – I said “I might’. We’ll see…) Christopher Chong says there is more focus in the floral heart in the new one, which is probably what I’m attracted to. I get a lot more incense-y sandalwood in the original. Robin compares the original to sandalwood fragrance decorated with a few flowers…and I agree. The reformulation focuses more on the rose. I don’t overlove rose but Amouage has such a way with it….witness how they ripped my soul to shreds with the vaunted Tribute Attar.
But sharper or smoother, both are absolutely gorgeous. Originally I wrote that ” The notes say ‘summer’ in reference to both iterations but I slept on it (and in both) and came up with this instead: the reformulation has the brightness of an early summer day but the original reminds me of fresh-picked, tangy cider apples and peaches ready for canning (yeah, me in my Manolos, canning peaches). Original Ubar doesn’t smell like those things – it smells like what those things mean – the early advent of Autumn, when the roses are full-blown and the peaches are ripe and ready for picking, as I did this very afternoon. It’s still summer…but it’s the heartbreaking beauty of a mature summer. The roses are abloom behind the walls of the oasis…but the first nip of autumn leaves just a touch of lacy rust on the velvet petals. New Ubar is a soft Summer day. Original heralds the Fall.
source: Original (mine own, my preciousssss), current: Luckyscent sample