Back into the mainstream (sort of): Reem Acra

reem acraHey! HEY, you!
Me (looking around suspiciously): Who, me?
Yes, you! I’m talking to you, lady!
Me (upon seeing where the voice was coming from): Well, hello, Gorgeous!
It was almost as if the Reem Acra bottle tried to pick ME up. Sitting on a crowded counter at Saks it practically jumped up from the display tray, calling out to me from the chaos of bottles like a siren song with its bold, yet classy stylings.

Kind of a square, blocky number, almost handsome, but prettied up with sleek gold trim, a saucy band of red around its collar, and across the front, a swirl of birds in a classical-leaning floral wreath motif that I love. I’ve read that it’s the signature of bridal gown designer Reem Acra. It looks simply elegant to me, but I’m crazy about classical motifs (Greek key, urns, Roman laurel wreath, fleur de lys, you name it). If they made a mini in this scent, I would be turning somersaults for one, yes, indeedy.

But you don’t just buy the bottle, do you? Or do you? So I start thinking, “Oh, great, probably another case of bottle lust: beautiful packaging likely filled with more of the same-old, same-old celeb-u-scent.” (That I’ll wish I could just pour out, fill the bottle with amber-colored water and put it on display.) But hope springs eternal. And as luck would have it, I have a blank wrist, so I’ve got nothing to lose. So I’ll take one for the team, because I love that bottle so.

One gentle spritz and here we go. So far, so good. The juice, while not earth-shattering, is actually quite nice. One aspect of it reminds me a bit of something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on what.
What Reem Acra is not, however, is your typical loud, bright, in-your-face fruity thing. This is softer, warmer, almost velvet-y, a burnished patina of scent, if you will.

The visual equivalent of this could be a mellow compote, or fruit gently poached in wine or perhaps cognac or something. Cedar, amber, ginger, musk and patchouli are the heating elements here and they ease the composition out of sweeter territory into a warm, slightly woody glow with moderate sillage and good lasting power. It hummed along softly on my wrist for 6 hours-plus.

Its early fruit and jasmine leanings might be a bit off-putting to some, but it does settle down fairly quickly.

This would be a great scent to wear in autumn and winter, easygoing and not trying too hard, but still a bit elegant. Sometimes, that’s a pretty nice thing to have in your perfume arsenal. And that bottle — well, that would be pretty nice sitting on my dresser.

I’ve read that this fragrance also comes in a 30 ml size, so if there’s one to be found out there, it will be mine!

What about you? Have any non-niche releases grabbed you lately?

Notes: bergamot, peach, orange blossom, ginger, jasmine, LOV, peony, amber, cedar, patchouli, musk.

Reem Acra is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, $125 for a 3-ounce spray (no smaller sizes were available on the Saks site at press time but may be available in stores).

35 Comments
Suzanne January 15, 2013

I was going to say that the list of notes for this sound pretty darn good, and after reading Amanda's comment I say ... yes, dear Ann, I think you should get it! **Skipping away now before Ann's wallet or husband shoos me in that direction** :)

eldarwen22 January 14, 2013

A mainstream perfume hasn't caught my fancy in a long time. If a bottle catches my fancy, I'll wait until Surrender to Chance has decants available. If a mainstream perfume makes me fall in love with it, I'll consider getting a bigger decant. I'm trying not to buy any more bottles of perfume this year!

shaney January 14, 2013

I'm a little more than obsessed with this bottle, and I think that it would look very nice on my dresser :) It is now a must-sample for me!

Amanda January 14, 2013

Ha, I can understand why it'd be hard to resist a bottle looking like that! I recently had the pleasure of sampling Reem Acra and boy, let me tell you I have never smelled a better blend of ginger and patchouli. It was light and somewhat spicy but still maintained a floral feel to it. I really enjoyed it.

Musette January 14, 2013

LOL! I got snacked by that bottle, too! And, like you, (don't you just love the Oxford comma?) I thought the juice very nice, though it does have a 'hmmm...where have I sniffed this before?' feel to it - but not enough to keep me from buying it, except for the fact that I cannot manage the perfume I already have! However...that being said..there is a little......something...about the whole Beautiful Full New Bottle Experience that just gives the heart a little lift, every now and again, isn't there? xoxoxoA

australianperfumejunkies January 14, 2013

OH GAWD! I am such a designer scentist, bottle lover and THAT LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN. And smells OK too you say Ann. HMMMMM Portia xx

Jackie b January 14, 2013

Yes, I think it's time to clamber down from the pulpit of nichedom, she said nervously. OK I bought and love Bottega Veneta, the bottle is a nice bonus, heavy and simple. Bought Chanel 19 just because. It's quite fun to cruise the department stores (limited lines here in Oz) and collect paper testing strips for drawers and handbag, and sometimes you end up falling in love. Bottles can work in reverse with me, I wouldn't be caught dead spraying Dot or anything shaped like an animal.

Sherri January 14, 2013

I was surprised how much I liked Miss Dior Le Parfum. This is not be confused with Miss Dior Cherie, L'Eau, Original or any other iteration. (Why must Dior make things so confusing)? It was if I remember correctly a soft floral over amber and just a little patchouli (not a strawberry patchouli monster like Miss Dior Cherie was on me). Nice bottle, too, though with over 100 perfumes, I did not like it enough to purchase. Prada Candy was the only other mainstream perfume I purchased last year.

Amanga G. January 14, 2013

Estée Lauder, Tuberose Gardenia it was Love from first sniff!

rosarita January 14, 2013

I've fallen hard for Tom Ford Noir but I have a mini so that's enough for now. Your thoughts on Reem Acra are my thoughts on Coco Noir; gorgeous bottle, easy to wear scent. I haven't set foot in a department store in ages, so no other bottles have whispered my name ;)

Heather Wood January 14, 2013

Haven't fallen for any mainstream releases lately, but I have bought a bottle of Roberto Cavelli's Serpentine just for the bottle. It's a real beauty, at least if you like snakes, and can be had for a song because there isn't a lot of love out there for the actual juice. Which brings me to a question for an experienced perfumista, Ann: how exactly would that happen? This bottle had to be pretty expensive, so why not spend a bit more on ingredients so that people who bought it might buy another in the future? I'm not asking you to explain the whole industry, I just want your deliciously irresponsible speculation ;-).

tammy January 14, 2013

Oh, some people buy just the bottle, Ann. Or so I have heard; I know nothing about such a thing myself, of course.