Attars. Amouage. Astonishing.

The Ow Factor

Posse Darlings! This is a Kevlar Bite Sleeve.  It’s useful for safely evaluating and training dogs.  I used to wear leather bite sleeves but Kevlar (knitted Kevlar – who’dathunkit?) is lighter, more flexible…

…and why am I banging on about Kevlar bite sleeves in a post about Amouage Attars?  Well.  We’ll see, won’t we.  Hang tight, petunias.  We’ll get back to these sleeves in a minute.

So.  a few weeks back I was in Chicago, viztin’ with Andy Adams, my longtime SA at Neiman Marcus, when he said ‘ did you see the new display?’ (gesturing towards the back corner of the fragrance section)… I sidled over there and nearly fell down.  Laydeez and Gennulmen!  Neiman Marcus is carrying Amouage!!!  Not all of it, but a goodly portion.  However, I couldn’t tell you much about that ‘goodly portion’ other than the new attars because…NEW ATTARS!

First off, all the elegance in packaging Amouage is known for is still there.  Differently shaped but still hefty crystal bottles, gorgeous black stoppers, elegant boxes (I prefer the white boxes but these are lovely). All there which, considering the pricepoints of Amouage, is comforting (can you imagine paying Amouage prices for drugstore packaging? That would thoroughly chap my cheese!!!).

So.  Ya wanna know how they smell?  Why?  Because it’s a bleedin’ PERFUME BLOG?  Oh, yeah.  Right.  It’s a perfume blog.  So.. okay.  Let’s talk about three of them.

Rose Aqor. Evocative of the lush Al Aqor Oasis, the notes are  rosa centifolia, frankincense and sandalwood. I’ve never been able to grow Centifolia roses in my zone 5b garden but I have smelled them and can attest to their creamy, soft, antique rosiness.  This attar makes rose the star but not in a tea rose sort of way – that creaminess of the Centifolia puts rose almost adjacent to itself – obviously, it’s rose.  And you smell rose.  But it isn’t the ‘rose’ we are used to.  The sandalwood and frankincense transport it to another dimension. There’s not a green note in there, nor does it have any green ‘feeling’ about it; nevertheless, it has a young rose feel about it, flittering about rather than landing on you like an ICBM.  It’s not as hefty as my beloved Homage and Tribute but I think it will work better for those who find those two powerhouses too much.  It’s very much a skin scent, not venturing into Godzilla Sillage territory.  Amouage definitely knows its roses and that knowledge resounds in this attar.  I like it!

Vanilla Barka.  I hate vanilla perfumes.  At least I did.  Vanilla Barka may have changed that for me.  Crafted by the incomparable Dominique Ropion (one of my favorite perfumers) this takes the vanilla closer to the actual bean (which comes from an orchid, don’tchaknow) rather than a confection (which is why I dislike so many vanilla-based scents).  Named after the ancient Omani seaport it’s rather solidly grounded, with Tonka Bean and Frankincense balancing it out while still paying homage to the subtle bitterness in the vanilla pod.  In fact, it’s so subtle that it took 3 tries before I even realized I’d gotten some on my skin (I’d had 2 martinis at lunch. Bite me.  I’ve got my sleeves on!  ;-).

Saffron Hamra (which I’ve been calling Saffron Mamba because I’ve been reading about Black Mambas and you know how my brain….. oh, never mind. Cecile Zarokian is the perfumer.

It wasn’t me!

Anyway – this?  THIS?  THIS!  Even more beautiful than that snake, Saffron Hamra is one of the most stunning scents I’ve come across – ever.  Ev. er.  It must be the Cade wood that gives it this unctuous, green note – and unctuous and green aren’t two words I would’ve ever thought to use together.  But here, it works.  Perfectly.  Even though the notes say rosa centifolia I get zero rose – and that’s fine!  What I get is this indescribably beautiful ‘desert after a downpour’ scent, especially at an oasis when everything is at its greenest, lushest…but there’s still the sense that it’s transitory in ways not found in less arid environments.  You can sense the desert just waiting to desiccate that greenery. But not quite yet.  It’s a delicate balance, tipping first one way, then the other.  Hamra defies an easy, solid description – and that’s what makes it so beguiling.  I’m smelling green…but also a dry, golden floral note from the saffron.  Simply stunning.

And now we’re to the woven Kevlar Bite Sleeves – these attars stay very close to my skin.  But! I put a scrab on a cotton ball and once home rubbed it on for further testing.  Then I forgot about it – and put on the bite sleeves, which stayed on for the rest of the day (I’m doing eval and training with a young foster, so Bite Sleeves).  Around 9p I put the pup to bed in his crate, then got my exhausted self ready for bed (working with a bratty, goofy 2yr old Mastiff is like wrangling a rhinoceros!)… the minute I pulled those bite sleeves off?  O.M.G.  Hamra unfolded with a beauty that was absolutely breathtaking!  And that’s when I remembered that for me all of these attars work best when skin comes into contact with fabric.  I took the bite sleeves and cotton ball and rubbed them on my top bedsheet – good thing I shower each night… because these sheets aren’t coming off the bed right away.  I feel like royalty, sliding into sheets with the essence of Saffron Hamra still faintly clinging to them. And… the bite sleeves must’ve really concentrated that scent on my wrist because I could smell it on my skin for hours! after.  Even after a shower (to be fair, I didn’t wash my wrist.  Would you?).  Y’know, for all my expensive ways I rarely lust after what Humphrey Bogart called ‘f*ck you money’… until I run across delights like Miette chocolate sables, Burt Foster knives… and Amouage Saffron Hamra.  Then?  Then I wanna!!!

Have any of you tried the new attars?  Your thoughts?  I wish I could afford that Saffron Hamra but it’s $540/12ml and I need both a new roof and a new vehicle (so I feel your pain, Tom!).  Oh, Mr Bogart!  Where are you (and your ‘f*ck you money) when I need you?

photos: mine.  Except the snake: (hey, it’s a Black Mamba.  Not a lot of those around here but omg.  isn’t he gorgeous? and lethal.  My favorite combo!!!  😉




  • Sweet Baby Joe says:

    Hello, my dear! Long time. First of all, I could use a heap of f*** you money myself. Can’t we all? Second, you make these sound fantastic—especially the vanilla and saffron. Not sure I’ll ever get to sniff them, but it was nice to vicariously get an idea of what they’re like.

    • Musette says:

      hey, petunia!!! SO nice to see you on here. Joe, you would LOVE the Saffron Mamba! Sweatergawd. It’s luminous!


  • Maggiecat says:

    My 11 pound terrier mix isn’t exactly a bite risk, but the sleeves look cool. And the attars sound AMAZING. I would hesitate to try them at that price, but then…its like collecting art, right?

    • Musette says:

      your 11lb terrier mix would be a bite risk if he suddenly landed in a strange house! That’s the whole purpose of these sleeves, to minimize damage from a strange dog you’re beginning work with – size is relevant only in that it’s likely the 11lb bite won’t be as bad as the 111lb bite…


  • March says:

    AUGH — Saffron Hamra sounds INCREDIBLE. I wonder if I could smell it properly? It’s funny, I don’t usually love the sound of a green note, but with saffron … ‘desert after a downpour’ etc….. man, I have to try this. I wonder if they have it at the funny little shop here? Probably not but I saw at least some of the Amouages… thanks for the review!

  • Dina C. says:

    I had errands to run today at a big mall locally, and you inspired me to take myself out to lunch! I got a glass of wine instead of the martinis, and I’m really enjoying looking through shops, sniffing scents, and feeling like I’m not in a huge hurry for once. I’m not a fan of Mr. Mamba — once you’ve been bitten by a snake you feel kinda shy about them. But your Kevlar sleeves are amazing! I had no idea they made those! I haven’t sniffed any Amouage Attars — all three sound beautiful. Thanks for sharing your reviews.

    • Musette says:

      ummm… Dina C.. what kind of snake? Lordt! I hope it was just a garden variety ‘you SCARED me’ bite (since nearly all snakes bite). Obviously not a Black Mamba, since you’re still here and have all your faculties.


      glad you had a lovely lunch! xoxoxo

      • Dina C. says:

        June of 2019, I was weeding in my own backyard. Leaned down to grab a big armful, and came up with a long snake clamped down on my forearm. Ow! It turned out to be a grey rat snake, but the ensuing panic attack was seriously scary. It may not have been venomous, but apparently I am. (Imagine me with wicked evil grin.) When we got home from the hospital, we found it dead in the backyard! No one ever mentions how much a NON-venomous snake bite hurts when you’re taking that health and first aid unit in high school.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I do expect to shell out some serious (to me) when it comes to Amouage but spending over $500 for a perfume is too rich for my blood. Especially for 12ml. Someday I might try them.

    • Musette says:

      With so many perfumes out there, shelling out for the Big $$$$ requires serious consideration. But they are definitely worth the try! xoxo

  • cinnamon says:

    Bite sleeves … Not something you really need with a Labrador. That third attar sounds I don’t know what. I’ve yet to meet an Amouage I wanted to own but maybe I need to revisit. New car … yup. At this very moment waiting for garage to call and tell me if 1) the effing wheel (not tyre) has arrived from Italy and 2) what is wrong with the thermostat, and how much both will cost me. La la la.

    • Musette says:

      Actually, I advocate for bite sleeves with any dog you do not know (this is for eval/training). Most shelter/rescue/fosters are under a great deal of stress so the reactions are different than ‘your’ dog. It took me 6 mos to truly begin to trust Miss Jane – as I’m sure it took her the same amount of time to truly begin to trust me. Until I was as close as sure as I could be, I kept myself always aware of her stressors.

      and we are sisters from another Car-Mister, obviously. Those danged things, always with the Car Drama!


  • Alityke says:

    There is a discovery set £150/$200 for 6 x 0.7ml of each attar.
    That a lifetime of wear for me.
    That snake pic gives me the heebeejeebees!

    • Musette says:

      that’s actually a great deal, imo!

      That snake is gorgeous – behind glass. A LOT of glass. One of the deadliest snakes on this globe, he’s definitely a Loookee – behind glass!


      • Alityke says:

        Behind glass 3 rooms away I would still be shaking like a pooping greyhound!
        Yep agree about awareness around dogs. Mr Jarvis Cockapoo should have a super soft English cocker mouth but he can actually break antlers & those yaks pressed cheese chews. If he bit someone he’d cause damage! All dogs can bite so yep the arm guards are a great idea

        • Musette says:

          okay, that made me LOL! Yeah, this is definitely NOT a snake to encounter anywhere other than him/her behind a lot of glass! 3 rooms away… maybe a bit much, since I do like to look at them.


  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    We just had the launch of these in Australia last week but I didn’t get an invite. Will definitely look the out in store though. SO EXCITING!
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:


      Those idiots!

      And yes, you definitely should test them – I suspect the Hamra will definitely blow your skirt up!


  • Jennifer S says:

    Ohhh you would see me not move one muscle if that snake was lookin at me. I mean….yah….impressively, beautifully, deadly.
    The Saffron Hamra sounds gorgeous but it’ll have to live in my imagination cause…dat price tag!

    • Musette says:

      if you get near a N-M do check them out!

      And yes – the Mamba is not to be trifled with. But he is gorgeous, isn’t he?


  • Tom says:

    Oh fduck frick frack funk fook! I filled up the tire on the car and Neimans has 2 hours free parking. Might have to check these out. $540 for 12ml? 12? Oh, shoot me now.

    Oh who needs a roof?

    • Musette says:

      LOL! tell me about it! Roof, schmoof! Except when it rains. Or snows. Or the wind is howling.. or it gets dark (and you want to not sleep under the stars) … then… I dunno, maybe?

      Go try them! (call first to make sure they have them, though I cannot imagine BH not having them if Chicago does…)

      Report back!


  • Rina says:

    Dang it, they all sound amazing! And bite sleeves worry me just a bit, hubby has fallen hard for the Cane Corso (I always think of you when we discuss it)… That’s prob where my FU$ is going but I have serious reservations. Attars don’t bite, LOL.

    • Musette says:

      Corsos are EXCELLENT dogs! Bite sleeves are for ANY dog you do not know – intimately. It’s a tactical move. Since I work with fosters/rescues it’s just a smart move, though a friend got bitten in the face by his gf’s Maltese.