Inspired by the sights and smells experienced in old Arabian souksAl Arabiya features a multi-layered ensemble of scent notes that is sure to enchant your senses.

Smear some on your wrist… inhale… close your eyes. You’ll find yourself at an old attar shop in which the aromas of frankincense and bakhoor infuse every surface – even the walls emit their sacred scents. Countless gold-trimmed glass flacons ornament beckoning shelves, their sweet, floral and spicy notes vying for attention. An incense burner sitting on the vendor’s table emits a plume of scented smoke. Oud, frankincense, bakhoor. Their beauty is hypnotic.

As you leave the shop, you spot people lounging outside the Gahwa cafe next door, furiously puffing away on hookah pipes. Raw tobacco, molasses, sweet figs. Inside the cafe, the counters are decorated with pastries garnished with rosewater, honey and pistachios. Waiters scurry out in single file, pouring coffee into depleted cups. You inhale deeply, enjoying the smell of Arabica coffee spiced with cardamom.

Jasmine garlands hang along the arched walls of the Souq, scenting the air with their scintillating, siren notes. You pick up another strong floral-herbal fragrance and discover the source: a throng of fervent girls are crowded around a henna stall, each impatiently waiting to get her hands painted – a wedding celebration must account for their gaiety. Every so often, you pass by more attar shops burning bakhoor pellets at their doors to lure customers.

More coffee shops line the alleys. Spice vendors are busy haggling and stuffing bags with cloves, cardamom, and Sabah Baharat spice blends. Their bustle adds a spicy edge to the aromas already perfuming the air.

Saffron, coffee, henna, jasmine. Bakhoor, frankincense, oud.

I breathe in and wonder if I’m in a dream. If it’s a dream it’s one I know I want to return to again and again. I smile. Al-Arabiya will always bring me back there. I swipe my wrist. I close my eyes.

I’m there…

Salient notes: woods, resins, spices

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