“Mukhallat” is an Arabic word that means “mix”. Although many mukhallats use the same basic ingredients the variations, for example, in species of rose, whether the musk is plant or animal based, the povenance of a specific oud, the amber recipe, additional essential oils or synthetics, and the quality and quantity of individual ingredients, is what distinguishes them.
Below is a list of favorite mukhallats. In this post I’ve attempted to familiarize the reader with the most common ingredients, and to list examples from large, well-established companies as well as smaller, niche perfumers.
Al Yaqoot, (Aluwwah.com)- -This mukhallat is a bit of a tease – it smells parched and chalky one moment, and rich and sumptuous the next. A combination of the highest quality rose oils enriched with sandalwood, musk, ambergris, and other exotic resins and spices, this perfume is equally suitable for men or women. The many different roses create a feeling of glamour and luxury, the musk and frankincense add a provocative and untamed sensuality, and the amber and sandalwood add creaminess and depth to the dusty notes that unexpectedly appear and then disappear as the perfume unfolds.
There are other less expensive blends on the Aluwwah website which would be an excellent introduction to this genre.
Prince Bandar, (AgarscentsBazaar.com)- This heady blend features rose, oud, musk, ginger and patchouli. From the notes I would have expected a slightly herbal and sassy scent but rose (red, round, bountiful) and musk (powdery but potent) are the real stars. There is nothing understated about Prince Bandar. The intensity and power of this blend suit its namesake who was a fighter pilot, as well as a Prince.
Amir Meshaal, (Abdul Samad Al Qurashi. Available through firstname.lastname@example.org)- Although not very complex, the superior quality of rose, oud, amber and musk in this perfume is what earns it a place in the top 10. The oud used is the renowned Kalakassi, an Indian oil distilled from 80 year old trees. The refinement and aplomb of Kalakassi, coupled with the dry spiciness of amber, gives Amir Meshal a dignity and hauteur not always present in such rich blends.
King Fahed, (ArabianOud.co.uk)- King Fahed contains many of the same ingredients as Prince Bandar but it is more subtle, more refined and more balanced. The first “Arabian” perfume I feel in love with, King Fahed is a harmonious symphony of delicacy and grace in which the notes merge together so effortlessly it’s as though they’re perceived as a single element. Unfortunately it is very expensive, and the only way I can justify having purchased it is to remind myself that the scent is extremely long lasting, and that I always feel very elegant and sophisticated when I wear it.
Prince Diamini, (ArabianOud.co.uk))- for those who love “sillage monsters” Prince Diamini is certain to fit the bill. This fragrance is BIG- so big that you might be accused of being politically incorrect if you dare to wear it in a crowded elevator. The rose in Prince Diamini is listed as “wild” rose, which doesn’t surprise me. This rose hasn’t been tamed by over breeding. In fact it’s easy to think of it as a wild rambler that’s irrepressible and uncontainable. The clove and pepper add a little bit of “kick” to this reckless blend, oud adds animalic power and ambergris accentuates al the notes. . Beware of getting any on your clothing- it’s likely to outlast at least a few washes.
Rahil, (ArabianOud.co.uk))- This one is for the ladies :-) The addition of saffron, , cinnamon and cardamon to the usual rose, musk and oud gives this blend a distinctly gourmand edge, with the exotic sweet and soft spiciness of saffron in the forefront. This spicy perfume seems perfect for Autumn, when the airiness of Spring and the floral headiness of summer are about to become sweet memories.
Mukhallat Dehen Al Oud Moattaq, (Ajmal; available on Aluwwah.com)- The usual oud, flowers and spices have made it into the mix, but the absence of musk and the presence of herbs makes this blend feel light, spicy, dry and very masculine . In fact, if I had to use one adjective to describe this perfume it would be “brawny”, although some men feel it is more of a woman’s scent, maybe because rose is clearly there. But to me this blend feels as though it’s been stripped of its gushing prettiness. Its leaves feel dry and crumbly, and it’s prickly thorns come to mind more than its delicate petals. There is also a lot of saffron in this blend which adds an element of mystery and intrigue to the mix.
Syoufi Sandal, (Areej Al Ameerat)- Although there may be sandalwood in some of the above perfumes it’s in such a small quantity that I’m unable to smell it. Syoufi Sandal, on the other hand, is predominantly a sandalwood scent, and although it doesn’t contain the buttery, creamy, smooth sandalwood I prefer it’s very refreshing to smell a mukhallat in which sandalwood is featured. This sandalwood smells somewhat sharp and stern; nevertheless it’s a nice compliment to the quieter oud which, for a change, is subservient to it’s less acknowledged sibling. The scent is ultra dry and woody, and feels very grounding, strengthening and calming.
Al Hamra, (ArabianOud.co.uk))- Although this isn’t one of my personal favorites I would like to include it because it’s the only Arabian perfumes I’m aware of that has ever been nominated for a Fifi award. With notes of apple blossom, jasmine, lilac, and balsam in addition to the usual rose and musk, Al Hamra has a more “Western” feel and will appeal to women who prefer lighter, fruitier fragrances. The apple in Al Hamra is more green than sweet, it’s crispness enhanced by the addition of balsam to the blend. The lighter florals enhance the juiciness of the apples.
Al Arabiya, (AgarAura.com)- One thing that causes me to give a perfume high marks is it’s complexity and ability to show different facets as it develops. Al-Arabiya is one such creation. It is constantly shifting, each shimmering nuance (floral, resinous, spicy, herbal, earthy- jasmine, frankincense, cloves, tobacco, henna to name a few), revealing unique and distinct impressions while we journey down a winding path through the alleyways of a Middle Easter souk. Every clear and rippling note echoes at a different interval and I never know which elements are going to flow together and form a surprising and delightful alliance. This perfume is as beautiful as it is exciting, and is much more affordable than many of the other perfumes on this month’s top 10. I have purchased many unusually creative and fascinating mukhallats from Agar Aura, however this is the only perfume currently available on the website.
When I first discovered Arabian mukhallats I began to lose interest in “Western” perfumes; they smelled meek, synthetic and lackluster by comparison. After almost exclusively smelling “Arabian” scents for a couple of years many of them seemed formulaic and uncreative. Now there is a place for both “styles” in my perfume collection, and I am excited to see how Eastern and Western tastes and styles interact, develop and expand in years to come.