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El Attarine – The smell of a sweet, sunny summer’s day - July 29, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

  Al-Attarine Madrasa photo by Culturevulture

Serge Lutens is a giant in the world of niche perfumery. His fragrances rarely disappoint. In fact, I have more of his fragrances than I do of any other perfumer. Am I a Lutens fan? I am if it means I like to wear well-crafted, high quality fragrances – and I do.  

Serge Lutens was born in Lille in Northern France, but since 1974 he has owned a house in Marrakech.

Marrakech, the fourth largest city in Morrocco, a country with a rich cultural mix of Arab, Berber and European influences. It is the land of ocean and desert sun, of sultans and souks - markets filled with vendors selling everything from exotic spices, candied fruits and beaded slippers to Berber rugs.

The exotic spices and scents, the textured culture of life in Morrocco have inspired some of my favourite Lutens scents: Arabie, Ambre Sultan, Cuir Mauresque, Fumerie Turque, Sarrasins as well as one of my summer fave: El Attarine.

El Attarine was inspired by the Al-Attarine Madrasa in Fez, Morocco. ‘Madrassa’ means religious school in Arabic and ‘attar’ is a distillate of plant materials over a wood base that creates a natural perfume oil that is used in meditation and fragrance.

Al-Attarine is a gorgeous building luxuriously decorated with glazed tile, marble columns and intricately carved wooden arches and cornices. Located across from the spice and perfume market, al-Attarine is the madrasa for perfumers.

The idea of a fragrance inspired by a school for perfumers is what first attracted me to El Attarine, but the rich, golden smell of it that keeps me wearing it.

It opens with aldedhydes, crisp and just a little camphourous on me, and note of cool, metallic violet. Surprisingly, the opening is more quiet than expected when compared to some of Lutens other frags. In fact, El Attarine shows restraint throughout the entire composition which gives it a certain delicacy and transparency. A note of sweet, golden honey paired with fresh floral orange blossom is here too and as it progresses Lutens’ signature note of dried fruit – apricots this time – shows up, but it’s not alone. Saffron, bittersweet and earthy and cumin, pungent, anisic and just a little dirty adds a warm spiciness that tempers the dried fruit perfectly. The heart is a blend of florals – I smell rose and jasmine – and immortelle, its maple-syrup, curry aspects held back, and its anisic/honey-like aspects highlighted and echoing the cumin. It all rests on a base of musk, sandalwood and cedarwood.

El Attarine is a sweet, spicy, musky, woody harmonious blend of heavy, rich notes with a drydown that is creamy, transparent and surprisingly light.
To me, it smells like golden, sunlight on a sweet summer’s day.

El Attarine is available only at the Salons Shiseido du Palais Royal in Paris. Today we are adding to our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00.