Blog post by Gwen

DXB Dubai – herbal and floral and gently oud-y

DXB Dubai by Scent of Departure - 

I’m greedy for travel. I’ve made travel a part of my life, all my life. When I come back from one trip, I look forward to planning the next one. But I also enjoy all the memories of the places I’ve visited and like to relive those memories through photos, souvenirs and things I just find – stones from the French alps which I use as paperweights, a key I found on the street in Milan that that I put on a chain and wear around my neck, a gorgeous conch shell from the Virgin Islands. Perfumer Gérald Ghislain has another way to revive memories of travel: his Scent of Departure line of niche fragrances, each one inspired by a different city around the world.

Gérald Ghislain was born in Orleans in 1964 and spent his childhood travelling between Southern France and Morocco. His first calling was the culinary arts, so at the age of 13 he enrolled in the Ecole Hôtelière of Toulouse and opened his first restaurant in Paris when he was just 22. But a visit to the Museum of Perfumery in Grasse, changed all that when Ghislain discovered the world of fragrance. In 1997 he started training at the ISIPCA (Superior Institute of Industry of Perfumery and Cosmetics) and 1999 he launched niche line Histoires de Parfums. Here’s the thing about perfumers: they travel. A lot. Whether they’re sourcing raw materials, meeting new clients or launching a new fragrance, travel informs their work and inspires their creations. In the case of Ghislain, and partner Magali Sénéquier (creator of Ambre 411 for Histoires de Parfums), a love of travel led to the launch of the Scents of Departure in 2012.

I have to say, I’m not really swayed by packaging – cute bottles, showy boxes – but the design of the Scent of Departure fragrances is very clever. Each fragrance in the line is named for a city and the airport code for that city: CDG Paris, LHR London, MIL Milan, etc., while the labels on the bottles look like checked baggage tags.

I suppose any fragrance you’ve experienced in a city can remind you of that city, but the unisex fragrances in the Scents of Departure line are different in that they are “Not only a perfume, not just a souvenir, The Scent of Departure is the essence of a city in a bottle. A gift to a loved one, a souvenir as a reminder of a wonderful time, an object to collect as you travel the world…” I totally get the idea behind the brand, but surprisingly, the city scent that resonated with me the most, was DXB Dubai – a place I have never been.

It has a beautiful citrusy, herbal opening from bergamot, orange and thyme. Florals - rose, jasmine and violet – follow and match the opening perfectly. The rose is intense, deep and lush, but it’s the metallic aspect of violet that always takes me by surprise. I love waiting for it. But it wouldn’t be a Middle Eastern fragrance if the rose wasn’t paired with oud and the oud here is potent but not overpowering, making DXB Dubai rich and woody. Musk hovers, as incense warms it all up, and patchouli, earthy, dark and sweet, completes it.

The drydown is rich, warm and refined. I can still smell the thyme, the flowers and the oud. It smells like what I imagine a warm desert breeze, carrying scents of flowers and the market, would smell like. As the website says: “Close your eyes, you are already far away”.

If this is what Dubai smells like, then I’m thinking about booking a ticket. I mean, I already have my baggage tag.

Check out DXB Dubai in our Shop.