Blog post by Gwen

La Fumée Arabie – spicy and woody and smoky

Image -

One of my favorite smoky scents is La Fumée by British indie perfume house Miller Harris. I’ve worn it on and off since I first discovered it in 2011 and, I can say, it's as close to a signature scent for me as I dare to go.

When I wear a scent I like, I like it to stay the same. The thought of a beloved fragrance being reformulated gives me the collywobbles. And don’t even get me started on flankers! Spoiler alert: I'm suspicious about them. Yet over the years I've learned that trying variations of scents I love can lead to new scents I love. And, I can name, and have written about, quite a few fragrances where I like the reformulations more than the original. As for flankers, some of them can be quite fabulous too, like La Fumée Arabie.

So, when a a package of decants arrived in my mailbox from a scent-friend I was excited. Along with the decants was a note that said: ‘I thought you might like to try these. They’re all pretty good, but one is a real stand-out for me. Let me know what you think’. This scent-friend has a great nose and she knows what I like, so I wasted no time checking out what she sent me - decants of Le Fumee flankers: La Fumée Alexandrie, La Fumée Arabie, La Fumée Intense, La Fumée Maroc and La Fumée Ottoman.

I took my time over many days with each fragrnace. I spritzed, I sprayed, I dabbed and I sniffed and you know what? I found a new fragrance love: La Fumée Arabie. And, I think, maybe, perhaps just possibly, I like it more than La Fumée.

La Fumée Arabie opens with labdanum, fresh at the start then morphing into a warm leathery, richness. It’s flanked by spices: sweet-tinged cardamom, woody coriander and earthy cumin. It’s pungent, aromatic and woody. That labdanum moves to the heart and links with a note of incense. Together they give this EdP a deep, dark richness that really defines the fragrance for me Cedarwood, spicy and resinous, boosts the woodiness of La Fumée Arabie and then there’s the birch tar – it’s burnt rubber aspect is held in check so that it’s smoky more than it is tarry. At the base, oud keeps it resinous and thick. I was pretty happy getting lost in La Fumée Arabie at this stage and then, it got better – yes, better! - with a note of rose – floral, fruity and feminine it adds a note of rich beauty that complements the resinous/smoky/spicy/woodiness of the fragrance. A touch of sweetness from vanilla seals the deal.

La Fumée Arabie is so well-blended, there’s no harshness or sharpness. The woodiness here is dry and rich with a strand of labdanum that goes right to the drydown.

So, I wrote my scent-friend and thanked her for the decants, told her I tried them all and reported that La Fumée Arabie was a winner for me. Turns out it was her least favourite.

I smell a rabbit hole….

Check out La Fumée Arabie in our Shop.