Just walk through any mall or past any local in the UAE, and you’re bound to encounter something rather special. Or, we should say, smell something very special. When it comes to fragrance and rituals of scent, the UAE certainly knows how it’s done. A tradition steeped in history and of the utmost importance, here, perfume isn’t an afterthought or a quick spritz as you run out of the door. It’s an experience that takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of passion.
So, what better way to celebrate the United Arab Emirates turning 50 than by paying homage to its best homegrown perfume brands? We’re talking the chicest of bottles, the most sumptuous of spritzes, and creations that blend tradition and heritage. You, and your nose, can thank us later.
Created by Emirati perfumer Amna Al Habtoor, Arcadia fragrances are pure perfection. Made from the highest quality ingredients and completely cruelty- and chemical-free, each scent has been created to evoke a sense of nostalgia. From the saffron-infused ‘Splinter’, that pays tribute to the innocence of childhood, to the bold and musky ‘Hassaku High’ that makes its presence known, you’ll fall in love with these scents with just a spritz. Even better? The brand boasts sustainable packaging made from recycled materials in the UAE, and its simplistically chic bottles look great on your feed and your shelf. Win-win.
Arcadia ‘Candy Dust No.10’
Hind Al Oud
Born out of an “obsession and passion for perfumery”, Emirati perfume brand Hind Al Oud blends tradition with culturally inspired ingredients to make for some of the most sophisticated, captivating scents we’ve ever smelt. Using only the highest quality natural and rare ingredients sourced from the finest destinations around the world, each bottle is brimming with notes so exquisite and exotic you can’t help but be totally hooked after just a spritz. From perfumes to ouds, scented body creams to home scents and everything in between, Hind Al Oud elevates the Middle fragrance tradition like no other.
Hind Al Oud ‘Kheneen Al Fekr Parfum’
When it comes to a woman with a relentless passion for perfume, Mona Kattan tops the list. A quick look at her social media profiles, and you’ll spot shelves stacked with scents and a fragrance collection that rivals any major beauty boutique (she’s on a mission to break the world record, FYI).
Her journey is just as you’d predict — three years ago, she launched her own perfume line, Kayali. Teaming with renowned French perfume house Firmenich, it’s a collection of eight stunning scents ranging from the fresh but feminine ‘Citrus’ to the addictive ‘Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper’ and the super seductive ‘Invite Only Amber’. Inspired by the Middle Eastern tradition of layering, they’re designed to be worn alone or together, allowing you to mix and match according to your mood.
Kayali ‘Invite Only Amber 23’
Founded in 1999 in Abu Dhabi, YAS Perfumes has secured its position as one of the region’s most renowned and respected perfume brands. Inspired by the Bani Yas Tribe – some of the earliest residents in the Gulf, it’s a celebration of gallantry, heritage, and – of course – royalty. Both the Al Nahyan and Al Maktoum royal families are descendants. It’s therefore no surprise that these fragrant creations are fit for a king and queen, complete with 25 exotic scents, the most precious, exclusive ingredients, and elegant golden bottles to boot.
YAS Perfumes ‘Al Maha’
As Ali Aljaberi, founder of Widian, says, “Your perfume is your unseen personality, it expresses your mood and reveals your secrets.” Which is why he made it his mission to create fragrances that spark emotion and that take you on an olfactory journey across the globe. Rooted in Abu Dhabi – the brand’s home city – Widian embraces Arabic traditions while adding international influences to bring the old and the new, and the East and the West, together. With four collections to choose from, from the oud and amber-rich ‘Gold Collection’, to the olfactory ode to the Orient with the ‘Black Collection’, and the urban city-inspired ‘Sapphire Collection’, wherever you want to go, you can trust Widian to whisk you off there.
Widian ‘Black I’
The word “ghalia” was used to describe the precious scents that traveling merchants brought to the region during the early development of perfumes, offering royal families their own exclusive scents – or “ghawalis” as they came to be known. Ghawali understands the need to possess your own precious scent and has a strong desire to remain linked to the region’s culture and heritage whilst still creating something contemporary. You’ll find the traditional elements of perfume, oil, and bokhour alongside newer products to cater to all your grooming needs, including bathing to body care, with spicy floral, oriental fruity, and sweety woody aromas on offer.
Ghawali ‘Al Laylaa Oud’
Just as its name suggests, Swiss Arabian draws inspiration from Western craftsmanship and traditions from the Orient to create scents that bring both worlds together. Or, as the brand describes, fragrances that are “the perfect mix”. Founded in 1974, it’s also the first (and oldest) fragrance house founded in the UAE, firmly securing its position as an Emirati heritage brand that boasts loyal fans around the world. Scents are categorized into ‘Arabic’, ‘Fusion’, and ‘Unisex’, making it easy to find your new signature spritz. After something that oozes Arabian flair? Then try the rich and decadent ‘Sehr Al Sheila’ with notes of Damascus rose, oud, and patchouli. Or if a more modern and sophisticated scent is your thing, then look no further than the Turkish rose, apple, and vanilla notes of ‘Wajd’.
Swiss Arabian ‘Wajd’
From scents inspired by the rich, smoky scent of bakhoor burning throughout a home to perfumes that instantly refresh with light notes of bergamot and vetiver, Emirates Pride, well, prides itself on its expansive perfume portfolio, and its impressive list of renowned perfumers it has worked with — including icons Alberto Morillas and Dominique Ropion, who have created scents for the likes of Givenchy, Dior, Gucci, Bulgari, and Frédéric Malle. Like we said, impressive. Established in Dubai in 2011, there are now over 25 scents to choose from, all housed inside beautiful bottles made using the finest materials made from the most renowned manufacturers in the business. No half measures here.
Emirates Pride ‘Firewood’