3/21/18

Al Wisam Day (Rasasi)

Gorgeous bottle.

Being a lover of rose scents is a tough life for a male in America. Rose is forbidden to me here; I'm expected to appreciate it in small doses as a minor note tucked behind ballsier "manly" notes. I only have one rose soliflore in my wardrobe: Tea Rose by The Perfumer's Workshop. It's a fresh rose, with green leaves and dew drops in the periphery. It's beautiful, but literal. There are no embellishments to the flower. Ask me if rose water, or any successfully-crafted rose soliflore is "barbershop" in any way, and I'd have to say no. Although roses are associated with some western aftershaves and witch hazels, they are generally not at the forefront of the genre.

This changes as you move eastward, where it's fine for men to wear rose. Rasasi is one of many houses in the UAE that have found interesting ways of making fruity-floral roses smell masculine and modern. What sort of house is Rasasi? They have no tendrils in the US market, beyond the occasional Amazon or eBay merchant. By the looks of it, they're an upscale niche house, native to Dubai. They're given to lining their boutique walls with caskets of oud chips, which they sell as incense. I don't like oud, so this doesn't do much for me. But Saudis and I share a love of rose. This gives me a reason to step into Rasasi's luxurious boutique, despite the burning oud chips.

Al Wisam Day is a musky tea rose, and its drydown reminds me of Annie Buzantian's scent. While the photorealism of the rose is similar, Rasasi's florals are buttressed by blackcurrant and bergamot on top, lending a "fresh" effect, and creamy musk below, burnished by a lick of sandalwood. Its rose is fruity, perhaps overly sweet, but I suspect beta-damascenone and other quality rose ketones are used here. It performs in the inverse; top notes are soft, base notes crescendo. I really enjoy this one. For forty-five dollars, I have something that smells like four hundred. If there are barbers in Dubai, I imagine this is their aftershave.


13 comments:

  1. I kind of chuckled with what you said about rose since it's spot on. There was one time at a bar, a Saudi guy stopped me when I passed by and said that we're from the same area. I asked how he knew. He said I look like it, but mostly because American men wouldn't smell like me

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  2. Coincidentally I have also been searching for a good rose perfume. I came across Al Wisam Day but somehow didn't feel like buying it because a good deal of people on Fragrantica seemed to find similarities with Silver Mountain Water and to an extent Silver which I find rather boring and I was afraid AWD to be more of the same. Your review has given me a new perspective and I may still go and buy AWD afterall.

    When it comes to men pulling off a rose perfume it is a tricky thing to do, even here in Europe. The reason is not the note itself which just like the color rose is gender-less but the association people have with it. Many rose perfumes are also simply branded towards woman which doesn't help and is nothing more than sexism.
    However it was not always like that, in antiquity men wore rose scented fragrances and you better believe these men were way more ballsier than John frigging Wayne or any of the modern day male virility stereotypes. But I digress.
    So since it's kind of tricky to pull rose off, I have been looking for a certain type of rose that I first encountered in Floris n°89 - it's hard to put into words but if you have ever smelled n°89 you know what I mean. It's a less sweet, more spicy type of rose that people tend to refer to as "dusty".
    Well, I'm glad to say that after trying several I have found just what I searched for. By the English toiletry house of Bronnley, it's simply called "Rose" EDT and is exactly that. Actually it wasn't my first perfume by Bronnley and I must say that so far they are quite nice, I especially like their take on fougere with "English Fern" cologne (in 250ml splash bottle) and also their "Original" EDT is a nice asset for the warmer months.

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    1. It is sexism mixed with traditionalism. AWD does smell very similar to SMW. However, the tea rose drydown is unique (SMW isn't nearly as rich or floral). The impressive thing about this Rasasi scent is that it smells like a niche fragrance at the cost of low end designer. It also lasts - no exaggeration - 16+ hours with minimal application (2, 3 sprays). It says EDP on the bottle but it's borderline parfum extrait strength.

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  3. It's interesting that up until the 1840's America's favorite flavor was rosewater not vanilla. America had a taste for rosewater because England had a taste for rosewater, and England had a taste for rosewater because of the Crusades.(Even American apple pie was flavored with rosewater!) In the mid-1800s American palates abruptly shifted from favoring floral-flavored desserts to those with lemon and vanilla extract.

    Yet another example of how scents and flavors are influenced by fashion, culture, & history. Interesting how vanilla is deemed a suitable fragrance for men & women in western culture but rose is now become solely feminine.

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    1. Interesting indeed. Well, according to a 2016 article from the New York Times Rose is the new unisex, so there may still be some hope after-all. The thing is however, that many sweet roses are veering towards the smell of strawberries IMO. Thankfully the Bronnley Rose smells just like the roses here in our garden and it's also long lasting while the others tended to completely fade after the two hours mark.
      Evidently Rose scents kind of demand a special occasion to being worn, I wouldn't wear it for say, going to the gym.

      I find it a good thing that Vanilla is accepted for both genders and I do hope that more notes will follow. Strangely, even traditionally "manly" notes like lavender are often marketed towards woman nowadays.

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    2. Bibi: very interesting, and a sign that rose has unisex pedigree. The "dandy" is a dying breed. I'm no dandy, but I understand that late 19th and early 20th century gentlemen considered flowers a part of their culture, in rose waters and in colognes.

      Natan: The NY Times needs to step out of NY a little. (And no, Paris isn't really what I mean.) Throw a stone toward CT or NJ and good luck wearing rose. People will abide it, but eyebrows are raised. That doesn't stop me from wearing it, though. In very spare doses, Tea Rose smells very dry and dusty and a bit sweet on me, and I think it's totally unisex. I have, however, received a couple of neutral (to negative) comments about it.

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    3. Evidently, what the NY Times were reporting (did you mean Paris, Texas? j/k) was the news according to some well established perfume noses. It's true that it doesn't therefor reflect the views of the mundane crowds who probably already raise the eyebrows when they hear about a man having an interest in perfumery (a man should wear cologne and woman perfume and they think both terms are gender related) let alone owning 20+ bottles. And contrary to popular believe it's not easier to wear Rose in the E.U. than it is in the U.S.
      It's sad that people felt the need to give you neutral to negative comments about your Tea Rose, in a perfect world they would come to you and ask for advice but unfortunately it's not how the world behaves.

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    4. We're having a crisis of open-mindedness in the US here at the moment. people from all persuasions are pretty stiff lipped about what they expect from each other, and diverging from any "norm" is seen as potentially hazardous. Give us a few years to sort it all out.

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  4. I've poured a few drops of rose water on apple pie before. I guess that makes me American as fuck? And I thought I was being innovative:(
    I've also poured some in shitty beer to make it taste fairly, uh, less shitty
    (I go through about a bottle ea h of rose water and orange blossom water per week)

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    1. That makes you American as fuck. But nice that you are going through bottles of rosewater like it's going out of style. Hold on - just now I hear that rosewater is officially out of style.

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    2. I suppose that means I'll have to start using 2 bottles a week then!

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