Amouage Ubar: Perfume Review
Ubar is a re-introduction of the 1995 perfume with the same name, which, as Amouage justly point out, was "highly acclaimed by fragrance connoisseurs". The fragrance is "inspired by the long lost ancient trading city of Ubar, rediscovered in the sands of Southern Oman in 1992." Lucky to have a sample of the old Ubar, I was able to try the two versions side by side.
Ubar 1995, perhaps due to its age (14 years is practically vintage), skips the citrusy top notes almost completely, while the 2009 edition lingers among lemon and bergamot for quite a while. Not only that, but the silvery jingle of lily of the valley can be heard, at this stage of the scent's development, loud and clear. While the old Ubar jumps right into the ripe, honeyed roses and jasmine, sweetened further by vanilla, the new version takes its time, gradually introducing the opulent floral theme through the delicate presence of lily of the valley in the top notes. Slowly, slightly indolic jasmine emerges followed by jammy rose. At this point, the ambiance of the composition changes dramatically, taking the wearer from the sunlit, innocent day into the pitch-black, sensual night.
The sensuality, at times dirtiness of the perfume, is in no small measure due to a generous dose of civet in the base notes. Blended with vanilla and rose, the animalic ingredient lends Ubar that ambiguous gourmand/erotic quality that makes one wonder whether one should crave to drink it or to lust after it. Civet also turns the initially fairly modern scent into, dare I say, an old-fashioned one, in the best way possible. With its velvety feel, its unapologetic luxuriousness, its satisfying substantionality, Ubar could be standing next to Shalimar on a chic Parisian shelf, back in 1921.
As for the fans of the original Ubar, to sum up my impressions, I would say that the older version is overall heavier on rose, whereas the new one, although still centered on that note, pays more attention jasmine and lily of the valley and places a heavier emphasis on civet-vanilla accord in the drydown. One thing for sure, the devotees of the older version should not worry that the new one has been "watered down" or simplified as is sometimes the case with re-releases. If anything, it has been made more fleshy somehow and perhaps even more complex. It is a must-try for the lovers of floral-oriental-animalic genre and a must-have for me.
Ubar is available at Amouage.com, €180-€210, and Luckyscent, $250-$285.