Morocco's historical city in the Atlas mountain in a bottle
Having not been to Ouarzazate myself, let alone Morocco, I have to place in the perfumer’s shoes and nose, reimagining the scene as it played out in my mind. With the inspiration laid out in front of me, the scent transported me to the historic city itself.
The fragrance placed me in a busy Kasbah of Taourirt, setting up on the high atlas mountain city upon the first sniff. It was bustling with trading activities among the merchants in the middle of an arid and bracing day, with fine sand picked up by winds brushing against my skin. To my left, the residents welcomed the sight of the travelling caravan that just arrived from Timbuktu, herding a flock of camels and slaves carrying precious cargo of spices and gold. To my right, a few people sought refuge in a makeshift tent, sipping tea in ornate cups.
As I navigated through the bustling area, I picked up the abundance of spices in the air, well in this case, on my skin. I detected the bracing note of pepper caressing my skin, complementing well with the almost spicy-sweet aroma emanating from the nutmeg. What draws me most to the top notes of Ouarzazate was the incredible and yet, the mystical balsamic smell of incense. The smoky profile permeated through the air, exuding the mysterious vibe of Arabia as the merchants warmed this precious ingredient on a burner nearby.
Ouarzazate’s heart notes transitioned past the half-hour mark due to the visible presence of clary sage. A herb that Morocco is known for, it emitted out a distinctive herbaceous, earthy aroma on my skin. The introduction of wenge wood, a legume tree native in the Republic of Congo, elevated the perfume profile to be very woody. Also, the direction the fragrance takes me became incredibly darker, suggesting one of the cargoes the camels were carrying were being traded to the carpenters for decorative types of furniture.
My curiosity got the better of me while I scoured through the goods merchants were bringing in from the middle east, before discovering several cargoes containing precious vanilla pods and priceless musks. These elements were fairly noticeable on my skin, adding complexity to Ouarzazate’s middle scent profile with a subtle sweetness and powderiness respectively.
With the sun setting across the horizon, it was my cue to seek out food. As I proceeded out of the bazaar, I walked past a small merchant selling imported leather goods and hides from his table. The labdanum’s scent profile attributed this image when Ouarzazate metamorphosised on my skin to its base notes after the four-hour mark.
This, combined with the soothing properties of Kashmir wood, left my pulse points some warmth remnants from the evening sun. The blond wood’s existence was a genius move by the perfumer himself, suggesting it harmonises well with the other prominent notes such as frankincense and clary sage.
All in all, I am generally happy with the perfume’s overall structure and performance of Ouarzazate on my skin. While I do have a slight complaint on its persistence and concentration (I wish for it to be in the Eau de Parfum strength), my takeaway for this perfume would be to bring the bottle (or a decant) with you to freshen up during a warmer and humid climate. In theory, it should perform well on a slightly arid and calmer landscape. But, it all boils down on your body’s chemistry and preference.
Read the rest of this post on my perfume blog found on my Parfumo page.