Sunday, July 29, 2018

Parfums Berdoues Arz El Rab: fragrance review

Ginger has a peculiar quality of appearing at the same time fresh and fiery. It's got an energizing zing to it, which is great for giving lift and energy to compositions that would otherwise remain dull and/or maudlin. Its shared facets with citrus make it a wonderful addition to classic eau de cologne compositions, elevating them to a quirky refreshment for summer wear, as exemplified by Origins Ginger Essence. Its classical inclusion in gingerbread gives warmth and comforting nuances in cooler weather fragrances, which recall those evenings spent by the fire nibbling on said cookies. Ginger's allusion to Far Eastern cuisine, where it's also very popular, is another culturally rich pool of pleasurable referents.


My favorite ginger fragrance falls rather far from either of those categories.
Parfums Berdoues Arz el-Rab can't be said to be particularly fresh or cologne-y, nor is it a gourmand ginger scent. Instead it has a gauzy feeling of canopies atop a wooden four-post bed made out of solid, polished wood, a tiny bit dusty. It's comforting, but it's a whole other comfort association. The ginger is allied to a tiny citrusy facet which dissipates almost upon spraying; the energetic blast is vibrant for the first hour or so, with the ginger holding first violin role. What follows possesses the starched quality of a subdued and low-key scent of woods and fluffy iris, with no metallic contraptions. It's as if one is actually invited to rest their wary body atop that four-post bed surrounded by pencil shavings. I happen to like pencil shavings (the classic Virginia cedar wood smell) and this bodes well for me personally. Pencil shavings recall academic pursuits and ginger provides that needed energy boost that academic pursuits would need, so it's a good mental match.

 More masculine or unisex, at the very least, rather than traditionally feminine, at least as defined by the presence of florals or sweetness in the current vernacular, Arz el-rab is perfect for all those situations where you want a tiny jolt of energy without appearing too invasive or self-conscious, and can be worn summer or winter without much wavering to its medium projection.

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