Post by Ainslie Walker
Winter in Australia is drawing to an end. Spring is around the corner. I have already spotted magnolias, wattle, violets, jonquils and blossoms in bloom. This week it snowed in my hometown, prompting me to take some photographs of some of my favorite fragrances of winter 2015 and reflect on the season. I felt sentimental sifting through my collection, making sure I will take a moment to wear any heftier opulent scents before the hot weather arrives. I unearthed a few I had forgotten completely and one I wore loads in autumn then discarded without a mention:
Laya by Ne’Emah For Fragrance & Oudh 2012
Laya by Mohammad Ne’Emah
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Powdery notes
Heart: Vanilla, cedar
Base: Agarwood (oud), musk, woody notes
Ne’emah’s Laya became available in Australia last September when Sephora opened their doors. As I laid my bottle in the snow, I thought of its origin, Kuwait. Although known for its hot climate, it does get cold and occasionally snows in Kuwait and the compulsory air conditioning can also be freezing…so perhaps there is a need over there for snug scents? Laya is a warm blanket of velvet to me, cozy, sensual, sweet and dry. A rather undeviating balance of powdery oud, cedarwood, styrax and sweetened with vanilla and musks to the point it does fall into the gourmand oriental wood category. Laya is enchanting. Immediately addictive, attracts compliments, is well priced making it great for gifting. At a concentration of 20-30% fragrance it packs a punch. It is a must have for all of the above but also because of what it does, layered under other lighter fragrances – deepening them, adding velvet warmth, lengthening longevity on skin and balancing sweet fruit notes which I can find sickly. Laya provides a solid, yet fresh, airy, sweet cedar heart. All without overtaking or projecting too strongly or synthetically. It’s magic. It’s yum. And you need some.
With major trends and influences in fragrance now coming from the Middle East I was intrigued and keen to learn more about the first Middle Eastern fragrance brand to hit Australia’s mainstream shelves. So I had high tea with Mohammad Ne’Emah, nose and founder of the brand when I heard he was in Sydney.
Mohammad personally collects raw materials from Istanbul-rose, Bulgaria-rose, Morocco, France-jasmine, Turkey – styrax, India – amber and musk, Indonesia-ylang. He only uses real amber as he finds synthetic amber powdery. Once he was stopped at customs in Laos with 50 kg of oud and was not allowed to travel with it.
Fragrance is in his heritage – his grandfather collected ingredients from India in 1952 including oud, saffron, and agar. His mother traditionally burnt oud and styrax on charcoal to cleanse their home. Perfumery became a hobby for Mohammad aged 16 and it became his way to express his feelings.
I am puzzled as to why this brand has so far slipped under the radar with the perfumistas. Skip to Fragrantica where Laya (and others in the range) has few reviews and an outdated photograph of it’s packaging…tut tut!! Sales are up in Sephora though and there is two new releases planned for September: Jardis and Nubliable. Which gives me something to look forwards to as I pack away my treasured winter warmers.
Tell me some fragrances you think you’d like to try layered on top of Laya?
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