Aramis Calligraphy Series


Post by Azar


Hello APJ,

The art of calligraphy is the stylized rendition of a word or text. Just so, the Aramis Calligraphy fragrances are stylized versions of classic middle-eastern perfumes.

About two months ago the three beautiful EdPs in the Aramis Calligraphy Series landed in the discount bins of several on-line retailers. As far as I can tell these brand new, in the box bargains are authentic. Has the line been discontinued? Did the initial targeting of the middle-eastern market prove to be a mistake? Whatever the case may be, it is now possible to purchase 100 ml for less than a third to slightly over half of the original prices.

Let me tell you a little about the series. To start, the bottles are adorned with the stunning calligraphy of Lebanese graphic artist Tarek Atrissi. His artwork represents the name of the jus in each bottle – “Calligraphy”, “Rose” and “Saffron”.

Aramis Calligraphy Series

Calligraphy Aramis FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Aramis Calligraphy by Trudi Loren – 2012
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Cardamom, lemon, cinnamon
Heart: Myrrh, saffron, rose
Base: Patchouli, amber, musk, agarwood

This first fragrance impresses me with a spare, astringent opening that quickly morphs to a woody, rosy lemon scent. As Calligraphy dries I cannot detect any of the rich, dense barnyard or medicinal aspects that characterize many oud oils. I don’t get a lot of amber either. The base notes are quite woody but extremely light, just a breath, really. From beginning to end (no more than 8 hours) this is an understated and shy scent, perfect for the man (or woman) who doesn’t want to come on too strong but who would like to be remembered as aloof, elegant and refined.

Calligraphy Rose Aramis FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Aramis Calligraphy Rose by Trudi Loren – 2013
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Oregano, saffron, honeysuckle
Heart: Turkish rose, myrrh, styrax, lavender
Base: Labdanum, musk, ambergris, olibanum.

Calligraphy Rose opens with a fresh, green, resinous rose that quickly warms to caramel, perhaps the result of the combination of styrax and the other resinoids with the ambergris and saffron. Eventually a powdery, masculine herbal effect makes it clear that this fragrance, despite being suffused with rosy incense from top to bottom, was designed to be unisex. Calligraphy Rose lasts forever on clothing and about 12 hours on my skin. It is much bolder than the first Calligraphy but manages to maintain the elegant and refined vibe of the original.

Calligraphy Saffron Aramis FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Aramis Calligraphy Saffron by Clement Gavarry – 2014
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, marigold
Heart: Saffron, Turkish rose absolute, lavender
Base: Tonka absolute, styrax, vetiver

About a year ago Portia referred to this fragrance as “an extremely sensual glamour puss”! Calligraphy Saffron is SO glamorous that it won the Fragrance Foundation’s Perfume Extraordinaire Award for 2015. Saffron opens with bright marigold and saffron. A little sharp, a little earthy perhaps, but not for long. In no time this beauty starts pumping out more saffron, styrax, rose and tonka , becoming richer and warmer as the hours go by – eight to twelve on my skin and much longer on clothing. Like the other two fragrances in the series the sillage is relatively discrete – for a “glamour puss”!

Today’s Giveaway: One winner will receive a set of three 2ml decants representing the Aramis Calligraphy Series. To be eligible for the draw, please tell us how you follow APJ and let us know why you think fragrances similar to the Calligraphy scents end up in the discount bins.

Azar xx

AllSteele giveaway 1Photo Stolen AllSteele

Aramis Calligraphy Series GIVEAWAY


This week we will have 1 winner who will receive:
1 x 2ml decant of the 3 Aramis Calligraphy Series fragrances
Calligraphy Rose
Calligraphy Saffron

P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me (portia underscore turbo @ yahoo dot com dot au) so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ


Please tell us how you think fragrances like the Calligraphy scents end up in the discount bins

Extra Chance?
Tweet: @OzPerfumeJunkie Aramis Calligraphy Series #GIVEAWAY @EsteeLauder #Perfume @Giveaway

Entries Close Thursday 12th November 2015 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winner will be chosen by
The winner will have till Sunday 15th November 2015 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

61 comments on “Aramis Calligraphy Series

  1. Jaybee says:

    Hmm, maybe too much bright and shiny competition out there? So many marketing experts, and yet it’s hard to predict what will work. I just wish I could find more Chanel in the discount bins! Follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Jaybee,
      Several years ago I read somewhere that there were around 1,700 new fragrance introductions every year. At the time that number seemed excessive but now I believe it – and that does not even include all the indies and artisans!
      Azar xx

  2. Sue Mills says:

    I think it’s competition, too. So many fragrances … And Aramis would need to sell a lot of Calligraphy to justify continuing it, I guess. Please tell us which online stores are letting it go!
    I follow by email. Thanks x.

    • Azar says:

      Hello Sue,
      There are so many new fragrances introduced every year that even really good and sometimes great frags go unnoticed the crowd. Perhaps the initial limited target marketing strategy played a big part in the lackluster performance of the Calligraphy fragrances. I bought my bottles at The prices vary on this site and there are coupons available too but they don’t ship outside the US. has good prices. They ship to Canada, US and the UK.
      Azar xx

    • Azar says:

      Hi Sue,
      Extreme competition is not always a good thing! Too many wonderful products, ideas and people are often left in the dust, overlooked in favor of better marketed mediocrity. If you are in the US try BeautySpin. Fragrancenet also carries the Saffron and Rose versions.
      Azar xx

  3. Gina Tabasso says:

    via email

    I think it is because mainstream culture, especially in America, likes crap. Poetry is remaindered while idiot books that are predictable and poorly written/inane become best sellers. Films are in art houses while what Hollywood cranks out that becomes a box office hit is drivel.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Gina,
      I couldn’t agree more! Popular culture here in the US is an embarrassment. If a movie or a book gets a good review in the mainstream media I know it must be mindless “drivel” and refuse to see it or buy it. I realize that this strategy is limiting and that there may be some good books or movies that I am missing – but so what! My little protest doesn’t have much of an effect on anyone but maintains my sanity and keeps me from wasting money on crap. Perfume is another story 😉
      Azar xx

  4. Nikki R says:

    I follow by email

    I think the majority of people are so used to mass produced ‘main stream’ scents nowadays that unfortunately they don’t realise a great thing when it hits them in the head…..or nose.

  5. Jackie b says:

    I remember liking the Calligraphies when I passed through Dubai, perhaps only the first two at the time. They were smooth and spicey and I think they were targeted at the Middle Eastern market so perhaps did not have universal appeal. I would snap them up from the bargain bin though!
    I follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Jackie b,
      I can’t help but think that the biggest problem for the Calligraphies was the marketing. Maybe they didn’t have the punch to maintain competition with the big Middle Eastern CPOs and perfumes? Perhaps they were not bold enough for their original target market and too different for the mainstream “western” nose? Whatever the case may be, I am happy I found them at these deep discounts.
      Azar xx

  6. Tena says:

    I think fragrances like these end up in the discount ages because they scare non-Middle Eastern consumers with their notes. I have looked at Calligraphy Rose several times, and I am no stranger to weirdness in notes, but there are so many “iffy” notes in each scent that they never seemed to be a safe blind buy.
    Thank you for the chance to try them all – I enjoy following via email

    • Azar says:

      Hi Tena,
      I think that Calligraphy Rose is the most accessible of the three…and the price was the cheapest too! When prices are this low it ALMOST makes sense to buy an FB instead of a sample. Which notes seem “iffy” to you? I have to admit that marigold always gives me pause.
      Azar xx

      • Tena says:

        Both the oregano and lavender and both iffy notes for me, and saffron is pretty much unknown to me.

      • Azar says:

        I began to love oregano in fragrance with my first whiff of Amouage Interlude Man. There are plenty of fragrances that don’t have oregano but lavender seems to be everywhere. It must be difficult finding frags without it! Heliotrope, unless handled with extreme care and a very light hand, is a big deal breaker for me.

  7. FeralJasmine says:

    I suspect that the spiciness was too much for the American market and not enough for the Middle Eastern market. They sound lovely, especially the saffron, which is one of my favorite notes.
    I follow by email.
    FeralJasmine recently posted…The Greens of Fall: Nasturtiums IIMy Profile

    • Azar says:

      So good to see you FeralJasmine! I 100% agree with you on the marketing. I can’t make up my mind which of the three Calligraphies is my favorite. BTW we are still eating our nasturtiums around here. Do you know if anyone has created a nasturtium fragrance? I would love a perfume that smelled like nasturtiums!!!
      Azar xxx

  8. Kandice says:

    Hi Azar!

    I follow via email. Perhaps some fragrances end up in discount bins because people don’t even know there out there. I hadn’t even heard of this series even though it sounds amazing. Another reason may be there’s just so many perfumes out there. There’s a limit to what any one person can try, and if there are other things you want to try more you may never get to them.

    Thanks for the draw and the great review!

    • Azar says:

      Thank you, Kandice!
      Yes, there is a limit and it is simply impossible to try everything! For purchases, either of samples or FBs, I usually rely more on serendipity than on advertising. If I am honestly intrigued by a fragrance or if a perfume falls off a shelf onto my head it may be worth a try.
      Azar xx

  9. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there Azar,
    I think there is too much choice, even some of the good stuff gets overlooked.
    Love these frags, and the bottles are nice too.
    Portia xx

    • Azar says:

      Hey Portia,
      The artwork is stunning. To me Tarek Atrissi’s calligraphy represents not only the name of each fragrance but the actual progression of the scent from top to bottom. So well done!
      Azar xx

  10. Patty Pong says:

    I follow by e-mail. I think they go to bargain because of no advertsing, low distibution, and in turn they aren’t bought. 🙂

  11. Rene Groyer says:

    I follow by e mail and I would think they end in bargain bins because the public out there are not aware of them and there is little advertising for non mainstream fragrances.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Rene,
      I agree that many people were not aware of these, even though they did come from the giant cosmetic/fragrance group EL Companies’ (Estee Lauder) brand Aramis. There are a number of other fragrances by Estee Lauder that are here one day and gone the next.
      Azar xx

  12. Edward says:

    I follow by email
    It’s a very tough competition out there, you need excellent storytelling, awareness of the media and bags of cash to get noticed in the flow of perfumes out there. Maybe the middle eastern market is getting saturated with rose/oud combos.
    And for us westerners, the notes are not part of our “olfactory canon”
    Remember the average french woman buys only three bottles per year!
    Very interested in the saffron one, Byredo’s black saffron was a hit for me

    • Azar says:

      Hello Edward,
      To my nose all three of these fragrances are more “western” than middle eastern. Perhaps they were not given enough air time in the west before they were sent to the US discounters? Whatever the case may be I was perfectly happy to purchase them at the seriously discounted prices. Now you’ve got me wondering how many bottles of fragrance the average American or Australian woman purchases every year?
      Azar xx

  13. Hazel says:

    I would think it was the Marketing and the Packaging that failed. Sadly here in America the scents that seem to get the most attention have a popstar, actress, or a reality star attached to it. The packaging has to draw the eye, today there are so”Many” to choose from the bottle has to stand out from the others just to get people to pick it up just to take that first whiff. The package is where the promoters of the Hollywood get it most of the time. You want to collect the bottles, they ate pretty. Just wish most of the frags were good….I have found amazing frags in discount bins, but the bottles were just so generic looking I honestly keep them out of sight.
    I follow by email, I’m not sure if my opinion is of any help?

    • Azar says:

      Hi Hazel,
      I agree that packaging is a major factor in a lot of fragrance failures. In this case it HAS to be the marketing and not the bottles! The Calligraphy bottles are some of my favorites. I like the basic shape of the bottles but am totally in love with the elegant calligraphy that adorns them. They have at once an exotic, modern and classic feel, like the fragrances that fill them.
      Azar xx

  14. saffy says:

    Hello ,there. I follow via Facebook ,email and Twitter. I believe that ,as in most business failures, it seems that poor…well actually ,let’s face it, LACK of marketing has to be a big part of the reason these are now in the ‘sellout’ bins.
    Also ,where can the be purchased, please?

    • Azar says:

      Hi Saffy,
      Yes, these definitely suffered from a lack of (or misguided) marketing. To answer your question: Beauty Spin has great prices on Calligraphy Rose and the first Calligraphy, even before any coupons are deducted. Unfortunately they only ship to US addresses. Fragrancenet also sells the Saffron and the Rose versions. Their prices are pretty good if you have a coupon. I believe they ship to Canada and the UK as well as to the US.
      Azar xx

  15. Julie F says:

    I follow by email. I wonder if these didn’t quite fit the Middle East market they were targeting, yet the fragrances were too “Middle East”-y for the Western market? They sound good to me, though. Thanks for the draw.

  16. Ellen says:

    I follow by email. I think that there are way too many choices and good stuff can get overlooked, which is too bad. I’ve admired the artwork and the notes sound really lovely. Thank you for the opportunity.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Ellen,
      Yes, so many good fragrances are overlooked these days but I find it relatively easy to make a choice or a decision or a blind buy when the price is drastically reduced! In this case the artwork is a beautiful bonus! Thank you for joining the draw!
      Azar xx

  17. hotlanta linda says:

    Good quality lands in the discount stores due to either un-knowledgeable noses or too few perfumistas! 🙂 🙂 Yt thinks the new trio of orientals from Goutal is probably great quality aimed at well-monied peoples; we will wait for these to hit the discounters 🙂 We follow a la e-mail, blog, and FaceBook…Thank U !!!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Linda!
      So nice to see you here! Yes, I too will wait patiently for the new Goutals to land in the bins. It might take a bit longer than these Calligraphies but I am confident it will happen someday 😉
      Azar xx

  18. Ingeborg says:

    These perfumes cannot have been bold enough for the Middle Eastern market, I think. At the same time they are too different from the mainstream perfumes,so I would guess a lot of people would go for someting sweeter and more floral.I follow by e-mail.

    • Azar says:

      I’m thinking along the same lines, Ingeborg. Just not bold enough. The Rose version, though, is really quite – for lack of a better word – “rosy” 🙂 and would appeal to rose lovers everywhere who like their flowers with a twist of herbs and resins.
      Azar xx

  19. fazal cheema says:

    i think fragrances like Calligraphy end up in the bins for two reasons. One they may not be popular and second, the brand may want to introduce new fragrances with higher profit potential or give more space to those that sell other words, it is about shelf space…i follow APJ through email

    • Azar says:

      Hi fazal cheema,
      Higher profits and sales are, of course, what matter most these days. The popularity of a fragrance is usually a function of whatever is current in fashion and successful in marketing. It seems that misplaced marketing and misread fashion have perhaps resulted in low sales for the Calligraphy scents. I imagine that quality and artistic value have very little to do with keeping any fragrance on the shelf.
      Azar xx

      • Azar says:

        A correction…I should have said ” I imagine that quality and artistic value have very little to do with keeping MANY OF THE NEW fragrances on the shelf”. We all know and love those classic beauties that sell well year after year with little or no marketing.

  20. puhfume says:

    Thanks for the draw. I also agree that the lack of marketing might explain the relative under-performance of these scents. I’m not sure how big a presence Aramis has in the Middle East but the brand itself could be a problem. The lack of brand awareness might make it difficult to sell these perfumes.

    Anyway, curious to smell these three. I follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Hello puhfume,
      It’s hard for me to imagine a fragrance world without Aramis. I suppose that betrays my advanced age. Even when I lived in the middle east many years ago guys were wearing the original Aramis. Perhaps – in the case of the Calligraphies – the lack of brand awareness or recognition has to do with a global generation gap. Anything by Aramis might be a mystery to younger people or worse, simply old hat!
      Azar xx

  21. Nemo says:

    I follow by email! As for why they ended up in the discount bin, perhaps they decided to revamp the packaging (or formulas)? This post reminded me that Calligraphy Rose has been on my to-try list for quite some time, and the other two sound wonderful as well. Thank you!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Nemo,
      I never thought of a revamp, most likely because I love all three just as they are. Thank you for bringing up that very real possibility! The Rose version is lovely. I even bought a back-up bottle. The price is certainly right 🙂
      Azar xx

  22. Laurels says:

    I remember seeing an announcement that these were being released, and hoping that the gorgeous bottles would show up in the US. The prices at the discounters are good, but still above my blind buy limit, especially with Christmas approaching.

    I think maybe things end up at the discounters simply because of the volume of new releases. With so many new perfumes, there needs to be constant churning at the perfume counter. I follow with Bloglovin.

    • Azar says:

      HA! I love it Laurels! “…a constant churning at the perfume counter…” That really puts a few things in perspective.
      Azar xx

  23. Jessi says:

    I follow via Email
    Well we know it can’t be based on price b/c look how successful Roja is… I prob agree with the constant churning at the counter. I live in a rural community so when I actually get to a city and have a chance to visit a Barneys I go crazy, I literally sniff everything in the store… ( we are talking hours of sniffing) and I only get to Barney’s once a year if I’m lucky.. so if there isn’t enough brick and mortors for us scentheads to visit then they don’t get the attention they need.

    • Azar says:

      Absolutely, Jesse! I wish we had more places around here to go sniffing! As far as I know there is only one local shop that specializes in niche fragrances but they don’t carry indies. The department stores rarely have anything more interesting than the usual designer and celeb scents. There are a few places that carry clothing and limited artisan fragrance selections but that’s it. Sigh.

  24. Lindaloo says:

    Happily following by email.
    Those bottles are indeed gorgeous, but I agree the scents probably weren’t well-marketed. The fact that they are “Aramis” might put off anyone younger than fifty or sixty, because, based on comments on Fragrantica, Aramis is an old-man scent or just way too strong. I love the smell and adore when men wear it, but then again, my signature for a long time was Aromatics Elixir.
    I expect from the lists of notes (eg myrrh) that, even without the Aramis name, these might be “difficult” for wearers of today’s scents. And I agree from your descriptions that they are unlikely to have been a hit in the Middle East market.
    I wish for “the good old days” when products were allowed time to find their market rather than being whisked away for the ever-new and target-meeting scents.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Lindaloo!
      The odd thing about all of this is that we are often told what we SHOULD like and what we SHOULD buy, what is TRENDING or whatever. Jesse, in the comment above, makes a point that, for many of us, there is really no place nearby to go sniffing. Fragrances are discontinued before most people even have a chance to try them. That makes no sense to me. I wish for the “good old days” too.
      Azar xx

  25. Sharon says:

    I follow via Bloglovin.
    Perhaps because certain scents are not well marketed, they end up discounted. Also, the packaging design and artwork might not fit with the zeitgeist of the launch time.

    • Azar says:

      Hello Sharon,
      It certainly seems that correlating a scent and its packaging to the time, the place and the right people would guarantee a certain measure of success. That should be the case, but I’m wondering if there are just so many variables that designing a fragrance based on synchronicity is probably one of the reasons that the Calligraphies ended up in the discount bins. I love these fragrances, but even their beautiful and interesting western twists on middle eastern models are nothing really new or earth shattering and, like many perfume consumers, I still crave extreme novelty – even in my old age. 😉
      Azar xx

  26. Damir says:

    I know and appreciate some of older fragrances by Aramis. Tuscany Uomo, Devin and Aramis are very pleasant to my nose. I haven’t tried this line, but Saffron is the most interesting to me. I like Tarek Atrissi’s artwork here. I am not sure about other fragrances that share the similar destiny with Calligraphy Series. It was so strange to see the Calligraphy Series under the name of Aramis, regardless of the middle-eastern market. Although Aramis has a few “female” fragrances, it is known as a masculine division of Esteé Lauder. If you are a company like EL, it is an experiment to release such a series of fragrances in “male” section. Aramis’ buyers want scents similar to Aramis, Aramis 900, etc. Even reformulated, they are very popular. I like Aramis’ men’s skincare, but I’m not a typical Aramis user, especially fragrances. Similar is with one of my all time favorite fragrances, Insensé by Givenchy. It brought a new paradigm to the world of fragrances, but ordinary users of Givenchy didn’t recognize it. It is the only Givenchy’s fragrance that I adore. Insensé got the second chance in 2007. It was a part Les Parfums Mythiques. It is a discontinued again. Today, fragrance community is larger or, at least, better connected. Many perfume blogs and social media are great for spreading the good knowledge on fragrances. However, members of fragrance community are not the most frequent users of Givenchy or Aramis. Calligraphy should be under Esteé Lauder name, an exclusive collection. It would be a better solution. There’s a problem of high price, too. Most of Givenchy, Aramis or EL fragrances are available with the discounts. What else to do with expensive fragrances which people don’t buy than discount and discontinue them. Who knows, maybe some perfume from Calligraphy becomes a respectable perfume one day. “For perfume lovers only.” How much will it cost? Insensé is more expensive today than it was in the mid-nineties.

  27. Tim says:

    Hi Azar,
    Thank you for the lovely giveaway… Always been curious of these.
    I think there are many factors of good fragrances being discounted and many has mentioned above: marketing, price, brand association, etc. I also think that EL didn’t jump early enough to grab the Middle East male market and not distinct enough to outshine others in the same field.
    I follow by email.
    Thanks again,

    • Azar says:

      Hi Tim,
      I too believe that these fragrances were probably introduced too late – or maybe way too early! Perhaps the fragrance world just wasn’t ready for this kind of a “marriage” of middle eastern and western styles…
      Azar xx

  28. Lauren says:

    Hi Mom – I follow by email and twitter. Who knows why fragrances don’t make it! I’m really enjoying the Danny Seo Global Reserve you bought me. But I guess not many other people did since it had such a huge discount! I actually bought the other discounted one from HSN “Reserve Australia”. Right now it’s even cheaper than it was when I bought it last week – it’s down to $10. It’s really nice but I think I like the Reserve Global better.

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