Oriental perfumes are infused with the deep resins and exotic spices of the East and create an atmosphere of luxury and exploration. Warming and calming in the winter and richly rounded in the summer.

Oriental scents take us to places, both fictional and real. These ambiguous places are both lands shrouded in mystery and glowing in sensory overload. The question is, do Oriental fragrances transport us to exotic climes at the other side of the world, or do they bring us into the deep recesses of our own desire? Who knows. In any case, Oriental perfumes offer the perfect framework to explore the technical range and depth of niche perfumery. From spicy, woody and balsamic Orientals to florientals and those scents that defy easy categorization, Oriental niche perfumes offer a range of perfume possibilities as diverse as the wide earth itself.

Spicy oriental perfume

Rare and exclusive spices recreate the sensual aroma of spice gardens and bustling markets. Tambour Sacre by avant-garde Italian house Rubini is an olfactory replication of a bustling marketplace in the horn of Africa and features a sharp Ethiopian coffee note floating amid a heady blend of Somali myrrh and Mysore sandalwood. Meo Fusciuni’s Rites de Passage Eau de Parfum takes us on a journey to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar with a spicy swirl of black pepper, geranium, rosewood and patchouli conjuring up the cool, pungent air of ancient interiors. Moonlight In Chiang Mai by Paris based Parfums Dusita is a sparkling spice garden of a niche perfume based on an oriental bouquet of nutmeg, saffron and night blooming jasmine. Playing with the duality of light and shadow, Moonlight in Chiang Mai is sexy and soulful.

Woody, resiny and balsamic Orientals

Mendittorosa’s Ithaka Eau de Parfum is a smooth perfume blend of woods and resins. Benzoin and labdanum add balsamic depth, cedar adds comforting structure, while vanilla sweetly ties together the arrangement of luxurious ingredients traded in an ancient Mediterranean port. Finally, a hint of saltiness eludes to wafts of sea breeze, capturing the spirit of adventure. Travels to far off places also feature in Varanasi by Meo Fusciuni, a perfumed poem dedicated to the eponymous Indian city. The shockingly animalic dirtiness of Varanasi’s opening is attributed to the highest quality natural oud (agarwood), which gently folds into a pitch dark cocoa note. Earthy, rich and decadent, its dark mystery slowly reveals itself like an epic journey on skin. A softer, smoother oud comes in the form of Oud Rain by Renier Perfumes, here the oud is dipped in an erotic profusion of fruit – delicately embracing a dry, spiced heart and decadent ambergris base.


In Oriental perfumes, the rawness of natural oud can be softened with florals, Dusita’s Oudh Infini Extrait de Parfum is a majestic floriental with the most richly textured Laotian oud, which is intricately interwoven with rich and elegant rose de mai. The arrangement and balance in Oudh Infini has the luxurious artistry of an age-old carved temple, while remaining utterly natural. Jasmin Kama by Rania J is a spicy floral assemblage featuring the finest Egyptian Jasmine absolute. The dark beauty of white flowers becomes apparent as jasmine’s mysterious and sensual indoles suggest the erotic passions of human bodies.

Fantasy oriental perfumes

Oriental perfumes are an idea, not a place. Rania J’s Ambre Loup is not based anywhere in particular and contains a blend of resins such as labdanum, balsams such as peru balsam and a number of woods including oud, gaiac wood and cedar which together seem to capture the freedom and wilderness of life. Mendittorosa’s Athanor Extrait de Parfum is inspired by the mystical world of Alchemy and mixes precious balsams with a sweet cassis note balanced by earthy saffron and an indescribable note of sulphur. An elixir of gold turned into scent.