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Fragrance is so important to me. It is my life and my job. I dream about perfume formulas. I have breathed perfumes since I was a child as both my parents also worked in the industry.
I like my perfume creations to convey non-verbal stories. I want them to capture a moment, a trip, a memory, or a colour. If the person wearing them feels that immersion, the change of mood and feeling, then I have succeeded.
The sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses. It is the first to develop at birth, so everyone’s first memories are linked to smell, whether they are conscious or not. And you can definitely change a mood with a comforting smell, an energising one or a vintage one.
My very first fragrance was Cabotine de Grès. I was very young, no more than seven years old, and it wasn’t a kid’s fragrance at all. My mother got it for me, and I didn’t wear if for 25 years after that – but it definitely shaped my taste, as I always like wearing and working around green note scents.
I love wearing neroli colognes. It is a preference inherited from my French side! I also enjoy ambery, vanilla, warm, oriental, oud fragrances for the evening.
My signature scent is an oriental rose, with a lot of dry amber elements, patchouli and a beautiful quality of vanilla bud essence from Madagascar. It is Desired, one of my creations for the niche brand Élisire. Each note speaks to what I enjoy.
I don’t often buy perfume for myself. I tend to wear my creations, or fragrances I’m working on. Currently I am working on a perfume for the L’Oréal group which is centred around cucumber, mint and mimosa notes, so I’m currently wearing my trials of this. I also have a bottle of 1001 Nights from Ajmal Perfumes, which I love for its oud notes. I also keep a bottle of Ibrahim Al Qurashi’s White Musk at all times, and I generally like the signature Narciso Rodriguez fragrances.
A fragrance I reach to for comfort is baby cologne. Pour Un Homme de Caron reminds me of my dad. I love lavender as an ingredient, and this is a direct lavender and vanilla scent – one of my favourite perfumes ever.
When I’m wanting to feel uplifted and ready to seize the day, I reach for strong, floral, chypre fragrances or a powdery scent. I always loved perfumes like Flower by Kenzo or Chloé Le Parfum – the original one – for those notes.
Fragrance depends so much on personal taste and culture. This is why it is so important to understand consumers when creating perfumes. People have different olfactive references depending on where they are from. For example, a fresh perfume in Europe will mainly mean a light citrus, watery note, but in America, vanilla is considered a fresh perfume. Our role as perfumers is to understand these tastes and anticipate the next olfactive trends.
I love Middle Eastern brands and fragrances. I like Ajmal for its oud references in 1001 Nights and its Wisal. I also love Arabian Oud from Saudi, and I am very proud of my latest creation for them: Musk Mubakhar sums up my taste in perfume completely.
I have enjoyed wearing and working with Kayali fragrances – it’s a very joyful brand. I also like Oman Luxury for its beautiful concepts – I have also worked on a couple of fragrances for them called Royal Incense and Flowerlush.
New perfumes I have my eye on are Noir Kogane and Blanc Kogane from the Armani Prive collection that I tried last weekend. I loved them both. The Noir has a very nice, woody, amber, leather scent while the Blanc has fresh aldehydic musk notes.
Good perfumes don’t have to be ultra-expensive. Lattafa Sheikh Al Shuyukh Luxe Edition is a great unisex scent that a friend was wearing once. It’s a very oriental, sweet smell, but it was amazing on her – and 30ml costs around AED 30!
On holiday, I love wearing Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford for its fresh, citrus, cologne, musky notes. I also like Rem from Reminiscence, which is very watery and marine like, as well as Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum, which gives a scent like warm, sun-kissed skin.
An under-the-radar fragrance brand I love is Maison Matine. It’s available online and in Paris, and comes in these super-cool upcycled bottles. The fragrances themselves are amazing – look out for Bain de Midi.
If I could bottle any scent, it would be the breath of my five-month-old baby. It smells like heaven.
The scent I’d like people to remember me for is Divine Oud from Roberto Cavalli. One of my first ever creations, it is a very accessible, fresh, woody oud scent.