This is one of those scents that has me shiver.
The varnishes layer back naturally and ethereal, following the initially startled medicinal (almost Saffronic) incise works it's way into the bouquet.
I identify the Earthiness and light smoke of a Dusty Vetiver most immediate, as background, set against a clean, savoury, Vanilla-ed White Musk and Buttery Sandalwood.
A touch of sweetness in the way of an Aristocratic Rose envelopes the body.
Animalic only as a moving, living warming thing, to my nose.
Beautifully crafted, not unlike a SultanPasha creation.
This attar is definitely the most challenging of the 10 or so from Amouage that I own or have sampled. The opening is not for everyone. For a while I wondered if it was for me. But stick with it, and you will be rewarded.
At first sniff, I imagine this is what the Apollo moon landing smelled like. Imagine musty 1960's era spacesuits. Imagine the moondust and the cold emptiness of space. Compressed oxygen. Now imagine you hear something similar to speaker feedback when a microphone is too close. This is the opening of Al Shomukh. It is a shrieking, high-frequency note that I can honestly say I have never encountered before.
Having trouble imagining a spacesuit on the moon with stereo feedback in the background? Try this... Chop an oud-infested aquilaria tree down. Smell the still damp core of the tree. Take some of that wood to a woodshop. Put it on the power-sander until the inner core of the wood is impossibly smooth and warm/hot to the touch. That hot smoothness is the opening of Al Shomukh.
I'm having trouble pairing this to a real oud note that I've experienced before. Hindi/Assam? No, there's no barn. Laotian? Nope, no industry or gasoline. Borneo? Possibly, if you turn it up to 11 and strip away a borneo's typical straight-laced and eager-to-please disposition. Honestly I think ambergris is the real rock star in this one. A very stringent, stanky, just-off-the-beach ambergris. The first 30 minutes is an all out heavyweight boxing match between this powerful ambergris and identity-crisis oud, competing for your attention and your love.
But like most pissing matches between two immature boys, this would get quite old if it were not for a lovely dame in the form of a light Turkish rose to break them up and tell them to knock it off. And when this happens, the trio form a most wonderful and divine collaboration. There's a musk there too, to serve as the straw that stirs the drink.
If you find yourself bored by fragrances, because everything seems to smell the same, then do whatever you can to sample Al Shomukh. Love it or hate it, your mind will be blown and your senses will be expanded.
Discontinued, rare, bloody expensive when you do find it, but exquisite and refined. A real deal oud.
The opening of Al Shomoukh is fiercely animalic, with all of the pungent, sour, almost bile-like inferences I associate with Hindi oud. However, although it is animalic, it is also smooth and round, with a small bit of smokiness to it that makes for an enjoyable experience. Touches of rose and a rather synthetic-feeling white musk soften the animalic opening, and eventually the top notes calm down and become a very deep, woody, stale-ancient oud smell, which is the type of smell that reaches back into the dark places of your brain and creates an odd addiction.
In the oud, I smell: damp hay, then dry hay, barn animals, smoke, grass, and later, much later, a hint of fruit (this must be the davana, flowers that smell like fruit).
I really can't stop smelling myself. I smell pretty damn amazing. It feels like the oud is oozing out of my pores now and I smell like what I imagine opulently-oiled and anointed royals in Saudi Arabia do. It's a complicated smell, if you try to pick out the different notes but there is something also so basic and prehistoric about it. The oud opens up and warms up with my body heat, and I think if it starts out as feeling like a separate entity, a strange thing, then it ends up feeling like it is part of my skin and is emanating out of it. I can't smell the vetiver. Thank God. This does lean masculine, though, because it's pretty much all oud and musk, but that wouldn't put me off (if someone wants to give me a tola or two of it). It is not as heavy or as opulent as Tribute or Badr al Badour, but still, sillage is significant.
Very ethereal and just smothers you with an aura of the most divine oudh from start to near the finish. What makes this attar unique amongst those made by Amouage is at the begining, it starts of with quite an animalic oudhy note which has been refined by the most beautiful roses in the background. From that one dot that you applied 7-8 hours ago it spreads to become from quite an animalic oudh to a very warm oudhy aura with the most delicious roses and pure muskiness mixed with davana. And this aura carries on for another additional few hours until it goes close to your skin where it dies down to an earthy note of vetiver. This attar just oozes sensuality and seductiveness. To me it is most certainly an winter evening scent due to its warm comforting nature.