Ubar Woman 
Amouage (1995)

Average Rating:  35 User Reviews

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Ubar Woman by Amouage

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Ubar Woman by Amouage

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Pierre Dinand
Packaging / Bottle Design

Ubar Woman is a women's perfume launched in 1995 by Amouage

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Reviews of Ubar Woman by Amouage

There are 35 reviews of Ubar Woman by Amouage.


Ubar always struck me as a well-set Jasmine. But today I'm smelling the rose and it's striking me more as Joy by Patou's more opulent sister. Gorgeous. I do wonder if it was tweaked between the old sample I had, and this new one. I think I remember that this one had been reformulated at some point. On to how it smells: it's a nearly piercing soprano of a rose/jasmine combination, with the rose both providing some alto harmony and creating a tart balance for the sweet jasmine. As I look at the note list, I realize I've been fooled; there isn't any rose! Something like Rose had been suggested by the combination of Rose wood, violet leaf, and citrus. There is only the smallest hint of powder, which I think is actually ylang ylang, and it retains a mildly piercing quality with its opacity. The patchouli here is so restrained as to provide only a slight shadow. The sandalwood so minimal that it only provides creaminess in the texture. There is nothing sheer about it. It is not spicy, it it is nevertheless an evening gown sort of fragrance. I imagine I could happily wear it to the opera. In many ways it reminds me of Tiffany for Women, which I haven't smelled in nearly 30 years. As I check the notes for Tiffany, I see that they do indeed have much in common- a bright citric tuberose/ylang/jasmine/orange blossom with violet leaf and sandalwood. I suppose they are both from a similar time.

This is a review about Ubar Woman as a potential male fragrance.
I have no idea why this is so popular as a cross over to men.
It is very feminine, stongly so, pleasant verging on cloying. I get a lot of Violet and lilly which just keeps on giving.
As a female fragrance its ok and of course body chemistry will affect it. Any age group but more suited to the 'well bred'.
What happened to Amouage Arcus as a freshy for men?

Fragrance: 6.75/10
Projection: 7.5/10
Longevity: 7.5/10

It has a sparkling citrus opening. The flowers are well-mixed. I can pick out individual floral notes here and there, until this settles down. It gets a little boozy for a moment or two. Then, the base appears woody, with warm sandalwood, vanilla, and a muted resinous smell.

Alas, it ends up resembling a few Rasasi or Haramain scents I've owned. It's pretty but, not exceptional.

If I were an entirely different female, I might love this, but Ubar is simply too heavily and abstractly floral for me to appreciate. And the lily of the valley and civet make for a combination I cannot abide. The whole thing is simply too rich and high-pitched and pee-like (in equal measure). If I wore only Chanel and lived in Palm Beach, maybe, but since I wear old Levis and Vans and live in S.F., this one is not for me.

Amouage Ubar Woman is a captial-F capital-O Floral Oriental perfume in the big, bad mold of Tuvache Jungle Gardenia and other witchy vintage-vamp tuberose-driven fantasy numbers with the dial set for Stun. I can't imagine how anyone could interpret this as a chypre--c'mon, seriously?--because this stuff is ballasted by a massive, powdery/opaque amber base that hails from somewhere in the Guerlain universe circa 1987; and, as I understand it, big flowers + amber base equals Floral Oriental. Chypres must include certain resins--specifically bergamot, laubdanum, and oakmosss--and they have to show some bone in their composition, because they're all about structure (if notes of citrus/balmy resin/patchouli by default made a something a chypre, then Poison is a chypre, and I don't think anyone wants to argue that. If you do, please PM me). Sorry for the didacticism--now that I've gotten that off my chest, I think my eye has stopped twitching. So, back to the perfume:

At the top of the note pyramid, Amouage lists a minor curiosity called Litsea Cubeba, which turns out to be an essential oil derived from a plant also known as May Chang, which Google tells me smells a lot like lemongrass. Knowing that helped me unlock some of the mystery of what I smell at the opening of Ubar, because it holds an undeniably yellow-green, aromatic freshness that keeps Ubar from collapsing into pastiche. It smells contemporary, if not exactly modern, and just-this-side of edible. The rest of the opening falls in line behind this note--facets of something sweetly orangey (the sharp part of the zest more than the fruit) and the leathery suggestion of violet leaf, mostly, and then something weird that happens to me every time I smell Ubar. I must be hallucinating, but I smell heliotrope--I suppose it's the downy, powdery texture of Ubar's base and something almondy generated from its vanilla or resins. But every time I first smell Ubar, I feel that achey, vague sense of longing that heliotropin usually triggers, and I have to screw my head back now and finish writing this.

The heart is all about the unfolding of Amouage's gorgeous floral materials; if you don't like florals, you're not going to like this--but if you do, I can't oversell how unbelievably beautiful these are--"buttery" doesn't begin to do justice to how they come together. There is tuberose, of course, but it's not the whole story. There's a powdery, vaguely beastly orange blossom that seems to have wandered in from Bal a Versaille. I have a personal weakness for ylang ylang, and Ubar does not disappoint; however, it never goes all banana split, sappy-sweet or one-dimensional: it's humid and a little dank, fluffed out by some seriously filthy jasmine. The bracing note of lily-of-the-valley sculpts those heady, warm-climate blossoms into a graceful swoop (and these notes do not always get along; I often think of Fracas as a catfight between chilly LOTV and hot-blooded tuberose, with jasmine and orange blossom in the middle trying to keep them from killing each other--lots of fun, in other words, but rowdy, loud and not conducive to relaxation) like a ballgown's skirt. With expensive, naughty lingerie underneath, naturally.

And the base--I've already held forth on the amber subject, but I feel obligated to point out how unified it feels with the rest of the perfume. It's a true amber, with a cold vanilla pudding sweetness to it; and, like the florals the amber isn't shapeless, since it's tamed by some tension with an aromatic patchouli and something that feels saline and a little depthless that may or may not be ambergris or a reasonable facsimile thereof. The effect of this amber/gris on the structure of the perfume is a sense of darkly glowing gradations of the same dense, rose gold color deepening toward the bottom, sort of like a Mark Rothko paining.

I feel like I've stretched my descriptive abilities to the limit here, but Ubar deserves my best efforts. It's everything I say it is, and a whole lot more besides. It has taken me over a year to even begin to understand what's going on with this perfume, and I'm delighted that it has rewarded me by yielding some of its secrets. I expect we're going to have a long and beautiful friendship . . . . If you haven't smelled Ubar yet, you need to; and if you smelled it once (or twice) and then dismissed it, you probably need to smell it again. This is one of the greats, and the folks at Amouage deserve love and support for keeping it in production and available to the rest of us. I'm not in any way equipped or qualified to nominate something for classic status--but still, Ubar is one. It makes me happy to be in the same world with something this beautiful.

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