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There is no dearth today of luxury perfumers who celebrate their heritage via their offerings. Most of these are several decades old, and boast a certain wealth of expertise that makes them stand out. In such a crowded market, the four year old Middle Eastern perfumery, The Spirit of Dubai, is creating a buzz.

A niche luxury perfumer that embraces its Arabic roots while finding inspiration in the thriving metropolitan culture of Dubai, The Spirit of Dubai has made its debut in India at the niche perfume store Scentido. The label features a small collection of 15 fragrances for both men and women. The first eight, the Niche Collection, represent different attributes of Dubai, while the next seven, the Ultra-Niche Collection, build upon the previous line. The brand has another interesting feather in its cap – it holds the title for crafting the world’s most expensive perfume. At nearly $1.3 million dollars, Shumukh is enriched with 3571 diamonds, topaz, pearls, and kilos of gold. As the brand is set to expand their reach in India , we spoke with Mustafa Adam Ali, vice chairman and son of founder Asghar Adam Ali, about the brand.

Mustafa Adam Ali, vice chairman, The Spirit of Dubai

The brand and its offerings are all inspired by Dubai. How did the idea come about?

We had our seed planted a long time ago. We had registered the name Dubai, as our brand. If you look at the history of Dubai, we’re very privileged to be a part of its magnificent evolution. Whatever Dubai did, it did with an oomph and strived to be different. The city built the world’s tallest building, a seven-star hotel, and always had a perspective that was out of the box. We wanted to stay true to this story of Dubai and that’s why to decided to link our perfumes to the elements of this city.

What unique ingredients make your perfume special

If we take Dubai’s geographical state, nothing is organic or natural. In order to work around this, we have bought materials and precious ingredients from all around the globe. But apart from this, we make no compromise with it comes to jewels, all the way to packaging. We highlighted eight elements in the first generation, my favourite being the Bahar, which actually smells like the sea. Similarly we created a scent for the sands, Arabic dates, and more.

Our top pick – ‘Baz’ from the second generation The Spirit of Dubai line

Could you elaborate on the making of your perfumes?

My father Asghar Adam Ali is the master perfumer, and is passionate about the art of blending. We use so many of ingredients. All are carefully blended to create the perfect note and balance, and in doing so, highlighting the element of Dubai it stands for.

Shumukh by The Spirit of Dubai

What went into the making of Shumukh, the world’s most expensive perfume?

Sumukh has been a protégé of what we have achieved in the first and second generation. We have reached the pinnacle of blending and sourcing some of the finest jewels from around the world. We wanted to create the pinnacle of luxury in the art of perfumery. It takes a lot of cues from the second generation, with the pearls, falcons, and the horse. It brings together the most luxurious elements of the second generation. The artisans who made the Shumukh were themselves dazzled by it, because they’d never created a piece like this before. The falcon on Shumukh — the artisan surprised himself by fitting those many diamonds. He said he wasn’t sure if he could do it again.

Experiential set

The Spirit of Dubai is a very young player in the market. How do you plan to stand out?

We’ve been seeing consistent substantial growth and expansion with customers from all around the world. But more importantly, we aspire to reach a different clientele. When it comes to niche perfumery, it’s all about education and having an acquired taste. Unlike other premium perfumery brands, we don’t advertise and we don’t have to reach people to sell our product. But for us, our dedication to art and luxury is what gets us the attention.

Out of all the luxury destinations in the world, what made you pick India as your next landmark?

India was always a dream for us and it comes with such a rich heritage. And I’m sure these kinds of perfumes are an acquired taste but it does fit beautifully with India’s luxurious aesthetic.

Out of all the perfumes here, can you divide the scents between winter and summer?

In theory, of course, but we believe that perfumes don’t have a gender, season, or time. But in terms of ingredients and notes, they react differently with your skin and enzymes throughout the year. For me, the Spirit of Dubai doesn’t create perfumes per season, but instead as per mood and how people want to feel when they wear them. If I want to be more hospitable, I’d wear the Majallis, but for a day out, I’d love the Bahar.

All images: Courtesy Spirit of Dubai & Scentido

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.