Sup­port from per­fumers and fam­ily

Friday - - Society Living Leisure -

per­fumery. We are proud to be the first in the world to iden­tify a unique per­fumery tal­ent.”

The train­ing ses­sion on this se­cond leg was be­ing con­ducted by Aman­dine Nikuze, fra­grance de­vel­op­ment man­ager at Fir­menich. Through the two-hour the­ory class Aman­dine gave an in­sight into the jour­ney of per­fume pro­duc­tion. “There are six broad fam­i­lies of fra­grances – cit­rus, aro­matic, flo­ral, chypre, woody and ori­en­tal – used in mak­ing per­fumes,’’ she ex­plained.

On a sep­a­rate counter, staff mem­bers from Aj­mal dipped pa­per strips into bot­tles con­tain­ing oils of var­i­ous ingredients that fell in these cat­e­gories. The strips were then handed to con­tes­tants to sniff and an­a­lyse the dis­tinct scents. “The idea is to be aware of each smell. Be cre­ative, mix and match and tell a story through the fra­grance you fi­nally create,” Aman­dine told the room.

Af­ter lunch the ac­tion moved to an ad­join­ing room that had been trans­formed into a lab­o­ra­tory, decked out in the sig­na­ture red and yel­low colours of the Aj­mal Young Per­fumer Tal­ent Hunt. There were 20 lab­o­ra­tory sta­tions and on each of them 16 bot­tles of per­fumery ingredients, a bowl of cof­fee beans, a scale to weigh the ingredients, sy­ringes to mea­sure the scents and a notepad to write down the mea­sure­ments and the for­mu­lae used to create the per­fumes.

The theme for this round – as it well be for the fi­nals – was the mod­ern or French mukhal­lat – a mix of 16 oils. “You have three hours to ex­per­i­ment with sev­eral blends and create your own per­fume. Our ex­perts are here to guide you,” said Aj­mal’s Ab­dulla. The base of the mukhal­lat was to be shamama, which is made from sev­eral nat­u­ral raw­ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing Sit­ting on the lab chair next to Ha­mad was Ah­mad. Re­laxed and con­fi­dent while mix­ing the scents, he said, “I love per­fumes. On most days you will find me on the trail of scents in Paris Gallery and Ga­leries Lafayette.” When asked what mo­ti­vated him to en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion, he smiled, “Well, I am here for the prize money, which will help me get mar­ried.”

Seven­teen-year-old Sak­ina Sawan was clear about what she wanted to do with the prize money too. “I will give a part of it to my par­ents, some of it I will keep for my univer­sity fees and the rest I will blow on shop­ping.”

An hour and a half af­ter the se­cond part of the train­ing be­gan, Ab­dulla and his team ap­proached each counter smelling and in­spect­ing the test bot­tles. “It’s nice. But you need to push the shamama scent up,” Ab­dulla told a ner­vous Fa­tima Ab­dul Qayum Shah.

A den­tistry stu­dent, Fa­tima had come all the way from Fu­jairah for the event. She re­vealed that fra­grances made her feel good, but now she seemed un­sure of what she had cre­ated.

“Can I mix the per­fume fam­i­lies?” she asked Ab­dulla and re­ceived a nod of ap­proval. She del­i­cately started mix­ing droplets ex­tracted from the woody and flo­ral per­fume fam­i­lies.

With years of hav­ing been sur­rounded by an as­sort­ment of scents, Bran­dan, on the other hand, looked com­posed at his counter and said he was re­ly­ing on his in­stincts. His mother, Cyn­thia Pereira, looked in­dul­gently at her son from a cor­ner of the room. “We are an aro­matic fam­ily. We have a per­fume busi­ness and our house is full of scented can­dles and per­fume sticks. Bran­dan owns more than 20 bot­tles of per­fumes,” said Cyn­thia, who was hop­ing to see her son win the con­test and even­tu­ally take over the fam­ily busi­ness.

At 4.50pm, with just 10 min­utes to go be­fore the end of the train­ing ses­sion, most con­tes­tants had filled up all five trial bot­tles they had been given. Nineteen-year-old stu­dent Haytham Hamwi tucked his five bot­tles into a bag – the con­tes­tants were al­lowed to take their work home – and ad­mit­ted, sheep­ishly, “I am go­ing to make Mum a guinea pig and let her try out my per­fumes.”

Bran­dan couldn’t wait to show off the new per­fume blends he’d cre­ated. Clutch­ing his Aj­mal goody bag he left with mem­o­ries of mes­meris­ing aro­mas and a dream of be­ing dis­cov­ered as the new­est tal­ent in the UAE’s per­fume in­dus­try.

Ha­mad Hameed Al Khouri wants to create a per­fume to ap­peal to Mid­dle Eastern tastes

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