The win­ner by a nose!

An 18-year-old Le­banese stu­dent sniffs his way to be­com­ing the world’s first young per­fumer and walks away with prize money of Dh45,000 from Aj­mal Per­fumes, re­ports Tessy Koshy

Friday - - Society -

Wow,” Ji­had Bad­ran shouts aloud as the mas­ter of cer­e­monies calls out his name. Shak­ing his head in dis­be­lief, the 18-year-old Le­banese stu­dent from Amity Univer­sity, Dubai, jumps up from his seat.

In a black suit, his hair neatly gelled, he looks dap­per as he races to the stage. “Un­be­liev­able,” he says. “I just can­not be­lieve it.” It’s only when a tro­phy and a gi­ant cheque for Dh25,000 are handed to him in front of a bank of pho­tog­ra­phers and me­dia, that Ji­had fi­nally re­alises he’s beaten 19 fel­low con­tes­tants to cre­ate a unique fra­grance that wowed an elite panel of six judges and earned him the ti­tle of the world’s first ever Young Per­fumer.

The glam­orous ball­room of TheWestin Mina Seyahi Beach Re­sort, Dubai, comes alive with thun­der­ous ap­plause as Ji­had stands, his tro­phy held aloft, next to Ha­mad Bin Sougat, the chief guest at the event. Amirud­din Aj­mal, CEO of Aj­mal Group, also con­grat­u­lated the win­ner. It was a be­fit­ting fi­nale to the con­test, run by UAE-based Aj­mal Per­fumes, that went through two stages of elim­i­na­tion and a day of train­ing. It saw 2,527 stu­dents from 40 uni­ver­si­ties across the UAE par­tic­i­pate. On the fi­nal day 20 con­tes­tants were given 60 min­utes to cre­ate a fra­grance rep­re­sent­ing a French mukhal­lat with 16 in­gre­di­ents.

Be­sides the young per­fumer ti­tle and the cheque, Ji­had will get a three-month in­tern­ship with Swiss per­fume man­u­fac­turer and con­test part­ner Fir­menich, an ad­di­tional Dh20,000 and the thrill of see­ing his per­fume con­coc­tion mar­keted by Aj­mal.

So what was his win­ning for­mula? “I made four tri­als tonight and de­cided to sub­mit the fourth one. It was a chypre-based fra­grance with berg­a­monte and shamama, among other scents,” re­veals Ji­had.

The judges were unan­i­mous in choos­ing Ji­had’s cre­ation as the win­ner. “It was a col­lec­tive de­ci­sion by all the judges about

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