You’ve heard of looking like a million bucks, now how about smelling like a million bucks? Well, Dh4.752 million to be specific. That’s how much UAE-based luxury perfume brand Nabeel’s latest creation Shumukh costs and it’s a masterpiece that’s nothing to be sniffed at — for starters, it is the only perfume to hold two Guinness World Record titles — most diamonds set on a perfume bottle, and tallest remote-controlled (RC) fragrance spray product. It is part of Nabeel’s The Spirit of Dubai Parfums range that celebrates the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Dubai, and Shumukh stays true to that legacy by showcasing seven key elements that personify Dubai in its design as well as the composition of the fragrance.
Asghar Adam Ali, Founder and Chairman of Nabeel Perfumes Group of Companies, Master Perfumer and Designer of Shumukh, has designed and modelled the masterpiece perfume’s bottle in gold and silver to pay tribute to the seven elements that encapsulate the true spirit of Dubai as a city — pearl diving (Durra), falconry (Baz), Arabian horses (Abjar), roses (Narjesi), luxury (Haibah), Arabian hospitality (Diwan), and Dubai’s stature as a ‘city of the future’ (Aamal). Did we mention the luxurious bottle stands 1.97 metres tall?
It’s just the beginning of the great heights Mr. Asghar Adam Ali plans to take the brand to. We spoke to the visionary perfumer himself to find out more about the vision and creativity that went into taking Shumukh from a dream to a reality.
How did you become a perfumer?
As they say ‘there is no substitute for experience’ and I have had a lot of that, from childhood. When I was 13 years old I remember my mother, who is of Arab descent, used to blend her own fragrances and make bakhoors and Mukhallats using few natural ingredients like rose, frankincense, oud, luban, zaffran, musk, amber and sandalwood — this left a lasting impression on me and I learned the art of blending Arabic perfumes by observing her and being immersed in that environment from a young age. My innately strong sense of smell and a keen fondness for perfume has developed into a passion that has spanned 47 years.
Where do you find inspiration for new fragrances?
Inspiration for creating perfumes comes from various concepts, sometimes from different names and sometimes from discovering new palettes of fragrance ingredients. For my niche brand, The Spirit of Dubai Parfums, the emirate of Dubai was my sole inspiration. Dubai is a booming metropolis with rich heritage and tradition and is the very definition of ‘uniqueness’. My goal was to give the world a taste of Dubai, albeit through perfumery. This entire product range is inspired and shaped by the elements that make up Dubai, and I am very proud that I was able to achieve our goal and harness the different elements of Dubai, from the sea, the desert, the Arabian horses and the skyline, to natural fragrances and Arabian hospitality and luxury.
What are some of your favourite scents?
All my creations are made with equal passion, thought and consideration. Every fragrance is special and distinct to me. But to name a few, I would say Dubai Meydan, Dubai Fakhama, Abjar and Haibah.
What according to you is the most amazing fragrance?
Certainly Shumukh is the most amazing and unique fragrance with its incredible scent and longevity — both attributed to the blend of pure, rare and natural ingredients. Undoubtedly, it is my best creation so far.
What is the ideal method of application for perfumes?
You should ideally apply perfume on your pulse points. Also, layering your perfumes is a good way of having long-lasting fragrance impact. Additionally, you can amplify the same fragrance using lotion and spray together or you can create your unique signature fragrance by using different perfumes.
How did you come up with the idea of Shumukh?
I wanted to create the most unique masterpiece in the world; it was always my dream. Though I am a perfumer by profession, I have a keen interest in jewellery, design and fashion. I am also a watch connoisseur and have some very unique pieces in my collection. Shumukh was an extension of my creative persona and fondness for exceptional unique pieces. When I designed my Second Generation ultra-luxury collection I thought about bringing all these beautiful individual sculptures together in one piece, and that’s how Shumukh was conceived.
Has Shumukh been the dream project you’ve been working towards? How does it feel to have it hold two Guinness World Records?
Shumukh is my lifetime achievement — it’s a dream-turned-reality. A dream that I have been pursuing for over three years now and it is history in the making. I am very honored and proud to have been bestowed by two Guinness World Records for my creation.
Shumukh is a monument and testament to the emirate of Dubai, a city that is famous for making the impossible, possible. It is a city of immense luxury, innovation and bringing to life the unimaginable. That is the foundation of Shumukh.
What are the main features of Shumukh that set it apart from other perfumes?
Shumukh is the magnum opus in luxury that combines the disciplines of art, perfumery and jewellery. It also has built-in, one-of-a-kind innovations such as its remote-controlled spray and hydraulics mechanisms that have been incorporated for the first time ever on a bottle of perfume. Each of Shumukh’s design features have been intricately modelled in gold and silver and ornamented with diamonds and precious stones. Shumukh is set with 3,571 sparkling VVS diamonds (totaling 38.55 carats), topaz, pearls, 2479.26 grams of 18-karat gold and 5892.88 grams of pure silver. The Shumukh Masterpiece is packaged in a trunk with a pedestal and includes a manual, lectern, remotes, flight case trolleys and Murano crystal glass decanter.
What is the secret behind Shumukh’s sillage and how long did it take you to perfect it?
Shumukh is a mesmerising fragrance comprised of the finest natural ingredients, sourced from the furthest corners of the globe. Shumukh takes its lasting power from the superior quality and rarity of its ingredients and is estimated to last on the skin for more than 12 hours and up to 30 days on fabric. Some of Shumukh’s key ingredients include sandalwood, musk, rare pure Indian agarwood, pure Turkish rose, patchouli ylang-ylang and frankincense. It took 494 perfume trials to formulate the final fragrance.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to succeed in this field?
My advice for success is to have the passion for what you do and perseverance to achieve your dreams.
You can get a peek of Shumukh at The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue starting today until March 30, where the perfume will be on display for the public. Want a whiff of this record-breaking scent? Visitors will also have the opportunity to purchase the individual perfumes that formed the foundation of Shumukh and also have their decanters engraved for free. Visit thespiritofdubai.com or call 8009988 (toll free).