And now for something a little bit different.If you look carefully at the center bluff in this photo you can see the terraced cuts that were made to create the highway through the mountains that Bryan drove when we stopped at the spot overlooking the city of Muscat. That was a LOT of rock to blast and move! And that cut goes right through the mountain range to the second half of Muscat on the other side.This afternoon Carrie, John and I took an excursion to Amouage, located about half a kilometre further up the expressway past the Sahwa Park we all visited on Sunday. I managed to get a few shots of the lovely Sahwa Clock Tower as we went through the roundabout. Amouage is home to “the world’s most valuable perfume”. The distillation of the various essences used in their perfumes is done in France (the process uses alcohol which is forbidden in Oman) under the guidance and direction of the master perfumer and the essence is then shipped to Muscat where the blending for the fragrances is done and the perfumes bottled, labeled and shipped. They manufacture 5000 bottles of perfume per day and during the Eid and Christmas seasons they double production. It is sold at high-end stores and boutiques around the world and they have 15 stand alone shops with two more opening soon.
The building and grounds were lovely. Gorgeous gold tiled water feature at the entrance and a mirrored ceiling to the walkway. Pretty impressive! The company began in 1983 when the Sultan of the day (His Highness Sayyad Hamad bin Hamoud al bu Said) desired to bring back the Arabian art of perfumery to Oman. The factory was built the same year and the first fragrance “Gold” was created by master perfumer Guy Roberts. Amouage is one of the only perfumeries to use only the petals of the flowers selected for their scents. Most modern perfumeries distill essence from other parts of the plants as well. As well as flowers they use many different herbs, roots, spices, and resins to create the unique fragrances for which they are world renown.
The Amouage brand is currently comprised of 82 fragrances which are available as perfume (a male and female version of each), scented candles, and bath products. A bottle of “Gold” costs just over $300. They also have a line of fine-crafted leather bags, purses and wallets. Carrie saw a faux tiger skin wallet she liked that cost 225 Omani Rial – that works out to $687 Canadian. For some reason she didn’t buy it???
A lovely Asian woman took us on the short tour of the factory – well the parts that were open to the public anyway. There was a lot of building at the back we didn’t see.
After the tour we were taken to the show room to select our purchases – a temptation to which none of us succumbed. Although I did like the scent of “Gold.” It is not overly flowery as most perfumes are that trigger my asthma. All of the fragrances she sprayed on test strips for us to smell were very subtle with citrus, or woodsy or ‘old books’ type scents rather than sweet and strong. Note of trivia: to cleanse your ‘scent palette’ between fragrances smell coffee beans. The knarly tree on the right is a francinscence tree. The resin is highly sought after to make luxury perfumes and scents.
We had to turn right onto the expressway when leaving the factory and drove quite a few kilometers looking for a roundabout to get us going back toward Muscat. We finally came to the exit for Mutrah which took us back to Muscat on the same road Ahmed used on our way back from our dune bashing expedition. Again, the mountain rock is just carved away to make the highway.We arrived home in time for Carrie to bake a tray of chocolate chip cookies, (she is a cookie-a-holic so only allows herself to make cookies one tray-full at a time – the dough is kept in the fridge and meted out over several days), play a card game and for each of us to settle in with our computers to do work, write blogs and check the weather back home. Oh….and John went for his daily run in the mid-afternoon sun.