Posted On Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 09:01:31 AM
|Aslam Attar mixes to match the original
||Farooque of Nafees Perfumery
The next time you’re in a mall gazing with longing at the rows of international perfume counters, reading the names to yourself with near-perfect pronunciation, sniffing professionally at those little strips of paper but finally walking on knowing you’ll never have the courage to swipe your credit card for the several thousand rupees that little bottle of Elizabeth Arden or Issey Miyake would cost, take a stroll down Dr Saldana Street in Camp.
Since you’re on the perfume trail, you’ll be sure to meet Farooque at Nafees Perfumery — one among the several attar shops that sell surprisingly authentic replicas of high-end perfumes — inviting you to buy his version of Poison, Cool Water and Eternity for just Rs 160.
He doesn’t know why they smell so original, but he knows how. “We get the concentrated compound from Mumbai. All we do is mix it with ethanol.
You’ll never be able to make out the difference. Once you wear it, the perfume smells original. I have had customers buy it in bulk from me because the fragrance is exactly the same.”
Since Farooque won’t tell us, we approach Aslam Attar of Jahagirdar Agarbatti. The question tinges his smile with a bit of the defensive. “We’re not very sure of that because we source our base compound from Mumbai. Also, I can’t give away my trade secret! The level of concentration and measurement of bottles are done here,” is all he will concede.
“There is a reason why there is chai, and then there is special chai,” smiles Attar. “The quality of the perfume depends on the concentration of the base compound and the ethanol added. It is like tea with extra sugar and sugarless tea. But tea will still smell the same, right?” he adds.
Farooque and the others keep themselves up to date with the new perfumes top international brands release through the year. “I have memorised a list of most of the popular international names. We have customers who like to be updated about the latest in the international perfume market, so we have to make sure we provide the best,” he says.
They say clients come from different walks of life. While some specifically ask for a brand, others just say, “Accha khushboo wala dena”. The popularity is chiefly word-of-mouth. “I have no professional training when it comes to international perfumes, but practice and years of selling fragrances has made me familiar with the industry at large,” says another attar seller who declined to be named.
Farooque has a bit of advice in parting: “The fragrances do differ a little from the original, but not everyone will know that. And no, you don’t have to take special care of these attar bottles. Just be careful not to expose them to too much direct heat.”