Monday, 30 July 2012

TFK - The Fragrance Kitchen

A new perfume house has just launched – TFK, The Fragrance Kitchen by Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah.

Based in Kuwait, this perfume house combines the tradition of Middle Eastern perfumery with the French expertise of Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, where scents are analysed, executed and bottled.

Fragrance is very important in Kuwait with families closely guarding secret perfume recipes which have been passed down from generation to generation. In the UK we may have grandma’s secret recipe for a pie, jam or cake, but in Kuwait it is much more glamorous with grandma’s secret recipe being for a fragrance. And Sheikh Majed’s grandma was no exception as she taught her grandson how to create scents by mixing oils bought at the souk markets with precious ingredients sourced from India. Discovering he had a ‘nose’ for perfume, he was able to take it out of grandma’s kitchen and in to his own ‘Fragrance Kitchen’.

Although the fragrances are all unisex, some are more feminine and others more masculine.  

There are 3 fragrance collections: Signature; Exclusive and the Limited Edition Handmade line.

Signature Collection:
Numbered rather than named, these 36 fragrances are meant for everyday use.  The bottles are of simple design. Approx €100

Exclusive Collection:
This line features more opulent scents which are narrative driven.  Sheikh Majed explains that it isn’t just a fragrance but more of a story or diary evoking memories, journeys and personal experiences.

The names vary from the straightforward ‘Kuwait’ and ‘Arabia’ to the tongue in cheek  such as ‘Gone with the Smell’, ‘At Your Own Risk’ and Musky Ever After’.

My favourite in both scent and name is ‘War of the Roses’. I love the floral heart note and the musky dry down.  Plus the name is quite apt for a Yorkshire lass.

Another one that caught my eye was ‘Mister Danger’.  The name intrigued me, especially when I was actually introduced to Mr Danger himself at the press event!  Yes that is his real name. Romain Danger works behind the scenes designing the bottles and graphic patterns.

The scents in this collection are stronger and more for evening use. This year the design of the flacon is black with white graphic patterns but this will change as the idea is to update it yearly, although the fragrance will remain the same.  At the moment there are 10 fragrances and more to come as Sheikh Majed has plenty of grandma’s secret recipes.  Approx €150

Handmade Collection
This is a collaboration with designers so the fragrance and its flacon become a work of art.  Dutch ceramicist Kiki van Eijik has designed the first of the line which will be changed every season.  Her inspiration for the bottle was a spice bag. She wanted to keep the Eastern romanticism. The fragrance was then blended and once she knew the ingredients used, she  designed a pattern for the packaging which included them. Approx €1,000

We can thank Tom Ford for inspiring Sheikh Majed to open his own perfume house.  In 2009, Tom wanted an exclusive scent for his new Kuwait boutique and who better to ask than someone who already custom blended his own perfumes? The scent was called Arabian Wood and is now part of the exclusive Tom Ford Private Blend Collection.  So thank you Tom for opening up the fragrance box that otherwise may have been kept just for family and friends to enjoy.

All the perfumes can be bought from their boutique in the exclusive Al Hamra Luxury Centre, Kuwait City. But if that’s a bit too far, there is always their website

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky 

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