Know the Masters!
American Sam, Russian Moe, and French joe! No, no, no, no!
The masters of Attars and Oud in generations get to know them!
We get asked a lot by many people, who are the masters of scent? The old masters who you know and acknowledge. Not the new companies that started a few years ago or the resellers who tried to create cult-like followers of people who were oblivious about the facts and history of the Attar and the old-world arts.
It seems that many new companies and people pop up on the market every day. As a result, it's getting harder and harder to recognize the old and true masters of scent, Attars, and oil, to be specific. So here are some of the old masters that we knew, and they can be confirmed by many. So here I need to say:
(None of the people mentioned below, except for my great grandfather, is related or associated with me personally or with our company, the Perfumist. I have not asked them, and they have not requested to be presented or mentioned here, and I have no benefit, fee, compensation mentioning them or talking about them as most of them already passed away and left a legacy that I want the world to know)
So, with no further due, here they are:
1- Shaikh Abdul Rashid Nagaland. The ruler of the Nagaland region in India and the undisputed master of Oudh. Also known as abo Mohammed (father of Mohammed after his eldest son). He is also a master of scent and one of the top oud collectors and distillers in the world; Shaikh Mohammed Abdul Rashid Nagaland passed away in 2006 at the age of 86 as the last true master of Oud. And that's what we will call him the oud master. His family still carries some of his treasures, and many of them still reside in the Nagaland region in India.
2- Shaikh abo Salih al- Mansuri. One of the oldest and most experienced Oudh merchants and collectors in the Arabian Gulf and specifically in UAE, Dubai, passed away in 2006 at the age of 105. He took the art and carrier from his father and developed it. The Man was not a Perfumist himself as he rarely distilled, but he was one of the most avid collectors and experts. He owns one of the largest collections of Attars and Oud oils. His knowledge, passion, and experience in Attars and Oud are what put him on this list. It is said that the Man was so knowledgeable that there was no oud oil in the world that he didn't know or owned. His family still reside in UAE, and his son is also a collector and Oud connoisseur and has done many high-end auctions for scarce and old oils. For that, I will call him the master collector.
3- Shaikh Abdul Samad al-Kurashi. The Attar of Mecca, the master of the taifi Rose, and the modernizer of Arabic Attars. His family start was in 1852, but his family had a passion and history for Perfume even before that. Especially Arabic Rose and Oud the Man, like most of the people on this list, he was very humble, knowledgeable, and devoted to God. The story is that on the day he passed away, his two sons were talking about the end of Ramadan and the Eid sales, which is the biggest day for Attars and Perfumist in the Muslim world. He interrupted his sons and said, "tonight the gifts will be given to those who worked hard, and in dedication to what they believed in," referring to the last night of the holy month, later that night leading the prayer in the local mosque in the middle of the prayer He passed away. He made many beautiful Attars and oils and mixed Many with passion and dedication. his Rose distillations were some of the best because he knew the perfect regions and days of harvesting and the ideal temperature and distillation timing, and for that reason, we will call him the master of the Teebs (the Arabic word for Perfume)
4- Gulaab Singh Joremal. Founder of Gullab Singh in new Delhi, prakriti, the oldest Attar maker in new Delhi, and the oldest lineage of Perfumist’s that I know of. Currently run and operated by Mr. Krishna Mohan Gandi Singh, the 8th or 9th generation of Attar makers, their company has existed since king Akbar shah. Their shop and distillery have no door but a curtain! In their collection is some of the oldest bottles and pods for distillations and some of the oldest oils. Making them undisputedly one of the oldest and most knowledgeable Attar makers in the world. For that reason, I will call him the master of Gulaab (rose in Urdu and Indian). There shop still exists in Delhi until this day.
5- Master Eji Hirioshi of Japan. The master of Kinam passed away in 1830 in Tokyo, known to be the 4th or 5th generation master Perfumist and distiller. He specialized in the rare incense and oils but most specifically in kinam. His work and oils, specifically his kinam oil, which I have personally experienced, are by far the best in the world. Unfortunately, there is not much known about him or anyone else in his family or lineage that followed the steps and kept the legacy going. It is known that his oils were extremely expensive, but the quality and reality of the oils were unparalleled and incomparable to anything else. Many say that the kinam he distilled was the same as the one that the shoguns and the samurai worn on their helmets and armors to the bloodiest battlefields, making them not only fearless but fortunate against their opponents as they believed. Although few of the bottles he made are in the personal collection of few royalties and top world collectors, we (our house) also have some of his work which when you smell it will take your scent perception to a whole new level, and for that reason, I will call him the master of Kinam.
6- Kakuuemon Yamatoya, founder of Baieido in 1657, located in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture his company is still existing, and his legacy is still there, probably not as authentic, and as rare as it was in his days, but it is one of the best incense manufacturers and companies in the world, and one of my favorites and for that reason, I will call him the master of Kodo (the Japanese incense)
7- Sayed Mohammed AL-Attar, my 6th great-grandfather, and the only person on this list that I'm related to. I won't go on talking about his work and accomplishment because we say, "That who praises himself, he has disparaged it." But I'll say few facts about him. He was the personal Attar of the Ottoman palace, and he studied chemistry and religion. He was a very humble and devoted man. He believed that his work could make the lives of people better. It could make them see the beauty in the world more clearly and understand that there is a scent behind everything, and no two scents are the same. He has distilled many oils, including Rose, agarwood, spices, Arabic rose, and amber. Some of the distillations he made were considered impossible at that time, but one he did differently and took much more seriously than anyone else, and that was Musk. He thought of it as the king of perfumes, the scent of heaven, the sweat of the saints and Prophets. His whole life work was dedicated to mastering Musk and mixing it to show the beauty and the power in it. I don't think any man in the world tried or worked with Musk as much as he did, and he stressed to his sons that no scent is more critical than Musk, and for that reason, I will proudly call him the master of Musk.
Here there are the undisputed seven masters of scent!