Fans of niche perfumer Thameen can now get their in-person fix at the famed Dubai shopping mall. The second store to open in the Middle East, after its Saudi Arabia boutique, the fragrance house has emphasized its ‘Britishness’ for its new shop within the Dubai Mall. A ‘proper shop’, the new opening aims to offer a full service retail experience, leaning into that brick and mortar heritage. The chic fit-out includes walnut veneer, brushed bronze, and accents of a bold sapphire blue – Thameen London’s signature shade.
The modern fragrance house has a diverse origin story – headquartered in London, it was founded in 2013 by the Saudi entrepreneur Basel Binjabr, with ‘thameen’ translating to ‘precious’. But, unlike many other Arab-owned perfume brands, Thameen is deeply interwoven with a European fragrance philosophy, with storytelling notes that have a global appeal. Self-described as a contemporary British brand, the house focuses on craftmanship and perfumery heritage. This niche direction is personified in the shape Christopher Chong, Thameen’s brand and artistic director. The former creative director of famed Omani fragrance house Amouage, Chong brought his invaluable experience with luxury fragrances to his new venture, following a well-deserved mid-Covid break from the industry. A connoisseur of the arts, Chong has never been afraid of creating a theatrical narrative around his fragrance stories. His first trio of scents for Thameen continued the tradition, with each composition from the Britologne Collection based around the flowers, events, and culture of London’s famous Covent Garden.
The final fragrance from the trilogy, Bravi, is now exclusively available at the new Dubai Mall boutique, offering Middle Eastern clients a rare early opportunity to be the first to wear the scent. “While I don’t gender my fragrances, Bravi is more feminine,” explains Chong. “But it isn’t a delicate perfume, it is very confident and bold. She is a true diva, made to be worn by divas.” It was a diva of the opera house, one of Chong’s frequented haunts, which inspired the story of whimsy behind Bravi, a cologne elixir. While attending a new production with perfumer and friend Bruno Jovanovic, the duo ruminated on how Covid altered social interactions and came up with the idea of an evening-suited fragrance inspired by friendships and loyalty. The result, Bravi, comes with an embellished backstory of an opera diva who refuses to go on stage without her lucky perfume, but with the help of a perfumer friend, has her perfect signature scent recreated to save the show.
“We wanted to symbolize this queen of the night into a perfume with the same strong character,” Chong says. “I wanted that big in your face, statement moment. We want glamour, we want to tell the world I have arrived.” Tuberose is the key ingredient, with the rich white flower highlighted with a mélange of strong notes including ginger, tobacco, bergamot, vanilla, and saffron. “The saffron adds a little edge, it’s not a boring note,” explains Chong. “And although saffron is a very Middle Eastern flavor, it’s not that I included it just for this regional audience – it’s because it works so well in a diva kind of fragrance. Then there is the walnut milk accord to add a gourmand creaminess, and the honey. It’s a little naughty, but elegant at the same time.”