The Scents of the Holy Land

To celebrate Jesus’ birthday (for the record, like most Jews, I believe that Jesus was a really nice guy who had really bad taste in friends), I wanted to do some short reviews of fragrances that remind me of Jesus’ birthplace, Israel. Some background: my family used to live in Bersheva. I am not an Israeli citizen and have not served in the Israeli army. I am proud of my connections to Israel, but I do not feel that a perfume blog is a particularly good place to debate them, so I must ask y’all to keep any “I Heart Hamas” or “Netanyahu 4ever” comments to yourselves.

Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Desert Marocain. Despite the above touristy picture with a (terribly mean-spirited) camel, I have some desert cred. My father studied at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and I have lived in the surrounding area. The Negev is a bleak, beautiful desert, my favorite part of Israel. That being said, I am sorry to say that L’Air du Desert Marocain does not smell like a desert. The deserts of the Middle East smell like sun and bleached white rocks- a dusty, mineral smell. They do not smell like flowers or spices, because such things do not grow in deserts.

However, the savory, spicy L’Air du Desert Marocain smells very much like Israel’s outdoor markets. These shuks sell jewelry, fruit, charms to protect from the evil eye, and scarves in every color imaginable. They are often full of the rich aroma of roasting shawarma (usually beef in the Jewish markets and lamb in the Arab markets) and the dried spices used to cook it. It may not be the exact experience that Andy Tauer had in mind, but L’Air du Desert Marocain very authentically recreates some of my favorite trips to Jerusalem’s shuks.

Costamor Tabacca. Tabacca is also less than perfectly accurate to its subject material. It is intended to smell like pipe tobacco, but it is fruitier and less rich than more successful tobacco scents. However, Tabacca is an excellent recreation of a cheap brand of apple-flavored shisha (tobacco smoked in hookahs) that is very popular in Israel. Tabacca smells just like my memories of floating down the Jordan river, waving to the men who sat smoking from brightly-colored water pipes on the riverbank.

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4 thoughts on “The Scents of the Holy Land

  1. Are comments “I heart hummus” allowed? Ok, I’m kidding (though I do like hummus) 😉

    L’Air du desert marocain is one of a few Tauer’s perfumes that I liked the first time I tested it. I need to spend more time with it to decide if I want to wear it but I liked what I smelled. And I can care less if it’s true to the name or not – the imaginary desert in my head may smell of anything – be it a rose, an orchid or a sea breathe.

    Happy Holidays to you, Ari!

  2. I love BOTH of these fragrances, but I acknowledge that they’re mainly based in fantasy. However, the neighborhood of reality they DO inhabit sounds like an extremely appealing to visit. Thanks for bringing us into the shuk with you. 🙂

  3. Great meeting you today! Hope the rest of your trip is fun. We loved Hugo (and I was annoyed by all their British accents too!). I have a sample of the Tabacca and only sampled it once – need to get it out and try again. I had a boyfriend many many years ago that had a shisha pipe and we used apple tobacco to smoke it once or twice.

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