Monday 2 September 2019

MARARI by Thomas O'Brien

For every perfume release that is trumpeted as the latest “must have” fragrance there are thousands that, for one reason or another, never get to see the light of day. These can be rejected submissions, modifications of the same scent, or even creations that the perfumer chooses not to release. However, during a perfumer’s training they also make fragrances as experiments and these rarely get to be tried by anyone outside of the course. One such perfume is Marari by Thomas O’Brien, his graduation piece from The Perfumery Art School. So, it’s time to discover what secrets this unreleased oriental fragrance holds.

Thomas O’Brien is probably best known for his YouTube perfume channel, Ouch110. His fascination with scent began, as with so many, at a very early age. “I have fond memories of the smell of the Christmas decorations we used to keep in a battered old box in the loft. I used to love the smell of the tinsel and the lights but, unfortunately, those decorations are just a memory now.” This memory could be said to have influenced Marari because, in a similar way to the decorations, his finished scent would be a combination of ingredients and impressions.

Thomas left school at eighteen and, rather than go on to university, decided to work in advertising. It was around this time that he also started contributing to the Fragrantica website, later branching out into YouTube reviews, but he knew that he wanted to know more about the fragrance industry. So, 2013 finally saw Thomas enrol with The Perfumery Art School on their two-year home-study course. It was a world away from memories of his first fragrance, Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein, and the next twenty-four months would be a rollercoaster of discovery into the perfume industry.

The Perfumery Art School was founded by Isabelle Gellé and specialises in the teaching of natural perfumery. Throughout the intensive course, which covers creation right through to the legalities of selling, the student is gearing up to create their final fragrance. This fragrance, which will be assessed by three perfumers, is the culmination of the two years of study. Thomas decided to take his inspiration from the Mararikulam area of India with its tropical beaches and evening fires. Due to it being a natural fragrance the ingredients were expensive, not least the sandalwood, but the result is gloriously rich.

Marari opens with a dry heat combination of lime and cardamom that sets the scene perfectly for this India inspired floral oriental. Now, once the florals come into play you are hit with a decadent double dose of jasmine and tuberose, although the latter almost feels as though it provides an almond-like denseness that is cut through perfectly by a touch of black pepper. As the fragrance develops on the skin a delicate orange blossom imbued sandalwood wraps itself around you before the “dusk fires of India” arrive in the form of a spicy, gently smoking, guiacwood. For a natural fragrance it is remarkably spacious and beautifully refined.

For more details about Thomas O'Brien, and to try and beg a few drops of Marari, you can visit his YouTube channel at [Sample provided by Thomas O’Brien]

* The image of the Marari bottle is for illustration purposes only and uses Murano Glass.


  1. Replies
    1. Hello Barry, it really is a cracking perfume and easily sits alongside any current release. Best, Stephan