Monday 31 October 2022

ABU DHABI by Gallivant

Gallivant Abu Dhabi Perfume Bottle
With many of us having experienced the hottest summer on record, the deepening switch to darker and colder winter months has not been universally welcomed. It may have been hot but we learned to live with it, and so it’s a shock to the system as temperatures start to plummet. If only there was a way to regain a little of that almost forgotten heat. Well luckily there’s help at hand in the form of the latest fragrance release from the travel-inspired Gallivant. With the company having already made numerous successful stops around the world, destination twelve sees us heading for the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi.

Gallivant was founded in September 2015 by Nick Steward, and came from a combination of a love of fragrance coupled with a passion for travel. He’d enjoyed a successful career in the beauty industry, working with brands such as Paco Rabanne and Molton Brown, but it was his five year stint as the Creative Director for L'Artisan Parfumeur that fully unveiled the possibilities of scent. When you’re enjoying a job as much as Nick was, it’s hard to walk away. However, he knew that he wanted to branch out on his own, and Gallivant was the result.

Gallivant Abu Dhabi Perfume Bottle Box
His idea was to translate his favourite destinations into fragrances, but draw on personal recollections and experiences rather than the usual stereotypical scents that had been attempted before. Many companies had tried this “city in a bottle” concept in the past, and struggled to find their customer, but Nick also had another idea up his sleeve. At a time when most companies were ditching their 30ml size in favour of more profitable larger bottles, Gallivant announced it would be celebrating the 30ml and rechristening it the Nomad. Small and easy to pack, this made Gallivant’s perfumes both travel-inspired and travel-friendly.

To recreate the expansive sand dunes, and instil a feeling of expedition, Nick has turned to perfumer Lucas Sieuzac to realise Abu Dhabi. Nick said that he was looking for an “emotional echo” of the defining fragrances of the 80s and 90s, which he describes perfectly as “sepia-tinged”, and the pair really have managed to combine tradition with modernity. It’s very easy to veer straight into incense territory when we think about creating “heat” but, in the very capable hands of Lucas and Nick, what we’re presented with is a gloriously aromatic leather scent that has a shot of scorching sunlight running straight through the centre.

Gallivant Abu Dhabi Perfume Sample Pack
Abu Dhabi opens to an exciting aromatic flavour, rather than the usual citrus burst, with pink pepper and rosemary sitting alongside the more woody and green cypress note. However, there’s a warm resinous quality from the very beginning as well, perhaps signifying a body heat, thanks to an early appearance from the tarry labdanum. You get a floral aspect in here as well from the earthy geranium, but it’s the background echo of those herbaceous flowers that seems to hint more at scattered bushes amongst the dunes. There’s also a piercing green spearmint note that slices through like sunlight catching your eyes.

The development of the scent sees the star ingredient of saffron come through, alongside a carefully measured touch of smoky incense, and it really is like exoticism in a bottle. It conjures the smell of the heated sand and, alongside dry cedarwood, brings to mind the beautiful aridness and expanse of the location. However, just when you think that you’re done, there’s the arrival of a patchouli-boosted leather note that really succeeds in celebrating the edgier side of the leather accord. The final traces on the skin reveal breezy musks that, alongside the fading sweetened resins, complete a truly entrancing and exciting fragrance.

Abu Dhabi is available from the Gallivant website at priced at £65 for 30ml, £145 for 100ml or £4.50 for a 1.2ml sample. You can also click on the image below to read my interview with Nick Steward from June 2017. [Sample provided by Gallivant]

Nick Steward, founder of Gallivant Perfumes

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