Giza brings up images of the Pyramids – and yes, that is why the world goes to Giza. But there is a treasure, especially for women, which after the visit to the Pyramids, no one should miss. It is the Al Amir’s Perfume Palace.
Before leaving for Egypt two of my friends asked me to bring back some Perfume Oil. One wanted Queen of the Nile and the other loves Aattar of Roses. They told me that I can find it in the Bazaar, but when I showed my shopping list to my friend Abdul he shook his head and said: “What you find in the bazaar comes from China and is artificial. Let me take you to a place where they have the real thing.”
So after the visit to the Sphinx we went to the Al Amir Perfume Palace. A large, two-story building decorated with tiles, and the windows were filled with beautiful Perfume bottles, from very large to very small. These bottles are hand blown by artisans who greet you on the ground floor, before you walk up to the first floor, where the perfume is.
Mr. Fayed, a good-looking older gentlemen. met us. He is the owner and runs his Palace with his sons, since many, many years. When we were seated in red velvet armchairs, tea was served and Mr Fayed told us, “We have our own flower fields outside of Cairo, and our natural oils are made from the pedals of the flowers we grow there including. of course roses.” And to emphasize the quality of his products, he went on, “We also send a lot of our essence to Grasse in France” (the Mecca of Perfume).
On the wall hang a photo of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell taken during their visit of the PerfumePalace. Mr. Fayed told us that they had visited a few years ago and had bought many different oils for their many friends in the United States. I had only two friend to buy for and after he had filled the bottles and put them in pretty little boxes it was time to pick out my scent.
It was a pleasure and a challenge, because the choices were 16 Essences of Flower Perfumes, with names like Jasmin, Papyrus, Nile Flower, and 22 Blends, called Queen Hatshipsut, Christmas Night, Arabian Night, Five Secret, Nefertiti, and of course Queen Cleopatra was there. The 9 Spice Scents had names like Antique Amber, Musk, Sandelwood, and Ambar Kashmir. On the back of the list of products, it mentioned the different effects and benefits these oils can have – I thought the following advice might be useful, ‘Musk Oil is good for fertility and has a positive role in sex.’
No. I did not choose ‘Musk!’ I picked ‘Lotus Flower’ – but whatever your preference might be, visiting Mr Fayed in his Perfume Palace is a moment you won’t forget.
More from Egypt soon
Prices were calculated by the size of the bottle, not the scent. A bottle of about 2 oz. cost $60.