G N I R A WE ULTIA M ETED FAC RANCE FRAG
Shoaib Malique tells Behnaz Sanjana his story of going from a young intern at a perfumery to presenting bespoke perfumes from his very own brand to royalty and famous personalities.
he scents of oud, amber, musk, rose, vetiver and the like, which are intrinsic to Middle Eastern heritage, have been familiar to Shoaib’s keen olfactory senses since a young age. Amongst the well-known perfumers of Bahrain, his Dar Al Teeb – House of Fragrance – is one of the top contenders. “I started the company from scratch in 1999, when I had nothing,” he says. “I am a selfmade man.” Shoaib remembers working at Ashraf’s in the souq of old Manama, first in his summer holidays and then alongside his studies, eventually falling in love with the idea of perfumes. He went on to work with a well-known perfumery, where he rose to the designation of general manager. But that wasn’t enough for the ambitious young man, who knew he had the acumen and instinct to make his own name in the business. “More than achieving a goal, it was passion for perfume that led me to it,” he says. Shoaib jokes that his keen sense of smell is a boon and a bane. “I’ve got a very sharp nose and can tell what ‘s cooking in the kitchen when I enter the house. I can also smell people; I’m like a German Shepherd.” He is involved in Dar Al Teeb’s every exotic scent, from conception to packaging. He 42 February 2020
says: “To be successful, you have to be an innovator, not an imitator. A fragrance is very personal. It speaks about your character, your personality. It should make heads turn, become your identity, evoke memories.” The beginning of 40 years as a perfumer were difficult. “In this business, it’s the survival of the fittest. Taking a slice of the market share was a tough game, especially for none other than football legends Pelé and when you don’t have any financial backing. Maradona. “At an airport lounge, I managed to But I believed in myself, being a kamikaze request Pelé to allow me to gift him a one-ofguy, diving head on into a do-or-die situation,” a-kind piece. Two days later, I presented it to says the man who studied in Arabic school him in Bahrain. Getting and polished his English appreciation and a language skills reading grateful hug from him was When not in his lab, mixing the newspaper. unforgettable.” exotic oils and essences, the With the challenges He attributes his self-confessed shopaholic came huge milestones to honest sings at his studio, and has accomplishments, work, passion, guts, and also dabbled in photography, like his signature line, creativity. “I have always for which he has won awards, Wahaj, which, after gone against the tide. 20 years is still sought including at the United Nations. When I set up my first shop after “by royal families, in Gufool, I was laughed ministers, and even at, for wanting to compete 16-year-olds,” he says. “But the biggest of my with the big names. But for over a decade, we big achievements was to be commissioned to have been among the top brands in Bahrain. I make the bespoke fragrance for the top royal have made my mark, by the grace of God and my wedding in Bahrain.” parents’ blessings. One day, Dar Al Teeb will be a charitable entity, giving back to the community.” Shoaib has also created a designer scent www.bahrainthismonth.com
Vol.24 - Issue 2 - Your guide to a great way of life