Arabian Oud

Perfume frontrunner brings Saudi traditions beyond borders


Omar Al Jasser, Group CEO, Arabian Oud, talks about how the perfume sector fits into Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 diversification strategy and the company’s current international growth strategies – in particular, in the USA.

Luxury perfume powerhouse Arabian Oud has been instrumental in driving the success of the Saudi Arabian fragrance sector, which is expected to climb in value from $1.73 billion in 2020 to $3.8 billion by 2030 according to market research firm P&S Intelligence. The sector is now a key focus in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 diversification strategy, with the family run company now a strategic partner in the nation’s flagship 2023 Saudi International golf tournament. Arabian Oud currently has a presence in more than 36 countries and owns more than 900 stores across the globe, and – according to its Group CEO – its growth is far from slowing down. “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying that the Gulf area will become the next Europe, and he meant this in all aspects,” said Omar Al Jasser, Group CEO of Arabian Oud and son of the founder. “Currently, the best-known brands in perfume are French brands. From a business perspective, we expect to turn the tables and have the biggest brands in the world in Saudi Arabia.”

The story of Arabian Oud began in 1982 when founder Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Jasser launched a store outside of an established marketplace. While counter to the judgment of his peers, the quickly successful shopfront grew step by step to become an internationally recognized brand of luxury perfume, moving first to Dubai in 1991 and from 2000 onwards opening stores in London, the Champs Elysée in Paris and the USA. “The oriental touch and our string of perfume was unknown to the outside world beforehand,” said Omar Al Jasser. He bases Arabian Oud’s success on its roots in Arabic fragrances, specifically oud, which is grown in the heartwood of aquilaria trees. The resinous timber is traditionally known as the wood of the gods and in modern times as black gold due to both its rarity and popularity. The company now employs 13 specialists in the industry who work to transform Saudi Arabian fragrances to fit the tastes of diverse global markets.

“Currently, the best-known brands in perfume are French brands. From a business perspective, we expect to turn the tables and have the biggest brands in the world in Saudi Arabia.”

Recently the company launched its latest line of scents known as Arabian Blend, which is fashioned on the local myth of two existing mountains that are in love and one day come together under a storm. For the Group CEO, the story is the most important element in the creation of the company’s fragrances outside of the time, effort and care put into every perfume. In 2017, the company launched its leading line named Madawi after the founder’s mother. Omar Al Jasser describes the intricate process: “For this my father raised the standards to the fullest. These were a challenge to meet, and we worked on that product for three years.” By 2018 the product sold more than 1 million bottles and has since become the company’s flagship perfume alongside its more than 400 unique fragrances.

The USA has quickly become a key focus market for the company, with existing stores in Texas, Washington D.C., Virginia, New York and Florida. The Group CEO attributes the company’s success to the similarities between the Saudi Arabian and American markets in terms of cultural diversity and their size in comparison to their regions. “We are comfortable in the USA, and we have been welcomed in every community we have entered and have never felt like outsiders,” said Omar Al Jasser. Contrary to its ventures in other markets where all stores are 100% owned by the company, the Saudi Arabian entity plans to launch a franchise strategy in the USA in its mission to open a store in every major city in the country and is currently seeking interested investors. “What we sell is less perfume and more a unique moment,” he said. “We want our customers to see their personality in our ingredients and know that there is a perfume for every occasion.”