Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Attar', 'Ittar', 'Iter', 'Itr' or 'Othr' (Alcohol-Free Perfume)

The word 'attar', 'ittar' or 'othr' is basically an Arabic word which means 'scent'; this in turn is believed to have been derived from the Persian word Atr, meaning 'fragrance'.

Attars/Ittars are alcohol-free and are used by many Muslim men and women. Ittar has long been considered one of the most treasured of material possessions and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been compared to Ittar as one of the most beloved of gifts given to mankind.

'Attar', 'Ittar', 'Iter', 'Itr'

Attar is a natural perfume oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly these oils are taken from the botanical material through hydro or steam distillation. Oils can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as Ittar/Attars are distilled naturally. The oils obtained from the herbs flowers and wood are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging period can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired.

These all-natural perfumes are highly concentrated and therefore are usually offered for sale in small quantities and have traditionally been offered in decorated crystal cut type bottles or small jeweled decanters. Attars/Ittars are popular throughout the Middle East, the Far East and India as well as Pakistan. Attars/Ittars have been used in the entire Eastern world for thousands of years. These 100% pure and natural perfumes are free of alcohol and chemicals and so the problems faced in the West by perfume lovers are irrelevant to most Eastern perfume lovers. Natural perfumes are affordable because they are so concentrated that a small bottle will last the user several weeks, if not months. Due to the purity and the nature of oils, there is very little chance of spoilage unless a food based carrier oil is used to cut the concentrated pure oil.
'Attar', 'Ittar', 'Iter', 'Itr'
Some of the first lovers of Attars/Ittars were the Mughal nobles of India. Jasmine ittar was the favorite perfume of the Nizams of the Hyderabad state. Traditionally in the Eastern world it was a customary practice of nobility to offer ittar to their guests at the time of their departure. The Attars/Ittars are traditionally given in ornate tiny crystal cut bottles called as itardans. This tradition of giving a scent to one's guests continues to this day in many parts of the Eastern world. Among Sufi worshipers the use of Attars/Ittars during meditation circles and dances is quite common.

Famous Attars/Ittars List
  • Rose Attar/Ittar (Rosa damascena - Flower)
  • Motia/Jasmin Attar/Ittar (Jasmine sambac - Flower)
  • Mitti Attar/Ittar (Baked earth - Earth from river)
  • Kewda Attar/Ittar (Pandanus odoritissimus - Flower)
  • Saffron Attar/Ittar (Crocus sativa - Stigma)
  • Agarwood/Oud Attar/Ittar (Aquilaria agallocha - Various parts)
  • Gul Hina Attar/Ittar (Lawsonia alba - Flower)
  • Genda/Merigold Attar/Ittar (Tagetes minuta - Flower)
  • Champa Attar/Ittar (Michelia champaca - Flower)
  • Bakul Attar/Ittar (Mimusops elengi - Flower)
  • Blue Lotus Attar/Ittar (Nymphaea caerulea - Flower)
  • Pink Lotus Attar/Ittar (Nelumbo nucifera - Flower)
  • White Lotus Attar/Ittar (Nelumbo nucifera - Flower)
  • Tuberose/Rajniganda Attar/Ittar (Polianthes tuberosa - Flower)
  • White Water Lily Attar/Ittar (Nymphaea ampla - Flower)
  • Zafari Attar/Ittar (Tagetes sp - Flower)
  • Shamana Attar/Ittar (compound of fragrant spices, herbs, woods - Various parts)
  • Amber Attar/Ittar (Pinus Succinifera - ----)
  • Chameli Attar/Ittar (Jasminum Grandiflorum - Flower)
  • Gulmohar Attar/Ittar (Painciana Regia - Flower)
  • Juhi Attar/Ittar (Jasmine Auriculatum - Flower)
  • Islamic Bakhur Attar/Ittar (Melaleuca Alternifolia - ----)
  • Frangipani Attar/Ittar (Plumeria Ruera - ----)
  • Khus Attar/Ittar (Vetiveria Zizanoides - Roots)
  • Mogra Attar/Ittar (Abelmoschus Moschus - Flower)
  • Loban Attar/Ittar (Styrax Benzoin - Various parts)
  • Nakh Choya Attar/Ittar (Citrus Bigardia - Flower)
  • Davana Attar/Ittar (Artemesia Pallens - Leaves)
 Types of Attars/IttarsAttars/Ittars may be broadly categorized into following types of flavour or ingredients used.

 Floral Attars/Ittars
Attars/Ittars manufactured from single species of flower are coming under this category. These are :-
  • Gulab ex Rosa damascena or Rosa Edword
  • Kewra ex Pandanus odoratissimus
  • Motia ex Jasminum sambac
  • Gulhina ex lawsonia inermis
  • Chameli ex Jasminum grandiflorum
  • Kadam ex Anthoephalus cadamba
Herbal Attars/Ittars
Attars/Ittars manufactured from combination of floral, herbal & spices come under this category.
Hina and its various forms viz., Shamama, Shamam –tul – Amber, Musk Amber and Musk Hina.

Attars/Ittars which are neither floral nor herbal also come under this category. Ittar Mitti falls under this category and is produced by distillation of baked earth over base material.
'Attar', 'Ittar', 'Iter', 'Itr'

Attars/Ittars can also be classified based on their effect on human body such as

Warm Attars/Ittars'
Attars/Ittars such as Musk, Amber, Kesar (Saffron), Oud, are used in winters, they increase the body

Cool Attars/Ittars'
like Rose, Jasmine, Khus, Kewda, Mogra, are used in summers and are cooling for the body.

A major difference between synthetic perfumes and ittar is that the oil-based ittar is worn directly on your body. The inside of the wrist, behind the ears, the inside of elbow joints, back of the neck and a few other parts of your anatomy are directly dabbed with ittar. A small drop is enough to be used as a fragrance on the body. A few drops can be added to water and used with aromatic vapour lamps. A few drops of some Attars/Ittars are used with cold drinks, such as milk, to give fragrance.

Ittar has a permanent shelf life and some Attars/Ittars become stronger and smell better when they are older.

'Attar', 'Ittar', 'Iter', 'Itr'


  1. buy best quality saffron at your door step. kesar is good for health and this best for pregnant women for his child. kesar is Indian name of saffron.

  2. It looks very precious perfume. I love the bottles. I'm just curious how does it smells like.
    How would I know the difference of women perfume to men perfume?

  3. Effective post. I learn about new challenges from different blogs every day. Thank you really for helping me by answering my few problems whose solutions I was looking for such a long time. Thank you for the useful ideas you have shared in this article.

    Mitti Attar buy online