ELLE Exclusive: Mona Kattan Launches Oud Scents As The Next Chapter To Her Brand Kayali 


If you’re a fragrance fanatic, you probably are aware of Kayali fragrances and the hype around her Pistachio fragrances that took the market by storm. The fragrances stay true to the notes, they actually make you smell like vanilla and pistachio! Also, if I go by the beauty editor’s knowledge of fragrances and notes, Kayali scents have nailed the guide to smelling like a rich girl next door, #IYKYK!

In the next chapter of the brand expansion, Mona Kattan, the founder of Kayali Perfumes–the brand that launched in 2018–has launched Oudgasm, a series of four Oud fragrances that range from light to intense notes. Kattan, who worked for five years on the range, wants to promote Oud as a wholesome ritual to experience luxury and pleasure, all through fragrances.

Ahead of the launch, we spoke with Kattan to know more about the range and inspiration behind it:

ELLE: How do you think the shift has taken place from having a signature scent to building a fragrance wardrobe and layering multiple scents?

Mona Kattan (MK): To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me is sad because we remember people by their perfume, don’t we? If you smell the perfume your mom or dad wears, you instantly feel them around like a hug. The fact that it’s kind of changing is sad because a fragrance is all about memories. On the flip side, it also excites me because people are getting a lot more experimental.

Mixing scents also creates something that’s unique to you, which I believe is important because we don’t want to smell like anybody else. So, I’m sad to see that nostalgia go away but on the flip side, I’m excited to see the industry getting disrupted with new fragrances.  

ELLE: How is your new range of Oud fragrances different from the existing Oud options in the market?

MK: This fragrance collection is a new franchise for Kayali. We’re launching a set of four fragrances but it will continue to grow over time. It’s one of our pillars because I am so passionate about oud and Arabian scents. It’s a big part of the inspiration behind the brand when it all began. It’s what I learned being in Dubai for 21 years now.

The ritual of wearing perfume oils, burning the bakhour, spraying the perfume and putting the perfume smoke in the hair–it’s a whole ritual. I fell in love with it. I find it as an act of self-love. I wanted to create the same experience and share it with the world. 

Kayali Oudgasm collection is not too ‘Western’; it’s connected to the heritage of Oud but is still a relatable collection for everyone around the world. It’s something that I want to build up slowly for non-oud wearers. Yet, I want the whole world to fall in love with it. Oud is considered liquid gold in the perfume industry, it’s so luxurious.

We’re launching our EDP collection as well as our bakhour, which is a first. Retailers like Sephora have never sold bakhour before, ever. We have a light scent, which is our vanilla, then our cafe, which is a bit intense, with a rose and tobacco variation which is the most intense one. There’s really something for everyone. With this range, I have created something that is traditional yet modern. 

ELLE: Tell us why you named the range Oudgasm.

MK: It was hard to come up with an interesting name so it took me a while to come up with the name. But we knew we needed something bold that would intrigue people and make them inquisitive about it. I was brainstorming with my team and we kept using Oud with different names when Oudgasm came up which stayed with us. I always said wearing perfume can be a satisfying experience and the whole ritual we spoke about is pleasurable. 

ELLE: Tell us about each scent and what personality type each of these would suit. 

MK: I don’t really like to make it according to the personalities of a person, it’s more for a specific mood that you want to create. For me, Vanilla is the lightest variant, sweet and a bit more youthful compared to the other scents. Cafe is my favourite; it smells like s cappuccino and is the perfect day starter, especially for days when you mean business. The third one is Rose which is attractive and romantic, perfect for a date night.

The last one is Tobacco, the most intense version. It’s for the days when you are feeling bold and want to make a statement. All these scents are unisex and anyone can wear them.  

However, my favourite pick is Café because I’m always in my ‘let’s go’ mode and it’s the perfect pick me up. 

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