Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ajmal Perfumes –The Scent of the Orient

Ajmal Perfumes –The Scent of the Orient
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Perfumery is quite an ancient art, born out of human desire to create a good feeling and pleasant environment. A shining example of the art of perfumery is Ajmal perfumes, a family-owned fragrance house of India, whose name means “most beautiful” in Arabic.

With nearly 60 years of heritage and expertise in the fragrance industry, Ajmal perfumes has established a formidable presence in the world. A household name in India and the Middle East Ajmals presence is felt in over 32 countries. It has over 200 exclusive retail outlets spread across 20 countries, and 500 dealerships across the globe.

The story of Ajmal perfumes began in the early 1950s, from a village called Hojai, situated in the verdant foothills of the mountains of the Nagaon district of Assam state in India. Here Haji Ajmal Ali the founder of Ajmal perfumes, started a modest trading house in the lucrative Dhahanul Oudh oil, the base material of most the oriental perfumes. One Kilogram of Oudh oil cost about Rs 1, 50,000 and is derived from the essence of Agar wood (Aquilaria) trees that take up to 20-40 years to harvest.

In the tradition of great masters, Ajmal Ali in the early 1950s, traveled to Mumbai with 500 rupees and some Oudh oil as his starting capital. He worked in a dingy house blending perfumes and trying to find the right mixture that would impress the many Arab traders who visited India’s western shores. As his business flourished, in 1964 he gave his family name to his product range. In 1976he shifted his operation base from Bombay to Dubai, where he opened the first Ajmal outlet and launched the first fragrance “Mukhallat.” Rest as they say is history.

Today, Ajmal perfume is a huge business conglomerate with an estimated annual turnover of $200 million. Its business operation is run from Assam, Mumbai and Dubai with over 7000 employees. It has the biggest plantation of Agar wood in Asia with more than a lakh agar trees, grown at various locations in Assam.

The business is run by the second and third generation Ajmal Ali’s family who had five sons. Amiruddin, Ajmal is the CEO of Ajmal Perfumes in UAE. Fakhruddin Ajmal is the CEO Ajmal Real Estate; Nazir Ajmal is COO, Ajmal Perfumes. The Indian operation is looked after by Sirajuddin Ajmal in Mumbai and Badruddin Ajmal in Assam.

Ajmals, employing state-of-the-art technology, has produced an expansive range of products. Its fast moving products are; Jabtisan, Hayati, Dewaan, Oudha Al Zaid, Mkt Shams, Abhaar, Ottarid, Rijali2001. It has natural fragrances like Dahn al Oudh, Rose, Jasmin, Sandal, Saffron. It also produces special range of budget priced perfumes ‘Maryaj.’

Ajmal’s constant innovation and quest to provide its customers with unique and exclusive shopping experience had led to the introduction of innovative retail concepts like ‘My Inspiration’ and ‘Ajmal Eternal’. This has widely been received and appreciated by fragrance lovers across the Gulf region.

The unique selling point of Ajmals is the packaging design. The designs are stunningly original and are available in a variety of finishes. The materials used in packaging are eco-friendly. The high quality of fabrication matches the elegant designs and is well appreciated by its clients all over the world.

The catalyst to the success story of Ajmals is its research and development center, one at Hojai, the ancestral village in Assam and other in Dubai. It has invested over $10 million in a new 150,000 square-foot facility in Dubai that offers a high-tech automated production unit including a state-of-the-art research wing. A team of highly dedicated scientists manage Ajmal R&D centers and help devise new and more efficient processes for producing value added derivatives, essential oils and herbal products from medicinal and aromatic plants.

With a growing network of 137 exclusive retail shops across the GCC and its ambitious plans that earmarks $50m for its international expansion and the retrofitting of its existing GCC network of stores, Ajmal perfumes has become a globally recognized brand. According to Forbes Arabia, Ajmal are ranked among the Top 40 Arab brands.

Ajmals has an aggressive presence in Indian perfume market with offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hojai. In last three years, it has opened up new showrooms in major metros of India. It’s planning to make its presence felt in most of the state capitals and semi metro cities of India before the close of 2012.

“Perfumes are epitome of refinement, and pleasing personality. It has a significant impact on the body and mind. Ajmals through decades of continuous research and experience in the art and technique of perfumery has became synonymous with high quality traditional Arabic and oriental fragrance products”, says Mr. Sirajuddin Ajmal, India head and one of directors for the Ajmal group.

“As the middle class is growing rapidly and disposable incomes are increasing, the potential for perfumes is immense. With the growing demand for fragrance, Ajmals plans a multiple marketing and distribution strategy to foray into the domestic market, he adds.

“Ajmals vision is to enrich customers’ lifestyles by encouraging creativity, innovation and continual improvements. At the end of the day it wants to be globally recognized as a quality luxury brand,” he concludes.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at This article first appeared at Dinar Standard.

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