Avoiding Fake Ittar: A Guide to Buying High-Quality Traditional Perfume in India

Are you planning a trip to India and looking to buy some traditional perfume known as Ittar? This aromatic and exotic fragrance is popular in India and is made from natural ingredients such as flowers, herbs, and spices.

Different ittar fragrances
The most popular ittar fragrances in India are Rose, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Musk, Oudh (Agarwood), and Khus (Vetiver).

Buying Ittar in India can be a unique and sensory experience, but it’s essential to know what you’re doing to avoid buying fake or low-quality products.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to buy Ittar in India and give you some tips on where to buy, how to avoid poor-quality products, and how much you can expect to pay.

In this video I show you how to buy ittar from a real street stall in India, and also how to apply it to your skin and clothing.

Where to buy ittar?

Typical ittar stall in India
This is what a typical ittar street stall looks like in India. This one was set up especially for the month of Ramadan in Pune, Maharashtra.

Ittar is widely available in India and can be found in local markets, bazaars, and even some high-end stores.

One of the best places to buy Ittar is in the city of Kannauj, which is known as the perfume capital of India.

Kannauj has been producing fragrances for centuries and is home to many artisanal Ittar makers.

Other cities such as Delhi, Agra, and Lucknow also have markets and shops that specialize in Ittar.

When you’re buying Ittar, it’s best to buy from a reputable seller who has a good reputation. Ask locals or check online reviews to find a reliable seller.

It’s also important to note that Ittar is usually sold in small quantities, so don’t expect to find large bottles of it. The most common amounts are 4, 10, 16, 32, 80, or 160ml bottles.

Ittar sellers will allow you to smell the different fragrances.
Ittar sellers will allow you to smell the different fragrances and even show you how to apply it to your skin and clothes.

How to avoid buying fake ittar

Different types of Ittar at a stall in India

Unfortunately, fake or low-quality Ittar is prevalent in India, and it can be challenging to distinguish between real and fake products.

Some sellers may mix synthetic fragrances with natural ingredients to make Ittar, which can dilute the fragrance and even cause allergies.

To avoid buying fake Ittar, look for sellers who have a good reputation and who use natural ingredients in their products.

You can also do a quick smell test to check the fragrance’s authenticity. Rub a small amount of Ittar on your skin and wait for a few minutes. If the fragrance is too strong or has a chemical smell, it’s likely fake.

Authentic Ittar has a subtle and long-lasting scent that develops over time.

When buying Ittar, it’s important to remember that quality comes at a price.

If a seller is offering a deal that seems too good to be true, it’s likely fake or low-quality. Stick to reputable sellers who use natural ingredients and charge a fair price for their products.

How much does ittar cost in India?

Pouring Ittar in Pune India
After you agree on the amount you want, you can choose a bottle and the seller will pour the perfume.

The price of Ittar in India can vary depending on the quality and quantity of the product.

On average, a small bottle of Ittar can cost anywhere from ₹50 to ₹500 Indian rupees (approximately $0.70 to $7).

Higher-end Ittar can cost up to ₹1000 Indian rupees ($14) or more.

Different fragrances have different prices depending on their rarity. Search online for rough prices before bargaining. Whatever price you find online, the street price will usually be a little less.

How is ittar made?

Ittar making is a highly skilled and specialized craft that has been passed down through generations in India. The process requires a deep understanding of fragrance chemistry and a keen sense of smell to create the perfect blend of scents.

Also known as Attar, it is a traditional perfume oil derived from natural botanical sources such as flowers, herbs, spices, and other plant materials.

The process of making ittar in India involves several steps:

  1. Extraction: The first step is to extract the essential oils from the plant materials. The traditional method involves steam distillation, where the plant material is placed in a still and steam is passed through it to extract the essential oil. Another method involves soaking the plant material in a carrier oil such as sandalwood oil or jojoba oil to infuse its fragrance.
  2. Blending: The extracted essential oils are then blended in specific proportions to create a unique fragrance. The perfumer carefully selects the ingredients and uses his/her expertise to blend them to achieve the desired scent.
  3. Ageing: The blended oils are then aged for a period of time, usually several weeks or months, to allow the fragrance to mature and develop its full potential.
  4. Bottling: Once the ageing process is complete, the ittar is bottled in small glass vials or containers. The perfumer may add a small amount of carrier oil to enhance the fragrance and improve its longevity.

Buying Ittar in India is an exciting and sensory experience. With these tips, you can experience the beauty and magic of traditional Indian perfumes.

If this post helped you, please leave a comment.

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

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