Bargain Fragrance Reviews Bargain Fragrances: Al Rehab Golden Sand (EDP)

Bargain Fragrances: Al Rehab Golden Sand (EDP)

12/08/16 13:21:19 (10 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. 

Al Rehab Golden Sand EDP

Summary: From Saudi Arabia's Al Rehab, Golden Sand EDP is the alcohol-based version of their Golden Sand perfume oil, an homage to sweet, almost boozey caramel, easily found for around $10 USD (35ml spray)!

Perfumer: N/A

Try this if you like: Sweet gourmand aromas; vanilla or caramel aromas with fruity nuances.

Reminds me of: L'Erbolario Dolcelisir, Arian Grande Frankie, Bottega Profumiera Gourmand, Lattafa Raghba, Le Couvent de Minimes Cologne of the Missions

Pros & Cons: Al Rehab has deservedly earned a cult following outside the Middle East with their huge variety of aromas in both oil (many Muslims do not use alcohol-based products on their body in keeping with religious custom) and alcohol options at affordable prices, often providing the rest of the world a glimpse into Arabic perfume traditions and genres. Although oud and rose and spice-focused compositions abound, Al Rehab also offers a number of more European/American compositions such as sniffalikes of famous fragrances from companies like Lancôme and Calvin Klein. As such, Golden Sand offers no allusions to traditional Oriental gardens or resins and is truly a straight up interpretation of sweet, sugary vanillic caramel.

The price is phenomenal on this EDP and the sillage and longevity rather moderate. There is little complexity or development and the fragrance is completely linear. There seems to be some perceivable differences in the oil version vs the alcohol version such that I'm curious to order and experience that one as well. The products are easily found at Amazon and Ebay. Let's see what some of the Fragrantica members have to say:

US-based female Fragrantica member YesYes comments on the gourmand nature of Golden Sands, "This is a fragrance for anyone who would like to smell exactly like Nilla wafers. It makes me smell like a cookie, and that's just dandy!"

Caramel Apples

Fellow UK-based female Fragrantican Jedrzejowskia agrees but also smells apples, "this does indeed smell like Cologne of the Missions, but wait, it's fresher! This is so unexpected, I smell apples! It's those late autumn garden apples that have been baked then straight out of the oven they're topped with vanilla, chewy caramel and real creamy vanilla sauce, the whole melt-in-your mouth-mess delightfully marrying together. I smell no oud at all, and thank heavens and all it's angels, no flowers. Well maybe the apple flower. For a gourmand lover like me, this is HG, I dare you to try this and not like it. Goes straight up to my 5 favourite list and (oh the surprise!) knocks Cologne of the Missions off the shelf. CoM still stays as one of the perfect Vanillas for me, but this is dessert delight without being too sweet or smokey."

And US-based female Fragrantica Ptilda offers, "This is the perfect caramel scent for someone like me who dislikes overly sweet scents, but who craves a caramel perfume. The oud is definitely there. So is the amber. The slightest hint of florals help to balance this and make it a grown up scent. It doesn't develop much for me, but it stays forever and is such a warm delicious fragrance that when I wear it, it's all I want to ever smell!"

Notes/Ingredients: Amber, floral notes, caramel, vanilla.

Desert sand dunes

Designer’s description: N/A

Number of times tested: 5+ times over the last month from a bottle I purchased.

Number of sprays applied for this review: 1 spray to the back of my wrist.

Fragrance strength: Eau de Perfume

Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): There is little development here to speak of, what you sniff at first is basically what you get in the drydown! I don't smell any wood, oud or amber. To me, the caramel is not of the creamy variety but strongly recalls the aroma of holding a caramel covered green apple up to one's nose.

Longevity: (Short Average / Long-lasting) A single spray to the back of my hand lasted a good 4 hours.

Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) Definitely perceivable for the first couple of hours but quickly turns to a skin scent.

Note about the packaging: The EDP is housed in a curved, frosted glass atomizer bottle with golden cap and gold and black label. The simple paper box sports a sand pattern.

Where can I buy it? A 35ml spray can be found online for around $10 USD; I purchased mine for $7 USD shipped.

Golden Sand perfume oil

Golden Sand is also offered as a concentrated perfume oil

The bottom line: I'm a huge fan of sweet gourmands and love the aroma of caramel. I've enjoyed many of the Al Rehab oils but had never tried one of their EDPs. After seeing strong reviews for Golden Sand and the how-can-I-not-try-it price tag, I placed my order and now have a wonderful new gourmand in my collection.

Now, despite all the talk of caramel and cookies, what I perceive is tonka bean. That's right, an almond-like, almost powdery tonka bean of the sort found in Reminscence Tonka or Joop! Le Bain. And yes, I do get the apples; in fact there's a lightly fruity nuance that definitely reminds me of tart, baked apples. It's not so strong that it dominates the composition, but it keeps it from being a buttery gourmand (there's no cream here) and keeps it almost...fresh. I can see why others might suggest amber, Nilla wafers and other fruit. Ironically, a friend sniffed me during one recent wearing and asked if I had taken to wearing vanilla extract (for baking). "There's something almost cocktail-like about it," he added.

One word of warning, Golden Sand might tempt someone cuddling next to you to go in for a little nibble.

Image of the author


Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting


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I have Silver and it's a good perfume. I'll be getting this next, thanks!


Thanks, again, Dr. Marlen, for these fun articles on bargain scents. I've been curious about these Al Rehab oils that pop up on the site, from time to time. I just received my first Al Rehab oil in FULL yesterday and man oh man, it's full of sweet Sambac Jasmin. As soon as I opened the mailing envelope, the scent permeated the air immediately.

I love gourmands and caramel apples are always so enticing this time of year. I also prefer EDP spray as the roller ball I got leaked because the ball was too small for its circumference.

I have my list of wants for these oils: Cobra, Shadha, Dalal, Nadine, and Nebras. I'm adding Golden Sand, too.


ALRAML AL DAHABI or GOLDEN DUST, a true evergreen and topseller in the Middle East and even abroad(e.g. in Russia or Asia).

Nice mix/blend of musk keton, vanillin, galaxolide, OTNE (Octahydrotetramethyl Acetophenone / ISO E Super) and a pinch of damascenone.

drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Agreed, PerfumeAddict! I feel precisely the same about it. A good scent, though not my favorite.

That slightly tart/sour note in Golden Sand is probably the apple Marlen mentions smelling...

It's not so much that I dislike Golden Sand. Far from it, but DALAL is DIVINE - that's the caramel for me!!!!


Golden sand is one of the many Al-Rehab oils that i have. I do like it but i prefer Dalal. Golden sand is slightly bitter on my skin with a lemony carmel. I do love layering it with Juicy Couture Gold. Dalal though.... amazing! Spicy carmel and oranges and the sillage and longevity is wonderful. I wear Dalal alone and layered with other scents like Hermes Elixir. Dalal is the perfect carmel for me.


I love caramel scents but often they disappoint by being too sickingly sweet. This is one of the best I've tried.


This one is SOOO good!!! :D thanks for the article, Marlen.


Now this is the one Al Rehab where I find the edp stronger than the oil. I try to layer it with other perfumes but it devours them like a big sugary monster. I really like it, it's unique among my many vanillas.

drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Good warning, Marlen! ;)

I've been singing the praises of this unisex attar on the Budget Arabians thread for some little while now. GLAD to see it featured!

For me the scent is mostly about amber and a hint of caramel, with something fruity in the mix. You hit the nail on the head with APPLE! If it were not for the apple note, I would be a huge fan. Even so, for me it's a lovely way to sweeten the (more Oriental) composition of Al Rehab GOLDEN. I find Golden a bit odd on it's own, despite the glorious caramel listed in it, and am happy with the more 'feminine' vibe I get when Golden layers with Golden Sand.

As for the perfume spray vs. the attar - I've no idea, having only ever had the 3 ml. roll on. Sometimes the sprays from Al Rashad are different than their attars, and other times not. You never know! I personally find the spray versions to be lighter interpretations of the oils - usually. But each is unique.

Have you tried Al Rehab's Alauddin yet? A beautiful attar - similar in some ways to Makkah from Al Haramain. While Makkah is straight up strawberry incense, Alauddin takes that theme and tones it down in terms of longevity and sillage - then adds more rose and orange. It's a touch fresher and brighter, but still with a lot of Nag Champa. Very enjoyable. :D

Thanks again for your many terrific articles, Marlen. I appreciate you! <3


Another example where the perfume title is at odds with the actual scent. Or is something lost in translation somewhere?


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