I had originally meant to include White Aoud in yesterday's review of Black Aoud, but ran out of time. Today's post is thus something of a postscript, and if you aren't already familiar with Montale's oudh line, you might want to start by reading the Black Aoud review. White Aoud features notes of rose, saffron, oudh, cardamom, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood, precious wood, amber, vetiver, vanilla and labdanum.
White Aoud starts out sweet. It probably only counts as very sweet in comparison to the bone-dry Black Aoud, but still, the sweetness masks most of the medicinal notes in the opening: White Aoud doesn't scream "agarwood!" to the same degree as Black Aoud. There is the same rose and wood, and a touch of Black Aoud's leather, but in White Aoud the result is creamier and paler, and muted by a light dusting of powder. It feels like a spicy floral underscored by dark woods rather than the other way around, and the vanilla in the dry down gives it something of a comfort scent feel. Between Black Aoud, White Aoud and Aoud Roses Petals, White Aoud is the one I would wear to tea — it has none of Black Aoud's raw edge, and while all the Aoud scents feel unisex, White Aoud is a bit more feminine.
Kevin noted in yesterday's comments that White Aoud is "VERY similar to Black Aoud, but a bit lighter. I can't imagine someone needing both of them", and I was rather suprised since I found them to be very nearly polar opposites. Still, as other commenters noted, these are all variations on a theme, and I would also note that these fragrances have extraordinary lasting power. Four or five hours in, after many of the other notes have burned off, they are mostly woods and their similarities are then more obvious than their differences. Here are a few brief notes on the other Montale oudhs I've tried:
If you want something even sweeter and more feminine than White Aoud, try Aoud Velvet, which throws in tropical flowers and an extra dollop of vanilla. It smells fruity and beachy, and is lighter on the woods than most of the others.
If Black Aoud just wasn't raw enough for you, try Oud Cuir d’Arabie, which adds birch tar and tobacco to the oudh-leather mix. It is richer, spicier and more animalic than anything else in the line.
I have mentioned Aoud Lime before. It is a spicy oudh with only a touch of lime (don't go looking for lots of sparkling citrus). There is rose as well, but this is one of the more masculine scents in the range, very dry and woody.
Oud Queen Rose and Aoud Damascus are both variations on the same theme as Aoud Roses Petals: heavier on the rose than the wood, not as dark or gothic as Black Aoud. Of the three, I liked Aoud Roses Petals the best, but it is all a matter of personal taste. Marina has a review of Oud Queen Rose today on Perfume Smellin' Things, and it sounds like she liked it better than I did.
There are quite a few more in the oudh line that I haven't tried. I'm not even sure how many, since the Montale website is out of date (and not particularly informative). If you have a favorite I've missed, do comment!
For buying information, see the listing for Montale under Perfume Houses.