Oud, or (most often) a synthetic chemical resembling its aroma, has established itself as a major fragrance note (and scent category) over the last ten years, but even with all the oud perfumes for sale, few people have smelled authentic oud. I’m guessing most perfume lovers (fanatics) no longer regard oud, or ‘Middle Eastern,’ scents as ‘exotic’ — oud perfumes are just another option in an overcrowded fragrance market. (Personally, I need a break from oud!)
The company SoOud was founded by Stéphane Humbert Lucas of Nez à Nez, who describes himself as a “painter-aesthete” who “writes and sculpts aromas.” The ‘oud’ in SoOud perfumes, if there is any oud in the formulas, is conjured by rich fragrance notes delivered in a Middle Eastern style.
Asmar, “the dusky one,” contains bergamot, white honey, carnation, roasted coffee, amber cigar, Grape marc, amber, tobacco leaf, chamois, musk and vanilla. I like the first minutes of Asmar best: a bold mix of honey and “amber cigar” (a creamy, sweet tobacco note). As the perfume develops, it becomes smoother, more gourmand. Many of the fragrances in the SoOud line provide a whiff of ‘chocolate-oud’ (as if you’re sniffing a dark chocolate bar filled with musky nougat); I don’t know if this is the way the ‘oud’ note smells in this line or if it’s an accord added to all the SoOud fragrances.
In Asmar, sweetness rules: from the quirky mix of grape and coffee to a hint of leather and MUCH vanilla and musk. This amber fragrance, thanks to the tobacco, has a talc-y barbershop vibe in the extreme dry-down. The lasting power of Asmar is good and its sillage is mild considering the density of the perfume itself.
As I tried the eight perfumes in the SoOud line, I realized they are hefty, hazy fragrances — a bit thick around the middle with their fatty, ‘indulgent’ notes. Nur in particular is a feminine-floral powerhouse…a perfume that lasts for days on skin and (still counting) weeks? on fabric. Al Jana smells of ‘oud brulée’ and dry cocoa. If you prefer light, dry, or sparkling fragrances, I doubt any SoOud perfume will interest you.
SoOud Asmar is available in 60 ml Eau Fine (Eau de Parfum), 148€ (in white bottle) and in 30 ml Parfum, 175€ (bottle as pictured above). Currently the SoOud line is available at First in Fragrance in Germany.
Note: top image is A Qajar prince and his attendant 1820 via Wikimedia Commons.