I'm not vexed by (more) oud perfumes hitting the market...I'm bored with perfumes that proclaim their oud affiliation on their bottles: oud-this, oud-that — Oud! Aoud! Oudh!
If a fragrance is heavy on orange blossom or cedar or sage we usually don't see those ingredients listed on labels ad nauseum. Perhaps the only other ingredient besides oud that is as advertised in perfume names is rose. So: when I hear an announcement of another oud fragrance, I don't frown or sigh, I give it a try. Just this year I fell in love with, and bought, Diptyque's Oud Palao.
The Different Company could not resist the tide of oud-named fragrances, and has given us TWO:
Oud For Love
Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, listed notes of cumin, whiskey, saffron, aldehydes, coriander, tuberose, iris (fraction), clove, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, Laotian oud, immortelle, amber, musk, vetiver, patchouli, Cestrum, piss (hyraceum),1 heliotrope, caramelized notes, tolu balsam. $245 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum.
Oud For Love begins with sweet saffron/leather notes that quickly give way to cumin (a subdued, not-too-pungent sweat note). As I'm smelling cumin I also (I think) smell what's passing for whiskey and it's a very appealing combo: shy cumin and mellow booze. The heart of Oud For Love is spicy and if you put nose to skin, you'll detect cloves and citrus-y coriander mingling with ylang-ylang "cold cream." Oud For Love's base is delicate: a gentle mix of spicy floral notes, dry amber and vegetal musk; the extreme dry-down smells like an exotically scented nougat one minute, a vintage face powder the next — heliotrope in each. (Mercifully, I didn't detect ANY of the supposed hyraceum.)
Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, listed ingredients of rum, rose berries (rose hips? pink pepper?), saffron, cinnamon, davana, Damascus rose, St. Thomas berries (sea buckthorn berry? god only knows), Nagarmotha (Cypriol), Laotian oud, patchouli, cistus, ambergris, sandalwood, leather, white musk, vanilla, caramelized notes, tolu balsam. $220 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum.
Oud Shamash starts off as a spiced rum cordial: peppery, colored with saffron threads, stirred with cassia bark; the heart notes deliver a fresh/lively leather aroma (this is brand-new, expensive 'designer' leather). Rose, cypriol and vanilla lead to the smooth/silky oud-ambergris finale. At the end of its development, I find Oud Shamash addictive: it smells of freshly cut wood mingling with incense ash. Of the two fragrances I'm reviewing today, this is my favorite and it's in heavy use this week while I'm in the beautiful high desert of Arizona in Flagstaff.
Both Oud Shamash and Oud For Love present a resinous/woody, incense-y oud note (I have no idea if it's genuine oud or artificial, but it smells great). The oud note blends beautifully with all ingredients in both fragrances and is most noticeable in Oud Shamash. Both perfumes are unisex with Oud Shamash tilting a bit masculine and Oud For Love leaning towards feminine.
The poll: join me in some oud-love by naming a recent oud perfume you enjoyed.
For buying information, see the listing for The Different Company under Perfume Houses.
1. Ed. note: Kevin's tongue in cheek term for hyraceum. Piss was not, in fact, listed in the official notes.