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Rania J.

Roses Volume V

in Reviews by

Wow, are we at Volume V already? I ain’t finished yet, ladies and gents. I might, however, be getting, if not exactly sick of rose, then a wee bit short-tempered with it. Before this frantic round of testing all the rose samples in my stash (see Volumes I, II, III, and IV), I had been inclined to go easy on rose fragrances when reviewing them, because rose is one of my favorite notes. But now, rose fragrances have to go above and beyond to impress me. Welcome to the tougher, meaner old hag that is now me. You roses have broken me. KEEP ON READING

Three Great Non-Rose-y Oud Fragrances

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Is anyone here just a teeny tiny bit tired of the rose-oud combination? Don’t get me wrong – there are days when I still crave that wonderful combination of smoky, sour oud and sweet rose. But increasingly, I am turning to oud fragrances that either do away with the rose part of the equation, or bury the oud in dark woods and crisp leather so that it becomes more of a bit player than the main attraction.

The key words here are subtlety and novelty. Can oud be presented in a manner that surprises and pleases even the most jaded of palates? Here are my thoughts on a few fragrances I’ve been testing recently that place the oud note in a new light. KEEP ON READING

Rania J. Oud Assam – Excellent Starter Indian Oud

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Oud Assam smells (to me) like real Indian oud oil tinctured in perfumer’s alcohol, bracketed by a simple bitter orange note on top and a fresh, mossy note on the bottom. This pared-back approach allows all the complexities of the Indian oud used to come out and show themselves – the leather, the woods, the funk, the cheese, the rot, and the sour tang of moldy earth. It’s pretty close to being an oudiflore.

The extent to which you’ll find the oud in Oud Assam dirty depends on your level of experience with real oud. If you’re used to the Montale type of oud (plasticky, band-aid-y, rubbery, or even paint-thinner-ish), then Rania J.’s version might have you running for the hills screaming “Cow dung! Blue cheese!” If you’re coming at this from the perspective of Oud Palao, Leather Oud, and Oud Ispahan, which are all based on the aroma of smoking oud wood chips (rather than the oil), then this will also be quite a departure. But if you’ve smelled real oud oil, and especially Indian (Hindi) oud, then you’ll sniff Oud Assam and say to yourself, “Damn, but they sure put the real stuff in here.” KEEP ON READING

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