As we all know in the last couple of years oudh/oud also known as agarwood has started to be almost ubiquitous in Perfumeland. Everybody, either designer, mainstream or niche brand, carry at least one oud note centered perfume in their lines. Agarwood is now everywhere and for all the pockets. Oud theme, orchestrated more or less with the synthetic stuff dominates the “Men’s World” mainly.Even names like Serge Lutens or Frederic Malle that previously took distance from this trend finally couldn’t resist and change their minds approaching oud.
I do not want to get deeper into oud perfumery because I don’t know if there is anything left to say about oud since there are tones of information on internet about it. Now I would like to focus on what I call “soft oud ” note or oud perfumes with feminine side. These perfumes can be easy to love and wear if you are not such a big fan of agarwood &Co and are my personal and subjective top “soft oud “perfumes.
Mohur Neela Vermeire Creation is a unique and complex interpretation of the rose-oud theme , far from the way in which Arabian perfumery is treating this duo, being totally different from all rose-ouds that I tried up to now. Mohur is more a floral leathery bouquet with echoes from Indian cuisine, mainly pastry. It starts with a hand full of spices: black pepper, cardamom and saffron combined with sweet floral notes, the rose being among spices and sweet almond milk . Of course oud is there right from the start, but in a very soft manner being more a counterpoint for the spices during the top notes and for sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin in the base notes than standing for itself. In spite of its complexity Mohur is not a heavy perfume and each time I’m wearing it tells me a different story about India.
Mona di Orio Oud -” The Beauty and the Beast “: is an unusual duo, the exotic osmanthus flower replaces the rose in a fragrance that’s strong, powerful but delicate and tender in the same time. The strong and alembicated scent of Laotian oud is paired with the delicacy of sweet, apricot smelling, osmanthus flower in a way in which both of them reveal their best parts and , surprisingly , the Beast is not killing the Beauty but is putting the Beauty in the spotlight and lived happily ever after. The background of this scented story is made of patchouli, musk and ambergris and overall I perceive Mona di Orio’s Oud as a ambery woody scent rather than an typical oud perfume.
Satin Mood Oud Maison Francis Kurkdjian – a French speaking Oud : if you are looking for unsual interpretation of oud in perfume then Maison Francis Kurkdjian is a good destination. In Satin Mood oud’s companion is that typical lipstick accord made of violet and roses , familiar since YSL’s Paris was released . This accord was used some time ago (Malle’s Lipstick Rose , L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Drole de Rose) and recently revived in Guerlain’s French Kiss, Chanel’s Misia . Satin Mood Oud is a dark shade of lipstick, more dramatic, lacking that girly vibe found in some of the scents mentioned above but lending to the woman wearing it mystery. It’s a grown up and dark make up – oud scent , the best in my opinion from the Mood line of MFK.
Lalibela Oud Memo named after an Ethiopian holy city which is a pilgrimage destination is a giant dark rose with incense having oud as background for the whole composition and a gourmand note build from coconut and vanilla easy to like for those who are not fans of gourmand scents. Actually, it’s a limited edition with oud of Lalibela, one of the scents from Memo Paris that didn ‘t catch me mainly due to the strong coconut and vanilla notes from the middle that ruined the dark rose and incense story. Bringing oud to this composition, a very soft and tender oud , was an excellent idea which made Lalibela Oud one of my favorite oud scents and the way this element was treated is quite similar with the oud interpretation in Mohur.
In the end I would like to mention a few other oud scent that can easily go into the “soft ouds” stable: Oud from MFK, Gold Rose Oudh from Tiziana Terenzi, Rose Anonyme from Atelier Cologne, Amber Oud By Kilian , Tom Fors’s Oud Wood and Oud Fleur.