I’m just going to come out and say it: of all the rose-oud combinations that currently exist (and it is a very crowded field), Rose Gold Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi is by far the best. It is one of those fragrances that is so blindingly good that it makes you want to throw about a dozen bottles out of your collection and start again from scratch. It makes me regret the lesser versions of this genre that I’ve settled for over the last few years. But it also gets me excited about a style (rose-oud-patchouli combinations) that I thought had no gas left in the tank.
The opening is bright with bergamot and has a slightly camphorous, bitter green edge from the fir – it has the effect of snapping you to full attention. The oud used here is dry and woody, with none of the overtly medicinal overtones of the Montale-style oud, and fairly explodes in combination with a fleshy rose and a rich, chocolate-like patchouli. Everything about this central rose-oud-patchouli accord is rich, bright, and vivid – vibrating in all directions. I don’t know what ember is, but there is something very resinous here too that adds a necessary backbone to the whole thing. You get the sense, somehow, that the perfume is alive, as if someone has reached in and finally figured out how to animate the basic skeleton of the rose-oud structure, fluffing it out to its full potential.
I tested it again with Black Aoud on my other wrist, and I can say that the central difference is this: whereas Black Aoud has an impressive start, it drifts off into a soapy-white musk drydown that feels a bit flat and one-dimensional, whereas Rose Gold Oudh stays bright, golden, resinous, rich, and vibrant all the way through, from top to tail. Surprisingly, Rose Gold Oudh is also far more animalic in feel and tone than Black Aoud – and this animalism breathes yet more life into an already ‘alive’ fragrance. The drydown is a gorgeous and pleasant surprise. Unlike many of its peers in this category which drift into a soapy, musky, slightly boring ending (Black Aoud, as mentioned, but also Rose Nacree du Desert, and St. Dupont’s Rose et Oud), Rose Gold Oudh has a drydown characterized by a dry, resinous amber-benzoin combination and warm honey. It’s not the usual place for a rose-oud to end up, but it feels like a very good idea. It is sensual, rounded, ambery and ‘full’ in feel.
In other words, while somebody certainly didn’t stint on the quality of raw materials used in this fragrance, it is also clear that there was a skilled hand here in guiding this fragrance through its transition from its bright, camphorous start to its animalic, rich, woody-rose heart, and then finally into its amber-honey base. In a corner of the crowded rose-oud-patchouli field, someone decided – finally – not to just phone it in. For which I am very glad.