I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again… oud is the new black.
I was at Etiket recently for the perfume launch of Vaara by Penhaligon’s and I was surprised to see that it didn’t have oud in it, which just seems to be everywhere these days! I’ve smelled A LOT of new oud scents recently, the most recent being Ferrari’s Essence Oud, and I suspect we’ll be seeing many more before it inevitably drops off. Personally, I tend to avoid oud fragrances because they are so expensive. When I see oud in the ingredient list I know I’m going to spend a lot of money.
John Oehler even wrote a thriller, Aphrodesia, based on the theft of an oud sample. It’s definitely in the air, if not on the skin!
The only three ouds that I really know and have worn are Creed’s Royal Oud, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s everything-BUT-royal, animalic Al Oudh and Ex Idolo’s Thirty Three. I’m a big fan of Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud but I’m getting more of an amber basenote from that than an oud one, although there is definitely some oud in there.
In a Bloomberg article, Susan Hack reported that oud oil can cost up to $300,000 for one kilogram… JUST ONE! Sales of oud fragrances rose 34% in 2012… particularly impressive since 10 years prior oud was relatively unknown to the western market. Of course Yves Saint-Laurent’s M7 (2002) changed all that but I feel that what we know and smell as oud is always a mixture… or synthetic. At any rate, for me oud is like jasmine… it’s best when it is blended in with other materials.
And to be frank, I can’t always distinguish between oud and a very dark woody scent. From what I’ve read, Oud seems to have a “dirty” facet, so when I smell something slightly off, I figure it might be the oud. I guess a trip to the Middle East would settle the issue but that’s quite a commitment.
And so… I’m asking anyone out there that wants to respond to my post… which is the truest oud? And which perfume uses oud in its blend and works perfectly!
ADDENDUM (Nov 10, 2013) : Check out the comments for very useful oud info and where to buy.