The Definitive Oud-Post – My First And Last Look At The Hottest Note Of The Decade

I am no Oud fan. Never was, never will be.  There is no love lost between me and Oud. It may be the hottest note “evah” – I don’t care and I don’t see the fuss, to tell you the truth.

But before we all indulge in The Body Shop Oud Body Butter or Britney Spears Oud Loud or something, I thought I would take a look, try all the Oud samples I have amassed rather involuntary and then be done with it.

Agarwood Trees - I like them better that way ;)

Dee kindly sent me a decant of Bond N°9 New York Oud with the label saying: “If you don’t like this Oud, you don’t like any Oud.” Well, that is a good thing. Try one, you know it all.

So, with some trepidation, I sprayed it on my hand.

What do you all think? Do I like Bond N°9 New York Oud?

NOOOO! No, I really don’t.  Oud smells, harsh, screechy, it burns and tingles in my nose and seems always loud and aggressive to me.

Maybe if Andy Tauer made an Oud-dominant scent? Maybe there is a reason he doesn’t. Or Mandy Aftel? Maybe she doesn’t like Oud either? The note or the ubiquity of the synthetic version?

For me there are two kinds of Oud – the tolerable ones and the intolerable ones. It does not get better than that, sorry.

Okay let’s have a look at my samples:

Byredo Accord Oud – falls into the tolerable category, a nice sweet woody blend, that would be really lovely if it weren’t for the scratchy nose tingling presence of Oud.

Byredo Oud Imortel – oh my, this is immortal indeed, no amount of scrubbing will rid me of the plastic-y, oud-y fist that punches me out in under five seconds.

Tom Ford Oud Wood – tenacious and  - you guessed it – too oud-y woody. Aside from the rather longwearing citrus opening, I am not convinced.

Montale Oud Velvet – I had the least expectations about this one, Montale being notorious for its strong, in your face perfumes. But astoundingly this was the one I liked best. The Oud is smoother, velvet being a fitting description indeed, not so scratchy, not so rough and tingly. This is a dark green scent in my mind, I smell more pine than Oud. This is just fine. (I have to say I only dabbed this one, there may be a difference if sprayed!)

All those perfumes unites one element, I can’t find it in me to like – Oud. I guess they would be great perfumes if it weren’t for this one note. But that would rather miss the point then. ;)

As it is long clear to the astute reader, this is definitely no definitive post in any respect. Just my little nod to Oud, and a not very successful nod at that.

What about you? Is there a note you do not like, despite your best efforts? What do you think of Oud and its ubiquity? Are you a fan?

Now, may I please get rid of the overwhelming Bond on my hand? ;)

Image source: biolandes.com, some rights reserved, thank you!

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18 Responses to The Definitive Oud-Post – My First And Last Look At The Hottest Note Of The Decade

  1. angie Cox says:

    I HATE Oud too , it’s ghastly !

  2. Ines says:

    Interesting. I actually like oud very much, but don’t wear it a lot as I don’t think people who would come into closer contact with me would much appreciate it. ;)
    Have you tried Penhaligon’s Al Oudh? I like that one a lot and it’s not as strong as most out there.
    Besides, I think oud needs some getting used to.
    Well, I can’t say there is a note I don’t like despite my efforts, I seriously don’t like aquatic notes but in that case there are no efforts on my part to do so. :D

    • Olfactoria says:

      I think I am done with oud. Since Dee gave me such a nice out of oud ( :)) with saying I might stop trying if I didn’t like the Bond, I am leaning back and let the others enjoy the ouds. I will move on to greener pastures. :D

  3. lady jane grey says:

    Hm, you and me, we could become friends : we wouldn’t steal the perfumes from each other…
    I have some ouds among my absolute favorites : one of my most beloved comfort scents ever is Montale’s White (“Fluffy”) Oud – I just adore the sharp medical oud note with all the roses… Plus I have one of the strangest oud scents ever (IMHO) in my collection : LeLabo’s Oud (with all the PR-blah-blah, name on it, freshly mixed, etc.).
    BUT! I’ve never had the longing to try any Britney Spears Oud, or one from The Body Shop! If oud, then the real one.

    • Olfactoria says:

      We probably wouldn’t be too keen on each others collections, it seems. Too bad we can’t share bottles then either (well, I am sure there are a few we could agree on!). I agree with you though, a high quality oud I can fully appreciate, but I just can’t love it. *shrugs and sighs*

  4. Tara says:

    “The Body Shop Oud Body Butter” LOL!

    Your post made me feel a lot less of a perfume luddite for not being fan of oud. It just smells sour to me. I do like the fact that something so far from sickly fruity florals has become popular though. I had assumed you liked it becase I thought you were a fan of some of the Amouage scents? Or are they not as oud-heavy as I imagine? I’ve only tried three.

    I think I scuppered myself early on by trying Montale’s Oud Cuir d’Arabie – that stuff REEKS! Maybe I should try White “fluffy” Oud or the Bond before I give up. How nice Dee gave you an “out”. Now I just need someone to tell me a scent I can try that will allow me to give up on “sweaty” cumin for good! Some notes don’t like me (anise, violets etc) in that they give me a bad physical reaction, but I just plain dislike oud and cumin . Thanks for this post B, very cathartic!

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are welcome, Tara! I think it perfectly fine not to love everything and still be a bona fide Perfumista! ;)
      I don’t find the Amouage scents I have tried yet, very oud-y at all. I ‘ll be on the lookout for your cumin-escape scent, I promise! ;)

  5. marina says:

    Have you tried Montale White Oud? Now if you don’t like that one, you don’t like any oud :)

  6. Victoria says:

    You have a good taste–none of those smell remotely like the real thing and they are indeed harsh and unpleasant. New York Oud is not bad, but it is not oud. Granted, I know only perhaps of one or two Oud fragrances that actually have real oud in them. Even many Middle Eastern ouds are heavily spiked with the synthetic oud bases they buy from Firmenich and Givaudan.
    The “oud” I like is Rose Oud by by Kilian. It has no oud in it, but an accord of different naturals and synthetics that smells remarkably like the real thing and well, it just smells great.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, V! I feel validated in my opinion. I knew this were not natural oud fragrances, but since I never smelled the real thing, I don’t know how they smell in relation, but I know that I do not like synthetic oud.
      I will try the Kilian to be able to compare. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  7. kjanicki says:

    I’m not a fan of oud either. It’s usually just too loud. Even when it’s subtle, I find it’s a “bandaid” note. Yuck. Penhaligon’s Al Oudh was a scrubber for me.

    That said, I think the By Kilians are great, so I would be willing to give the Rose Oud, that Victoria mentions above, a try.

  8. ellegentsia says:

    Thank you for the reviews; they’re useful without too much jargon of other fragrance review sites I’ve found.

    You have made me regret that Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk is unavailable, so I’ll keep hunting through your reviews until I find something similar.

    Happy new year!

  9. Pingback: Three Private Blends – Review: Tom Ford Oud Fleur, Shanghai Lily and Fleur de Chine | Olfactoria's Travels

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