Can’t Stop! – Review: By Kilian Amber Oud

That I had to try Amber Oud the second I could, was a no-brainer. I have a reputation* to live up to after all. ;)

I have a list for this year’s perfume purchases, there are twelve items on it, one for every month, all subject to change of course.  Amber Oud has been on this list from January 1, although I hadn’t smelled it of course. I thought it would be better to figure it into my projected expenses for the coming year, since a perfume from Kilian is always dangerous, but one with amber in the name, is a definite threat. It is always easier to take it off the list again, than having to find a way to put it on later.

That was good thinking, it turns out, because there is no way I am taking it off that list again. Amber Oud is what I expected, no hoped, it would be – perfect.

Perfect in the luxurious, elegant and highly refined Kilian way. Amber Oud is a perfect synergy of my favorite note in perfumery and the dedicated work of a perfume visionary.

Notes include amber, oud, bay leaf, cedarwood and vanilla and was created by Calice Becker in 2011.

The opening of Amber Oud is very sharp, harsh almost and the oud is at its most medicinal. I don’t care all that much for this stage, but before disappointment can even begin to settle in, Amber Oud starts to develop and change. Smoky benzoin and a herbal amber accord reminiscent of Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, but a lot softer and more restrained, appears and slowly evolves more and more towards a soft sweetness, like a cushion, of amber and vanilla. An underpinning of wood stays throughout, so despite the sweetness and tenderness, Amber Oud retains a wooden skeleton that keeps the shape intact, that gives needed structure to a fluffy soft cloud.

Once fully developed on my skin, about a half hour in, Amber Oud is pure pleasure. I have a hard time keeping an appropriate distance from were I applied it, but attempt to, so as to not look like an idiot in public, who nozzles her wrists and rolls her eyes.

Amber Oud is an intimate perfume. For me it evokes a closeness, a shared space, it propels you closer, it draws you in. Amber Oud is incredibly sensual and hits all my buttons.

Amber Oud is one of those perfumes that cut through all my defenses and get to me, get right to my core, touch me, make me vulnerable yet strong, at the same time.

There is no ambiguity. There is not thinking involved. There are no circumstances to be considered. There is only this moment. This passion. This desire.

*Some call me the Queen of Amber, a title I humbly accept not because I am an expert, but rather because I am an amber glutton.
Image source: bykilian.com, tvline.com

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79 Responses to Can’t Stop! – Review: By Kilian Amber Oud

  1. lady jane grey says:

    Now, I’m not a Kilian fan. But that one sounds unpretencious with that transparent list of ingredients (which for me is a very positive thing, in that understated way). Plus I’m one of those strange people who like that medicinal Oud scent (the reason for my love to Montale’s White Oud). So yes, I. Must. Try.

  2. When I received my sample of this I actually sat there thought “Poor B, she’s going to be a total lemming for this one” :P

    I like this one, it’s interesting that it’s definitely more amber than oud and the vanilla, which is just wonderfully smooth, seems to take centre stage. Good ole Kilian!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, yes, poor B! ;) But honestly – even of I wouldn’t be able to get a bottle, I’m so happy with how wearing this made me feel. I love fragrances that inspire big emotions in me. That is why I write about perfume in the first place.

  3. andrea says:

    So far its the only Oud of Kilian’s that I would consider buying (I do not have an easy time with Oud and so far have only bought a decant of MdO Oud) I sniffed this in the shop last week and I have to say it is a possible on my fb list. I am still awaiting my sample so that I can test in on my skin and live with it a few days (one has to be very sure at those prices):-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is true. Unfortunately, this one is a very sure thing for me. ;)
      Did you try Rose Oud – very, very lovely too (but then it is more rose than oud, just the way I like it.)

  4. Tara says:

    I LOVE that you scheduled Amber Oud into your year’s purchases before you’d even sampled it! This is a professional perfumista at work people!

    I’m all for “luxurious, elegant and highly refined” so can’t wait for my sample to arrive. Can I also just take a moment to say how amazingly talented Calice Becker is?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, thank you! Gotta manage that money. ;)

      Calice Becker is amazing, I have come to appreciate her work more and more.
      I look forward to hearing your opinion on Amber Oud, I hope you’ll get your sample soon.

  5. Wonderful review. I love ambers, but can be weary of oud and Kilian’s has a heady price tag. But you have have me intrigued and I’ll have to check this out. And I love your 1 per month purchase plan. I made a similar vow for this year. But funny, sometimes that strikes me as being too extravagant and at other times it doesn’t seem like enough!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is the same for me, one day I am happy with my 12 bottle plan, and find it overly geneous even, other days I don’t know how 12 will ever suffice.

      Amber Oud is perfect for oud sceptics, but probably not so good for oud enthusiasts.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Uh-oh… *I will not try this line* *I will not try this line*. I have so far managed to avoid By Kilian, I just can’t afford to fall in love, but this is ticking WAY too many boxes…

  7. Sandra says:

    Perfect timing with your review! I loved it so much that I already reserved a bottle when it arrives! The perfume could not be more perfect IMHO. I hope that your 12 bottle allotment does not include birthday and Christmas presents! ;) Just helping…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Sandra, pssst, my refill bottle is on its way to me as we speak, but don’t tell anyone. ;)

      So glad you like it too!

      And will surely give special occasion additions a thought, they should be really added to the total…

  8. dee says:

    Wow! What a review!

    I love the evocation of the stolen moment, the forbidden passion, indulged upon with force. Wow!

    Today I will have to wear something which is not at all amber, lest I be jealous that it is not Amber Oud! ;)

  9. unseencenser says:

    This is the one Kilian oud I haven’t tried yet and don’t have a sample of, yet I think it will be the one I like the most. I have a plan involving the gold travel bottle and some of this – IF I like it; my sample is on the way! Between you and the Non-Blonde, though, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that I will love it.

  10. Suzanne says:

    Even though the two By Kilian fragrances I’ve tried so far have not impressed me (“Love” and “Back to Black”…the latter of which I can’t stomach at all), you make this one sound exactly like my kind of thing. Loved your description (and your allusions to all things steamy!). I’ll make sure to sample it!

  11. Warum says:

    I can’t stop thinking about Amber Oud! Even before, but especially now, after your review.
    I might be late to the party since I’ve only registered on their Facebook page now (kicks herself — how did I not know?!)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I know how you feel! :)

      I’m sorry you did miss the FB thingy so far, but I’m sure you’ll get your sample eventually, the Kilian team is extremely helpful and customer-friendly.

      • judith DM says:

        My sales rep at Saks is soooo generous! He knows my son has a fab girlfriend, and always gives me handfuls of samples (not of the Oud, we have discussed it but I have not been in since its release and as so costly, I don’t expect ooodles of samples)…..

  12. judith DM says:

    LOVE this! Wearing this now, from a sample. I have avoided Ouds, just too pricy so why fall in love with what I simply cannot have, so many others hovering around $200, and I have many Amber fragrances. HOWEVER, this is a must. Only thing holding me back at the moment is that I had an accident, hospitalized (home, doing fine) and anticipating bills. BUT even that will not stop me. Debating the bottle or travel set. That is my only, ONLY conflict! I am going for it!

  13. judith DM says:

    Six minutes and counting until Saks opens! Heck with hospital bills! Doused in this will make 13 days before my cast comes off easier! I will have a smile on my face as I count down the days!
    I have been behaving lately as far as purchases, time to be a bit bad!

  14. Philipp says:

    I am not a fan of bay leaf in my fragrances, because the note turns flat and metallic on my skin. I wonder what role it plays in the overall composition.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is noticeable only in the first few minutes to me, it is the bay leaf that made me think of Ambre Sultan. Later in the development it is no longer apparent to my nose.

  15. I have a tricky relationship with amber but I’ liking this one too (unfortunately DH doesn’t)- On my skin it smells like Incense Oud and Barbara Bui Le Parfum’s love child..:)

  16. Undina says:

    So far I’ve only smelled this one on paper (and liked it) and I have a sample (it just came in the mail – I admire By Kilian’s marketing!) so I’ll be testing it soon.

    I had almost no doubts that you’d like this perfume. And I’m glad that you did. I have a couple of questions though.

    Why a refill bottle? (you’ve almost convinced me with your weekend series that a real bottle adds significantly to the joy of using a perfume)

    Are you watching The Good Wife?

    • Olfactoria says:

      If money were no object there would be no question as to which bottle to get, but as it is I think the refill bottle is the better option for me now because 1) I already have one full bottle of the Kilian line (Sweet Redemption) and 2) the Arabian Nights Collection is even more expensive than the L’Oeuvre Noir and 3) the refill bottles of Kilian perfumes are not exactly ugly, they are better than many regular bottles of other lines, so I’m happy with what I’m getting. If it would be a metal container or plastic things would be different.

      As for the Good Wife? I have the DVDs of Seasons One and Two (currently watching the second season) since it is not on TV here, and I love it! Great show!
      I adore Will (I have adored Josh Charles since the eighties ;) ).

  17. susan says:

    well, I was totally jealous of your review today, and then my sample arrived in the mail today, so I get to try Amber Oud myself soon!! I thought I had missed the boat – for some reason I thought I needed to sign up again after getting the 10 sample set last fall, but I was clearly wrong. It’s so generous of him to send out these samples!

  18. Bee says:

    well well, we all seem to have received our samples in the last days, that is indeed great marketing! I am generally amber-shy, since my skin seems to amplify the sweet-cloying aspects of it, but no, not with this one, the amber is lurking somewhere in the background, benzoin and something cinnamon-ish are winning the race on me. Is it love? Hmm

  19. malsnano86 says:

    (Have never watched The Good Wife – but I saw the freeze-frame of the clip and said to myself, “Oooh, that’s Josh Charles, isn’t it?” Love him.)

    I’m not a huge amber fan nor am I an oud fan in particular, nevertheless I found Amber Oud very, very enjoyable. It’s so smooth and almost delicate, just a veil of delight over the skin. I’m keeping that sample! I had a slight preference for Rose Oud, but then I’m a rose aficionado.

    Off to watch that clip on Youtube. Mmmm.

  20. Vanessa says:

    I don’t care for Ambre Sultan or herbal notes generally, so was thinking that this one might not be for me, though I totally understand that it is swoonworthy for a serious amber lover like yourself!

    But if Mals – who is neither an amber nor an oud fan – describes Amber Oud as a “veil of delight” I am encouraged and will definitely look out for this at my earlies opportunity.

    I take the point that the opening may need to be got past – I am prepared to do that with a number of scents I like a lot, so that wouldn’t be a dealbreaker. : – 0

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  22. Just got my sample today. My first Kilian and first oud. How lovely it is. And how unaffordable – sigh! from an FB tart.
    Am sampling it alongside some of my other favourites to compare and contrast – this will take a while as I love amber and vanilla, and have loads to work with in my collection.
    Shamilar Ode a La Vanille and Initial, Prada Candy, EL Amber Ylang Ylang, L’Occitane Ambre, Lush Vanillary, Prada Eau Ambree, maybe Reglisse Noir?
    My house and me will smell great.

    • judith DM says:

      Sentsandshinythings….I am thoroughly amber and vanilla, what a fabulous collection you have…always wanted to sniff Ode de Vanille, but it came and went before I had the chance…lucky you!!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, you and your house will smell great! I have a sizable collection of ambers and vanillas as well, but still feel Amber Oud is unique.

  23. judith DM says:

    AS I am not much of a floral person (I honestly don’t know why, my younger tastes gravitated to vanilla, and like many of us my early scents were drug store purchases, and it seems while I am more into niche or costly scents, my tastes have not changed. Some floral is fine, but not the backbone of the fragrance. My lovely By Kilian person is sending me a sample of insensee, I agree that Ouds have something exotic and interesting, and seem to have some lasting power. I have read about the Mona di Orio and a few others that seem interesting, but as I like a touch of sweetness, not sure how much exploring Ouds I will do. This one seems like it was meant for me!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I think Amber Oud is more about the amber/vanilla aspect than about oud. It is undoubtedly there, but don’t think of it as an oud perfume. Which is a good thing in my book. Aside from MdO’s Oud, I don’t care so much for the note… :(

  24. I’m glad I am reading this review now, Birgit. I’ve worn my sample twice now, and your comments helped me understand it. It seems to me that the notes are so well-blended that I didn’t sense all of them on my first wearing. But I began to sense the vanilla and bay leaf, for example, during the second wearing. Excellent review!

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  28. Kafkaesque says:

    I think I would have liked this perfume if, on me, it had been more like what you describe and experienced. I had such a different experience, you can’t imagine. No Oud at all. It was a lovely amber smell, though a bit of a one note and linear, and (alas) short longevity. I envy you your experience because I really wanted to love it more.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree with you that after an initial oud-y blast, Amber Oud is very linear, but I don’t mind that in the least, since it is such a warm and cosy amber fragrance – I’m quite happy the oud makes itself scarce after the opening. ;)

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