After all the gushing about Montale yesterday (and there is more to come), I decided to talk about a scent from the line I don't like. One has to maintain one's reputation as an objective blogger. So here is my take on Aoud Velvet. I believe a more fitting name would have been Aoud Chinatown, as in Bond No 9 Chinatown, because the two smell remarkably alike to me. Aoud Velvet displays the same thick creaminess, the presence of which in Chinatown I attribute to tuberose, and which in Aoud Velvet is most probably the characteristic of tiare. Blended with sandalwood and tonka bean, tiare here produces the similar effect, rich, "fatty", and strangely (not entirely unpleasantly) chemical, making Aoud Velvet reminiscent of the same lacquered boxes which some people, including me, smell in Chinatown. And it is not that this "lacquered sandalwood box" quality is not striking, but I have been there with Chinatown, and now I am over it. As a side note, some of Parfums de Nicolai scents, in particular Sacrebleu and Vanille Tonka, have a similar, although much less "lacquered" creaminess on my skin.
Another aspect of Aoud Velvet that bothers me is its fruitiness. I realize that there seem to be no fruits or berries listed among the official notes, but when have official notes told the whole truth? As far as my nose is concerned, Aoud Velvet starts with jam-like raspberry, followed by a note that smells decidedly peachy (by the way, peach is quite prominent in Chinatown) ...the peach note is soon accompanied by vanilla, then tiare appears on the scene, and then the "lacquered" effect I described above begins to unfold. As for the aoud note, it is altogether too understated, beaten into submission by vanilla, tiare and "fruits". Was the title ingredient stronger, perhaps the composition would have been less "thick" and cloying (and less reminiscent of Chinatown). As it is, the (heavy, opulent, peach-colored) velvet is there, but the striking, spicy sharpness of oud is sadly missing.
Aoud Velvet can be found at Suravi, Luckyscent and Montale boutiques, $150.00 for 50ml, $210.00 for 100ml.