L'Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh
A darker and, arguably, more broodingly handsome cousin of Eau d'Italie's Bois d'Ombrie and Baume du Doge, Al Oudh has inherited the same dusty date note as the former and raw earthiness of saffron as the latter. (Funny that this new L'Artisan creation of Duchaufour's makes me think of his Eau d'Italie scents, not L'Artisans.) What sets Al Oudh apart from the relatives at Hotel le Sirenuse are, yes, oud and cumin.
When I first started on the path of perfume obsession way back when (a long time ago, it feels, when dinosaurs lived with man and died in the flood) there existed such a fairly widespread phenomenon as cuminophobia. Perhaps, fragrance lovers nowadays aren't scared by the sweet sweatiness of the note, but I feel the warning is in order just in case: the warm, velvety stinkiness of cumin dominates the first half of Al Oudh's development and is mighty perceptible in the second half. To the point where one might ask, where is oud? Oud does emerge towards the end but it is ... Duchaufour's take on the note. It is dense and strangely airy at the same time and smoky in a paradoxically transparent sort of way ...a thin strip of smoke coming out of a dry gray pebble...this is an image I see when I smell the oud and incense notes of this fragrance.
But I digress from the star note of the blend, the cumin. Accompanied by a soupçon of cardamom, quite a bit of vanilla and the aforementioned dates, it is creamy and rich. One doesn't know whether to hunger after its deliciousness or to be perversely titillated by its dirtiness. In other words, it's how a cumin accord should be done. As for oud...this is not an oud perfume for the oud purists, but one for the fans of Duchaufour's talent for modern and unique interpretation of traditional ingredients and popular inspirations.
Available wherever L'Artisan is sold, $155 for 100ml.