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Monday, June 23, 2008

Perfume Review: Arabian Oud King Fahed

Oud-lovers, close your eyes or close this page. If you read further, your emotional and financial health will be in serious jeopardy. It is too late for me, a lovely enabler opened for me the (very expensive) world of Arabian Oud ...but save yourselves! Now, those reckless enough to keep reading, Arabian Oud, according to their own site, is "the largest Arabian fragrance retailer in the world, specialising in incense and oil perfumes (...) the first Arabian company to be a member of the Fragrance Foundation UK (...) the first and only Arabian company to be registered in the Michael Edwards Fragrances of the World book." So now you will feel better about paying £1050 for 12ml of King Fahed, the scent that I liked the most among the Arabian Oud blends that I tried so far.

I am not even going to talk about whether it is worth that kind of money. It is so much out of my range that it is not even funny. But it is gorgeous. It is supposed to be a masculine blend, and I would love to smell it on somebody male, dark and handsome. Having said that, it is entirely wearable and utterly delightful on female skin. It starts with a strong oud note, spicy, sharp and medicinal. Oud's loyal companion, rose, starts to blossom almost immediately, adding sweetness and softness to the former, and making the masculine note if not exactly feminine then certainly androgynous. The stunning duo becomes an even more compelling trio as musk appears on the scene. The Muscs Koublai Khan sort of musk, dirty-minded and heavy-lidded. It makes the blend smell touchingly and alluringly human. It is the scent of hot skin, of passionate touch, of... OK, where was I? What appeals to my dramatic Russian soul in Arabian Ouds is that everything is taken to the extreme. You thought that oud plus rose plus musk was lush and sensual enough. Well, how about some patchouli for good measure? And that patchouli mixed with musk is making love in the mud (with someone dark and handsome, of course). Enough said. I would send you to smell this wonder for yourself (and if you are in London, by all means, please do so), but I am not sure the company sells/sends samples.

It is, however, possible to order the perfume online, for £490-£1050, depending on the size and the fanciness of the bottle.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Где тут очередь на грязь?

10:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Не всем в очередь

10:13 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh, how much would I have loved this for my birthday- especially if it was brought to me by the gentleman in the picture....

10:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Just so you know, the gentleman is book for mid August :-)

10:20 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, God. Why did I read further after your warning? 1050 pounds! Sob! I can't even imagine what a sample would cost. Deep sigh. Deep, deep sigh.

10:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

There are others, much more reasonable. And the packaging, oh my gosh. Like, Amouage is nervously smoking nargile in the corner :-)

10:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no "perfumista" more worthy of this scent than are you, Marina!
Thank you for your enchanting review. May the explorations continue!

10:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No, thank you! I am looking forward, somewhat fearfully :-), to further exploration.

10:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Jarvis said...

oh, oud, how I love thee...

some day, some day. Sigh.

11:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, some day...

11:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a dangerous road to tread indeed, that with all the mud on sides of the road:)
I hear you, some AO oils are really our of this world.
Anything of theirs with sheikh,king,sultan or princess in the name is usually priced as such, too.
The good news is that there are some fantaatic Arabian Oud oils that are priced fairly reasonably, if you're willing to settle for a plainer bottle (Rahil, Al Mashaheer).
P.S.да, меня тоже мучит этот вопрос, где же очередь за грязью?:)

11:54 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Arabian Oud sells in Paris too. It is a road I haven't threaded yet... So confusing to my Western nose. Also, when I went to Al Quraishi in Beyrouth, I was very charmingly pressured into purchasing (I resisted... for a while) and so didn't feel I was really getting a proper introduction to this type of perfumery. My little Canadian self was no match for skilled Middle-Eastern commercial ploys -- they've been doing this for 3000 years!

3:55 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awwww, why didn't I heed your warning and stop reading? Why am I not a wealthy man? Probably because if I were, I'd have nothing but a tent full of scents like these. Hmmm...not such a bad thing, I guess. I have two teensy little samples of Arabian Oud Black Musk and Jasmine Essence. They're glorious and the tiniest drop will last for days. The Black Musk is one of the dirtiest, skankiest, barnyard scents you'll ever encounter. Heavenly. Oh, if I were a rich man...

5:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

But I want The Fanciest bottle :-) My favorite one is the one that looks like a Faberge egg. :-)

6:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you should go, if only to smell the musks. See Matt's comment about the snakiest one.

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

OK, well, we all know I have to get my hands on that musk now. And I am sure Tom will want to do so too :-)

6:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Tania said...

I was in the Arabian Oud shop on Oxford Street only the other day, lured in by two gentlemen outside who were dabbing passers-by with oils. Well, they were trying to - I watched for a few minutes and the only people who stopped were myself and an Arab woman covered from head to toe in black. Maybe it was just too hard-sell for London... ;-) (I got the impression 'hard sell' was the modus operandi at Arabian Oud - charmingly done, though).

I did go in for five minutes, and tried a couple. One I've forgotten the name of, it was a 'lighter' (by their standards) scent. The other was called 'Woody' (yes, like the cowboy in 'Toy Story!)
It came in a box made of a chunk of wood, bark and all, and it cost £70.
I wasn't crazy about the floral, but Woody was very nice - like Black Aoud with more cedar.
I didn't try any more, as I was in a hurry.
I will go back, though, to try Black Musk which sounds gorgeous. I'll avert my eyes from the expensive one though, my bank manager is not a fan of my addiction as it is!
Can I join the line to book that guy in the photo? ;-)

7:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am intrigued by Woody. And yes, please, do try more and report!

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

OMG! Want! I had known Arabian Oud was supposed to be fantastic, but was confused about which ones I might like the best. Fortunately, this one is SO far out of my price range that it's not an issue (you might as well have hated it). It's when you start writing about scents that you liked ALMOST as much that I can almost afford that I need to fear!

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Adding: Actually, I was fortunate enough to be able to try a few of these some time ago. One I remember particularly liking is Wafi: it had rose, saffron, maybe honey or something similar, and I don't know what else. Very beautiful, but this is all I remember.

8:02 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donanicola and I spent a good couple of hours in the Oxford Street shop a few months ago. The perfumes on the ground floor are ok (most in the tackiest bottles you have ever seen), but the real treasures are downstairs, where they have about 20-25 perfume oils ranging in colour from canary yellow to black, from pretty floral to oud bondage.
Heaven on earth and not all in the KF price range. They also sell real oud wood to burn and they teach you about the different types of oud.
For weeks I carried in my handbag the bit of tissue where the SA put a drop of the KF thing and it kept going and going. Absolutely fabulous.

8:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Jarvis said...

I found a small vial of Indian oud in an essential oils store recently. Fabulously expensive, and I think probably the real thing, as it had a VAST golden, woody, velvety smell that went on for days. I was thinking of buying some just to have as a reference, but now I'm wondering if there are even better animals out there.

I've realized that scents that purport to have oud notes (probably synthetics) have a weird metallic twang to them. I get some of that intoxicating woodiness on the very edges, but it's almost like there's a steel plate between my nose and the heart of the oud. I've had that experience with M7, and even have had it to some extent with Jubilation XXV (which I'm assuming has some oud in it).

8:56 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must get myself to London now! Oh, I must, I MUST!

**sighs, sobs, as she shuffles off to check status of savings account**

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

I saw the subject on an aggregator and thought I'd chime in.

We're basically talking about the Arabian Oud Store on Oxford Street, right? Next to Shelfriges?

If so, I had the exact same experience with Tania (alhtough 2 years ago): the two gentlemen were beckoning us into the store where we tested many things but bought none. Perhaps it was that the prices were stiff, perhaps it was that we couldn't really picture ourselves wearing them in everyday life, perhaps we were a little pressurised and seeked escape...LOL
The musks were very good, though!

In relation to another commentator's comment: indeed many perfumes claiming oudh do not actually have quality, natural oudh in them...It's sort of become an "expected seal of luxury": they're a bit on to us, I'm afraid ;-)

11:14 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I was ok until the patchouli. You should have put another disclaimer before the patchouli :) Imagining those dark brooding colors and scent textures accompanied by patchouli got my salivary glands going :) love the accompanying pic :) thanks for opening our minds to yet another facet of the perfume world!


12:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Oh, here we go again with the oud - one of my new obsessions too! This sounds FABULOUS, as do the ones mentioned by the other commenters.

Since it is so very expensive, perhaps the blow would be softened if it were delivered in person by the beturbaned hottie in the photo? :-D

3:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I will start writing about the more affordable ones, you just wait :-)

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I want to come to London and go on a sniffathon with you two :-)

7:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I know that steel plate feel/smell that you mean. I get that too.

7:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can relate to that :-D

7:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't like hard-sell and if I feel pressured I usually don't buy anything either.

7:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Patchouli here is swoonworthy. Almost as gorgeous as the pic :-)

7:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I have a feeling that the beturbaned hottie is now booked months in advance :-)

7:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God, where on Oxford street ??? I'll be flying to London in 3 weeks !

4:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that store also. In fact, I have a whole set of samples on my desk right now, and many are simply amazing.


1:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't know but their site lists addresses. Have fun!

1:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Some are just crazy beautiful!

1:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oudh makes me dream of an amazing scent 'Ormonde Man' with black hemlock and Oudh that I once tried in Ormonde Jayne boutique, a gem of store in Old Bond Street in London. It was truly intoxicating and was launched the same month as M7 by YSL which I have never come across.

11:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

hmm oud? ah yes i had pure oud at my home now nooot that expensive....mine is only gaharu buaya. Only good for mixture they say. But it's fine to me.Since i cannot afford the 1st grade oud applied on my body... it made me loosing my money ehehehe....

7:15 PM EST  
Blogger Helge Pettersen said...

I found this store by accident the other day on my london trip. Really loved the store, and after a tour of the lower storey I bought a £120 bottle at half price. Haven't tested it much yet, but the longevity is out of this world. And what a smell :)

2:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

They have a half-price sale on in the Oxford Street store at the moment, I bought a bottle of EdP for £42.50, normal price £85. Given the quality, I think that's the best perfumery bargain I've ever had. I'm planning to go back before Christmas!

12:59 PM EST  
Blogger Dutch said...

Great piece on the Fahad Blend I have just launched a website called Agarwood News. You may be interested in some of the articles related to Oud.

7:26 PM EDT  

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