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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

L'Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh

By Marina

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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this one, but having had a bit of experience with the Middle Eastern oudhs, and more with aloeswood incense, I didn't need a bottle. I think it's a good Westerner's take on oudh, and many might wear this one when they find the real deal too intense or strange. How did you feel about it compared with some of the the Amouages, or with another Western brand, Montale?

8:15 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Marina, nice to see you again.
I'm a buyer for oud - like in LeLabo (...), or like in White Oud. On the other hand i'm also a big admirer of Duchaufour' work, so yes, it's definitely a must try.
(These days I can't live without my Coeur de Veiver Sacre).

8:43 AM EST  
Blogger The Beach Bedouin said...

Hi Marina,

few weeks ago I tested Al Oudh, as I am testing many Ouds for my upcoming business with arabian perfumes, and was shocked. All I could smell was a stinky smell of sweat. I just could not stand it...I think it is because of a high dose of cumin!

8:55 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think, compared to AMouages and Montales it is even more of a Westerner's take.

9:11 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Lovely to see you! Would love to know what you think of Al Oudh after you try it.

9:12 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, definitely a lot of cumin there

9:13 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I agree with Marla that it is somehow a translation for the Western tastes (although that huge cumin note is a surprise, but that is BD for you!) Still, quite memorable!
I am also deep into the perfumery Arabian Tales with the new Armani Prive collection.

9:59 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

was just reading your bunch of Prives... I am starting to think that I will never ever catch up on new releases. :)

10:40 AM EST  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Gee, I am really undecided on this. I should probably just get a sample vial and end it. I'm not thrilled about cumin (taste or smell), but am curious about the blend. For my nose, Le Labo's version of oud is exactly what I want to smell like. A "white oud", yes. I'm still on the hunt for many interpretations, however, it's just too much fun.

8:31 PM EST  
Blogger Furriner said...

I really love Al Oudh. Smells gorgeous on me. In the intense heat of the summer, it was even more gorgeous, which I wasn't expecting.

2:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Carrie Meredith,
I think it is interesting enough to warrant getting a sample, especially since you said you are looking at different interpretations.

7:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I actually can totally imagine it works really well in the heat, because it is fairly dry and not sweet.

7:23 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

This is the first "heavy on cumin" scent I've found it possible to wear without smelling like sweaty armpits. Maybe my skin is so permanently saturated with the "real deal" that the cumin feels intimidated :-)
Although it's far from a faithful reproduction of oud I think people who find "the real thing" too strange, too fecal, or too overwhelming would welcome this Western interpretation.

10:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, this is maybe a beginner's oud.

10:38 AM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

I really like this too - it's refined enough to wear in public, unlike the Montales, which are mostly NOT. I love them, but they are not exactly work-friendly!

4:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

True, they are not exactly office wear

4:26 PM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Really need to try. Will try as soon as I get a moment (and am no longer writing in brief fragments). Love cumin.

6:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I wonder if you might find just a tad too tame.

7:40 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

o.k., tried yesterday at Liberty in London. I like cumin, both in food and parfume, so I didn' feel "inimidated" by it, but simply there's not enough oudh for my taste...

3:17 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, not oudy enough when one wants an oud.

9:44 AM EST  
Anonymous eleven european mystics said...

hello marina. i wear al oudh because of the balance between east and west, and the mixture of sweetness with that smoke you describe so vividly.

1:27 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It certainly is very well balanced, I feel.

1:28 PM EST  

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