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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Come On, Cumin – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh

I am not the world’s greatest admirer of oud. That is no secret.

So you are probably asking yourself: What is she doing reviewing another Oud scent? And I am telling you this is not any old oud scent, but THE oud of the last years, an oud my hero Bertrand Duchaufour created. (And yes, I am a fan, and I won’t stop saying so any time soon, please let me be, I never adored teenie bands, so I am living my hero worship phase now.) So, who am I to go on ignoring this???

Especially since a sample found its way to me thanks to the lovely T. of Fragrant Reviews. His and his congenial co-author N.’s review is quickly cited, since the two boys review perfumes in 140 characters or less – twitter appropriate – I envy such conciseness: Sweet & funky oud with an animalistic vibe, coupled with dry leather & woods. Fairly linear. Barnyard Chic.

Al Oudh was created in 2009 by the aforementioned BD and includes notes of cumin, cardamom, pink pepper, neroli, rose, castoreum, civet, leather, musk, oud, sandalwood, Atlas cedar, patchouli, myrrh, incense, vanilla and tonka bean.

There is no getting around it – Al Oudh has a certain B.O. vibe for me. Cumin is not my friend as well and when there is too much, I get almost sick. Sadly, therefore glorious perfumes likeJubilation 25 (Amouage) or Absolue pour le Soir (Maison Francois Kurkdjian) are not for me, as much as I get and appreciate the beautiful perfume beneath the cumin, I cannot get past the stink.

Al Oudh is treading borderline territory. There is just enough cumin to make me a little nervous, but not enough to all out dismiss it. The beautiful perfume underneath is very present for me here. And, cumin aside, it is a beautiful perfume. The oud is smooth and serene, the spices, the musk, the leather, the woods – all make up a powerful and highly interesting and likeable perfume.

I think Al Oudh is one of the most interesting ones in the L’Artisan line up. I would love to smell it on a man (but I have not a chance to try it on my own, cumin is not his favorite either). I can appreciate it, but I will leave it to somebody else.

See Tom’s take on this blog here.

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Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

I'm with you on this one. Somehow, I wound up with several carded samples of Al Oudh late last year, and I've given every single one away. Somehow, I can wear Jubilation 25 and not be bothered by the cumin, but Al Oudh is a no-go. I fell so deeply in love with Traversee du Bosphore, that I completely forgot all about Al Oudh, fortunately. :)

12:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Kym said...

I'm third in line. While I own MKK and appreciate MFK, this one is pure arm pit to me. I was in a store some weeks ago where a lovely man was smitten with this. Even on him - armpit. But he loved it nonetheless. Maybe this one is more for men? Although why a man would want to smell like he hasn't washed in six weeks is beyond me :)

4:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was JUST musing on this perfume yesterday! My line of thinking was that L'Artisan's fragrances aren't terribly "out-there" (even Dzing! for me is quite tame), but then there is Al Oudh. I love this scent, and I'm glad that L'Artisan went full balls-to-the-wall with their take on oud!

Thank you for the lovely review---I know how much you like both oud and cumin!! :)

6:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wear this style, either, so like you, I tried it, then remained content to admire it from afar. I actually got myself some oud attar from India and nearly died from its intense barnyard vibe. Then I found an Indian shamama (complex mixture) that contained a tiny amount of oud, and I love that one on my DH. A little goes a long way. Cumin is a strong note used in Western "oud-style" perfumes, it's not really used much in the Middle East or India, such strong cooking associations. I don't like to smell like hummus!

7:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like I'll have to try it. I find Femme too tame and while I truly like (almost love) Jubilation 25, my cumin lovin' heart belongs to Eau d'Hermes, I'm mad for it. My main complaint with ALL of the Artisan line is they are so damn polite, almost like they are afraid someone might actually be able to smell their scents and be offended, too wispy and sheer for me. I will try this one and see.....

8:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish Jubilation would work for me, sigh. Well, at least it is money saved.

2:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mena, it is beyond me too! :)

2:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is certainly one of L'Artisan's greater risks ever.
It was a hard two days wearing Al Ough indeed. ;)

2:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have very strong food associations with cumin as well.
We are on the same page again with Al Oudh it seems. :)

2:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you like cumin, you will be happy. Another great option for you would be the new Kurkdjian - Absolue pour le Soir, cumin abounds! :)

2:16 PM EDT  
Blogger JoanElaine said...

B, you are like an investigative journalist when it comes to reviewing fragrances! You will dig into perfumes you are reluctant to wear and I admire you for it.
I know oudh isn't your best friend, and here you are trying your best to get cozy with it!

I seem to be in the minority here-Al Oudh is a favorite of mine. Thanks for the darling Carrie Meredith, I won't run out of it anytime soon as a little dab will do me!

I have read dismissive comments about Al Oudh in the blogosphere. Apparently it has no real oudh in it, therefore it's crap. Many beloved fragrances have few "real" essences in them, so what's the problem? Oh wait, could it be snobbery? (ducks to avoid being hit with rotten tomatoes, discarded bottles of Al Oudh, etc..)

2:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Joanne: It is sometimes snobbery, you're right. I'm all about natural or non-natural faux-accords and synthetics, so that doesn't bother me in the least. It's the cumin. It haunts my dreams. :(

3:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joan Elaine,
as Carrie says, it is certainly snobbery, but you can discard at least 98% of all recent oud fragrances then, for almost no one uses real oud.

And thanks for your compliment! :)

3:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Tara said...

You have to love BD, at the very least because his note lists are always so interesting! I admire his scents even if I can't wear them. They are definitely "must trys". Kyoto is the only one I own so far but expect that to change with the Mon Numeros. As for cumin, I prefer it in curry to perfume. Interesting to read about you tackling an oud/cumin scent, B, you certinaly did it justice.

4:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyoto is beautiful indeed. I also think BD's recent Penhaligon's perfumes are very nice.
I try to keep Andy Tauer's words in mind at all times - there is no such thing as a note I don't like, sometimes everything works. (paraphrased by me).

3:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Furriner said...

I agree with Joan. Al Oudh is very often just dismissed because of oud snobbery. I really love it, and feel like I am always coming to its defense. I love it especially in the heat of the summer. If you hate the cumin in it, I doubt this will help you, though. I guess cumin doesn't bother me none.

11:40 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if it weren't for the cumin, I'd love it! The oud in Al Oudh is very smooth and soft. Too bad...

12:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

I like Al Oudh a lot, the cumin does not bother me as it does in some others - I like cumin but not an overdose of it. I found Al Oudh to be very wearable and I even wore it to work a couple of times. I will probably not buy a bottle because I prefer the big ouds from Montale, but that's another story!

4:12 PM EDT  

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