The oudh wood, also known as agarwood, is a rare and precious raw material, carefully preserved in the heart of the forests, located in Orient.
Often associated nowadays with the Arabic beauty tradition, it’s still considered as a hidden ancient treasure. The production of this essence is only due to a handful bunch of fragrant dark resinous wood formed in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a type of mold (Phialophora parasitica).
Since ever, this sacred scent has been giving all its richness to many oriental fragrances, and also since recently, offered (each at its own level) to occidental conceived ones and forming the axis of their composition. For each of those creations, an invitation trip for a distant poetry, each encounter highlighting the sensual (and maybe aphrodisiac) virtues of this legendary oud wood. A natural essence also used in incense, perfumery, and small carvings, still considered as one of the secret ingredients of the olfactory industry, would spread its wake, from every step left by your body, hair and clothes. By Alex Plato
We just evoked its name when the publication about L’Artisan Parfumeur went out… This time, you would have more time to get into the oriental artwork, Al Oudh created by the artist Bertrand Duchaufour, for this French perfumery House. Indeed, this master perfumer, deeply inspired by the magnetic power of transparent oriental woods, that he often infuses with spices and incense, repeats his talented signature within this new olfactory collaboration act, much spicier and more rounded than Pure Oud composed with By Kilian and more carnal than the Oud 27 which started this oudh series with Le Labo (photo credits: L’Artisan Parfumeur).
Just try it to adopt Al Oudh! Described as an elixir of sensuality by many oudh enthusiasts, this fragrance captures the atmosphere of a Middle Eastern palace with its exceptional scents, colors and textures. Thanks to the sensual spicy head notes of cardamom, sensitive cumin, the sweet dates meet the rose pepper… Thereafter, the indispensable oudh partner, namely the rose, gets in touch with the neroli and the smoke of some mysterious and haunting incense, gently burning in a golden bakhoor… At last, the base notes squarely cross themselves at a complex junction, naturally dominated by oudh and cradled by the soft leathered and animal scents breezes, all in a feast oriental atmosphere.
All those ingredients, subtly and expertly dosed by L’Artisan Parfumeur House explores some multiple classic but tawny facets from the Middle Eastern perfumery with this clearly and strongly recognizable oudh shaped creation. This is one of the major representative perfumes of the Oriental Collection, a family of golden, rounded fragrances whose main exotic notes are made of amber, incense, vanilla, leather, spices and of course oudh wood. A selection of fragrances to enchant and conjure up memories of mysterious lands, that would surely delight your entourage, thanks to its major honeyed and fruity notes. This Al Oudh fragrance will complete the smoky glassed bottles and is said to be even really suitable to western noses for new escapades…
More information on the official website, 100ml for 135€.
For this Halfeti juice, developed by another famous perfumer Christian Provenzano, Penhaligon’s traveled until Turkey, to find those finest black roses, especially growing in the turkish Halfeti town and thus offering to this oriental quintessence, an elegant dress, sign of an intense time spent under the Mediterranean Sun (photo credits: Mounia Kitchen).
This massive heart note highlights the historical trades lead by the British Levant Company with the sumptuous treasures brought by the Ottoman merchants, in order to extract the best precious goods from this region, in all branches, including the ones you find in this fragrance. Where, under the auspices of novelty and vigor, you would surely detect the strong but soft balance conducted by oudh, completed by the spiciness of leather, tonka and sandalwood, as base notes that would reflect some oriental delicacy on your skin… All those strong personality scents are refreshed by those several notes of bergamot, providing some green and aromatic touches, and also flourished with the vegetal notes of lily, lavender, jasmine and sagebrush. This distinguished association, still produced in the United Kingdom, allows this sensual oudh perfume to be a best-seller for the Penhaligon’s company, while offering an invitation to escape from your corporate obligations.
In this case, what we can say is that the young but prolix French perfume House Frédéric Malle holds a deep focus on this oudh essence.
Celebrating its 20th birthday on 2020, Frédéric Malle proposes a selection of different styles of fragrances, and the oriental family is among the more important ones.
We could order its three oudh creations from the soft to the stronger oudh concentration… All were imagined by a different master perfumer.
Starting from the last issue in 2019, The Moon. A sweet unisex oriental but floral fragrance created by Julien Rasquinet.
A light oudh perfume flourishing thanks to fruity red berries, violets and roses.
A good initiation before a powerful oudh upswing through the promises of Dawn… A strong balsamic perfume, baptized in 2018, in tribute to the first gleams bringing the energy of a new day… A natural oudh fragrance created this time in conjunction with the master perfumer Carlos Benaïm, really inspired in his work by his childhood in Morocco.
The result is an ode to the fired colors of dawn, when the light softly spreads early in the morning, announcing a steaming sun arising from the desert dunes…
Fulfilling this scene, the real tawny oud wood touch is completed here by the unmistakable absolute Turkish rose partnership and some pink pepper.
Furthermore, this olfactory burning is tempered with waves of vetiver, labdanum and incense for base notes. This explicit accord is a perfumery artwork that can last for long on your skin and clothes, an enduring lifespan for a certain cost like all the items of this oriental collection of Desert Gems…
More information the official website, 50ml for 680€ and 100ml for 1150€.
This inflamed potion is a full-fledged springboard before reaching the massive 20% concentration of oud wood filling The Night, by the perfumer Dominique Ropion.
Thus, the outcome is an explosion of this natural and so precious agarwood, still fueled by Turkish rose and amber. A real animalic, but amazingly bewitching, impression evaporate in your wake, that could catch some attentions…
Following those suggestions, don’t waste time to discover this selection of those oriental Desert Gems, protected in minimalist transparent bottles, whose names are translated in admirable Arabic letters.
The master perfumers tend to find their inspirations through travels, also along the Provence surrounding nature. That’s why you may find in their 5 agarwood based perfumes series (named Passion, Gourmet, Délice, Spiritual, and Sensual) again a cultural mix of Occidental and middle Eastern scents. This warm atmosphere has been illustrated in the Secrets of Love collection, presented in specific bottles evoking love cages and adorned with openwork metal. Thus, as owners of their own ceramic furnace, the artisans of the workshop process all bottles in the home workshop in Grasse, at an estimated temperature of 550°C. Thereafter, in the same place, a team of imaginative artists realizes the scenery of each bottle within the dedicated room.
This image would surely takes you to the heart of a fantasized Orient, filled with charming and mysterious fragrances. On top of that, you have to remember that in each of the Micallef compositions, it may contain up to 200 ingredients which, before forming a partition with perfect chords, has to follow the requirements of a complex ritual, meticulously orchestrated and requiring several months or even years of work, in the case of the more precious fragrances of the House.
Thanks to those olfactory tales, the totally six opuses of this unisex collection, designed like jewels, praise the nobility of opulent raw materials and celebrate the alchemy between creative passion and craftsmanship. Among them, you may eventually be enveloped and comforted by the fruity notes of caramel, orange and cinnamon of the Passion item (with a quite similar spirit to the Halfeti of Penhaligon’s, unless the Turkish rose inside), either by the greedy sensations provided by the Gourmet flask, and its chestnut, violet and raspberry prevailing scents…
Moreover, in this Secrets of Love collection, you may discover the peppery composition of the Délice artwork, fresher than the two first units, thanks to its natural vanilla, the centifolia roses, the rose berries (like The Moon by Frédéric Malle), and completed by the nutmeg and (maybe red hot) chilli pepper as head notes. In an other hand, the local fine divine smell of jasmine at dawn needs to be found in the other Sensual and Spiritual perfumes, still along vanilla.