Straight from Orient, perfume yourself with a suggestion of oudh fragrances
11 min read
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 Alexis Lery
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 LeLabo(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 Easternperfumery 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… 100ml for 135€.
Have you ever been in bewitched by a potion that you would immediately fall in love with? As a fellow of the olfactory Trade Routes collection, developed by the British House Penhaligon’s, the Halfeti fragrance pursues a long inspiration, composed of a wide range of exotic and mostly oriental ingredients (photo credits: Penhaligon’s).
Following the amazing story of this perfumer (that you may consult in this article), who started with many natural scents arrivals in the London docks, straight from the former royal colonies, back at the end of the 19th century, Halfeti recalls those authentic and wonderful odors, emanating from some random warehouses.
Indeed, established in 1870, the Penhaligon’s firm thus celebrates this year, its 150th birthday. Enhancing this event, this bewitching Trade Routes collection offers a real magical experience into orient and many other amazing lands… Where your nose would eventually meet some charming atmosphere composed of a potpourri full of scents, such as tea, spices, silks, pearls, rum… all those raw materials that were already transported on board clippers and merchant ships, when William Henry Penhaligon started his activity, and also was, by the time, the Official Supplier of the United Kingdom beloved Royal Family and even the personal barber of the Shah of Iran, when he opened his first shop, located in the already swinging London, on Jermyn Street, next to the best tailors in the city (flower photo credits: Mounia Kitchen).
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.
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 oudhperfume to be a best-seller for the Penhaligon’s company, while offering an invitation to escape from your corporate obligations.
This Halfeti jewel would be proposed in a wooden like package, including the same bottle since the origins, still honored to hold the two long-standing Royal mandates; specifically from the HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956) and HRH the Prince of Wales (granted in 1988). 100ml for 200€. Also available in a body lotion, body and hand wash, a nourishing body cream and triple-milled soaps.
Focusing on another birthday adventure and secondarily regarding a different price range (mainly due to a higher concentration of this agarwood essential oil), we get into the trio of oudhperfumes proposed by the innovative Desert Gems collection developed by the Frédéric Malle perfumery, now a property of Estée Lauder (photo credits : Frédéric Malle).
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, TheMoon. A sweet unisex oriental but floral fragrance created by Julien Rasquinet. A light oudhperfume 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 oudhfragrance 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 oudwood 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…
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 next feature in this olfactory selection is a creation of Guerlain, named Oud Essentiel, launched in June 2017. This unmissable and poetic perfume, imagined by the house master perfumer Thierry Wasser, really converses with the spirit of Middle East (photo credits : Guerlain).
Before celebrating its 190th birthday in 2018, the legendary Guerlain House launched Santal Royal and Musc Noble, some members of the Absolus d’Orient themed family. With Oud Essentiel, the firm explores the major oriental sources of inspiration, highlighting this time the oudh virtues, also called the “Wood of the Gods“, this wooden flavor sinks in water and nowadays famous to provide a warm and subtle scent.
This oriental essential epitome captures the spirit of a wide region, that spreads through all the Asian zone, where it may be famous under other appellations… This universal treasure may also be inhaled with little touches of incense, this amazing oudh spirit succeeded again to bewitch this real golden olfactory jewel, straight from Orient.
With this Oud Essentiel issue, Thierry Wasser celebrates a certain oriental perfumery, very popular especially in Oman, Vietnam, India, and the whole Middle East. Here, you would be seduced by the meeting between saffron and geranium composing the head notes of this woody and leathery wedding. A deep sourcing full of rare and refined raw material, cradled by a touch of spices, evoking in a way the former golden caravanserai. Nonetheless, oudh wood would complete the cedar and the very fresh Bulgarian rose in the heart notes, in order to quickly reveal the warm tones of this unique scent, a real imprint halfway between Orient and Occident. Then, the final spell comes thanks to the explosive wedding, made of leather, incense and the force of Guaiac wood.
Consequently, this smooth and dry accord reveals a glamorizing facet of this strong, sensual and sacred oudh scent.
After many other oriental creations for Guerlain, Thierry Wasser pursues this exotic journey with this Oud Essentiel. A perfume flourishing in a refined green bottle, adorned with a luminous decoration evoking Middle Easternmoucharabiehs, embellished with an elegant green and golden ribbon.
More information on the official website, 125ml for a selling price of 155€.
Pursuing our oriental adventure, we meet in a random medina some of the La Sultane de Saba scents, based on ancestral rituals, traditionally acclaimed by women, mostly in Middle East. Those technics were luckily transmitted from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Imagined by the French designer Vanessa Sitbon who wished to transmit her beauty secrets, coming from the hammam customs, to which her family had a certain cult, notably in their historical cradle, located in Fez, Morocco (photo credits: La Sultane de Saba).
Indeed, through this selection of more than 20 different perfumes, it is certain that La Sultane de Saba aims to encourage you to escape from your daily duties and explore distant horizons, by directing you towards deeply anchored traditions, lasting since ages in the case of oud wood. Although, these singular products are entirely Made in France, offering a certain French touch to this exotic selection, also in a full environmental compliance, due to strict laboratory guidelines, illustrated by as much sourcing as possible of natural raw material and by 90% recyclable premium glass, used for packaging.
Thereafter, among other related home fragrances items, get the occasion to endorse her Bois de Oud original perfume. An amazing sweet and bewitching blend reflecting the quintessence of oriental assets to the world, an olfactory declaration devoted to as many facets, emanating from this precious wood. Indeed, the essence of oud wood can more expensive than gold in some regions, and is often transformed into a singular material enveloping a smoky, racy mystery, very trendy those times.
Thus, why don’t you cover yourself night and day with this golden magic juice? You would surely get fulfilled with this warm amber and resinous odors, spread by this remarkable wedding, melting major essences of floral ylang-ylang, mystic incense, sharp pink pepper standing on heart notes of rose, sugary peach and a forested accord between sandal and Gaiac woods, before a fireworks of hot base notes, made of unmissable oud, still spiritual benzoin, the vegetal labdanum resin and even the animal castoreum! This seductive composition, present in this Bois de Oud original perfume, offers a splendid agreement for anyone willing to highlight his journeys, with the help of a soft oudh breath. Capacity 100ml / recommended price: 89€.
More information on the official website and take the chance to explore the Home Fragrance elements of this Bois de Oud family in our article.
Also focused on Art, since its creation under the sunshine of the French Riviera in 1996, the Provence player Micallef hasn’t stopped to explore the international universe of luxury perfumes with a deep consciousness regarding its efforts in craftmanship. Located in an Atelier Boutique inaugurated in the old center of Grasse, the famous French “world capital” of perfumery. To date, the Micallef own perfumes are distributed in 75 countries, in about 900 perfumery boutiques and concept stores, all around the World. As a real oudh enthusiast, the founder Martine Micallef, associated with Geoffrey Nejman, paid many efforts to bring the best quality of this oriental essence to her own creations (of both the bottles’ design and fragrances), available in an olfactive experience situated in a perfume bar in the corner of her Mediterranean store (photo credits: Micallef).
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 thegreedy 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 centifoliaroses, 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. 75ml for a selling price of 185€.