Sequestered within a palace where the walls are rose petals, the air wafts golden saffron, and the floor is fragrant with sacred agarwood is a mysterious and fascinating woman who hides behind her veil. This European vision oud is courtesy of Romano Ricci and his debut of Midnight Oud from Juliette Has a Gun. The perfumer-in-residence for L’Artisan Parfumeur, Bertrand Duchaufor, has also created a sensual, warm and dense animalic elixir of oudh wood and an oriental twilight - with notes of leather, spice, and wood - that is an encounter with sensuality itself, and goes by the name of Al-Oudh.
And there is but one oud that could emerge from the melting pot that is New York. Bond No.9 perfume contains four East/West ingredients (the fewest of any Bond No.9 fragrance) including Tonka beans, musk, and - representing the Eastern world - oud, the rose, treasured equally in the Middle East and the New World.
So what is oud - aka aoud? Something the fragrance industry is in the mood for, and with so many new releases that spotlight this exotic ingredient, its time to get you in the mood.
In its natural state, oud is an agarwood resin that comes from two primary sources: Southeast Asia and India. According to Liz Zorn, one of my favorite natural perfumers, the higher grade of wild-harvest Oud from Laos has a penetrating aroma, clean woody undertones, and is very long-lasting - unlike the earthier, cultivated varieties that are readily available in India. While each has its own particular charm and uses, they often combine successfully to create signature oud accords in high-end luxury perfumes.
And while not a dominant note in perfumery, oud serves as a supporting player in oriental, fougere, and green/wood fragrance types.
Zorn's own Oudh Laquer is an all-natural fragrance that contains no synthetics and uses only the finest oud raw materials. The resinous sensuality of oudh evokes the fragrant oils worn in the Middle East, which are highly-valued by sheiks and sultans. The fragrant spicy, pungent scent unfolds on the skin like Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils.
"Oud has served as a perfume for two millenia in the Gulf region," notes Laurice Rahme, founder of Bond No.9. "Its primary use has long been as incense, but so treasured is the languorous fragrance of oud, that it is basic to scent-making in the Arabian Peninsula. The best ouds are more precious, more costly, than rubies or gold."
- Michelyn Camen
Fashiontribes Editor-at-Large Michelyn Camen is a New York City based writer and consultant who is a former Brandweek Marketer of the Year and Ad Age 100 recipient. She slipped off her power suit to pursue her passion for beauty and fragrance. Camen is a fragrance specialist and the owner of FifthSense N.Y.C., where she consults for niche luxury, fashion, beauty and fragrance companies. She is an Editor for Fragrantica.com, the Fragrance Editor for UptownSocial.net, the former Senior Contributing Writer for Sniffapalooza Magazine, the former New in Niche Columnist for Basenotes and was the Editorial Directorfor Beauty News NYC & LA. Email her at email@example.com or Michelyn AT Fashiontribes DOT com.
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