Saturday, February 28, 2015

A westernized oud

Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur


L'Artisan Parfumeur is an interesting case, most of the house's creations stay in the middle of something presenting many aspect in a same time with moderate and conservative level, or let's sat polite and cautious way. Al Oudh, itself, is a different case of oud accord and manifestation of the house's point of view towards oud and how this extreme oriental element becomes westernized and tamed.
The first thing is said about Al Oudh is about the nose behind this perfume: Bertrand Duchaufour, a perfumer with very brilliant portfolio and experience, however, Al Oudh is not exactly what I know from the nose's taste. It's like a semi-bespoke perfume for the brand and upon the house's request. Although it doesn't necessarily mean bad! What is interesting for me is some other reviewers' indication about Al Oudh a hardcore and uplifted animalic filth. Well, definitely there are different takes but my several testings tell me different. It's actually so sensual and delicate spicy woody with direct oriental feels but modern western vibes beside.

Illustration from the Arabian Nights, Leon Carre, 1920

Al Oudh is not actually an oud-prime fragrance. It blossoms with watered down yet charming dose of semi-gourmand spicy stream, very elaborate and soothing. Oud, here, loses its kinky sour smoky portrait and swirls with dried fruits and dates and caraway (some sources say it's cumin) and fertilized with animalic duet of leather and soft civet. With very sensual and hypnotic musky delightful accord it promises oud in the following which uplifts with spicy carnival. Dry fruits and caraway remind some of Serge Lutens' creations such as Arabie and Chergui but it's considerably much lower than those immense caleidoscopic perfumes. Anyway, why I call it "not an oud perfume" reveals in the middle phase when caraway and dates range the pyramid and oud submerges and subdues to spicy layer. What remains in the end is a subtle and fluent air of modern and western caraway/musk as majority intimated with oud-livered oriental spices and dates.
Although the title does not meet reality and expectations and it plays like colognes of Penhaligon's creations; I accept that L'Artisan Parfumeur has its own style and it is cool. Cool but not so great.

Carpe Odor!

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