Oud is a leading theme in perfumery for at least a couple of years. I think three? Or more? I’m not sure when it began and what was the first perfume with oud that appeared in the market but when I began my true journey in the PerfumeLand, oud was already there. Now, few years later some of us grew tired of oud-centric creations and some are still eager to try yet another oud fragrance. And when we thought we’ve had enough, Parfums de Nicolai launched Amber Oud and Rose Oud.
Perfumer Patricia de Nicolai has always been faithful to her elegant style of creating perfume. She prefered to craft perfume following her own will, rather than going with a flow of a trend. Now she decided to work with agarwood, “I wanted to enrich my collection of powerful and high running fragrances” – she explained at Cafleurebon. So the OUD Collection was created.
Amber Oud reveals its own presence in an unexpectedly masculine way. The lavender accord that opens this composition has both floral and herbal facets, in proportions close to 1:1. The addition of sage boosts the herbacious feeling of the blend and it totally reminds me of a classic fougere composition. I even seem to be smelling a little bit of oakmoss. After 20 minutes this Parfums de Nicolai perfume slowly puts the opening notes on the side track and turns into something more animalic. The blend gets enriched with castoreum which to me smells like fur. This particular note is softened by the sweet aroma of vanilla. The accord of amber feels mineral here with just a little bit of creaminess given by styrax resin. The actual agarwood appears on my skin 1 hour after spraying and I have to admit that it feels very airy, light and transparent. Like there was no oud at all. Only the presence of balsamic quality confirms that the note is there.
For almost 2 more hours Amber Oud goes around like a whirlpool, revisiting the previous notes such as lavender, amber and castoreum. These notes combine with each other and become more complex with time. Then at some point the other notes begin to float on top of the composition. There’s artemisia and cedar, both giving a woody quality with sometimes noticeable sweat odour typical to cedarwood. The drydown becomes warm and enveloping when cinnamon bark adds spiciness, tonka and saffron give the desired heat and sandalwood is smooth and creamy like a pudding. In the end there’s also a hefty dose of musk – this one is somewhere halway between dirty animalic and soapy. Very delicate changes drive the perfume to its finish.
Rose Oud unveils the rose accord immediately after spraying. Rose is a star of this composition, it’s very rich, oriental, having hundreds of blood-red petals in a hundred flowers bouquet. It gives this stunning, voluptuous and sensual aroma that only some of rose based perfume possess. Unlike many watered down and sheer roses this is an alpha-rose. When oud appears after 10 minutes it causes the accord to bloom more and give even higher concentrated smell. There’s definitely more oud in this perfume comparing to Amber Oud but it’s easy to understand that as it plays a significant role for the rosy accord. Oud is also thicker and darker in this composition. After some time one more flower, lily-of-the-valley, appears. It makes Rose Oud fresher and a little bit colder. After some time I can smell castoreum too. Here it’s paired with musk. There’s this light soapy feeling to it but it also smells wild and dirty, like an effervescent body.
Delicate hints of vanilla make Rose Oud more playful and casual, while artemisia and sandalwood are responsible for bringing the aroma of the woods to the composition. Note of patchouli adds a minimal earthy feeling to it and it doesn’t interfere much with other notes. The vanilla accord starts to appear around 3rd hour and nearby 5th hour Rose Oud unveils the fruity aspect of a raspberry. It’s light, outgoing and shortly after it appears the osmanthus smelly molecules appear too. They give a light floral tone that also reminds me of tea and apricots. In the end the luminous and shiny amber emerges from the deepest parts of this perfume and it leads the prime until the very end.
As a summary I can day that I’m happy I could explore these two ouds made by Patricia de Nicolai. Even though oud is a trend present for a couple of years, Rose Oud and Amber Oud seem to be a bit different from other creations with oud, rose and amber (and sometimes with the same name too.) Both fragrances have a really good longevity (8-10 hours) and their sillage is moderate. Rose Oud and Amber Oud were launched together in late 2013. They come in those beautiful 100ml bottles as well as in smaller 30ml flacons. Both are concentrated at a level of eau de parfum and are priced at 174€ and 58€ for big and small bottle respectively.
[note] Many thanks to Parfums de Nicolai for sending these samples.