Parfums de Nicolaï Amber Oud & Rose Oud reviews

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.

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32 thoughts on “Parfums de Nicolaï Amber Oud & Rose Oud reviews

  1. Lynley says:

    Thanks for the reviews Lucas, they’re the first I’ve seen. Can you briefly describe how they compare to Kilians rose and amber ouds, if you have them in hand to compare? Richer? Sweeter? Less rose/amber? Less oudy? Thanks 🙂

  2. For some reason, I just am not feeling this brand. But your take on them has my interest piqued. Thanks for the comparison you gave to Lynley above. I love the Arabian Nights collection from Kilian, but these might be a good alternative and more affordable too!

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Houndie!
      For me these two were the first two from Parfums de Nicolai that I tried. No one is carrying this brand in Poland but I know many people value it for good perfumes and a resonable price range.
      I think that these two make it for the better replacements of Kilian Amber and Rose Ouds. And they are less expensive.

  3. Tora says:

    I am so glad to read these two well thought out, descriptive and enticing reviews. I sure do like By Kilian’s Rose Oud, so a more affordable and more intensive version sounds just wonderful. I love the description of the Amber Oud. Herbaceous qualities done well, intrigue me. Thank you for this great review!!!

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Tora!
      Glad I made a good choice writing about these two.
      Yes, more intense and less expensive version of Kilian Rose Oud sounds good 🙂
      And Amber Oud is good too, I loved that lavender, herbal opening.

  4. Bee says:

    Great review – the Rose Oud sounds wonderful. Must give it a try next time I pass their teeny little shop in Knightsbridge. As far as I know the first mainstream oud was M7 which came out in 2002 – though it took a while to become the ‘must have’ thing.

  5. shellyw says:

    Another reason for me to find a local shop carrying Parfums de Nicolaï . Often reviews of the line leave me wanting to know more. Maybe another reader of this blog knows a place in the San Francisco area?

    • lucasai says:

      I don’t have a local shop with PdN here either…
      It was the representative who saw my comment at Bois de Jasmin saying that I wanted to try these two ouds and he contacted me offering samples.

      If anyone knows of a place where they sell PdN and it’s near San Francisco, please help Shelly 🙂

  6. Dearest Lucas
    Thank you for these reviews.
    I’m so releived that Patricia de Nicolai has retained her sure hand and personal approach when handling the most a la mode of all current notes.
    I’ve never been as anti-oud as some in the perfume world seem to be. Yes it’s ubiquitous at the moment, then that;s how fashion in fragrance as all else works. Perhaps it simply feels more overwhelming since there are so many more new scents released each year than in the past.
    Also, as with any note or accord there will always be good and bad examples. I’m happy that these fall into the first category.
    As for oud’s arrival in the mainstream, would that be the original M7 by YSL created way back in 2002/3?
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • lucasai says:

      This was my 1st venture into the Parfums de Nicolai field so I don’t know what’s the signature of Patricia de Nicolai.
      I’m just happy she didn’t copy the other perfumes doing these two ouds, although she could come up with some different names, so that they’re not exactly the same as Kilian ouds.

      • Dearest Lucas
        I can think of at least three other houses that use these exact names too!
        I read somewhere that it has to do with copyright law and the fact that many words have been snapped up in advance for potential future perfumes, so companies are increasingly resorting to using plain descriptions of the principal notes.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  7. Undina says:

    It’s a solid review and I really liked the comparison you gave in the comment – I can imagine the scent better now.

    Having said that, I must stayed that I’m utterly annoyed at this launch. Not as much because of the brand’s jumping on an agarwood wagon and unimaginative names (though that bothers me a little too) but mostly because I have a feeling I’m being had: it doesn’t say anywhere – on the site or in the interview – that they’ve used real agarwood so I assume it’s an aromachemical. If it’s not so – it’s a bad marketing. If this is so, why suddenly a 40% raise in prices? PdN was always a brand with ugly bottles but nice and reasonably priced perfumes. Now for me it sounds like: “Thank you, dear fans, for your love and support over the years while we were building the brand. Now show us the meoney.”

    • lucasai says:

      Glad the review and a comment comparison helped.
      I understand your way of thinking. Not only they’re so late on the agarwood wagon (the names issue also bothers me a little)
      I have no idea of they used real or synthetic agarwood essence but the prices are surprisingly high. Most 100ml scents from their line retail for around 110€ and these are 174€, that’s a LOT of money. But didn’t they make especially good-looking bottles for these two?

      • Undina says:

        These bottles definitely look better (at least on pictures) but a bottle itself doesn’t warrant a $100 price hike. But if they can pull it off – good for them.

  8. hajusuuri says:

    Wonderful reviews, dear Lucas. Both of these sound great and try-worthy. I looked at Beautyhabit and LuckyScent and neither carry these two perfumes. In any event, I think I may have tried the By Kilian versions, but they were probably unremarkable meh.

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks!
      Wait a couple more weeks and they should be available at Beautyhabit or LuckyScent.
      You probably tried Kilian Rose Oud and Amber Oud (I Quick Sniffed both) but they were nothing remarkable at the pricetag they have.

  9. Nice review and I’d been waiting to read something on these two newbies. Perfumeshrine has just reviewed them as well. Yes it is a bit of a price hike for these – as long as she doesn’t put the price up of all her others I’m not too annoyed. It’s the same pricing mechanism as By Killian – charge more for the ouds. They’re still not as expensive as so many of the niche perfumes out there. Bizarrely, Serge Lutens is now quite cheap in comparison to other brands in France with the the rectangular bottles. I thought when I started on my perfume ‘hobby’ that his were quite pricey but now I see them as delivering good value!

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you! Yes, I read the Perfume Shrine reviews too 🙂
      They are more expensive but I think they won’t change the prices of other scents to reach the similar level. They’re probably planning to re-pack their scents into better bottles (similar to those used for these two new ouds) and I think this might cause the price to go up, but not very much.
      There are many brands more expensive that Lutens, even than the Bell Jars.

  10. I actually stopped into this shop last week and sniffed these two along with a few others as I’m very new to Parfums de Nicolai. It was an accidental bump into the shop on my way to ELDO. Great find. The Amber Oud smells great! The Rose Oud smells great as well but I already have other similar fragrances! 🙂

    • lucasai says:

      So great you could try them! I’m also very new to PdN, these two were my first ones I samples.
      Were I to chose, I would buy Amber Oud, it’s more interesting and more unusual.

  11. Pearl Fingering says:

    There is no oud in Kilian’s Incense Oud or Amber Oud. What you smell in the latter is cedar and synthetic oud accords. Pure Oud and Rose Oud are the only two that list oud as a note in the formula. The former smells exactly like Firmenich Oud Blend. Full stop. Period.

    They are all good compositions, but you are paying for the packaging and the name.

    That said, I enjoyed your reviews of the new Nicolai ouds. You are correct that the amber oud smells more like a fougere. In the oud tradition, it is closest to Jubilation XXV, and if you enjoyed Nicolai’s earlier Maharadjah, you will like this very French rendering of oud.

    The rose oud is not as predominantly rosy as Kilian’s. Again, I agree that it is softer and more well-rounded. Kilian’s is like a classic rose chypre with oud bolstered by patchouli. Nicolai’s is like a vintage 50’s peachy rose with red fruit and white musk, and it reminds me of a fruitier, woodier, less medicinal (and no Iso E Super!) Montale White Aoud.

    • lucasai says:

      You know, if it’s not listed it doesn’t really mean it’s not there but regarding By Kilian I’m so ready to believe that there’s no oud in Amber Oud and that there’s some in Rose Oud.

      That’s why I don’t like By Kilian, the prices are so steep and those bottles aren’t really good looking to me.

      Glad you liked my take on Patricia de Nicolai ouds. Amber Oud is truly fougere, very classy composition, would have to sniff Jub XXV to compare and I don’t know Maharadjah.

      I liked PdN Rose Oud more than a kilian one and I thought that Patricia’s one was more intensive and definitely more well-rounded.

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