I still haven’t found my perfect oud, but I figured a while back that these two would be a good place to start.
The first on I tried was Aoud Queen Roses by Montale. A rose/oud combination that I thought would be a little calmer on the senses in order to introduce me to the world of oud. Ok, so, Montale probably isn’t the best for a real oud experience, but it’s a pretty good start :)
Aoud Queen Roses opens with what I have no discovered is Montale’s classic “oud interpretation” I’ll say – and that’s not a bad thing! I’ve grown to really like it, even if I’m sure it has very little of the complexity of true oud. Anyway, I’m not “one of those” people so let me carry on. The oud in AQR opens how many people describe as “band-aid-y” but, I’m not American, and my plasters dont’ smell like this. It’s much more of a glue note to me, it’s like a dried gluey-medicinal smell, and I really enjoy it. It is intense and not all that pleasant on first spritz, but it does warm on you.
Pretty much straight after application an over-the-top obvious rose starts to pop through. It’s a bright, soapy, classic rose, and I was a little dissapointed with this at first. I was expecting something a little more complex, maybe earthy or the complete opposite – ethereal. I can understand the great connection these two notes have together, they work wonderfully, but this fragrance just seems incomplete to me, it is relatively linear, and you pretty much of the gluey oud, and the classic rose, squashed against each other but never quite merging together. In the dry down AQR gets tamer and tamer and what you’re left with is a classic rose soliflore, and it’s not that extraordinary. This fragrance isn’t bad, it’s just not what I expected, I still want to find a great rose/oud, but, maybe not from Montale?
I ordered my sample of Oud Cuir D’Arabie as I want “an oud” and I love my leather, and this was supposed to be the best combination of the two. Having received a five star rating in Turin and Sanchez’ Perfumes The Guide (which I have learnt is only good for a brief overview for a fragrance), I thought I was in for something pretty awesome.
Oud Cuir D’Arabie blasts out yet again with blinding medicinal - gluey oud, and a raw animalic leather, it does smell filthy at first, and I love that so much! It’s like a Pritt stick has been wiped on the floor of a stable. This slightly dirty – poopy – leather, starts to calm down after a couple of minutes, allowing the oud note to take more of a centre stage. It seems the Montale’s open with a shout and then their voice runs out pretty quickly. They become much more wearable after just a minute or two.
Yet again, unfortunately, this is pretty much all their is to OCdA… the leather which becomes just a nice, plain, rough leather, and the oud. There is nothing else really here. It starts to get a little smoky some time into the wear, and after a couple hours, there is a faint rose/musty smell, reminicent of the dry down of AQR. After some hours on different arms, these fragrances smell pretty similar.
I would really like to try more of the Montale oud’s, I’m sure there are some wonderful ones out there. But to me, they are simple. I guess this is understandable really as they seem to push out another oud combination 3 or 4 times a year. It took me a while to choose between getting a sample of Aoud Queen Roses, Aoud Damascus, Aoud Rose Petals, Black Aoud etc.
Another thing that confuses me about the Montale ouds, is that, I thought oud was mainly a basenote? After all, it is supposed to be so deep and complex and last for hours and hours, the fact that the oud in Montale appears to be a top and heart note before disappearing into the base, just suggests that I’m not getting the best bang for my buck! Just a thought…
These two samples did lead me on to an oud hunt though, one which I still haven’t fulfilled. My best sample so far has been L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh… I know I know! Probably not the best example of a true oud, but animalic, powdery, medicinal, spicy, I just found it an awesome introduction to an oud dominant fragrance and I’ll definitely be getting another sample of that some time soon if nothing else comes my way! I’ve heard great things about Mona di Orio’s Oud, but, I’m weary of trying a sample of something I could never afford.
Any suggestions for me?
Montale available from Luckyscent:
Aoud Queen Roses 50ml – $115 RRP
Oud Cuir D’Arabie 50ml – $130 RRP