La Via Del Profumo – Oud Caravan 1, 2 & 3

The name Dominique Dubrana is relatively new to me – after being put forward to review his new release (essay to come soon), a lovely Basenoter sent me samples of various fragrances in his line – La Via del Profumo. Reading up about this perfumer has been extremely interesting – his approach is so personal and thoughtful, involving us perfumista’s into his work to a point where he has allowed us to manipulate it! This is very apparent in the concept of his new release Tawaf – where two accords come with the fragrance to tweak it to your preference!

Here, with the Oud Caravan project, Dominique Dubrana has attempted to create as he calls: “The Ultimate Oud Fragrance”. Just like my recent explorations into my now beloved Aftelier – Dominique is all natural, so the quality is of course exceptional. The first OC1 was sent out to specific perfume lovers, who reported their feedback, encouraging Dubrana to work on No.2 and so on. He settled on No.3 (the only one I have yet to try at the time of writing).
The tweaks have been quite subtle, so I’ve grouped these mini reviews together to write down the evolution of Oud Caravan.

Oud Caravan 1 opens with a pungent, camphorous blast. For some reason it brings to mind Borneo 1834 – the same kind of camphorous opening but where the cocoa patchouli is replaced by pure oud. There is nothing fecal in Oud Caravan 1, but the mental image comes to mind. A hot, barn-yard like dirtiness scruffs up the smooth line that is hidden in the centre of the composition.

Crystal clear underneath the highly rugged edges, a note of oud – far brighter and neater – centres the fragrance, easing up the wearability and slight complexity. It is the subtle smooth woody notes in the middle that keep my nose to my hand, trying to break my way through the initial barrage of overpowering scent.

I get a pimento-like heat from this, a bitter/sweet vegetal spice, with an almost labdanum-like resinous undertone, rounded with intense leather. It is bold, raw and masculine – rugged and untamed. It mellows, but never enough to full let go of this image. Just as it becomes more comfortable and quiet, a flash of warmth on the skin and up rise the animalic notes again, making me wait to find the hidden oud gem of clarity in the middle.
Oud Caravan 1 is too rough for me, the depth of the singular note is highly impressive, but it feels more like a portrait of oud rather than a fragrance. Still – a great portrait.

Oud Caravan 2 has an almost identical opening, I find it hard to differentiate between 1 & 2 from the initial top notes. I’m kind of glad, I love a fragrance to begin with a punch.

After a couple of minutes, expecting Oud Caravan 2 to flood into a hot, barnyard eruption – it doesn’t. Instead, it decreases in volume, with much greater clarity and arrangement, and recreates the more rounded and comfortable feel of Oud Caravan 1 in the later, more pleasing drydown. There’s some sweetness in OC2 that isn’t there in 1, it has the bitter, earthy quality of vanilla bean, but it doesn’t smell vanillic.

I find OC2 has much more of an ethereal quality. Whilst it is always pungent and present on-and-above the skin, with all the usual challenging oud facets – the clear, smooth sweetness and lighter handled notes makes Oud Caravan 2 far more welcoming and understandable. Yet again, I don’t find that it feels like a fragrance, and I currently see it as another portrait of oud.

Oud Caravan 3 yet again has a familiar opening. The opening of these ouds seem untamable – and maybe they shouldn’t be changed. I’m looking out for drastic differences here but it seems Dubrana is manipulating the subtleties of the oud rather than its true character. That’s a good thing I assume.

Oud Caravan 3 is smoky – it has the charred leather scent of charcoal, paired with a fresher take on the barnyard hay facet. The earthy sweetness seems to be coming from this “hay” note – it’s ethereal quality in No.2 shapeshifted it into something that appeared completely separate. The fragrance is bone dry, almost jarring with its burnt quality and harsh, ashy texture. The oud ever prominent, pushing forward more powerful than No.2, but more mature than No.1. The medicinal quality is lovely, and the oud’s various persona’s all slip into place to form something quite harmonious, with nothing in particular jolting out making the fragrance uncomfortable – like the heated spice in Oud Caravan 1. The drydown is long and languid, it’s a smooth oud with sweet ambery notes – for me, the best part of the fragrance.

Would I wear Oud Caravan 3? No. Whilst the note itself – to many – has all the complexity needed to make up a fragrance, to me it is too simplistic, and as I have mentioned more than once – not a fragrance. Ok so, it’s not a typical fragrance, it’s an attar. This is the first attar I have tried, so I hope I don’t come across as too immature. I realise these traditional scents rely on great quality ingredients in simplistic compositions to enhance the characters of each ingredient – it’s a beautiful theory, and I’m sure it can work. I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet, but I can appreciate the daring display.
I hate to compare, but whereas this seems a literal oud portrait, Aftelier’s Oud Luban is, for example, a more fully orchestrated oud portrait to me. Oud Luban enhances the oud’s true quality by pairing it with a bright orange, and then pulling at its depths with spicy frankincense – to me it is heartbreakingly perfect. I will revisit this project soon, as it’s a wonderful learning curve for the complicated oud note.

Oud Caravan No.3 La Via del Profumo 10ml – 60 Euros

About these ads
Tagged , , , , , ,

9 thoughts on “La Via Del Profumo – Oud Caravan 1, 2 & 3

  1. laniersmith says:

    How very interesting of Dominique Dubrana to include input from perfumistas during his creative process. I love oud and No.3 sounds as you say, “heartbeakingly perfect”.

  2. I must compliments you for your understanding perfumes and for your unprejudiced nose. Oud is such a difficult scent to approach. One must have an inner strength which is not of common people.
    It is right, these are 3 Oud portraits, in the Arabic Attars fashion. I carefully avoided to make a “perfume” here, in order to keep the full strength of the Oud spirit and to make a product worthy of the geographic market for which it is destined, the gulf countries.
    Still, transforming any of these portraits into perfumes would be very easy, it is just a question of proportions between the ingredients already presents.
    I enjoyed very much your review.

    • That’s very kind thank you.
      This is an area of perfumery which is COMPLETELY unfamiliar to me, and I hoped my views wouldn’t come across as negative – instead I felt I wasn’t quite ready to write about these, but that’s how I learn about particular fragrances.
      I have been trying numerous others in your line and have been gaining greater understanding – and your new fragrance Tawaf (which I will be reviewing and sending to you soon) is actually the one which I got along with better than any other :) It’s been a very interesting, different experience sampling these :)

  3. Hisham Ayoub says:

    I enjoyed very much reading your review. I would like to point out though that to call it Attar is inaccurate. Attar are made without the use of alcohol and the ingredients are normally infused in Sandalwood oil. The challenges faced with working with Oud is unlike other ingredients with a single note Oud can contain many notes and accords that some can be considered perfumes into their own. I think Profumo did an excellent job working with the Oud at hand and i encouraged him to try different Ouds to see how variant the results can be.

    • Ahh thank you for the information. Dominique relied above – I think what we both meant was that it was composed in the style of an attar, something I’m very unfamiliar with to be honest but am luckily getting the opportunity to explore.
      As for the singular oud note – I can really appreciate that, I find the same with orris, tuberose, certain rose and incense etc. I guess just like some people wouldn’t want to just wear an iris soliflore – it is similar to how I feel about oud: I adore it in a composition, but singularly not so much, not becuase it is challenging, I just see it much more as a strong support or partner in lead.
      I also agree – it’s an excellent, direct portrait.

  4. mashaallah… i wish i can try them..!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 233 other followers

%d bloggers like this: