Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud & Soivohle Bottleneck Blues

Mexico was great, for those of you that knew where I was going last week.  Every person is entitled to once a year go sit on a beach anywhere in the world by themselves and not have to worry about anything more strenuous than why the seaweed washes up the way it does some days and doesn’t other days or whether you can make that great avocado salad the same way they do when you get back. It was so far beyond relaxing, I was almost comatose. My feet went naked for seven days, I never combed my hair, just showered in my open air shower looking at the ocean, then sat out in the sun and let the ocean breezes blow it dry. Why is it that sun blowing your hair dry looks so much better than what I can do with a blow dryer?  The sad part to that is I had to leave 90 degrees every day without fail to 22.  So do yourself a favor and book a few days on a beach by yourself. 4-5 will do.

Juliette Has a Gun has been a brand that I think it just darn cute and can’t help but like and root for. I like the packaging and the name, and most of the scents have been good or better than good.  When I saw they’d stumbled into oud with their new Midnight Oud, I sorta shuddered after the recent great entries from Kilian and Soivohle.

Moroccan rose, geranium, saffron, oud note, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, and animalic musks are the notes in Midnight Oud.  It goes on pungent and Oud-Fierce, reminding me more of the Montales than anything else at the start, with a nice strong rose background.  Sorta Lady Vengeance in 6-inch smokin’ (literally) stilettos.  There’s a nice leathery, smoky sensibility around this, with some additional interesting aspects from geranium and saffron, a bitter and a smoothness.  As it dries down, it loses the most pungent aspects of the oud, which is good, smoothing out into a more smoldering rose, dark with smoke rolling off of it.  I like this a lot, not quite as much as the Kilian Pure Oud or the Soivohle Oudh Lacquer, but this is nicely done and a good departure from the Montale ouds that I just can’t do – wearable in public without choking your neighbors, reallly beautiful, but with distinct dark notes that will appeal to you that like your roses closer to black than red. I know the Montales have a lot of fans, but for those of us that like our oud to stop burning at some point and making us choke, these new entries are a welcome relief, but let us still enjoy all that oud has to offer.  Available at Luckyscent for $135 for 100 mls.

I hadn’t intended to include Liz Zorn’s Bottleneck Blues in this post, but I can’t help myself.  Notes of grasses, animalic musk, damp earth, tonka beans, lilac, rose, tuberose, jasmine, woods, moss, ambergris,  and castoreum.  The Delta Blues are then inspiration for this scent.  It starts out watching the clouds laying in the grass and earth on a fall day, until you feel a little dirty and a little cold, but the sun comes out with a floral bouquet that adds sweetness to your day and your life, so you linger a while, enjoying the contrast between earthy and soft.  Then that dark, dangerous boy from the farm next door happens by without a shirt on, and all you can hear is Nina Simone growling out:

deltabluesI want a little sugar
in my bowl
I want a little sweetness
down in my soul
I could stand some lovin’
Oh so bad
I feel so funny and I feel so sad
I want a little steam
on my clothes
Maybe I can fix things up
so they’ll go
Whatsa matter Daddy
Come on, save my soul
I need some sugar in my bowl
I ain’t foolin’
I want some sugar in my bowl

Yeah, like that.  If you like skank with lots of class and soul, you will adore Bottleneck Blues.    $35 for 5 ml of parfum and $90 for 1/2 ounce of parfum.  In this day and age, that’s a bargain, and you know it.  I would have never worn this on my running away from home vacation or I would have jumped one of those cute Polizia that went up and down the beach on their four-wheelers.

Out of curiousity, and having to do with nothing but my continuing interest in finding the next great beach to gaze at my navel on, what was your favorite place you’ve ever been for relaxation?

(Painting is Delta Blues by John Carroll Doyle � 1996)

  • lennygaudy says:

    My favorite places for relaxation would have to be Grace Bay Beach & Sopadilla Bay both in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. I still dream about the turquoise color of that water…{sigh}

  • March says:

    Hey, P — we’ve gone to Mexico, Costa Rica, various islands… I think the beaches on Virgin Gorda were some of the most spectacular I’ve seen — think smaller coves, snorkeling, interesting rock formations, etc. rather than miles of endless sand. It’s pretty quiet, but that sounds like it’s okay with you.


    Google Virgin Gorda Baths, freaking amazing (you climb through them)


  • tmp00 says:

    I think my favorite place was the one I was most recently at: the Inn at Ojai. My friend was going and dragged me there. Not that you would know it, but I am one of those people who finds it difficult to stay put. I’m always flitting off to the next thing. My friend kind of forced me to really relax there and it was great..

  • Karen G says:

    Glad you were able to run away for a while! The most perfect beaches I’ve ever seen were in the Maldive Islands. Perfectly soft white sand. Perfectly turquoise water. Perfect palm trees. Impossible to not relax there. But it’s a long long way to go. I find relaxation much closer to home when my husband and I take off camping, or even at home with a glass of wine and a good book. Although, there’s nothing like going shoeless for a few days, is there?

  • Lena says:

    Lovely post! I have yet to dip my toes into Oud – I have to admit, I’m a little a-feared. 😉

    My favorite place to relax…ahhh…it’s more of a time than a specific place. The summer before my junior year of college, I studied abroad on a beautiful Caribbean island called St. Kitts. For a month and a half, I busted my butt in 120-degree blistering weather 8 hours a day, digging square holes in the dirt (also known as “conducting an archaeological excavation”).

    Every Sunday, the group piled into a van affectionately nicknamed the WFR (Worst F…ing Ride) and puttered over to Turtle Beach, where the sky was eggshell blue, the water the most unlikely torquoise and the mountains across the way were so emerald it was ridiculous. It was pure heaven after working so hard all week to just pull out a chair, grab a bucket of ice cold Caribs, stick your feet in the sugar white sand, and nap in the sun all day…or at least until the little vervet monkies decided to try to steal your camera or sunblock. 😉 Ahhhh…memories! Relaxes me just thinking about it.

  • violetnoir says:

    The best beach I have ever been to was this black, yes black, beach in Guatemala. Gorgeous!

    If you want to samba, then you can’t beat the Copacabana Beach in Rio. I bet those folks are still partying since they won the bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016!

    So good to hear that you had a relaxing respite at the beach in Mexico!


  • Disteza says:

    I like my oudhs on the pungent side, but the JHAG sounds like it might be interesting with all the dark leathery rose action.

    I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a vacation for relaxation. Heck, the concept of relaxation itself is mostly foreign to me, much to my SO’s chagrin. (:| Vacations, for me, are always about going and doing (have walked until my feet were bleeding more than once). I figure if I’m going to pay to go somewhere, I should at least do/buy/see something while I’m there.

  • Patty says:

    Thanks, Connie! You know, I have to be really careful in the sun now, heavy sunscreen, I mostly have a tan sprayed on before I go on a sun vacation, then carefully sit under an umbrella and just enjoy the ocean breezes, which I love.

    Agree on Greece. Never been there, but every picture just makes my long for that view in person.

  • Connie says:

    Welcome back, Patty! I’m glad you had a wonderful time. It’s funny but beaches aren’t really my thing even though I’ve been to many. Plus, when I turned around 35 or so I became allergic to the sun. I get the hives and it is not fun … or attractive. Boy, do I live in the wrong geographic area:)

    I stayed in Playa del Carmen for a couple of days some years ago. We took a cab (don’t know which direction) for about a half hour and were in a (mostly) deserted beach, which was really nice. The sand was white and powdery and the water was a beautiful turquoise shade. Very similar to many in the caribbean. The Greek Islands are beautiful, though, and I do recommend going there. I’ve never seen the water that color. It is like a shimmering electric blue.

    When I want to feel refreshed and alive I like to go to Europe in the Fall or Spring … I get to wear coats and boots and scarves, oh my!

    Glad you had a lovely time and are back home safely.


  • Silvia says:

    I’m a happy and proud owner of the JHAG Oud…at first sniff it was something like “eeeewwwhh, what IS this??”,but after 10 minutes or so it settled down to something incredibly sexy,creamy,close-to-skin,smokey..wow..Just had to buy it. Ok, might be biased, I’m pretty much of a fan of these guys (just bought their perfumed bullet,too!just tooo cute!), and I do want to try some of the others that have come out..especially the by Kilian(please tell me it’s less sweet than Back to Black!!..then there’s the Soivohle, a Micaleff oud..all in the same $-range,right? Is the by Kilian actually tamer than the JHAG?

    • Patty says:

      The Pure Oud from Kilian is not sweet at all. It’s just refined oud, I guess is the best way to put it. Smooth as silk, but still oudish. Pure Oud WITH Back to Black is the way to go. I think of those two as going together, and I couldn’t take wearing BtoBlack all day without the Oud to soften out the sweet.

      I know Liz’s Oudh Lacquer is pretty price, it’s a pure parfum, but you need a drop, and she sells a nice small sample of it.

      I think the Kilian is tamer than the JHAG, but I like it more.

      • Silvia says:

        oh,c’moooooooooon Patty..you should have told me something like “oh,forget about the Pure Oud, if you already have the JHAG,it’s basically the same”…I’m trying NOT to get a sample of it..because I just know I’ll love it! Lol!I don’t want to spend that money!
        (btw, I got samples of all the by Kilians a week ago and-thank god-the only two I´d -maybe- spend that amount of money on would be the citrus one (Prelude to Love?) and Back to Black, even though it’s sooo sweet…the rest of them are just too much candy-sweetish for me)

        • Patty says:

          Well, I would have if it were true! I think Pure Oud is in a category all by itself. Which reminds me, I need to bug Luckyscent to make sure it’s staying in the permanent line and ask if they’ll ever do refills on it!

  • Fernando says:

    I went, yesterday, to the Boston launch of the By Kilian line at Saks. (I was visiting Boston to see my son, and for folks who live in the boonies such opportunities shouldn’t be passed up.) Goal number 1 was to smell the Pure Oud. No luck. They had all the ultra-sweet Kilians out, but when I asked about the Oud it was all “oh, I think we haven’t set that out yet, it’s somewhere in the back.” And Kilian Hennessy was supposed to be there, but “oh, he’s around the store somewhere”. So, no Pure Oud for me.

    I’m curious about the Juliette and the Liz Zorn versions. I love Montale’s Black Aoud, which I think smells fabulous on me, so it sounds as if I might like these as well. (Would they work on a man?)

    I’ve never tried the Arabian ouds though… where does one get those?

    The other Liz Zorn sounds interesting as well. There are far too many perfumes out there that I haven’t sniffed….

    • Patty says:

      Oh, that’s a shame!

      The Liz Zorn would absolutely work on a man, and I think the JHAG version would as well. Because the rose is so dark in it and dipped in smoke and leather, I think it would work great on a guy. The Oudh Lacquer is fiercer and stays fiercer than the JHAG, so of the two, if you love Black Aoud, I think the Liz one would be the one to try.

      Arabian Ouds you can only get in the shops, which they have one in London and one in Paris and several in the Mideast, not sure why they don’t open one in NYC. The Al-Quarashi are great too, but they have the same setup as Arabian Oud. I’m not sure that either of them will ship.

      • Louise says:

        The Arabian Oud shops have an online store, and will sometimes ship at reduced rates if you call them. I’ve had very good experiences both in the store and online :d/

    • Silvia says:

      Hi Fernando,
      I’ll answer you myself, at least for the JHAG oud..absolutely gender-free! Would work great on a man! Actually, I find it sexy in a masculin-ish/un-girly way! 🙂
      Reminds me a lot of CdG 2 Woman (which also is un-girly sexy!)

  • Shelley says:

    I’m glad you didn’t hold back on the Bottleneck Blues…I’ve been curious about that one, and loved being able to hear your impressions. I am treading slowly around oud-land…as with other commenters today and past, the serious oud note can drive like an awl straight to my headache spot. Milder then can be medicinal, or intriguing. You’ve got me willing to peek around the corner and sniff with “if you like your roses closer to black then red.”

    As for relaxing…I tend to be cabin/woods/water, and have found a special spot near the 45th parallel that puts me at peace whenever I go. There are beaches big and small, “inland” lakes and the big lake…I love introducing folks to the concept that the Great Lakes are big. Very Big. No, you cannot see across. Yes, they can be treacherous to navigate. And, um, yeah, this time of year, you’d probably have to contemplate your navel when relaxing by the fire post-beach stroll. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Y’all are frozen up there!!!! Every time I lament about our weather, which should be better in a couple of days, I think about the arctic chill going through Chicagoland.

      I really would like to do the Great Lakes one day, not sure why I haven’t?

  • monkeytoe says:

    I live in Miami, so lovely beaches are easy to come by. I do like to head over to the west coast of Florida and spend a long weekend at Marco Island. The beaches are fabulous, but even more wonderful is the fact I am too far away to feel guilty for not cleaning out my pantry instead of lounging on the beach reading trashy paperbacks.

    The most relaxing place I have ever been is a tie between hiking in the Cascades in the northwest of the US and a walking tour of the Cotswolds in England.

    • Patty says:

      That sounds perfect. I want to do a hiking/biking run through Italy next year. There’s something so much more intimate about getting out of the car and going through slowly. You experience so much more.

  • karin says:

    Heat + beach + warm, clear, blue water + a good book + a cute waiter offering drinks is my recipe for instant relaxation. Really, any tropical beach will do.

    I was in Mexico a few weeks ago! North of Playa del Carmen. Had to bring my husband along, though. 😉 Didn’t care for the water in that area – apparently used to be a mangrove swamp, so the water was murky and full of sticks and such. But that didn’t prevent me from relaxing!!! Love that heat. And to those of you who are pining for it, Mexico is SO cheap right now!!!

    Sorry, I know absolutely nothing about oud. Must get my hands on some.

    • Patty says:

      I was south of Playa del Carmen, and the water is the same. I’d far rather the beaches of Turks and Caicos or Anguilla, but the price goes up for every debris-free square foot of beach. 🙂

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Welcome home Patty – so glad you had a marvellous time.

    We don’t do beach holidays, although we do go to a wonderful little seaside place in Cornwall every year (and never set foot on the beach). South of France and Chiantishire do it for me!

    Very nice and entertaining reviews, as always, but I don’t think I need to subject my nose to either of these.

    • Patty says:

      That sounds lovely. Is it too cold to beach, or you just like looking at it more than getting in it? I don’t like to swim in the ocean at all, that salt just skeezes me out, though I do love to snorkel and hopefully dive within the next six months or so.

  • Olfacta says:

    Years and years (and years) ago I spent ten days on the Greek Island of Ios. It was a break from several months of traveling around western Europe with very little money, grueling in every way. Ios was dirt-cheap, beautiful and filled with other people doing the same thing. I don’t remember ever being so relaxed, before or since. Life can be very simple when you’re carrying all your belongings on your back.

    Now we go to a small island off the panhandle coast of Florida, St. George.

    • Patty says:

      Greece is on my list for hopefully next year or the one after that. I’ve always wanted to go, and it has that RELAX vibe just caroming off of it in waves.

    • Divina says:

      Aaaaaaaaaaah Olfacta, the memories you just awoke..
      Ios was completely transactional for me, I don’t know if I’d be where I am now/the person I am now had I not been there on vacation once. Went with my two best girlfriends when we finished highschool and it was the best vacation I’ve ever had in my life. Of course I’ve had other fabulous holidays that don’t compare in different respects, but that feeling of freedom, that feeling of endless possibility, the feeling of being completely unbound by any rules or responsibilities.. Just wow. It is (well, at least was back then) a complete party island with a weirdly sexual communal feeling, really bizarre, never seen anything like it. Despite partying it up as hard as possible, we also managed to discover ourselves. An awakening in all respects.
      I’ll never go there again, just to never spoil that memory.

      One night the electricity went out on this tiny island… Surrounded as it is by sea (thus no other lights around) it made for the most stunning starlit sky. Everyone just stepped out of every house, club and bar ooh-ing and ah-ing.
      Oh my god, I’ve just written a book reminiscing 😛 Anyway, thanks for bringing Ios up.. I’m glad someone else remembers this place as ‘the one’.

  • Francesca says:

    Glad you had such a wonderful time, Patty. This is really mundane, but my favorite place to relax is on my deck, in the Connecticut woods. A glass of wine, something tasty to nibble on, a good book, beautiful music playing, the birds singing…perfection to me. Alas, I didn’t get to do too much of that this year between the rain and the cold, but I can relax just as well lying on the couch in front of the fire.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Welcome back Patty !

    For me it’s got to be Nanunya Island, part of the Yasawa Islands, Fiji; if only it wasn’t so far away I’d go once a year to forget about everything. My best solo holiday was in Belize, diving.

    Am really into oud, Montales included. Only recently tried the ByKilian and it’s very true to its name, Pure Oud, stunning, a refined version of some of the fierce ouds from Arab shops that Louise mentions and that I also adore. Must try the Juliette-Has-A-Gun one, I lost a bit of interest in the line for no real good reason.

    • Patty says:

      See, I so want to do Fiji or Thailand, but the prospect of the two days flying just puts it on the NO list too quickly, unless I could spend two weeks. Or maybe just break up the trip and get to Turkey, play in Istanbul for a week, then fly the rest of it. hey, that would work! Well, other than how expensive that would be!

      Pure Oud is a wonder, no? Every time I put it on, it start so simply and morphs into such a beautiful thing, it just blows me away.

      JHAG did a couple of things that were okay, but just not anything to get excited about.

  • Louise says:

    I’m easy on the getaway spot-most any deep forest will do, though I do prefer a connifer on, preferably in central Oregon…then again, winter at the beach is mighty special.

    I’ve been a hard-core oud fan for a few years; the Montales are tame compared to some of the Arabian Oud blends I love 😮

    I have resisted some of the tamer ouds that have been issued of late (Trish McAvoys is really well done, but too $$$ for the amount; I need to retry the Kilian; and Le Labos was just a mess, IMO). But I just ordered Liz Zorn’s, which sounds irresistible. Must give Juliette’s a spin :d

    • Francesca says:

      Oh, jeez, Louise, the Le Labo Oud 27 literally gave me a migraine. But I loved the Kilian.

    • Patty says:

      You know, I prefer the Arabian Oud and Al-Quarashis to Montales. I think it’s just the smoothness. Montale just seems so harsh for me.

      Le Labo just didn’t even register. i need to sniff it again, though.

  • Divina says:

    The Killian hasn’t made it here yet unfortunately though I hear it is wonderful. As for Juliette has a Gun Midnight Oud, I had exactly the same perception of it as you, the first hour or so reads exactly like a Montale! (I love Montales though, mind 🙂 )
    After that it really softens and the sweet leather and musk comes to the fore beautifully, with the oud being an enhancer rather than the star. The boyfriend wore it and I kept getting whiffs of it all day – thought it was dead sexy 😡

    Welcome back, btw!

    • Patty says:

      And it has nice lasting power. I always find out how good when I get up the next morning and answer comments before showering. It’s still there after hand washings, etc. Beautifully done, but soft oud.

  • Scent Hive says:

    Off I go to test my sample. I’ve been so enamored by Oudh Lacquer I haven’t gotten to Bottleneck Blues yet. Come to mama!!


    PS: This is so trite I’m afraid, but I love Hawaii, Wailea on Maui or Hapuna on the Big Island. I really want to check out Kauai this Spring. There’s a conference I might go to in order to justify it.;)

    • Patty says:

      I do like Hawaii. I can’t do Honolulu, bleah. Lanai was nice, but pretty remote. The part of Maui I went to was tourist hell. Though I understand there are lots of places on Maui that aren’t like that. I do want to do the Big Island and Kauai, though. I looked at it briefly for my birthday, and they are having a lot of fare sales to Hawaii on United right now. Still haven’t ruled it out!

    • Scent Hive says:

      One of the most gorgeous places I have ever stayed was Hana on Maui at the Hana Maui Resort. It is amazing. It’s the opposite of tourist hell.


  • chasa says:

    Las Brisas in Acapulco is my haven. I read about the place in my grandmother’s Travel and Leisure magazine when I was just a kid and kept it in mind for years afterward…it’s the kind of place that’s described as a honeymoon destination, but since it seemed I might never have one of those, I went alone in my 20s, then again with one of my sisters a few years later (and *she* actually went there for her honeymoon). So glad you had a few days of total relaxation! It recharges the spirit.

    Liking the sound of both of these scents…thanks as always for the reviews!

    • Patty says:

      I clickety-clicked to Las Brisas, and that sounds really great. Is it a big hotel? I tend to avoid those some of the time, depends on what I’m in the mood for.

      • chasa says:

        I don’t know how big Las Brisas actually is because it’s made up of individual casitas sprinkled on a hillside above Acapulco…you can pretty much seclude yourself away and not see other resort guests if you want. A lot of the casitas have private pools and it’s very much worth it to get one that does. They spread fresh hibiscus blossoms in your pool every day, crazy beautiful!

  • carter says:

    Loved review, the Nina, and the postcard from Mexico b-) and so glad you were able to chill out before the big chill :d.

    When I need a little :)>- I commandeer a boat belonging to a friend in the Virgin Islands, hire a local to keep it afloat, and sail off into the sunset or whatever direction the wind carries me. I drop anchor only to sleep and snorkle, or to linger in some tranquil cove, or to samba under the stars (*).

    • Patty says:

      Okay, how do I manage that boat thing? That sounds so great. I keep thinking I want to do one of those small ship trips, but they’re so freaking expensive, I never get past looking at them longingly.

      • carter says:

        It *is* great. My friend’s company owns three beautiful sailboats moored in St. Thomas, VI. They lease them out all but 3 weeks of the year, and there’s a wonderful British fellow named Bryan %%- who is a highly experienced sailor, knows all of the islands well, and is happy to take you out for as long as your heart desires and to wander as aimlessly as you please for a fee <:-p. I usually go during the owner's weeks, and he pays Bryan (yes, he's a wonderful friend :&#120;) so I don't know how much $-) it would set you back, but if you're interested let me know and I will make a phone call. The family is talking about selling the company, but I think they plan to hold onto the boats [-o<, but I'll double-check that and find out the particulars if you're seriously interested.

      • carter says:

        If you are serious about sailing around the islands I will ask my friend about the details. His company owns several boats moored on St. Thomas (not my favorite place, but I only stay there long enough to fly in and out) which he leases out for all but three weeks of each year. I go during those personal-use weeks, and he hires a captain (usually a charming guy named Bryan, a British expat who is an experienced skipper and knows the islands like the back of his hand), so I don’t really know what the costs are but, as I say, I am happy to inquire. He has been talking about selling the company and retiring, but I’m hoping he doesn’t plan to sell the boat(s) along with it.