L’Artisan Al Oudh

By March

I had a different review written up for today, a tongue-in-cheek piece spoofing Serge Lutens, which I’ve now decided is stupid and wrong and not funny at all, like reading the Tiger Mother try to explain (as she did in a local reading) that to some degree she was just funnin’ about her parenting creed.  You know, sorta like reading David Sedaris.  Heh heh.  And no, the local audience of peasant-liberals, wielding their hand-knit, locally sourced, eco-friendly pitchforks weren’t buying her line of defense any more than I am.

Which brings us to the scent of the week, and today’s review, L’Artisan Al Oudh, which thanks to Lee I never fail to think of as  “‘You Can Call Me Al’ Oudh,” complete with Paul Simon’s voice and that nose-flute-thingy tootling along in the background.  (Damn you, Lee!  I miss you.)  Notes via LuckyScent are cumin, cardamom, pink pepper, date, rose, neroli, incense, saffron, leather note, oud, Atlas cedar, castoreum, civet, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla and tonka bean.

My recollection of the arrival of Al Oudh among the perfumistas was: a big, fat yawn, as hardcore oudh fans aren’t going to find what they’re looking for here.  And also, that as it dries down, it’s a kinda generic man-scent smell.  Also, oudh is apparently the new lychee/pink pepper/martini – Robin pronounced 2009 as the “year of oudh” in her review of this thing a year ago, and I’d say 2010 continued the trend, and 2011 … isn’t every third review on a perfume blog now stocked with the word “oudh?”  Personally I find that odd, as (personally) I find oudh’s somewhat medicinal smell, and its frequent pairing with a shovelful of rose, not exactly universally appealing.

The weather’s crummy and we continue Blahfest 2011, The Boxed Set in 3-D over here at my house – a deadly concoction of snow-days off from school, too many rugrats (who had all these children?!) and the usual work/life drama… it’s the perfect time to continue March the Maleficent’s current theme of Scents With Too Much Cumin, in no small part because it keeps the other inmates far, far away from me.

How did I miss all that cumin in Call Me Al Oudh?  I have no idea.  I also have no idea how I’ve managed to fall in love, or at least serious like, with yet another scent by my faithful nemesis Bertrand Duchaufour – to the extent that I am concerned I have dropped into an alternate universe, or sustained some sort of nasal damage.  How can people not love this thing?   I get spicy, peppery incense, a truckload of cumin, saffron (! love love love!), some leathery vanilla, and a nice dollop of …. uh, wow, whut is that — ahahahahahaha the civet, and it goes on that way all day without either getting boring or starting to work my last nerve, the way, say, Navigateur does sometimes.   Al Oudh is to oudh as Traversee du Bosphore is to Turkish delight, and I’m fine with that.  Also, those two smell great side by side (not precisely layered – I put one on the left arm and the other on the right.)  The creamy sweetness of Bosphore and the animalic funk of Al Oudh suit each other perfectly, a match made in perfumista heaven, at least for me, this week.

sample source: private sample; bottle image from L’Artisan website.  The bottle’s gorgeous, but I still miss their old-style caps.  I think those big bolt-looking caps are so inelegant.

  • Joe says:

    You know, I really need to try this again.

    I can love me some big ol’ skanky, animalic perfumes, but the one time I sampled Al-Oudh, all I got was some nice ripe, manly armpit. And I’m not saying that’s always a bad thing, but it’s usually not what I want to spend my good money on … even when it comes in a to-die-for bottle like that one.

  • Victoria says:

    I am waiting for BBW Warm Vanilla Oud and Avon Oud for Him and Oud for Her! ;)

  • nozknoz says:

    I’ve actually had a chance to retest my sample and I am rather liking it. I don’t find it particularly oud-y but I’m enjoying the interplay between the warm wisps of cumin and the cool-spicy-incensy core. That BD.

    The spicy part may be reminding me of Like This, but I’d have to retest that to verify.

    Anyway, it does seem ideal for a guy (guess that’s why they named it Al :) – I bet Furriner smells great!

  • Sariah says:

    This review is TOO FUNNY. Thanks for a good laugh. :x

  • Louise says:

    I have Al from the very beginning, and am happy to find some company ; )

    I certainly get a good dose of cumin, and very little oud, but so much else-the pepper and the fruity aspects put it in the camp of my dear friends-El Att, modern Femme, Quadrille, Arabie-all somehow related, and all very satisfying.

    Thanks for a great post, dear March!

  • Disteza says:

    Heh, well, chiming in for the Cumin-Magnifiers Anonymous crowd, this wasn’t the best-smelling thing I ever tried on. Definitely manky and spicy. And not in a good way, like SL El Attarine was.

    BTW, If you’re really looking to smell what I’d call real oudh, which is not remotely screechy or reminiscent of band-aids, invest in some high quality oudh bakhoor. That stuff is heaven, and it’ll make your whole house smell great for much longer than any candle.

  • lemonprint says:

    I haven’t smelled this one and now feel even less of a need to.

    Last week a Caron presenter was at Sniffapalooza and said Caron would be out with an oud in spring. I think she mistook the sigh that went around the room for excitement (I don’t think it was. I think it was a psychic chorus of “Another oud???”)

    I have what I feel is the perfect oud rose – Kriger’s Oud for Highness – and don’t need any more. And I LIKE oud.

    • March says:

      lol CARON?!?!? Caron’s doing an oud? Sheeet, maybe Bjorn up there is right and Calvin Klein and Jessica Simpson are next.

      How about Pink Sugar Oud? Yum.

      • lemonprint says:

        Yeaaaaahhhhh…. not really necessary, is it? And possibly even less desirable. :-)

      • sweetlife says:

        Caron did their oud before the current wave of oudification. They’ve had it out in the Middle Eastern market for awhile now. Just bringing it to the states now.

        But, to your point March, BBW lists oud in several of their latest…

        • March says:

          Wait, you are JOKING about BBW, right? Right? 😮

          • sweetlife says:

            Not joking. They don’t have “Sugar Oud” yet, but as Victoria pointed out in her recent oud round up, its listed as a note in several of their scents–that Dark Kiss something or other vampirish one, pretty sure.

  • Vasily says:

    I’m no fan of cumin, and I don’t get much cumin from Al Oudh. I do agree that it’s a kissing cousin of M7, minus the cherry-tobacco-fruity thing going on in the latter. Unlike M7, it’s on my (short) list of bottleworthy fragrances.

    Pure oudh oil seems in my experience to fall into three camps: the barnyardy-animalic, the medicinal-chemical, and the smoky-woody. At least that’s true of the 15 or so I’ve tried. None of the oudhs I’ve tried have seemed cuminy, but it may be there are cuminy ones out there.

    I find the oudh in Al Oudh and M7 to be fairly unobtrusive … yeah, it’s there, but there’s a lot of other things going on of interest in these fragrances. Of course, I’m a boy, so that may have something to do with my fondness for these scents.

    • Masha says:

      I’ve never tried an oudh that’s remotely like cumin either. I think cumin is used as an animalic note because the actual animalics are banned, often for good reason! But it’s nothing like actual agarwood.

    • March says:

      Really, like M7? Where is my decant of M7? M7 seemed … bigger and more cologne-y to me (in a nice way.) Louder? Of course who knows how old it is. Must re-compare.

      And I think the “cumin” is just a totally separate thing, and I like your descriptions of the ouds! I have definitely smelled the barnyard in there. Would like to try smoky-woody.

      • Vasily says:

        The Borneo oudhs I’ve tried have been more woody on me than rear-end-of-a-babooney or bottom-of-an-iodine-bottley. In fact, the only oudh I own a bottle of is from Borneo … and by bottle I mean an elegant vial with a few ml of ungodly expensive brown stuff.

        Would like to try M7 and Al Oudh side by side … if you have a chance to, I’d be curious to hear what you think.

        • March says:

          My M7 seems bigger and rougher and more “Italian,” if that makes sense. Flashier? (hides face) the Al Oudh is smoother and more cuminy.

        • Masha says:

          Did you get that from Oriscent? Their Borneo sounds really tempting….

          • Vasily says:

            Yes … I own a vial of their Oriscent 4000. The Borneos I really like from them are Sheikh’s Borneo and Blue Borneo, both pleasant intense cedary woods. I think I’ve also tried their Borneo 3000, which was equally commendable. I also like very much their Archipelago, a wood with very medicinal and peppery/spicy notes. Their Chinese Exclusive Oudh starts out very barnyardy, but has a nice woody drydown. The Oriscents I find animalic and horrible are their Assam Organic and their Wild Himalaya. A good way to get an introduction to pure oudhs is to purchase one of their samplers. I’m curious to try the Cambodians they’re offering, that’s new territory for me. If you find an oudh you like, the nice thing is, you only need a small dab for a wearing so a vial (while small) lasts forever. To show how weird oudhs can get, their very expensive Royal Kinam had notes I can only describe as ripe tomato and cocoa. :)

  • AnnieA says:

    At the risk of sounding like a gender-segragationist: Oudh is for boys…

    • March says:

      AND SOMETIMES FOR LITTLE GIRLS. Roses are for boys. [-(

      • Musette says:

        And there are some @};- that boys rock FOR DAYS!

        And white flowers? Oh, yeah. Here’s a great recipe:

        1 Giant, buff, gorgeous Strappin’ Hunk o’ Man (The Rock will do)
        2 sprays of Fracas (if out of Fracas, substitute Carnal Flower or Joy)

        Wrap in something crisp and fabulous (like a nice suit)

        Serve at a cocktail party

        Watch the womenses lose their natural minds.

        xo >-)

  • sweetlife says:

    Oh man, Marchele. I just got CUMIN cumin, cumin and MORE CUMIN outtta this thing. So, yeah, I declined the sample the SA offered to me. Must be the same combo of stuff present in Rubj where everything disappears but the Big C. Femme, on the other hand, I wear quite comfortably while everyone else is complaining. :)

    I think the attachment parenting cultural moment we’ve been having was bound to breed a tiger mom eventually. Just a boon to the publishing industry that they get to combine reactionary methods with the vague (and not so vague) racist fear of the other Big C.

    • March says:

      Doing the cuminy dance over here tonight, btw. El Attarine and Jubilation 25…

      I’m back and forth upthere with Erin T. Surely there must be a middle ground in the parenting drama?

      • sweetlife says:

        If you’re happy there in the cumin bin, then I am happy for you.

        Of course there’s plenty of middle ground! But those people seem to be too busy actually raising their kids to write memoirs and beat up on people on web forums and playgrounds. I am child-free, and so have been a listening ear for all my friends with kids who are caught in the parent wars, and I’ve witnessed a surprising amount of not-so-subtle policing firsthand. Holy mother of middle-aged over-educated guilt, some of those women are not kidding around.

        I do think even the phrase “tiger mother” plays directly into current China phobias.

        • March says:

          I know whereof you speak. The parenting wars around here are pretty intense.

          I wonder how all of this would have played if they couldn’t have used the Chinese angle? I’m not articulating this very well, but would reaction have been different if she was some random Amy Smith WASP mom?

          • sweetlife says:

            Sorry, March, coming back hear after forever because I don’t get comment notifications–to say, yes. I think it would have been totally different. She would have been treated as a one-off nut, and not as the Bearer of Ancient Wisdom. Nothing like borrowing the mantle of a civilization way, way, older than ours and about to beat our pants off. (And see? Now I’m doing the China thing, too. It’s hard not to!)

  • Erin T says:

    Like Furriner, I think it You Can Call Me Al would be good in the summer. That’s when I wear my M7, which is the closest in spirit to Al Oudh, in my opinion. In the heat, M7 has more of that gasoline bloom that I love, but I never turn down cumin, of course and thought this was nicely done. Of the first three L’Artisan BD releases, this was clearly the one geared to me: I was completely immune to the seemingly universal appeal of Havana Vanille, which I thought was terrible, and Nuit de T was interesting enough, but somehow not really my style. Truth be told, though, I still found Al Oudh just a little snoozy and preferred M7. Maybe I should try it again…

    Have you ever heard Randy Newman’s song “Korean Parents”? (Available on YouTube). Now that’s David Sedaris level laughs, and is one of Newman’s best gag pieces musically since “Davy the Fat Boy” – I love the “Oriental” music (that comes in at 1:00 in.) And your children remark definitely has me chuckling aloud. But I kind of think the Tiger Mom *is* funny, if not in the way you mean and she tried to claim: she’s crazy, but crazy like a fox. From reading her writing, she’s no PJ O’Rourke, but those Ann Coulter-type people, controversial for controversy’s sake, can be sort of irritatingly funny (at the beginning anyway) just because people really take them seriously. If you’re truly confident in your lazy-ass, liberal parenting, as I usually am, I fail to see how you can feel threatened. I mean, I suppose you can feel sorry for her children, but they do seem to be well-adjusted and there are many, many, MANY worse, more damaging ways to have a torturous, unhappy childhood.

    • Erin T says:

      Perhaps I did not explain myself well. What I mean is that a proper conservative satirist can make you embarrassed to be a liberal because they are truly funny and sensible. Amy Chau makes you embarrassed to be a liberal because the “Western” response to her is so humorless that it’s funny.

      You, of course, were very funny about both her and the pitchforkers, which is the best sort of funny.

      • Francesca says:

        I know what you all are saying about Tiger Mother, but A: I don’t have kids and B: she’s making an assload of money for my company. I wonder what fragrance she wears? March, did you get close enough?

      • March says:

        Loathed Havane Vanille (the opening bits, too Banana Runts.)

        Re: Tiger Mother, I can’t speak with authority, having not read the book, and I didn’t go see her talk (not that either of these would give me “authority.”) But from what I have read, from her and about her, she seems oddly humorless, and assuming she’s telling the truth, excerpts of some of her parenting moments strike me as fairly abusive. I mean, we all have moments as parents where we could “do better,” but ripping up your little kids’ handmade cards and telling them to do better? Ugh.

        • sweetlife says:

          Totally with you on the oddly humorless bit. And weirdly surprised by reader reactions, too. Am imagining a sequel where she either stands up to the crowds and/or tries to modify and watched everything go to hell.

          • March says:

            Wait, though, you’re surprised by *reader* reactions? As in, negative? At least the ones I’ve read are about what I expected (and what I think the publisher was aiming for, to be honest — some controversy.)

          • sweetlife says:

            No, sorry. Surprised by HER surprise at the reactions. If indeed she is surprised. Can’t tell if she’s canny, or just weirdly nerdy-smart-clueless the way academics can be sometimes.

          • March says:

            Yeah. Is she serious? Hard to tell.

        • Masha says:

          Eeewwww. That one’s hard to imagine. I’m glad I’ve been in Europe and have missed this whole thing. Can I write a book called, “The Marmot Mom”??

          • March says:

            Yes, you can be the marmot mom. I’ll be skunk-mom.

          • Masha says:

            Hey, skunks make great moms, I’ve seen them! I had a family of skunks live in my garden while I was at university, they were the best, and if any guy I really didn’t like, or who was hinky, walked through that garden, they got it from Skunk Mom!

        • Erin T says:

          Well, to be honest, I know very little about her. I’m not defending her apparent parenting style, which seems loopy to me – my two best friends growing up were white (English) and Indian and they cleaned up at academics and music with gentle, praising, doting parents – I’m just saying that some of the negative reaction to her stuff, no matter how well-meaning, seems sort of funny to me in its over-the-top horror and sometimes vindictiveness. (Obviously, this has nothing to do with you or the comments here, just word I’ve heard on “the street”.) And bits in the article, like “By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way”, do not seem humorless either. That “roughly” was funny, I thought. Just my two-cents…

          • March says:

            Ah, yes, grasshopper, but I couldn’t decide whether I was reading in the subtle hand of a co-author or editor… because I think this thing has been fairly carefully scripted by the publishers, whether ol’ Tiger Mom herself saw the freight train coming. If she’s telling the truth in the Washington Post article, she didn’t, to which I’d respond: then you are less intelligent than you think. 🙂

            And absolutely I think there’s a middle ground. I saw a great quote somewhere re: this drama which I will paraphrase: Tiger mothers who want their kids to learn math make them do lots of math problems, instead of talking to their kids about how math makes them feel…

          • Erin T says:

            Sorry, I had not read the Post link before commenting. If she is as surprised by the reception of the book as she claims to be in the reading post, then, yes, I agree a clever editing and promoting machine must be behind her. Because you think you might notice your views are a bit controversial after you ruined a few dinner parties…. /:)

          • March says:

            Well, I still think it’s worth it to laugh some at the frothing at the mouth on the other side.

  • Robin says:

    LOL at “Blahfest 2011, The Boxed Set in 3-D “…excellent, and same series that is showing at my house, minus a few of the children.

    The continuing deluge of oud has become sort of comical. If I were a niche line working on an oud scent right now, I’d be embarrassed to announce it to the world. Actually, that’s a good poll topic: who will be the next brand to launch an oud scent??

  • Furriner says:

    I really love Al Oudh…. and have felt fairly alone in my love for it. Over at Basenotes, the mere mention of it elicits guffaws from most of them boys (“oudh lite,” “oudh?!? what oudh?!?”, etc.). In a side-by-side taste test with their beloved Black Aoud, I get the same oudh note, if you subtract Black Aoud’s rose. Although it was released over a year ago, it still is missing from their database.

    I’m glad to see you have come to like it. I can see why you may have yawned initially. (Although, if I remember correctly, it stopped Patty cold in her tracks and made her best-of list of 2009.) I don’t think it necessarily registers from a dabbed on sample. I also think it is at its best in the summer… the heat really brings out its skanky gorgeousness. I think it was my most-worn scent last summer!

    • March says:

      Actually, I didn’t yawn. I was kind of baffled – I didn’t get much of anything one way or another. I was grateful not to get much oud 🙂 but it seemed incomplete, or something. (Can def. see how it gets hated on on Basenotes, really, to be fair, it is CALLED oud, and it seems so not-oud to me.) And you’re right, either my nose changed or it was the more generous spray. Okay, I will try it in summer, since that keeps coming up!

  • Ruanne says:

    I gave my sample to my son. It’s wonderful on him, and he loves it. It’s surprising, because his other scent is some Burberry thing that smells like Laundry, Only More.

  • DinaC says:

    Really amusing, funny post, March! I greatly enjoy reading your reviews. I haven’t sniffed this one yet. I have mixed reviews, personally, towards BD’s scents. I’m not a big fan of spice cabinet-medicine cabinet scents, but I’m curious to try it. :-)

  • SilviaFunkly says:

    I always thought of Al Oudh as a male version of Amaranthine, a kind of “his” and “hers”. I get an old fashioned barber shop hint in it and of course, all that yummy cumin which still manages not to smell like medallion man’s sweat but quite gentleman-y.

    It is so fantastic on my hubby that I don’t really want to wear it myself.

    • March says:

      Huh, they both seem kind of unisexy to me, but I hear what you’re saying. And yes, if it’s that great on the hub, I’d probably leave it alone too!

      Love the expression “medallion man,” I may have to steal that.

  • Ann says:

    Hi March, thanks for a fun review, especially “who had all these children?!” I feel like that sometimes, and I only have one!
    I tried Al Oudh when it first came out and don’t remember cumin particularly (and I’m a known cumin-phobe), but it didn’t do much for me. Anyway, I think I’m “ouded out.” But I am with you on liking the Traversee; it smells a treat, and especially nice with the hints of springtime weather we’ve been getting.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m glad you wrote this review, March, first of all because it made me laugh when I’ve come down with some sort of mystery bug, and second because I tend to stay away from Les Artisans. Don’t know what it is about me and pretty much that entire line but we tend not to play nicely together. But this, now, I’m curious. Although M. Duchaufour–I couldn’t throw the scent strips with Timbuktu and Dzonka away fast enough, and was grateful I didn’t spray on skin, ’cause I’d have had to chew my arm off.

    • Melissa says:

      Francesca, I like Timbuktu and Dzongkha in theory, but not on my skin. They annoy me after about 5 minutes. But when my son wears them, they seem to do something completely different. Especially Timbuktu. It smells just perfect on him.

    • March says:

      Oh no, no mystery bug! So sorry to hear … have a nice cup of tea ~o)

      Your two are the perfect example of my BD fail, they are awful on me, just awful, could not get rid of them fast enough. But now we’ve got Amaranthine, Bosphore, Al Oud and Tubereuse (off the top of my head) so something’s changed between BD and I…

      • Masha says:

        He really had a full paradigm shift in the last 2 years, I agree.

      • Francesca says:

        Now that I think of it I did like the Tubereuse well enough, but I think if I was in the mood for that heady dame, I’d go for Carnal Flower or the Kilian one whose name I can never keep straight.

        • March says:

          Dang, me neither. Beyond Love? Beyond Heaven? Taste of Love? It’s not our fault his names are stupid.

          • Masha says:

            Beyond Leaping Through Wheat Fields/Love Love Love the Wheat Fields/Bliss in the Wheat Fields/ Beyond Bliss in the Wheat Fields, I hate those names!

          • March says:

            Okay but now it is really bugging me, which is the tuberose one? lmgtfy …. Beyond Love. (in the wheat fields.)

        • nozknoz says:

          You’re cracking me up! I actually have the travel set of Beyond Love and still have trouble remembering that name.

  • hongkongmom says:

    hilarious review march, thnx! No Al oudh in HK. And thats OK!

    • Masha says:

      I can’t imagine wearing it in really hot, humid weather. Practically the only things I like in such a climate are Mugler Cologne and Guerlain’s bitter and austere Anisia Bella! And Un Jardin Sur le Nil, of course.

  • aotearoa says:

    Where’s the love people?! I love Al Oudh with all its cuminy goodness- I can smell some musk and leather too. It’s delicious and I am brave enough to wear it out of the house in cool weather. At home you can wear it anytime. Have never got a negative comment when wearing so far although I can definitely relate to the B.O. comment – but it’s sort of the good sexy type I think!

  • Masha says:

    March, I am beginning to think the ‘fume blogosphere would collapse without Bertrand D! I liked this one, but there was too much cumin in it for me to wear. I have cumin issues stemming from a pregnancy where morning sickness became 9-months-of-nausea-hell.

    When I’m feeling oudhy I like to try a dib dab of the real deal. That being said, I got a vial of genuine Indian oudh mixed with nagarmotha and it was so barnyard I actually tossed it! I mean barnyard on the day the pig manure gets spread. EEK!

  • quite funny ….about perfume i just use calvin Klein but but i want to try something differnt this month any recommendation ?

  • Melissa says:

    I’m no cuminphobe, but this one was tough even for me, lover of all that is funky, skanky, stanky and slightly overripe. Notes? Truckload of cumin, check. A couple more shovelfuls of cumin, yup, check. Something sorta leathery and maybe a bit sour, uh huh. A dose of peppery something-or-other to made me recoil a bit…. Well, you get the picture. I finished my little decant and decided that I really didn’t like it. So why does your review suddenly make me want to wear it again?

    • March says:

      Because THAT’S MY JOB. Yes, I want you to go out and blind-buy another sample of something you’ve already decided you hate. :d

      To be fair, this should have been awful on me, given its BD-ness. But somehow it isn’t.

  • tmp00 says:

    Do love this one, but if I want a cumin-fest I think I’ll stick with Hermes.

    I’ve done (unscientific) research and most people react to cumin in perfume as “stinky old man”, as one of my friends had the good taste to crow this at the top of her voice at the Rodeo Drive Hermes, while I quietly tried to deliquesce into the atmosphere…

  • ElizabethN says:

    I have also thought, “how can people not love this thing?” but then I realize that it is pretty hardcore for a cuminphobe. I love to layer this with all sorts of scents, but lately, esp. with soliflores like Le Labo Fleurs d’Oranger. It seems to make everything just a little more interesting! I also love the bottle, but I do wonder how many lifetimes it would take me to get through one bottle.

    • March says:

      For the devout cuminphobe, this is definitely one to be avoided. And I would say “how many lifetimes” about 98% of the bottles I own. 🙂

  • Musette says:

    Lydia kept telling me to try this…so I did. and…:-?

    what are you smelling over there?

    I got ‘nice’. If I’m going to wear an oudh I am NOT looking for ‘nice’.

    The gym clothes references took me down memory lane – when I was a freshman in HS, our gym teacher (who was at least 115 yrs old) had ONE requirement for a passing grade. Once a semester she would do a gym locker inspection and the one requirement was that your gym uniform (seriously: a one-piece cotton/polyester romper – with a BELT) had to be washed and ironed. You had at least 3 weeks notice. The number of ‘fails’ was staggering.

    And b-( if you think about it.

    xo >-)

    • Francesca says:

      Ha! Loved “If I’m going to wear an oudh I am NOT looking for ‘nice.'”

      We had those exact same horrible gym outfits freshman year and then the gym teacher insisted we switch to leotards and tights, thank goodness. She said, “They can’t do yoga in those stiff baggy things.”

      • March says:

        zomg the GYM UNIFORM. Ours was striped blue and white cotton on top and blue shorts, like a giant onesie. The boys of course wore normal clothes… who decides this stuff?

        • Musette says:

          Insane 80 yr old women who’d been doing the Same Damn Thing for 60 yrs. I suspect those gym uniforms were one step up(?) from the bloomerish onesies worn in the Gay 90s.

          Those stupid onesies were just so stupid – by their very design they worked counterintuitively, pulling, pinching and tugging in all the wrong places.

          xo >-)

          • nozknoz says:

            Oh NO! I remember those things. Ours were red. They turned me against exercise for years. I might have been an Olympic medalist or something if we had had cute gym clothes. ;)) OK, that’s a slight exaggeration.

      • Olfacta says:

        We had the same one-piece belted things that somehow managed to make high school girls’ bodies look dumpy. And then it became faddish to go as long as possible without washing them. Either the school didn’t notice or looked the other way — imagine that! Anyway, they were standing up by themselves at the end of the semester.

        I lost my Al-Oudh sample but I remember well-used underwear; not horrible, but not something I’d wear out of the house. At least it’s not the “box of band-aid” smell I get from all the Montale ouds.

    • March says:

      Yeah, but see, your argument is the perfect, most legitimate one, to me. Who wants a “nice” oudh? That’s sort of like a “nice” cumin. Oudh is a taste I haven’t quite managed to acquire; I suppose it’s like cumin to other folks, you know? Anyway, with all the oudh choices out there, this one, being actually named “oudh”, seemed destined for failure.

    • Furriner says:

      This summer, I’ll wear it around you when it is in the 90s…. I know that is kinda inconceivable at the moment… Anyway, Al Oudh is just beyoutiful around then.

      • Musette says:

        I’ll wear Tribute! Yah, I know it’s an attar but! You wanna smell something incredible? Tribute in 90F is stunning!!!

        😕 or maybe it’s just stunning folks insensible..

        how are you doing, babycakes? Must be nice to get off the bus and not be frozen to the bone! Are you diggin’ the Rahmolicious Rahminator? I am!


        xox >-)

      • March says:

        Really, in the summer heat? I’ll try it.

  • Tiara says:

    Smiled at “who had all these children?!” but I sort of miss those days. Sort of.

    Al Oudh was not good on me. Foul, rank, and stinky. Passed my sample along happily. Tara mentioned it reminded her of her son’s smelly gym clothes…pretty much how I perceived it.

    I wonder what my take would be on someone like you. If we were stuck on an elevator, would I turn away? Or would I think you smelled great?

  • nozknoz says:

    Totally with you on the L’AP bottle caps, March. I’m always about to drop the brass cap – it’s so unexpectedly heavy. I’m guessing the switch to metal was intended to appeal to guys, who would feel right at home with a big brass hardware thing, and there IS something to be said for encouraging guys to wear high quality scents like L’Artisan. Which will be no consolation at all when the falling brass cap shatters my Fleur de Narcisse.

    You’ve convinced me that I ought to give Al Oudh another chance. I would have done so tonight if I hadn’t just received Memo Manoa, which I ordered up on reading your last post. At this point, it’s sort of halfway between Mecca Balsam or Tabac Aurea and baby powder, which is pretty weird but might be one reason the kids liked it. It IS intriguing.

    • March says:

      Huh, so you’re getting a lot of powder? I might have been in powder denial. I’m terrified of powder. But it wasn’t baby powder, just … well, yeah, weird.

      I never attempted to get an explanation for the cap change on L’Artisan. I thought the older caps were simple and elegant — I mean, nothing “feminine” or foofy about them. So those big, blocky things disappoint. And yes, they are surprisingly heavy!

      • nozknoz says:

        I’m not into powder, and I don’t find Manoa overly powdery, but part of it reminds me of the classic Johnson’s baby powder scent. (At one point, anyway – I put it on about an hour before I went to sleep, so I haven’t tracked the full development yet.) I’m glad you reviewed it because I had never heard of Memo.

        And I should note that what I ordered was a 5-ml decant, not a FB. I USUALLY have the good sense not to buy unsniffed.

  • Tara says:

    Al Oudh…UGH…..to me it smells like my teenage son’s gym clothes that he has kept in his locker for a couple of months (nevertheless wearing every other day) and then decided to bring home to wash….atomic BO and other smells I would rather not think about!!!!

    Clearly I just don’t get it!!!

  • (Ms.)Christian says:

    This one made me yawn, but I have been known to return to some of the L’Artisans and give them another chance. I can take or leave cumin, so this one might be tapping it’s foot at the altar for some time.

    March, I got my bottle of Manoa Memo today and on me, it’s L’air de Rien on steriods. Which is an excellent thing. Thank you for chasing this one into the light of day.

  • Suzy Q says:

    LOL, hilarious post, March.

    I’ll give this one another try. All I got was “bonfire”. It pains me to admit that I hated it, considering my huge crush on Bert. Perhaps I was too hasty.

    Travesee du Bosphore on one hand and Al Oudh on the other? Why not!

    • March says:

      I think I tried it several times and got “murky” (no shock there) or just nothing much at all. I dunno … it only got retried again because I ran across the sample looking for something else.

      I’m kind of a reverse indicator for BD, so my liking it might be a terrible sign.