Note nemesis Monday: At last — an oud I can wear

oudHere on the Posse and on other blogs we’ve often discussed our nemeses: fragrance notes that we dislike, or notes that dislike us. 😉 Notes that send us running for the hills ( and the liquid Tide). Notes that make us want to attach a clothespin to our noses. Notes that make us want to detach our arm from our bodies for several hours. Cumin and oud top that list for me (and Ambroxan or whatever that was in Byredo’s M/ink). But awhile back, someone sent me a sample of Creed’s Royal Oud along with some other fragrances.

Not sure what made me try it, as I usually steer well clear of anything with oud in it, let alone in the name; maybe I was feeling unusually adventurous that day or just not paying close attention. But whatever the reason, I barely touched the sample dabber to my wrist. To my surprise, no wallop of oud popped me on the nose, but instead a warm, woody, sexy vibe wafted up, creamy and subtle with no jarring elements. Not a lot of development, twists or turns, but simply a smooth, delicious ride throughout that I’m happy to enjoy for as long as it lasts.

Perhaps all the other notes combined to tamp down the oud, or maybe there is such an minute amount of oud in there as to be invisible. Either way, it was a winner for me.

Notes from Fragrantica: Lemon, pink berry, bergamot, cedar, galbanum, angelica root, regal Indian oud, sandalwood and Tonkin musk.

Now all of you oud experts/connoisseurs out there may be shaking your heads at me, saying, “Oh, man! That’s not a real oud,” or “There’s no oud in there,” or some such thing.

Well, that may be. But it’s still something, at least for me. Royal Oud wouldn’t be out of place in Tom Ford’s stable of scents and seems like it could be a cousin to one of the Noirs he has. I really, really like this and think it would smell wonderful on a guy as well, as it does tend to skew pretty unisex. I know I would love to sniff it on DH and may just have to sneak a little on him right before our upcoming anniversary dinner — it’s that yummy!

Now you might be expecting me to say that this will open my eyes to oud, broaden my horizons, etc. But I have to say, I doubt it. I’ll still most likely avoid anything with “oud” in the name. So I’ll just bow out gracefully, be thankful that I enjoy this and call it a day.

What about you? Have you made peace with a note nemesis? Have you found a scent containing it that you can wear and enjoy?


  1. Been reading this blog for ages, finally decided to join the fun. I’m glad you’ve found an oud you can enjoy. For me, my nemesis is rose centric perfumes. I don’t mind it among a chorus, but when it is center stage things seem to fall apart. Ironic, since Rose is my middle name – the perfume gods have a sense of humor! Turns just sour on my skin. Relative newbie to the perfume world, have tried Incense Rose (love other incense scents so don’t think it is that), By Killian Rose Oud, Stella. Recently tried Lyric woman. Let me set the scene: long awaited 2ml sample arrives, rip the package out of stunned mailman’s hands, make a mad dash to the bathroom, removed the bubble wrap (didn’t even pop a single bubble, I was so eager!) sprayed my wrist, and suddenly things went awry. Sour! Sour! Thought, this can’t be! It’s Amouage! It’s THE LYRIC. To confirm my sad suspicions I later had my husband smell my wrist and received the dreaded nose skunk smell wrinkle of death. Also dead, my rose ambitions.

    When I started my perfume journey I innocently thought I would find a Rose “signature scent” since rose and I were fated together! Should have been named Amber instead, since we get along so well. Still, I am no quitter and shall persevere.

    • Hi, Cindy, and welcome!! So glad you decided to comment and hope to see you back here often. I hear you on the rose, as I was in your shoes for many years. (And I just hate that Lyric didn’t work for you.) But there’s got to be a rose or two out there for you. Have you tried Armani’s Rose Alexandrie? It’s a fresh, light, slightly sweet scent with rose in it but not overbearingly so. It was the first rose that I could actually wear and helped ease me into others. I’ll think on some other possible win-you-over scents and I’ll bet some of our other Posse folks will have some suggestions. But glad you’ve found love with amber; it rocks, especially this time of year and on through the winter!

    • I feel your pain with roses. They often go sour on me too. I keep trying them though. Every now and then there are some that work. La Fille de Berlin is rose but I find it more metallic and colder them some roses but in a good way. It smells rosy but never veers into that soured water in the vase smell on me. Paestum Rose is another one I can wear. My skin amps up the other notes in it and the rose doesn’t sour. Kerosene’s Whips and Roses is wonderful leather and rose which gets a tiny bit sour but I find it adds to the scent instead of making me cringe.

      • HIya, Poodle! Those are some great suggestions — thanks so much for sharing! After having some time to ponder this, I might also add L’Arte di Gucci but it’s so pricey and dadgum hard to find; also, the elegant, spiced rose of Neela Vermeire’s Mohur. For a budget option, what about the Thymes’ Kimono Rose?

        • I thought of Mohur too but on me it’s not rose its all about the other notes.

          • I can see that, Poodle, there’s a lot going on there. On my skin the rose is the star but softly surrounded by quality supporting players to keep it from going sour, overbearing, etc. Do you like the EDP or the extrait best in it? I’ve only tried the extrait a time or two, loved it, but it’s all good.

            • Thank you Poodle and Ann for the suggestions! Darn, I’ll just have to go sample hunting at lucky scent again 😉

              • Cindy, also try Surrender to Chance for samples, and I think the Armani Rose Alexandrie is still available at theposhpeasant dot com . Hope you find a rose to love, dear!

    • I can’t do rose either. My middle name is also Rose. I had high hopes for the Rosines (actually I should try again, I think when I sampled they only had three versions).

        • Carlene, do give the other Rosines a sniff now that there are more. You and Cindy just keep on trying — your Holy Grail of rose is out there somewhere, you just have to find it.

  2. Like you, I haven’t met a cumin I like and oud is a close second on the list of smells I don’t enjoy. However, recently I tried By Kilian’s Incense Oud and think it quite pretty but its really more incense than oud. I think that Kurkdjian’s unisex Oud would smell nice on a man.

    • Yes, yes, Diana! I had forgotten about that Kilian one and it was pretty nice. So now guess I have two 🙂 Thanks!

  3. One of the balsams. I think it’s peru balsam but I could be wrong. Whichever it is, it’s in Youth Dew and several others that I would love if I could wear them without triggering a raging migraine. Whatever that note is, it almost literally makes me gag, but only on skin. I can huff a blotter soaked in YD with no problem and frequently have one shoved in the liner of my leather tote. I tend to sample carefully if peru or tolu balsam are listed notes.
    Others I have trouble with are ambergris and “salty notes”. I almost always get mildly queasy from noticeable ambergris (when it’s well blended and I can’t single it out, it’s fine), and salty notes just get on my nerves. I keep trying the salty scents for some reason, I’m determined to actually smell them as salty instead of just experiencing a slight nasal burning.

    • I think I know what you mean, dear — I can see that kind of note being a bit overpowering and troublesome. And I’ve noticed, too, that some “salty note” scents are a bit off-putting for me as well. There’s also something along those lines that tends to make me slightly queasy. Isn’t it funny how some notes can affect us so much?

  4. Slumberhouse Sana is the only scent I can wear that contains tagete/ marigold and then I have to be specifically in the mood for it. Not a scent to just casually spray and go anytime. When it’s right, it’s great but it will otherwise get on my nerves pretty quickly

    • Rena, your post got me thinking: Do I even have any scents that contain tagete/marigold? The only one I could come up with is Niki de Saint Phalle. Can you wear that one? I agree, timing is everything when it comes to scent. I need to try the Sana now; thanks!

  5. Hi there Ann,
    Royal Oud was the first Creed that I really liked, don’t know why I don’t have at least a decant. Maybe it’s a bit like a few other things all bought around the same time. It’s yum.
    I don’t really have a note nemesis as such but Lily Of The Valley can be wrong for me because that’s the scent my Mum had in our bathroom as Air Freshener while we were growing up so I’m always taken back to our buttercup yellow walls, white ceiling and fixtures and olive green floor & tiles bathroom. It’s not a bad memory but hardly lux. It is a certain way that LotV is used that reminds me so some I do like.
    Portia xx

    • Yay, Portia! So glad to see you’re a Royal Oud fan, too. For me, also, it’s the first Creed that’s crossed my mind about getting more of. I hear you on LotV; it’s got to be just right in perfume or else it gets a little too “functional” smelling. I do love it in one of the Nicolai scents and also in Amouage’s Ubar, though.

  6. For some reason, I can’t stand anything that is heavy on the patchouli. It’s got to either be the aging hippy or skunky thing is the whole problem. Citrus can be iffy but if it’s like Theorema or 1270, it’s great.

    • I’m with you, eldarwen, on some of those patchoulis — whew! But when it’s done right, it can be so fine. And you mentioned one of my loves, Theorema. Oh, Fendi, couldn’t you please try to re-create this and bring it back?

  7. The older I get, the more issues I have with many notes (honestly, I think some of the problem is the dreck they use now to mimic scents) my True Nemesis is tuberose. Not only do I dislike the actual scent itself, but it gives me this weird raspy, scratchy sensation at the back of my throat.

    Musk runs a close second, and it can make me queasy, but tuberose is just a hot scratchy mess for me.

    • Tuberose is one of those that gets me as well. I find it suffocating for some reason. Forgot that I didn’t get along with tuberose

      • I find it suffocating, too, almost like the beginnings of anaphylactic shock! 😛

        • Amen, Tammy! I get that raspy, scratchy feeling sometimes, too, and I can’t quite pinpoint the culprit. Give the tuberose, etc., a wide berth; stick with scents you love — that’s my motto most of the time!

        • Oh, Tammy, that is a scary place to find yourself. Please do be careful. I know I am these days. Last spring, I accidentally got a snootful of a scented bleach and it made me feel that way a bit; I feel certain that’s what helped launch me on my awful journey through bronchitis.

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