Hi there Posse! Remember Al Oudh by L’Artisan? Sure you do. I was happy to see it’s made it to the current bottle, so many have not. (UPDATE: Seems to be gone from the website, replaced by Ode à l’Oudh in 2021. Still available on some discounters though) My bottle is the older style. Clear glass, Middle Eastern style arches painted on. Can’t remember exactly when I bought it but think it was in the closing down of a Sydney store that was getting rid of all its testers for about half the cost of the real deal. That would put it somewhere around 2010/11. This was the heart of oudh becoming mainstream and I admit to being a little meh about it at the time. Over the last year or so though it has been getting regular spritzes and I’ve found it a surprisingly beautiful wear.
I’d paid little (read NO) attention to the Al Oudh notes list pre writing this post. O M G! Well, it’s a kitchen sink-er. Fortunately my nose doesn’t read every note during the wear. Most of them show up in some form and thanks to the power of suggestion I’m noting a lot more as I write. Also, I’d forgotten it being a Bertrand Duchaufour perfume, extra YAY!
As most things L’Artisan, they are either groundbreakingly new like L’Eau d’Amber, Premier Figuier & Mure et Musc or they are easy wear versions of modern tropes. Al Oudh falls squarely in category two. By 2009 we were well into the height of the oudh craze and it was already showing its face on the lower end of mass market designer fragrance. Many hard core perfumistas were already meh or in outright combative mode to anything with the new wonder base note inside. To be fair, we were hit with a deluge.
The pooh pooh-ers missed out on something lovely though.
Al Oudh by L’Artisan Parfumeur 2009
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Caraway Dates Dried Fruits Cardamom Pink Pepper Orange Blossom
Heart: Agarwood (Oud) Leather Incense Saffron Rose iris Neroli
Base: Civetta Myrrh Sandalwood Patchouli Musk Tonka Bean Virginia Cedar Vanilla
Funnily as I finished writing this piece one of the perfume people whose nose I respect highly happened also to bring up Al Oudh. It was a very spooky serendipitous moment. It did solidify my thoughts though and gave me some insight into how Al Oudh may smell on others. My experience is a very pretty, slightly barnyard, medicinal oudh.
It’s the central note of the perfume but the way Bertrand Duchaufour has sweetened and herbalist the opening is a toned down version of the way I would have expected a Serge Lutens oudh would feel. All stewed fruit and greenery with the familiar scratch of saffron. This drizzled heavily with a slightly breathy white floral bouquet and a warm, vanilla centric woods dry down. All overlaid by the oudh, in differing levels throughout the wear. This is an oudh hit with a glamour, as if we are smelling oudh for fairies.
My mate talks lovingly of the cumin within but it completely passes me by. Judging by the reactions of some commenters on his FB post many others found the cumin in large doses also. Sop, obviously, your mileage may vary.
March wrote about Al Oudh over a decade ago. The post is excellent and has 149 responses!! Those were the days.
Do you remember, or have, Al Oudh? Memories?