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Oudy Concentrated Perfume Oils

Attars & CPOs Oud Oudy Concentrated Perfume Oils Review The Attar Guide

Oudy Concentrated Perfume Oils (CPOs)

25th May 2022

 

 

Wrapping up the oud reviews!  First came the reviews of pure oud oils (grouped and alphabetized here: 0-C, D-K, L-O, and P-Y), followed by reviews of oudy mukhallats (grouped and alphabetized here: A-C and D-W).  But now we move on to the final category – concentrated perfume oils that have an oud note or theme.  

 

Quick reminder: Concentrated perfume oils are very different in intent and construction to attars or mukhallats.  CPOs are simply perfumes in an oil format, a category that spans everything from ludicrously bougie niche perfumes and American indie oils to drugstore roll-ons and dupes.  Read more about how CPOs differ from attars and mukhallats here.  

 

But before you start reading, oud-heads and oud newbies, do check out the introduction to oud here, which covers everything from how oud is distilled, its uses in oil-based and commercial perfumery, and the different markets that consume it.  Then read my Oud Primer, consisting of Part I: The Challenges of Oud, Part II: Why Oud Smells the Way it Does and Part III: The Different Styles of Oud.

 

 

 

Photo by Mousum De on Unsplash

 

004 (Hyde & Alchemy)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

No. 004 opens with a mentholated suede note decorated with an antiseptic buzz – probably the ‘oud’.  The opening is distinguished by the same vegetal cardamom note that gives both Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Dzongkha by L’Artisan Parfumeur their distinctive edge.  Cardamom is a material that seems to offer both a green, cooling freshness (like celery, or cis-jasmone, in fact) but also a lively lemon and black pepper heat that jives well with exotic woods and other spices.  In Oud Wood, the function of the cardamom texturizes the putty-like creaminess of the woods that lie beneath.  And that happens to be the role it also plays here, in No. 004.

 

Underpinning the green cardamom and medicinal oud is a creamy, tonka-driven suede accord that is, again, similar to that of Oud Wood, albeit mintier and fresher, as well as less luxurious in texture.  Given the price difference, however, it is well worth looking into No. 004 as a cost-effective means of getting your Oud Wood on without shelling out Tom Ford bucks.  It is not quite a dupe, but it is close enough to satisfy.  I am willing to bet that layering No. 004 under Oud Wood would at the very least extend Oud Wood’s wimpy performance on the skin.  

 

 

 

 

Aseel (Al Rehab)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Aseel is a potent rose-oud fragrance with a soapy white musk doing most of the heavy lifting in the background.   The opening is dominated by the metallic sharpness of rose geraniol and the taunting acidity of saffron.  The sharp medicinal twang of the Montale oudy aromachemical is clearly recognizable here: lovers of Black Aoud and Aoud Musk might want to check this out.

 

The rubbery oud, the saffron, and the green rose are all stacked up front, like boobs in a Wonder Bra.  The denouement, as it so often happens in these cases, is a disappointment – a vast expanse of clean, cottony musk and little else.  It smells like laundry detergent straight from the bag, but also exotic in a broad, Disneyfied way.  Eventually, the roar of the musk dies back somewhat, allowing a scratchy rosy amber to peek through.  My husband wears it.

 

 

 

 

Attar al Oudh (Alkemia)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Company description: Our Attar Al Oud enhances the wild, natural complexity of sustainable agarwood/oud oil with exotic swirls of dark musk, bone-white sandalwood, and dry amber.

 

 

Attar al Oudh is a very simple blend of the Alkemia oud note with musk and amber.  The oud note that Alkemia uses in all its oudy blends is dusty, woody, and ever so slightly urinous.  Summoning the scent of warm hay in a stable, it smells earthy and natural, but not objectionably animalic.  I like it a lot.

 

A fudgy musk and amber duo in the base smoothes things over even further, making for a pleasurably laid-back experience.  It smells less and less like oud as time wears on, and more like the milky-sawdusty suede found in both Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Tuscan Leather.

 

Nothing too wild or exciting, in other words.  However, it is precisely this bland smoothness that makes Attar al Oudh such a good entry-level perfume oil for those a little wary of oud in general.  Sadly, its lasting power leaves something to be desired.  It starts out rich and creamy but whittles down to a mere shadow of itself within the space of a few hours.  Mind you, people say the same about Oud Wood and that costs about ten times more than Attar al Oudh.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash

 

deadofnight (Strangelove NYC)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

deadofnight is the oud ‘soliflore’ of the line.  All of the Strangelove NYC fragrances have oud in them, but deadofnight and fallintostars are the only ones that feature it in a big way.  Those with no experience of real oud oils might need a minute here to gird their loins, because this right here is the real stuff.  None of the cheesy, soupy barnyard funk of real oud has been toned down or mitigated, so the initial onslaught is truly animalic.

 

But give it time to settle and the scent soon reveals a butter-soft rendition of leather that will have you crooning. What I appreciate in this fragrance is that it manages to be both dark and fresh at the same time, the watery greenness of violet leaf lifting the oud out of its brown gloom, aerating it a little, polishing it up for polite company.

 

There is a smidge of rose and amber to soften the impact of the oud, but overall,  deadofnight is neither sweet nor floral.  It employs an almost single-minded focus on exploring and bringing out the complexities of the oud, particularly its green, suede, and soft leather facets.  

 

Like all of the Strangelove NYC fragrances, it is rather linear, focusing on a simple exposition of top-notch raw materials. I said once in a review of Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio that the total effect was ‘as if the perfumer held a dried tobacco leaf up against the sunlight, slowly turned it around in her hands, and captured each of its changing colors and smells in one small bottle’, and that’s how I feel the materials have been treated here.

 

 

 

Deep Forest (Henry Jacques)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Deep Forest is a rose-oud honed into supermodel leanness by a leathery saffron note.  Like all saffron-dominated compositions, it has the potential for harshness, but steps back at the last moment, leaving only the pleasantly acerbic taste of a young, tannic Riesling on the tongue.  Elegant, woody, and restrained, this is a rose-oud fragrance for those whose constitutions are too delicate for the brutish sex appeal of most balsamic-smoky rose compositions.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

 

Egyptian Temple Oudh (NAVA)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Company description: A more intense Oudh that softens over time on the skin. Egyptian Agarwood Oudh is represented here and it is recommended for first time Oudh enthusiasts to inhale from the bottle softly or fan the open bottle toward you with your hand to catch the nuances of smoking embers, dried honeycomb and sandalwood.

 

For a community not overly concerned with the veracity of indie marketing, even the keenest of NAVA fans had trouble swallowing the company’s rubbish about sourcing oud from their ‘very own plantation of Aquilaria trees in Egypt’, a country whose arid climate is diametrically opposite to the humid, semi-tropical one required for the cultivation of Aquilaria.  The company must have realized that this was one fiction too far for their customer  base, because after the first series of Icons came out, NAVA hastily shifted their sourcing narrative to an oud plantation in Northern India, where they pay for the distillation of Hindi-style oils.

 

What, then, of the original Icon oud, espoused here by Egyptian Temple Oudh?  Honestly, it is pretty good.  It even smells authentically oudy, especially at the start, with all the nuances of smoke, rubber, wood rot, and beaten-up leather present and accounted for.  It does not contain any of the characteristics that might mark it out as a Hindi or a Cambodi, but instead projects a core ‘oudiness’ in a very broad, generalized sense.  It is not sour or animalic, but sweetish and woody, i.e., perfect for a beginner’s palate.

 

My sole criticism of the scent is that the oud accord is laid out in one single layer up front, with little depth or development past the first smoky blast.  Barring this little signpost of inauthenticity, Egyptian Temple Oudh generally bears up well under close inspection.  It is pleasant to wear, authentically ‘oudy’ in aroma (albeit in a rather generalized manner), and its sweet amber base serves to ‘normalize’ the whole affair for those who are a little nervous about oud.

 

Likely, the oud effect of the oil is arrived at through a clever mix of oud synthetics and inexpensive oud oils from the souk, themselves a mix of natural oud filled out with other essential oils, synthetics, and liquid smoke.  Yet, if the aim here was to recreate the smell of real oud, then Egyptian Temple Oudh gets pretty darned close.  Highly recommended, as long as you can still find it and are willing to pay the steep price, beyond which you might as well purchase a squib of real oud oil directly from an artisan distiller.  

 

 

 

 

Fantasmes (Henry Jacques)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Fantasmes features the same sort of creamy-dry wood character as in Wood Gardens but presents a sprightlier take.  Its chorus of peru balsam, oakmoss, citrus, and geranium introduces a minty, balsamic freshness that lifts and separates the woody notes, allowing us to view and admire their musculature in more detail.  The total effect of Fantasmes is of a masculine chypre like Pour Monsieur fighting its way out of an oudy mukhallat.  That might sound strange, but there’s something so nailed about Fantasmes that it would be curmudgeonly to object.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Jocelyn Morales on Unsplash

 

Fumé Oud à la Vanille (Alkemia)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Company description: Crushed tonka beans, woodsmoked amber, and bourbon vanilla aged with oud wood.

 

 

This is essentially the Alkemia oud note swirled into a very creamy vanilla and the house smoke layering note (sold separately as a layering note and used in Smoke and Mirrors).  It is wonderful, and the only full bottle of Alkemia perfume I would buy for myself since the untimely demise of Bohemians en Voyage.

 

Both creamy and dry, Fumé Oud à la Vanille lays out a perfectly balanced tonka bean accord into which the astringent oud note can burrow quite comfortably.  Soft, round, and nutty, this is a great perfume both for those who fear the sharp animalism of oud wood and those who prefer smoky vanillas over the sugary kind.

 

If Fumé Oud à la Vanille were a person, it would be the French foreign exchange girl who shows up to a party wearing the softest, most buttery leather coat ever before proceeding to charm the pants off everyone in the room, including the other girls. 

 

 

 

 

Guerlain Songe d’Un Bois en Eté (Universal Perfumes & Cosmetics)

Type: dupe, concentrated perfume oil

 

 

The use of cumin in fragrances needs an expert hand.  In the hands of Thierry Wasser at Guerlain, for example, the cumin in Songe d’Un Bois en Eté smells warmly animalic, like a particularly lived-in oud that transmits an unmistakably sensual vibe.   In less expert hands, cumin can smell unpleasantly like body odor.  Most dupes tend to lay the cumin on thick in a desperate attempt to mimic more complex or expensive animalic accords in the original fragrance, and unfortunately, this is a prime example.

 

Other than the harsh cumin, whereas the original heads straight for the deep, smoky woods and jasmine, the dupe smells bright and citrusy-sharp in the topnotes.  The original feels hot and dry, the dupe harsh and metallic; an exposed light bulb hanging from a string compared to the Tiffany lamp of the Guerlain.  In other words, save your pennies for the real deal.

 

 

 

Photo by Yogesh Rahamatkar on Unsplash

 

Hellcat (Alkemia)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Company description: A dark and ferociously sexy blend of Black Oud, Black Musk, Labdanum, and spiced Pipe Tobacco blended with a seductive purr of Black Opium. 

 

The black oud cited in the scent description is probably a reference to Black Agar Givco 215/2, a synthetic Givaudan specialty base used to replace real oud oil in a composition.  I have smelled this material in isolation, and it smells great – smoky, balsamic, and a little sweet, like amber.  Unfortunately, whatever honey or spice notes the perfumer has added to give the oud note an animalic purr just make the blend smell sharp and borderline unpleasant.

 

It would, in fact, be fair to say that Hellcat smells like a urinal puck, only not nearly as nice.  There have been reports on Fragrantica that this blend is one of those selective jobbies that works with the skin chemistry of only thirty percent of those who try it.  Well, either I am part of the unlucky seventy percent or Hellcat is just plain awful.  You try it and tell me which it is.

 

 

 

 

Hidden Lodge (Solstice Scents)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Company description: Dry Wood Blend, Oud, Woodsmoke, Spices, Castoreum (Botanical Interpretation) 

 

Summon your inner lumberjack!  Solstice Scents excels in smoky wood scents, and Hidden Lodge is no exception.  It possesses a dry, golden radiance that calls to mind both an indoors type of wood (a log cabin) and an outdoors one (conifers, fir, oak).   The oud note is subtle, adding only a tinge of fermentation to the central cedar-oak axis, while the castoreum just lengthens the wood’s smoky shadows.

 

Hidden Lodge is not animalic or fleshy in any way. It is simply a good smoky woods blend.  A bit plain, admittedly, but sometimes, that is just what the doctor ordered.  I see this working on people with an active lifestyle that revolves around camping and hiking. 

 

 

 

 

Memo Shams Oud (Universal Perfumes & Cosmetics)

Type: dupe, concentrated perfume oil

 

 

The dupe and original are deeply unalike in the beginning.  The original is a dry, peppery affair that smells like oud chips smoking over coals in a cedar cabin, fresh ginger root, and benzoin, a sheep fat labdanum coursing underneath. The dupe, on the other hand, smells immediately of wet, pulped newspapers and ground nuts.

 

As time goes by, the resemblance to the original strengthens somewhat, but the dupe remains rather weak and inert, never fully fluffing up onto the smoke cloud of resins that defines the original.  There is no sillage, no pleasing ‘thickness’.  The radiantly dry smoke of the real Shams Oud is sorely missed.

 

Crucially, the dupe seems to also be missing several key raw materials or components, most notably the bodacious, toffee-like sweetness of real labdanum, the papery dryness of benzoin, and the smoky soot of frankincense.

 

In dupes of resinous fragrances such as Shams Oud and Amber Absolute, I find the key difference to lie in the swaddling, thickening effect of resins (labdanum, myrrh, frankincense, benzoin).   When these resins are removed or watered down in the dupes, they leave a perceptible hole in the fabric of the scent, its texture invariably ‘reedier’ by default. Sadly, this is the case here.

 

 

 

Photo by Suvrajit 💭 S on Unsplash

 

Oud (The Spirit of Dubai)

Type: oudy mukhallat

 

 

The Spirit of Dubai’s take on oud is exactly how I think most people expect oud to be, which is as ferociously animalic and foul-smelling as a soiled cow yard.  Naturally, not all real oud smells like this, but it is important to note that many customers in the Middle East do not think of it as real oud unless it does smell like this.

 

The central dilemma of any luxury perfume house wanting to crack the market with an authentic oud fragrance is probably as follows: (a) wrap the oud up in flowers, fruit, and sandalwood in an attempt to make the medicine go down with well-heeled, genteel Western clients, or (b) go balls to the wall with an authentically cheesy, barnyardy oud and just hope there are enough Middle Eastern customers (or enough well-heeled, genteel Western clients who are up for a bit of a dare) to make it worth the investment.

 

With Oud, The Spirit of Dubai has obviously gone for option b.  It frames a pungent, cheesy, quasi-fecal natural oud oil with a massive synth support that buttresses the oud from either side, the equivalent of using a smoke machine to fill a cathedral with dry ice.  Within seconds, one’s nostrils and immediate surroundings are invaded by a pressing wall of bilious funk that smells like a cow’s prolapse.

 

It is, clearly, something that one might hesitate to wear in public.  Few of the other listed notes make it out alive from behind this wall of murk, not because they are not there, but because the noxious cloud of chemical and real oud is so dense and all-encompassing that it is difficult to make out the shape of more delicate notes such as lime, pear, rose, or lily of the valley.  The synth structure is massive – overwhelming even.

 

Thankfully, given time, the piles of liquid slurry on the bar floor dry out and morph into the shape of a dry, smoky leather. Oud then takes on a tailored, almost fresh elegance that could not have been predicted during the barbaric assault of its opening.  It meanders for hours along this track, a dark, dry leather with incense smoke wafting up from beneath.  But its chemical heat signature never quite departs the scene.  It remains at a low simmer beneath the surface, like a Duracell bunny on his drum, muffled under a blanket.

 

Price-wise and funk-wise, The Spirit of Dubai’s Oud is in the same ballpark as Frederic Malle’s The Night.  Both are aimed at the haute luxe segment of the buying market and both are built around a core of real oud.  The real difference is in the use of synthetics.  The Night is more naturally built and attar-themed, whereas Oud embraces the synth-driven performance and structure that is so popular among luxury buyers these days.  Hair-splitting aside, these are clearly brothers from another mother.

 

 

 

 

Oud 27 (Le Labo)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

The eau de parfum of Oud 27 smells like rotting wood and sour plastic, with a scalpy smear of costus thrown in for good measure.  Most perceive Oud 27’s opening to be a little offensive (Luca Turin calls it ‘pornographic’), but it accurately mimics some naturally-occurring facets of real oud oil.  Specifically, it reproduces the scent of necrotic decay brought about by the fungal infection that consumes the healthy parts of wood, turning them into oleoresin.  Oud 27 exaggerates this rot by a factor of ten, projecting it onto a huge canvas like in an open-air cinema.

 

The sour wetness of the aroma gradually dries out over the course of a wear, slowing evolving into a sweet, musky wood scent that smells like pulped cedar chips and sawdust at the bottom of a freshly-cleaned hamster cage.  As the scent settles, it becomes easier to identify the individual components of the composition, namely a red berry note, saffron, cedarwood, and a salty, almost hammy guaiacol.  A fun ride, sure, but perhaps not the easiest fragrance to slap on and forget about it.  Ain’t nobody going to be wearing Oud 27 on a first date.

 

The oil perfume version of the eau de parfum fares well, perhaps proving that the oil format is the more natural medium for anything oudy.  It sidesteps the plasticky, feral screech of the eau de parfum’s opening completely, instead easing you in with an oily, vegetal taint that increases incrementally rather than slapping you around the face.  The oil is very fruity compared to the eau de parfum, which makes it sweeter overall.  The shock factor of the oil is perhaps a five, compared to the nine of the eau de parfum.  Less porno, more PG.

 

 

 

 

Oud Violet Huile de Parfum (Fragrance du Bois)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

The oil counterpart to Oud Violet Intense, the brand’s eau de parfum, Oud Violet Huile de Parfum, is the rare example of a Fragrance du Bois scent that smells like it actually contains some oud.  The oil puts the surprisingly animalic oud up front and center, before dunking it in a bath of creamy tonka and freshening its breath with black pepper and mandarin.   In a Le Labo-style twist, there is no violet in the composition, the name presumably referring to the dulcet, velvety texture of the tonka drydown.

 

The perfume performs a balletic leap from peppery, spicy freshness to creamy leather without missing a step. It feels rich but light, a dusty chocolate warmth filling the air pockets between nuggets of smoking resin and tonka bean crème.  Oud Violet Huile de Parfum is my personal favorite of the Fragrance du Bois line-up because it is elegant and rich, but also places real oud oil at the center of the composition.

 

In tone, Oud Violet Huile de Parfum reminds me a lot of Mona di Orio’s Oud Osmanthus, particularly in its rich, ‘soaked’ leather-and-civet treatment of the oud theme.  Both compositions feel grandly upholstered, as if they belonged not to the modern era but to the drawing rooms of a Henry James novel.  An aria of antiseptic, woody sourness flits through the scent to keep all the sweet, almost candied elements firmly in check.  Every single note here fits together as tightly as a lock and key.

 

 

 

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

 

Shaikah (Al Rehab)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Shaikah is my pick from Al Rehab for a perfume oil that gives you the thrill of the East for pennies.  Although clearly not made from any real rose or oud oils, Shaikah briefly pulls off such a convincing impression of an authentic rose-oud that I recommend it specifically to beginners who want to see a trailer of the genre before deciding to sit through the movie.

 

Shaikah is not a replacement for better quality oils, of course.  But it gives you a pencil sketch of the real thing and is therefore invaluable to people who want a taste of the East without committing too much time and money.

 

The opening of Shaikah is sharply antiseptic, sour, and although not overly animalic or dirty, may prove a little offensive to noses not used to the smell of oud.  The oud note is plonked down rather unceremoniously beside the rose and left alone to do their own thing, uncushioned by the usual Western airbags of vanilla or sugar.  The rose is green, cutting, and bloodily metallic; the oud note chemical, medicinal, and austere.  It is a fight to the death and both are wearing knuckle-dusters.

 

The sparring notes eventually pull themselves into a shape that works, the ancient pairing of rose and oud proving once again to be the most logical combination in perfumery.  It is not sweet or creamy, but in its bluntness, achieves an authentically loud exoticism that one can well imagine billowing out from under the robes of men and women all across the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

Sultan Al Oud (Al Rehab)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

A glance at Sultan Al Oud’s name might have you trembling in anticipation of a full-on oudy onslaught – but relax.  This is a soft, inoffensive essay on woods that is incredibly easy to wear and won’t have anyone in your immediate vicinity wrinkling their noses.

 

The perfume derives most of its force from a creamy vanilla in the base but gains auxiliary interest by way of the same soapy green cardamom note that features so strongly in Tom Ford’s Oud Wood.  The texture of the oil resembles lather from a luxurious shaving soap, but other than this, there is nothing to sway it in the direction of one sex or the other.  In fact, like Oud Wood, Sultan Al Oud is as smooth and as featureless as a Ken doll.

 

Later on, Sultan Al Oud smoothes out into a clean, rubbery woods accord that, when paired with the bland vanilla, recalls those great Lattafa cheapies Raghba and Ameer al Oudh, minus the chemical screech of their synthetic oud.

 

Highly recommended as a gateway into the whole ‘oudy’ arena, because although it contains not even a drop of oud, Sultan Al Oud still manages to convey a convincingly oudy aroma.  It is on the dapper side of wearability, so it won’t scare the horses.

 

 

 

 

Tom Ford Tobacco Oud (Mr. Perfume)

Type: dupe, concentrated perfume oil

 

 

The dupe opens with a sickly cherry-licorice note that does not feature anywhere in the original.  Although I personally find the original slightly too rich and dry to wear more than once in a blue moon, there is no denying that it is an impactful fragrance, stuffed to the gills with whiskey, peat, honey, campfire, woods, and amber.  The dupe fails to capture either the texture or the basic notes of the original.  It’s not looking good, right?

 

This dupe is an advertisement for why you should always wait it out just in case there is a surprise development.  Four hours on, and the dupe settles into a fantastic rendition of Tobacco Oud, complete with the incensey, burned-sugar amber heart successfully transplanted from Amber Absolute into Tobacco Oud.  This accord is shot through with streaks of toasted tobacco, honey, and some kind of golden liquor.  This kind of dupe gives me whiplash – terrible start, wonderful finish.  However, I have to rate this as firmly average because I am not sure how many people would have the patience required to sit out the uninspiring first half.

 

 

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

 

Velvet Roses & Oudh W for Women (Perfume Parlour)

Type: dupe, concentrated perfume oil

 


Dupe for: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud

 

 

There is a dankness in the dupe absent in the original, and the original is jammier, darker, and more velvety.  But nitpicking aside, this is a close dupe.  Both pair a sweet, rich rose note with a creamy coffee-praline note and a surprisingly smooth synth oud for a result that seems to be the baby bear’s porridge of rose-oud perfumes.

 

The best feature of the original is that it is sweet without being candied, and creamy without being heavy.  This quality is replicated to perfection in the dupe.  The original is darker, thicker, and fuller, especially in the rose department.  The dupe also falls behind on projection, sticking much closer to the skin.  But honestly, if you don’t have the money for the Jo Malone but love the smell, then the dupe gets you two thirds of the way there for a fraction of the cost.

 

 

 

Wood Gardens (Henry Jacques)

Type: concentrated perfume oil

 

 

Wood Gardens features the usual triple-stacked pyramid of notes but what it all boils down it is a happy marriage between two partners of top-shelf quality – an oud oil that is meltingly soft and deep, with all the sepia-toned mystery of agarwood but none of its grunge, and a sandalwood with the creamy, incensey heft of a true Mysore.

 

At the edges, saffron enhances the supple, leathery side of the oud, while vetiver and vanilla emphasize the nutty, grass-fed creaminess of the sandalwood.  But nothing distracts from the central effect of oud and sandalwood.  Although technically a concentrated perfume oil rather than a true attar, Wood Gardens illustrates the essential selling point of traditional attar perfumery, which is allowing the most exquisite of raw materials to melt into each other and doing nothing much else than making the introduction.  Wood Gardens is worth crawling over hot coals to smell.

 

 

 

 

About Me:  A two-time Jasmine Award winner for excellence in perfume journalism, I write a blog (this one!) and have authored many guides, articles, and interviews for Basenotes.  (My day-to-day work is in the scientific research for development world).  Thanks to the generosity of friends and acquaintances in the perfume business, I have been privileged enough to smell the raw materials that go into perfumes and learn about the role they play in both Western and Eastern perfumery.   Artisans have sent vials of the most precious materials on earth such as ambergris, deer musk, and oud.  But I have also spent thousands of my own money, buying oud oils directly from artisans and tons of dodgy (and possibly illegal) stuff on eBay.  In the reviews sections, I will always tell you where my sample came from and whether I paid for it or not.

 

Source of samples:  I purchased samples from Hyde & Alchemy, Al Rehab, Alkemia, NAVA, Universal Perfumes & Cosmetics, Solstice Scents, Le Labo, Perfume Parlour, Amouage and Mr. Perfume.  Samples from Strangelove NYC and The Spirit of Dubai were sent to me free of charge by the brands. The Henry Jacques and Fragrance du Bois samples were sent to me by two different (but equally kind) Basenotes friends.      

 

Note on monetization: My blog is not monetized.  But if you’d like to support my work or show appreciation for any of the content I put out, you can always buy me a coffee using the little buymeacoffee button.  Thank you! 

 

Cover Image:  Photo by William Bout on Unsplash