Monday, September 14, 2009

L'Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh: new fragrance

Hot on the heels of moroccan impressions and no sooner had a review of the newest Havana Vanilla been posted on our pages (a scent in the Travel series from L'Artisan and inspired by the tobacco and vanilla of old Cuba) that we find out positive info on another new L'Artisan Parfumeur coming out: Al Oudh, simply meaning "the oud". Composed by in-house perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and centered on the noble scent of the patholigical secretion of Aquillaria trees, oud or aloeswood, the new oriental fragrance is hypnotically beckoning us into a Middle-Eastern dervish dance, an hypnotic sight from which we can't draw our eyes off. The smoky, nutty complex smell of oud wood with its resemblanc to Band-Aids is definitely the dominating trend in niche releases in the last few seasons, having gained a momentum like there was no tomorrow (Montale was on to something when he burst into the scene with his ouds!). The oud bandwagon has everyone on it from Micalef's Aoud Homme to Tom Ford Oud Wood and more mainstream releases such as YSL M7, which begs the question what will happen if the guy and the gal next to you on the subway will start wearing tons of oud scents on the daily commute. But I digress.
Bertrand is taking the inspiration from the Arabian peninsula and the Spice Route (much like we had reported on Amouage and their new Epic, it's an always popular theme anyway) along with his familiar, honed skills on incense (myrrh, frankincense) to compose a spicy, woody and animalic composition with leathery notes which is reported to be "incredibly strong" as per the perfumer's own words.
The oudh/oud/aoud note is much harped on for being ultra-expensive (and indeed its production is so labour-intensive as to require exorbitant prices), yet new synthetics which mimic its medicinal and smoky scent have lately become available, starting with M7 by Yves Saint Laurent a few years ago (thus bringing the fad all the way downscale to Bath & Body Works recently). This justifies the claim of oud "notes" across the market at every price point. I trust that L'Artisan and Bertrand, with their usual finesse and care for marrying the best of both worlds, will instill a little of the real deal, extended with suave aromachemicals which will support it.

Notes* for L'Artisan Al Oudh:
Top: Cumin, cardamom, pink pepper
Heart: Neroli, rose, castoreum, civet, leather, musk
Base: Oud, sandalwood, Atlas cedar, patchouli, myrrh, incense, vanilla, tonka bean

*please note this is the sequence quotted, although it appears mid notes are comprised of heavier molecules

L'Artisan Al Oudh will be available as Eau de Parfum in 100ml/3.4oz bottles with Arabesque edges and a box that is scalloped with mosque-like decorations. It does look beautiful! (and Lutensian I might add in mischief) It will launch in winter 2009-2010.

info & pic via


  1. I've been doing some perfume reading recently and this ingredient oudh is frequently mentioned as being positively divine - I am so curious now and can't wait to get a sniff of this one by L'Artisan! :)

  2. Great news! I'm very curious about it. The new vanilla is not yet available in Paris :(

  3. Oudh at Bath and Body Works? Definitely gotta check that one.

  4. Alexandra16:22

    *castoreum, civet, leather, musk* That sounds... dirty. I`m interested.

  5. *Very* pretty bottle! Not that I would buy for the bottle, of course... I assure you... no, really, I don't look at the bottles...

    I have not had great luck with L'Artisan so far, although I hold out hope for Havana Vanille.

  6. Rappleyea20:36

    I just recently received a sample pack of some of Montale's ouds. I've never tried an oud before and as you noted, they are now everywhere, so I wanted to know what they smelled like!

    This one seems to have some strange notes. I'm glad you added your footnote regarding the 'top', 'middle', and 'base' note designation. As YOU know, that designation has to do with evaporation rate, so calling something a middle note is NOT going to make it evaporate any faster! I hate mis-information.

  7. Elizabeth05:34

    Oh, I am so excited about this launch...I hope it lives up to my hopes! The notes sounds scrumptious...

  8. OMG! Look at that bottle!

  9. I might be SORELY tempted, dammit ! ;-)

    Yes, teacake darling-

  10. I will sample this some time. My original experience with "oud" was all about the Band-Aid (perfect comparison btw!) This was before I knew about the expense of natural oud and relative impossibility of finding any in a midpriced fragrance, thanks to you. So I don't believe I've ever smelled the real thing. One day.

  11. Tara C21:45

    Didn't care for the Havana Vanille, and the cumin in the Aedes custom scent killed me, so I am wary of this one... will sample it copiously before contemplating a purchase.

  12. Anonymous22:05

    I wonder if this was a version Duchaufour made for Amouage that they turned down in favor of the juice they actually chose for Epic Man. The notes lists are so similar - it seems like more than a coincidence.

    Al Oudh
    Top: Cumin, cardamom, pink pepper
    Heart: Neroli, rose, castoreum, civet, leather, musk
    Base: Oud, sandalwood, Atlas cedar, patchouli, myrrh, incense, vanilla, tonka bean

    Epic Man
    Top notes: pink pepper berry essence, frankincense, cumin, cardamom essence, saffron, mace essence, nutmeg, myrtle essence.
    Heart notes: geranium essence, myrrh essence.
    Base notes: Oud, Sandalwood, patchouli, leather, frankincense, cedarwood, musk, castoreum.

    That being said, i'm interested in trying it as I still haven't found a great oud that doesn't feature rose prominently. Hopefully this will be the one although I have my doubts as I tend not to get on well with the few Duchaufour creations I've tried (Timbuktu is ok but a bit boring and overly sweet in the drydown, Fleur de Liane turns extremely chemical on me in the drydown).

  13. Intensely curious about this. Much more so than I am about the vanilla scent, which I am sure that I will at least appreciate. But the notes here-civet, castoreum, musk, leather, spices, over the woody, incense-vanilla base? Sounds so perfect for the cold weather.

  14. Audit,

    I think much of the mystique of oud relies on the myth of the preciousness and rarity perpetuated in the press. Although it definitely was so for REAL oud in the past and in very upscale projects, most commercial (and several niche) fragrances now do not contain real oud.
    But even so, oud is a very individual and terribly complex material that predominantly smells very musty. Personally having smelled the real deal I can tell you that it has to be used sparingly for it to shine and it's not an easy note to incorporate in a composition, it demands a lot of skill. But when it's done right, it's great.
    Hope that helps and you're well :-)

  15. O,

    you're welcome, sometimes launch schedules are so erratic, it seems, aren't they?
    I am not sure you'd fall in love with HV, I felt it was nicely done and would be popular no doubt, but not something I pressingly need myself. Then again, I never was much of a vanilla person.

  16. L,

    apparently they're issuing it in the coming weeks or so, I think I read it on NST (you could check for accuracy's sake)
    At that price point, it's becoming a little ridiculous to claim oud. Not that it wasn't ridiculous before, but anyway....

  17. A,

    dirty can be good (I am fondly thinking of MKK!) but I also recall BD saying he was working on "an incredibly strong oud". That incredibly strong part somehow scares me, oud being such an engulfing note on its own. Somehow it's also at odds with the lighter L'Artisan scheme, so one could hold out hope and see what happens. The bottle is really precious, eh?

  18. M,

    the arabesque won me immediately as well. And yes, I'm not crazy about bottles either...but they do catch my eye! :-)

    L'artisan has a certain style that is their own and I appreciate that even when sometimes some scents don't suit me (several do, for the record). I think HV is one of their most approachable ones, easily digested, even populist in a way if I dare say so, although still light-handed.

  19. D,

    hmm...although the M scents got a lot of buzz they're not exactly the most representative specimen of real oud, if you know what I mean. Still, there are some which are quite lovely IMO (Amandes Orientales, Crystal Flower, Sweet Oriental Dream are among my favourites).

    Yeah, the pyramid sounded rather strange and I was teetering to state that it probably means that although listed as "notes", there are highly evolved aroma-synthetics at play that give the impression of those notes with a different evaporation time than usual, hence the "faulty" sequence. But I didn't. I guess I'm doing it now... :-)

  20. E,

    I hope so too! It would be great to have a rather dirty oud fragrance that still is comparatively light and gracefully wearable L'artisan-style!

  21. Teacake/J,

    hi there! How are? Long time no see, how lovely you're here!

    The bottle is FANTASTIC! Love it. Almost tempted to buy for the bottle. *shame on me*

  22. I,

    see above response to teacake.
    What a pretty sight!

  23. P,

    thanks for saying so and good point about comparison between the material and the "note" in a perfume. I guess most people haven't come into contact with the real deal, so it's confusing and can't be blamed.
    Personally I'd have several other materials in my own custom-blend scent before turning to oud, to be honest. And not because I shun dirty or dark/heavy! It's just too "musty woods" for me to carry around for long. Keeping a tola in my desk drawer for sniffing from time to time, yes.

  24. T,

    I wasn't too enthused by the HV either, although I predict it will be quite popular. That sort of boozy vanilla seems to be big right now. And I don't like all of BD's compositions, but admire his skills.
    Let's see...this has the potential to either be very graceful and interesting or a Dada painting that neads a pamphlete to get understood!

  25. Anon,

    what an interesting (and daring) thought and thanks for bringing it here!
    You know, it very well could be, as several projects by perfumers do not get rejected but get used in slight variations in different scents; the practice is not unheard of (compare and constrast with the several "roses" by Kurkdjan a few years ago)

    I admit I quite enjoy Timbuktu with its blood-drops-dripping-on-mud ambience, but FdL was a no-no for me personally. It didn't move me aesthetically nor intellectually I'm afraid...
    As to this one, we'll see when we see, I guess.

  26. M,

    like I said above it will either be the perfect solution for those who were searching for the perfect oud scent, or it will be incomprehensive (seeing as it involves everything and the kitchen sink, if I may say so). I am naturally hoping for the former!


  27. Al Oudh - high expectations from my side here, too. M7 was a gem. Still have a drop left. Now, and that bottle...! It's really tdf!


  28. N,

    glad it created an anticipation! I very much like the bottle. Rumour has the scent appearing a bit schizo though: rough at the start, petters out to soft nothings later. Then again, this might be just what you're looking for.

  29. Al Oudh L Artisan Parfumeur
    Just nice!
    Very Smokey, Incense driven
    A hint of spicy wood notes ..
    Should be marketed as a masculine fragrance.
    I can't see a woman really liking and buying this ..
    unless she is getting it for her other half.

    A nice INTRO for those like me ..
    that want to see/ smell what this OUDH
    fad is all about.


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin