Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Confessional

Sometimes one stumbles upon something that is so perfectly judged, so condensed in its appraisal of a situation and so witty, all at the same time, that one has a belly laugh and salvages said snippet from oblivion by noting it down for posterity's sake.
This is what I'm doing right now.

"Tom Ford goes to Catholic Church for confession

Tom Ford: father, i have sinned
Father: you can speak your mind
Tom Ford: I introduced the oud trend
Father: Your sin is unforgivable."

As said by Fazalcheema on Fragrantica regarding the introduction of Lancôme's Oud Bouquet. (a rose-vanilla-saffron oud for 2014, updating the 2012 L'Autre Oud fragrance idea). He's referring of course to  M7 by Yves Saint Laurent, the first "mainstream" oud note fragrance which started it all, artistically directed by Tom Ford.


  1. Hah! That about sums it up, who would have thought someday oud would hit the point of loathing that fruity florals, fruitchoulis, and aquatics have become for so many. Not me. I don't think I have smelled real oud but the fake synthetic note that is used so ubiquitously really needs to be stopped.

  2. Truly a capital sin. Funny thing is, I don't think M7 itself was particularly successful - the craze came later, between IFRA's killing of countless interesting materials and the niche explosion.

    Interestingly, Luca Turin claims that oud was introduced in western perfumery earlier, with Balenciaga ph, though they didn't say that.

    In any case, I hope that Chanel, so far the holdout, doesn't succumb to oud mania.


  3. Tom Ford may have started the oud trend many years ago with Oud Wood which was in his original line (his two other ouds were only added this past year) but other lines jumped on the oud bandwagon and inundated the universe with oud. But that seems to happen a lot in perfumery...think of iris, tuberose, sandalwood, etc.

  4. Jen,

    I suppose anything done to death becomes an abomination. Just think back on the 80s scents: so revered from modern perfumistas for their boldness (and especially as many of them were too young to recall the drenching going on back then) and so anathematized by a previous generation of people who became hostile to perfume ever since.

    Real oud is a very difficult note: I don't especially like it, though I appreciate its many nuances and its depth. (Give me frankincense, oakmoss, caro carounda any day!) The synthetic is more bitterish Band Aid-ish if I'm allowed such simplifications.

    Oud is a trend that found sure footing because it promised that Holy Grail of marketing & sales: an actually cheap to make product that could claim haute status straight-faced due to its name. ;-)

  5. M,

    ah, a good point. But I think M7 soon became a cult item and cult items either become best-sellers (Angel, Kouros) or they spark imitators (Bvlgari Black, Fracas).

    The important consideration nevertheless isn't the appeal to the market. It is the manufacturing of the appeal. A novel oud base became available, therefore the market should be hosed with oud, no matter what! They'd DARN WELL LEARN to like it!!

    Luca might be correct that a few older frags contained oud (an industry source tells me that indeed there were ranges utilizing some, they didn't specify Balencianga but I can ask). But the crux of the matter is availability. And then of course the advertising of the inclusion. It only made sense to do the former if the latter could be possible and it could only be possible if the synthetic oud base had come to be created, ergo… :-)

  6. Phyllis,

    it is my understanding that Oud wood (2007) came after the oud trend had already been put in motion. Tom Ford had already dealt with it back then in 2002 directing the YSL portfolio for fragrances, introducing M7 for men. But he had seen a good (?) thing in front of his eyes and he determined to make use of it. If M7 gained cult status thanks to its unusual scent, then surely there's potential!
    Assuredly the other niche lines flooded the market with oud.

    But as I said to Cacio above, the reason is that there was availability of a new synthetic oud base. In those cases (a neW material or a new technique) the industry gets crammed with the corresponding "trend"! It happened indeed with iris as you so succinctly point out (a new technique of much quicker maceration that necessitated just 3 months instead of 3 years, plus all the synths), it happened with sandalwood (the alternatives and the synths).

    Makes sense, right?

  7. Micki00:00

    ... It happened with violet, with Vanillin, synthetic musks, aldehydes...


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