Not unfittingly I had waited till I had written my articles on myrrh resin before writing my full perfume review of the latest Annick Goutal 1001 Ouds fragrance in the Les Absolus range. That's because rather than being a fully fledged oud/aoudh fragrance this oriental elixir features myrrh in a key player position.
|photo Vitor Schietti|
The trend for oudh has been going strong and every brand has embraced the innovations of the fragrance industry. Some say this particular trend is an unpardonable sin (and indeed only Chanel seems impervious to the flummox as of this moment) so an oud-centric perfume from Annick Goutal did not spell optimism in my heart of hearts. Especially as the combination of oudh with rose has been the hallmark of tried and tested combinations surgically transplanted from Middle Eastern perfumery -where they thrive in local blends- and then watered down for western usage.
Nevertheless 1001 Ouds in Les Absolus d'Annick Goutal managed to not fulfill the desire for apostasy that ran in the back of my mind. Two key ingredients which are featured in a clever way by perfumer composer Isabel Doyen are responsible for the rekindled interest.
Myrrh resin, bittersweet and poignant, is restraining the stomping boots of the oudh note. Thankfully as most contemporary oudh compositions, lacking the complexity of a traditional oudh perfume essence, run the risk of coming across as rather aggressive (the dreaded Band Aid note) and a little too invasive, like a stranger in leather gear on public transport making intense eye contact out of the blue. The woody effect given by papyrus wood is slightly smoky, the feel of a distant campfire rather than having the barbecue right on the lawn.
Rose phobics or those who do like rose but dread the engulfing tentacles of it when combined with usual suspects sandalwood or oudh in an Arabian setting need not be scared. The rose in 1001 Ouds by Annick Goutal is providing a softened, mellowed bridge between the more challenging ingredients, polishing the corners and smoothening the edges. This well known perfumers' trick works especially well here; one doesn't really discern the rose, only the humming warmth and glow that resembles a copper-toned lipstick on an olive skinned lady.
As might be suspected by the notes 1001 Ouds leans to the shared fragrances side of the spectrum and men and women alike would enjoy it without problems. In fact the creative team at Annick Goutal present the Les Absolus trio as a lovers' shared sensuous experience and they couldn't be closer to the truth. These are warm, soft, enveloping fragrances to share with those you cherish the most.
As with the rest of Les Absolus, beautiful presentation, demanding prices.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine:
Annick Goutal fragrance reviews and news
Oud/Aoudh/Agarwood: perfume raw material
Les Absolus d'Annick Goutal: perfume reviews