More ‘Amber’ Than ‘Oud’ – By Kilian Amber Oud Perfume Review

Amber Oud

Perfume fate seemed to happen last week. As I was planning The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Oud, the postman bought me two oud-ie goodies – the first being my new bottle of Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and the second being a sample of By Kilian’s latest perfume ‘Amber Oud’. So it seems like last week was fated to be the week of the oud, and in keeping with that theme it only seems fitting to give Amber Oud a whirl.

Firstly, By Kilian has to be commended for their PR practices. Last year they offered members of The Kilian Club on their Facebook Page a complete set of samples from the L’Oeuvre Noire collection and now they have been kind enough to send everyone a sample of their latest fragrance ‘Amber Oud’, with the sole intent of introducing it to Kilian fans. Now, that’s good PR!

Amber Oud is inspired by greek mythology and is the latest addition to By Kilian’s Arabian Nights collection. It was created by Calice Becker and joins Incense Oud, Pure Oud and Rose Oud to become the fourth pillar within Kilian’s oud-quartet. Kilian says that Amber Oud “is borned in Heliades tears” [1] and with this new fragrance his objectivewas to deconstruct/reconstruct the traditional “Amber” by taking the animalistic qualities of a dark “Oud” and adding richness through an overdose of “Vanilla” from Madagascar and “Benzoin” from Laos.” [2]


The Notes

Amber, Oud, Bay Leaf, Cedarwood and Vanilla [3]

How Does it Smell?

I have spent a decent amount of time with my little sample of Amber Oud since it appeared in my post box, and the one conclusion that I have drawn over this period of frequent sampling is that Amber Oud is more ‘Amber’ than ‘Oud’. What I have taken my time to deliberate after coming to this conclusion is whether I think this is a good thing or not.

Amber Oud’s opening is an intriguing blend of warm spices and a really unusual oud note that not only smells medicinal, but also like hot plastic. It’s an odd affect that doesn’t last for long but adds some interest to what becomes, for the most part a rather docile composition.

The main focus of the fragrance seems to be on a lightly spiced vanilla. In fact, if I were to rename Amber Oud I would probably go for something like ‘Vanilla Oud’ or even ‘Vanilla Amber’, the latter of which sums it up perfectly. The blend of vanilla, cinnamon and cedar is very lovely, although it’s not particularly special or groundbreaking.

For a fragrance showcasing oud in the name, I can’t help but think I would have liked a little more oud (did I really just say that?) and the combination of vanilla and oud isn’t quite as fascinating as that of Montale’s White Aoud, which seems to do the whole thing in a much more ostentatious and thorough manner. That said, Amber Oud is perfectly lovely, and whilst I might not be a total lemming for it I cannot deny that it is enjoyable to wear. I just expected a little bit more.


Amber Oud is part of By Kilian’s Arabian Nights Collection and is available in a 50ml refillable bottle and 30ml refillable travel spray. Prices range from £150-£265, refills are available and start at £115.


This review is based on a sample of Amber Oud provided by By Kilian through their Facebook Page.

[1] & [2] via By Kilian

Image 1
Image 2 by Tanki @ Flickr


23 thoughts on “More ‘Amber’ Than ‘Oud’ – By Kilian Amber Oud Perfume Review

  1. I agree, a really good PR!

    I like Amber Oud but I need to wear it more to figure out if I want to pursue it beyond that sample. What I do know already, I wouldn’t be able to resist a travel set with all scents in the collection.

  2. I hear what you’re saying, I think it might well be disappointing for oud fans past the opening. It moves to vanilla pretty quickly but I like my oud docile and there’s something cosy and addictive about it. Rose Oud is still my fave By Kilian by a long way, though.

    Congrats on your Oud Wood!

  3. That explains why I like this one the most out of all the by kilian ouds, more amber very little oud and a lot of vanilla, I like this one but the juries out as to if it would go on my fb list.
    I totally agree with you on the beginning a medicinal almost plastic smell, call me weird but I actually quite like that part.

  4. I have been curious about this since reading Birgit’s very positive review, and if the oud is docile and the vanilla and amber are to the fore, there’s a good chance I might like it a lot, plastic opening and all!

  5. I’m kind of going through a little oud hunt at the minute, whilst trying to stay away from mentioning to anyone that I’m doing this… which has kind of failed. Anyway, interesting as I haven’t read much about this one.
    I’ve always kind of avoided the By Kilians, they’re so well rated and talked about but I’m scared to fall for one due to the heftyyy price tag, similar to what I’ve done with Mona di Orio’s oud. So for now, I’m sticking with my Montales, and thanks to your review, I don’t feel stupid for doing so.
    An interesting read thank you 🙂

  6. I think I found it as underwhelming as you say – and I’m a little annoyed because I planned to totally love it because I very much want one of the gold Arabian Nights travel bottles. Maybe I’m just annoyed that I didn’t love it enough to invest. None of the Arabian Nights is really grabbing me.

    • Those bottles are gorgeous aren’t they?!

      I have tried the others but I need to spend more time with them. The odd thing is, I like a lot of the Kilian’s but I haven’t felt compelled to buy one yet. I came very close with A Taste of Heaven but then Dior’s Eau Noire came along and it sort of pushed ATOH to the wayside, I no longer feel like I need it.

      • I freakin’ adore those bottles. They’re luxe but actually carryable, unlike the Amouage “purse bottles” which you could use to kill a man.

        I can’t believe you don’t have Back to Black. I can never believe it that anyone doesn’t own Back to Black. It’s so addictive and so delicious.

      • Haha, I just looked up the Amouage travel bottles and they do look pretty lethal…

        I should really rectify that Back to Black situation shouldn’t I? It’s a damn good scent!

      • I have one of the older ones – you can see one at – they must weigh five pounds.

        Hard to imagine living without Back to Black. Several of my non-perfumista friends succumbed to that one.

  7. To me, Amber Oud smells like Prada Candy Double-extra Plus Good Oud Yum! (By taking a detour through a Chinese translator). Which roughly translates: want!

    I wore White Oud last night, and probably will again today, but it answers a very different craving the AO; I don’t really get any Oud from AO, but what I do get is Candy with projection and longevity, plus that little extra yum factor 😉 I see a refill bottle, or a split, in my future!

  8. I really like Amber Oud. To be honest, they already had me at “Amber”. I actually do get a distinct oud note until way into the drydown. On my skin it stays slightly medicinal, which I like very much. The vanilla and benzoin could have easily pushed this into gourmand territory but balanced by the oud it keeps a warm and luminous feel without becoming overly sweet. Would I pay the whopping € 300 for the full bottle? No, but the lovely travel set is already on my wishlist!

  9. The more I wear Amber Oud, the more I think “Oh, this is just a nice amber.” I get little to no oud out of it. I’m a little disappointed by that, actually. Furthermore, I prefer a richer amber, and Amber Oud is pretty but…a bit too pretty for my tastes, if that makes sense? It’s lighter than I would have liked.

    Right now my favorite amber is Kerosene Copper Skies: rich, smoky, sexy – everything an amber should be. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you should =)

  10. Pingback: 5 QUICK SNIFFS and JUDE LAW « australianperfumejunkies

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