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