I realise that linking Sex Pistols’ lyrics with perfume in the title of this post is a tenuous connection at best, but if perfume brand Atkinsons is allowed to have fun with titles and monikers, then I’ll be darned if I’m can’t join in too. On the subject of names, the latest fragrance from Atkinsons has such a wonderfully hilarious name I genuinely could not pass up givin it a shot. I mean, you’ve got to admire the audacity of a brand who bestows a perfume with the name ‘Oud Save the Queen‘.
Atkinsons is a recently-revived British brand that started in London in 1799 and is self-described as being “the original London Society fragrance house and the first official Perfumer to the Royal court”. This royal connection is explored further by Atkinsons, who claim to have “created the first British Oud fragrance, Prince Ibraham Bouquet, for Crown Prince Mohammed Ali Ibrahim of Egypt” upon the request of Queen Mary, during the roaring twenties.
The Oud Collection, which consists of Oud Save the Queen and her masculine counterpart ‘Oud Save the King‘, celebrates the brand’s royal connections to Britain and Egypt. Atkinsons calls their feminine oud (created by perfumer Francis Deleamont of Firmenich) a “majestic fragrance of sublimely sovereign beauty” that boasts notes of tea, flowers and rich woods. The result is something that is a little bit too sturdy to be truly “majestic”, but majesty can be overrated if you ask me.
The Early Grey Bergamot Accord, Jasmine Petal, Orange Blossom, Gaiac Oud, Norlimbanol and Oud Accord
How Does it Smell?
Yes, everyone’s doing an oud. The oud trend isn’t ending. We’re all tired of oud, blah, blah blah. I’m at the stage now where I’m fully embracing the oud-onslaught in an attempt to find the unusual and exciting interpretations that take the typical visions of the middle east to new and interesting heights. So, where does Oud Save the Queen sit on the oud spectrum? Is it a stereotypical oud of no interest or is it something a little bit more spectacular?
Well the answer is that it sits somewhere smack bang in the middle. It opens with a plethora of spices; clove, cardamom and saffron to be precise, all of which are offset by the furry feel of bergamot tea. There’s an undercurrent of sticky, gluey fruit of the orange and purple varieties that cuts across the dries aspects of the spice to create a warm, sweet and enveloping melange of smells.
Underpinning all of that fruit and spice is a good old slug of orange blossom that appears as a syrupy blend of floral honey. This gooey nectar smooths the transition from the souk of the opening to the plush base which is chock full of cosy, chewy amber as well as the airy intensity of rough plumes of oud smoke (perhaps attributable to the intensely dry and woody character of the Firmenich ingredient Norlimbanol). There’s a satisfying trajectory within Oud Save the Queen that feels well proportioned, suitably rambunctious and appropriately weighty.
Oud Save the Queen is a nicely executed oud with spicy, fruity and amber-y accents that is evocative of middle eastern spice markets. It would be fair to say that it isn’t anything wildly unusual but at the same time it is far from generic and would make a good choice for someone looking for an oud with one or two unusual inflections. I’ve certainly smelled less interesting ouds and seeing as this is my first fragrant encounter with the house of Atkinsons, I’m intrigued to find out what else they have to offer.
Atkinsons’ Oud Save the Queen is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £140.
Sample via Atkinsons. Image 1 via trademark.markify.com. Image 2 via mimifroufrou.com. Notes and quotes via press release.