During this review I am going to attempt not to; a) mention; or b) moan about, the perfume industry’s boring obsession with oud. Oh, well that didn’t last very long, did it? In all seriousness, you don’t need to hear me bang on about oud and why we’re all fed up with it, because frankly, I’m fed up with saying it. So onwards and upwards. Oud is popular and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, despite our collective ennui regarding the subject. Which leads me nicely onto two brand new oud fragrances from luxury brand Robert Piguet…
The Piguet brand has exploded considerably over the last three years and their small capsule collection of a handful, or so of scents has increased significantly with 19 new fragrances created since 2012 (that’s quite the growth, people). In truth, they’ve been a bit of a mixed bag, and whilst I thought that scents such as Petit Fracas were great fun (and really worth sniffing), many haven’t lived up to the greatness of the brand’s classics such as Fracas, Bandit and Visa. Which, let’s face it, must be quite difficult, i mean, not every fragrance are ever going to be as great as Fracas!
This summer, Piguet have launched Oud Divin and Oud Délice, two follow-ups to their Oud, which was launched in 2012, and was a pretty big and funky take on the note. These two ouds take the signature of the original and turn it into something a little bit more palatable. They flirt with the gourmand and present the signature Oud Piguet, the “proprietary blend of resins and woods” that was the core of 2012’s stinky (in a good way) Oud, in two strikingly different ways – one is robust, shocking and intriguing, whilst the other pleases with softness and familiarity.
“The latest creation from legendary house, Parfums de Robert Piguet, weaves a complex story of desire and intensity. OUD DIVIN is an addictive formula; a scent of longing that pulls at the core of our being. Like the alchemist’s brew, OUD DIVIN is a tonic of the inexplicable; a baffling remedy that induces an obsessive reaction.”
– Parfums de Robert Piguet
Top: Espresso Bean and Tonka Bean Absolute
Heart: Oud Piguet and Patchouli from Indonesia
Base: Vetiver from Haiti
How Does it Smell?
Oud Divin is immediately the more interesting of the two and the first sniff is, well, it’s a little bit startling, to be honest. It opens with the rich and intense tones of roasted coffee beans. The initial impression is bitter and creamy, almost calling to mind a coffee-flavoured truffle of some sort as opposed to a freshly brewed pot of java. The milky underpinnings of tonka bean become increasingly more apparent as the fragrance progresses, adding a softness that ensures the coffee is never overpowering or unpleasant. In the top notes especially, Oud Divin feels like an incredibly divisive fragrance – people are either going to love it or hate it. Your stomach is either going to rumble with anticipation or turn.
As the top notes subside, Oud Divin starts to show its funky side. The coffee remains but slowly and surely, the pure animalic nature of the oud starts to peek through the more delicious aspects. Well, I say ‘animalic’ and yes, there certainly is a barnyard nuance or two going on, but in truth, the overall feeling is distinctly more human, with the oud taking on a more sour and breath-like character. Leather and patchouli make the oud more robust and masculine as it carries into the dry down, which is a melange of gourmand, oud and smoky facets. The whole thing is intriguing from start to finish.
Oud Divin certainly gets brownie points (coffee flavoured brownie points, should I say) for originality. I certainly haven’t experienced a coffee-oud before, and what could have been a tragic mess of epic proportions is actually a nicely balanced fragrance that works surprisingly well. Would I wear it? Now that’s a question! In all honesty, I’m not sure. I definitely know that it’s not something I would dare rock during the height of summer, but those creamy coffee tones and animalic nuances are simply begging for a cold day. I reckon that this could, in fact, become quite the winter staple. Only time will tell!
“An olfactory confit of irresistible ingredients, OUD DÉLICE de Robert Piguet is like hunger in a bottle. This epicurean dream immediately captures the fragrance aficionado, seducing with mystifying deliciousness. In a single veil the wearer becomes an object of craving and those around them, their ravenous admirers.”– Parfums de Robert Piguet
Top: Caramelised Amber and Miel de Provence Oil
Heart: Oud Piguet
Base: Patchouli from Indonesia and Vetiver from Haiti
How Does it Smell?
Oud Délice is less beastly than Oud Divin, it’s also less distinct and unique, but that’s not to say it’s a bad fragrance, in fact, it’s entirely more accessible than its unusual brother. Opening with a melange of spices and honey, creating a rich warmth that casts shades of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, but in a distinctly lighter and more golden manner. The caramel aspect comes through as things progress, and whilst it is sweet and velvety with purple-fruit nuances, the spices ensure that it never really feels gourmand.
In the heart, the signature Piguet oud is tempered by a cool iris facet that is powdery, grey and sweetly earthy. The oud itself is applied with a subtle hand and the animalic facets that are so prominent in Oud Divin are virtually non-existent in Oud Délice. Instead the impression is of warm woods and patchouli that create a texture somewhere between creamy and dusty. As it dries down, Oud Divin remains relatively linear, presenting a quieter version of a spicy caramel oud with remarkable softness.
Oud Délice is a well-rounded woody fragrance with a gourmand edge. I wouldn’t say that it is particularly oud-y, which probably works well for it in the long run. It’s definitely not as distinct or unique as Oud Divin (as previously mentioned), which may make it more popular, but it’s really nothing we’ve not seen before. If you’re a fan of Black Orchid and fancy something a little drier and exotic, then Oud Divin may just be worth seeking out for a sniff.
Oud Divin and Oud Délice launch this month in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £165. Oud Divin will be exclusive to Selfridges and Oud Délice will be exclusive to Harrods.
Samples, image 2 & 3, notes and quotes via Robert Piguet. Image 1 via genius.com.