Oh for the Love of Oud – Amouroud by The Perfumer’s Workshop

Amour for Oud
Oh for the Love of Oud

One could quite easily look at Amouroud, a new niche brand that celebrates oud, perfumery’s note du jour, and feel a little bit skeptical. One might even be inspired to exclaim “oh for the love of oud” in a loud, exasperated tone. But that would be a bit OTT, admittedly. Just ask yourself this question, how many niche houuses out there are offering exclusive oud fragrances, not to mention exclusive oud fragrances in black and gold bottles? Well the answer is many, but Amouroud isn’t just another cynical brand trying to make a quick buck, they are in fact, passionate about perfume.

Amouroud comes from The Perfumer’s Workshop, who have been creating perfume since the 1970s and are most famous for their Tea Rose fragrance. They launch this month in Harrods with an initial collection of six fragrances, each of which showcases or contains oud. Speaking of oud, my good friends Nick and Pia made a valid point in a recent episode of their Vlog Love to Smell (subscribe, goddamit), when they said that oud is now its very own olfactive family, in the way that orientals and chypres are, rather than just an ongoing trend. Anyway, I digress. Amouroud are not the brand that one may think they are and what they have done is really quite intriguing.

I’ll do a bit of a topsy-turvy review here and provide my overall verdict of the collection before I do a scent-by-scent rundown. Amouroud is a very nicely pieced together brand. One can see that years of experience have been poured into each and every single detail. The bottles are heavy and luxurious, the box has a metal plaque appliquéd onto it and the fragrances themselves are well thought out, and exciting. But the best thing about Amouroud is the price. Where other brands think that £300+ is acceptable for any old scent in a blingy bottle, this one is content with marketing 100ml of interesting and enjoyable Eau de Parfum for £145. That’s practically free in this post-niche day and age! One other nice touch is the fact that the brand will give you a generous spray sample of your second favourite scent in the collection, alongside your purchase. How nice is that?

Oud du Jour
Amour for Oud

Oud du Jour

The Notes

Top: Pink Pepper, Wild Raspberry and Persian Saffron
Heart: Olibanum, Rose Absolute, Prune JE and Muguet du Bois
Base: Rare Indonesian Oud, Black Amber, Patchouli and Gaiac Wood

How Does it Smell?

Oud du Jour (Oud of the Day) is my favourite of the Amouroud fragrances. It’s a legitimate oud fragrance, filled with spice, funk, metallic notes and a hint of barnyard blue cheese, but it’s also modern and wearable. There’s a lot of pepper and sharpness in the opening, which is accompanied by the fruit stickiness of raspberry. The rest is a rich woods and oud affair that is warm, resinous and a tiny bit smoky. This oud is one that I’d happily rock on many a jour.

Safran Rare

The Notes

Top: Freesia, Bergamot, Olibanum and Rose Geranium
Heart: Cedarwood, Saffran, Rose Centifolia and Jasmin de Grasse
Base: Benzoin Tears, Indonesian Oud, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Vanilla

How Does it Smell?

Safran Rare, rather unsurprisingly, is an ode to saffron but interestingly enough, the fragrance is more about leather with a twist of the titular material for contrast than a saffron-centric piece. The opening is pure, golden saffron milk and one can almost smell the bronze threads of saffron as they float off into the air. The rest is all new-car leather, all soft and supple with a buttery texture and a delectable, rosy taste. Consider it to be Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather seen through a prism of gold.

Santal des Indes

The Notes

Top: Absinthe and Fresh Incense
Heart: Curry Leaf, Chinese Cedarwood, Narcissus Absolute and Turkish Rose Absolute
Base: Sandalwood Mysore, Moroccan Leather, Musk and Vetiver

How Does it Smell?

Santal des Indes is the butch one of the bunch. It’s the Marlboro Man of the collection and it’s unapologetically masculine in that robust, 1980s manner, with a bit of modern Middle Eastern style thrown in for good measure. This fragrance is all about hot cinnamon, smoky incense, sharp woods and amber. Despite its density and size (it’s pretty large), it doesn’t feel heavy or oppressive, thanks in part to the vetiver, which cuts through the fat of the materials like a rooty knife. Santal des Indes is the kind of scent that needs to be paired with an open shirt and chest hair, and that’s a very good look if you ask me.

2016-07-07 01.37.04
Noble Materials

Midnight Rose

The Notes

Top: Lychee, Pomelo and Mate
Heart: Lily, Red Rose and Iris
Base: Amber, Labdanum and Oud

How Does it Smell?

Despite it’s name, Midnight Rose is not a dark flower, in fact it’s quite the opposite! This is a deliciously sweet take on rose, evoking fresh macarons from Pierre Hermè, rose water and fruit. An aqueous lychee note adds brightness and effervescence, making for a juicy and sparkling rose that is anything deliriously fun. In the base, Midnight Rose warms up with a dry down of candied amber, supported by just a touch of wood smoke. Sign me up for a bottle please!

Miel Sauvage

The Notes

Top: Bergamot, Wild Honey and Red Pepper
Heart: Oud, Blooming Jasmine and Sandalwood
Base: Patchouli, Tonka Bean and Incense

How Does it Smell?

Honey is a difficult note. It can be so funky it verges on pissy and more often than not, it’s so watered down that it only vaguely represents the rich and sweet oil that bees produce. Miel Sauvage (Wild Honey) strikes the right balance between sugar and funk, offering up a silky smooth dollop of honey with just a hint of grossness. Jasmine adds a hot, tropical vibe, pushing Miel Sauvage into tanning oil territory, which makes it all a bit of fun. In the base, things settle to a subtle vanilla and sandalwood blend that is incredibly easy on the nose. I may not say it was ‘sauvage’ but I can’t argue with the ‘miel’!

Dark Orchid

The Notes

Top: Mandarin, Citrus Accord, Black Gardenia and Sicilian Bergamot
Heart: Jasmin de Grasse, Ylang Ylang, Lotus Wood and Black Orchid
Base: Indonesian Patchouli, Sandalwood Mysore, Incense and Vanilla

How Does it Smell?

One could be fooled for thinking that with a name like ‘Dark Orchid‘, this particular fragrance is the Amouroud take on Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, and that’s exactly what it is. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, Dark Orchid takes the truffle-chocolate accord of Black Orchid and ramps it right up with a ton of extra stewed fruit up top and a denser base of vanilla and white flowers. This is Amouroud at their most excessive, glamorous and decadent, even if they are paying homage to a modern classic. Those that wanted a more measured version of a hothouse orchid fragrance should form an orderly queue.


Availability

The Amouroud collections is exclusive to Harrods and each fragrance is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £145.


Disclaimer
Sample and notes via Amouroud. Images are my own.

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