Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’ [1] The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.

Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.

One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.

This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.

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I have a confession to make:  I am unashamed to admit that I am an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy. I enjoy their fun, pop art-like scents with wacky names and over-the-top marketing, which in my opinion needs to be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.

Tom of Finland was released by Etat Libre d’Orange in 2008 and was created by perfumer Antoine Lie who has created a number of other ELDO scents such as; Rien, Vierges et Toreros, Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection and the Infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques.

The fragrance is inspired by the drawings of Finnish erotic artist Touko Laaksonen who is more famously known as Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings usually depict leather clad, muscular men in overtly sexual poses. Only Etat Libre d’Orange would even consider creating a scent for such an artist.

How do you like your Jasmine? Do you take it with bright purple lipstick, red patent heels and a smoking attitude? Do you like your Jasmine to be dressed up like Jessica Rabbit in her sparkly red (almost obscene) gown casually popping pink bubblegum?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘Yes’ then Lust by Gorilla Perfume may be the jasmine for you. This fragrance is not for the faint hearted or the shrinking violets. If you consider yourself a wallflower then you are best to move along quickly, you may find what’s in this bottle slightly terrifying.

Lust is a jasmine-and-a-half, the jasmine to end all jasmines. Have I got my point across?

Yuzu Man is the latest masculine release from Caron and personally I feel a bit sorry for it. It can’t be easy being the new guy on the block when your brothers are such highly acclaimed scents as Pour un Homme, Yatagan and Le Troisième Homme. Yuzu Man has a lot to live up to, and the standards for masculines set by the house are very high.

Does Yuzu Man live up to The high standards set by its counterparts?

Esprit d’Oscar is the new fragrance from esteemed fashion house Oscar de la Renta. It is the first new fragrance from the house since Red Satin in 2007.

Esprit d’Oscar was created by perfumer Frank Völki and is meant to be a re-imagining of the original Oscar de la Renta perfume ‘Oscar’ which was created in 1977. According to the brand, the structure of the original has been ‘refreshed’ and made more ‘contemporary’.

I have not tried the original Oscar, so I’m not able to compare the two or comment on whether Esprit d’Oscar is a worthy reinterpretation, however the general consensus in the perfume blogosphere is that it is.

It seems fitting that my initial post on this blog should be a review of the latest edition of Shalimar by Guerlain; Shalimar Parfum Initial.

My first thought when seeing the news about Shalimar Parfum Initial was ‘Nooooooooooo, it’s PINK, you can’t pinkify Shalimar!!’ Well, as it turns out you can, and the end result isn’t half bad at all.

Shalimar Parfum Initial was created by Guerlain’s In-House Perfumer Thierry Wasser and was made for his niece after she requested he make a version of Shalimar for her. The idea behind Parfum Initial is very similar to that of Chanel’s Eau Premiere for No 5 – a modern, lighter version of the perfume for younger customers who are not quite ready for the original. Guerlain describe the scent as an ‘Initiation into Shalimar’ [1] but it also serves as an initiation to the brand, for those who are unfamiliar with or intimidated by the classic Guerlains.