The myterious world of OUD to a newb.
I know i am not going to be the first person to write a blog or even to some this may not even be blog worthy, and is more so a forum level discussion because they probably have seen it discussed so many times. This is my blog though, we are not all at the same stages as one another in our collecting and i feel that i have reached a new level of fragrance appreciation that had a word that used to create this deep wonder and intrigue in to what the word was all about, that word being OUD of course! So, i am writing this for myself as a diary of sorts, and maybe some people who would like to take a peak in to what i am writing on this page of the diary full of previous pages filled with reviews, prior SOTD and other topics i have written about whether it was in a blog, forum or a review , you are all welcome, this diary has no lock or key on it. Come take a peak in my diary, i don't mind if you even write in it with a nice reply at the end, i like reading what other people think about my thoughts. This isn't a personal diary after all, it is being written on a public website after all.
Here i am going to discuss my own personal experience and hopefully help others who possibly could be in an earlier part of their journey and may wonder about some of the things that i questioned when i was where they are and will maybe answer some of those questions. I am in no way a professional and i am not that far in to my own journey in all honesty, but i like to be helpful, and if i can help one person with this article then that is good enough for me. If i give some people a laugh along the way at my newbness then that is fine also =D .
To someone new to collecting or maybe they bought fragrances like i did in my teens, but i didn't really look in to the notes like we do now, so we just bought something we liked the smell of with the likes of CK ONE, HUGO Man and then in my 20s it was all about clubbing every weekend with Armani City Glam, Le Male etc. Oud was not even a word in my dictionary at those times. Twenty years later i took the deep dive in to the world of fragrances and the notes that were tied to them. I understood there were vanilla fragrances, citrus etc, but i couldn't tell you which note was what other than i knew CK ONE was very bright, citrusy, energetic and unisex, and that was about the extent of it.
The next part i feel will be a familiar road trip to many new collectors of the last 5 years or so as we jump in our van, yes we need a van for all the fragrances we all plan on buying that are in our wish lists, or maybe we could do a split and hire a lorry, a cargo plane maybe? Though the plane may be a little tricky lol. So, when i say this part will probably be the most familiar i am just going to say it, enter chat Jeremy Fragrance!
Say hello Jeremy...
"Hi Guys, This is Jeremy Fragrance here, the number 1 fragrance influencer in the world"
Say what you want about him, whether you don't like his new content or not there was a time where this man had you hanging off the edge of his every word, especially when he was giving you a top 10 list and i dare say this is where most of us heard the word "OUD" for the very first time. I am 42, i was 41 when i started collecting last year and it was the first time i heard it, or took note of it at least and i am a man of many words, just go look at the forum and how many replies i have wrote in the short time i have been here lol. Let's get back on topic though. OUD! This word to me was like, what is it Jeremy? Why should i not buy it yet as you tell me i am not ready for it at the beginning of my journey, why are you teasing me like this. So much mystery behind this one word. When should i buy it if not now? Why is it so expensive? Which one should i buy to ease me in Jeremy? Is Versace pour Homme Oud Noir a safe choice? I like most of Versace's fragrances, surely that is a safe bet? What is it? , What is it!? Good Question. We will get there.
Time for people reading my diary to scribble some words over my text telling me i was either a total newbie on my own path or if some of you were right there with me at one time, be honest now =p.
Another chance to scribble on my diary here. Who remembers their first fragrance with oud in it, thinking hey that is not that bad, what was i scared of? This is nothing like i expected. Where is the strong smell that would floor me with its strength? Flexing your muscles, like hey i am a total boss, i took it on the chin and i am still standing,, where is Mike Tyson? I could go the full 5 rounds with him right now! There was only a little thing we failed to realise at the time, as a little while later we realised most of these fragrances had something in common, they all had the word Augarwood in brackets next to it, but we still thought we had passed the test, right? They all looked like this ha ha!
I want to take the opportunity of this blog post, i mean diary page to help educate others who are maybe where i was a few months back and wish i knew what i do now back then. When you see this in the notes there is a very high chance it is fake oud. This is not to say that fake Oud can't create good fragrances, they can, but from my experience this is not what people are talking about when they are discussing an Oud fragrance. We will get there though. I own a few fragrances with this as the Oud note descriptor and they smell great. However they smell nothing like what i have come to know as Oud
OK, i think we should answer the question of "What is Oud?" Oud in most cases is when they deliberately infect a tree and allow the infection to persist and from it comes a resin. They collect the resin and turn it in to an oil. "Why is Oud so expensive?" Because natural oud is rare, especially if you are looking for the infection to have happened naturally without human interference, in other words without us deliberately infecting the tree because we can do that and it was done recently by someone you should definitely look in to if you want to get in to Oud fragrances, he is Aaron Terence Hughes.
Recently Aaron spoke in a video about how it took 5 years just to create a certain kind of Oud to his specification. He is calling it Unicorn Oud. Aaron is known as being a master of Oud fragrances because he is a chemist and knows how to use the chemicals to create good smelling Oud rather than something that stinks. You see there are several kinds of Oud, some use these as descriptors, Medicinal Oud, Barnyard Oud, Smooth Oud, Skanky Oud, Faecal Oud, Animatic Oud and that come from different areas of the world with the likes of Thai Oud, Vietnamese Oud and more, but since i am not a professional i am going to leave it at surface level as this diary would become a novel if i were to write everything known about Oud, but you can easily find more in depth information about it on google. We can say though that it is rare, and can take 5 years or more to perfect an Oud to the Perfumer's liking if he is creating it on his own rather than finding it naturally. I think that alone explains the price. I would suggest that if you are looking to try Oud, Aaron's fragrances are a good place to start. I have written reviews about his fragrances and a blog about him so i am going to leave it there. I am always talking about him because i love his products. If you want to read my diary page about him and scribble on the page i welcome you to do so :-) .
Something i think many people are going to do is mistake other notes that you may not have smelled in a certain way as being the Oud and in fact can barely smell the Oud at all. I also can say, you may like certain kinds of Oud, all kinds of Oud or maybe none at all when you come across a fragrance that is Oud heavy. So what do i mean by Oud heavy? I mean a fragrance that has enough Oud in it that it's not just a background note that is tucked in the back somewhere to help with projection and longevity. A fragrance that Oud is something you are not going to mistake for something else and i have a sample of a fragrance that i am going to try wearing for the 4th or 5th time. I had a good analogy of Oud by someone on the forums here and it was that Oud is like a blue cheese for some and to me that makes sense. Personally i love all blue cheese, the stronger the better but with some people they have to ease them selves in to being able to enjoy the stronger ones. Hot spicy curry would be another great analogy. OK, so WOW! I just took my discovery kit with the sample and opened it and was greeted with a waft of Oud right away. This sample was described by my sister as the smell of the gas a dentist gives you before you are knocked out to have a tooth removed so i presume this is what people say when they are using medicinal Oud as a descriptor of certain Ouds. I have quite a few Oud fragrances now and this sample has been my one that i take out and try every so often and the first time i smelled it, i am not saying this to over dramatise the event, but i felt physically sick when i first smelled it. The last time which was, i believe to be my 4th or 5th i was actually beginning to be able to handle the opening, because that is the part i can't handle. If i spray this on at night i will wake up and enjoy the smell the next day. What else can i say before i give the name of it? The price shows there is definitely real Oud in here and reflects on the cost, even though we know none of our fragrances truly represent the actual price they should be fairly sold at, this fragrance costs more due to the Oud. This sample has so much fragrance left in it, even though i have sprayed it on numerous other people as well as myself because the Oud is so strong, one spray is more than enough. My mum had one spray on her hand and she tried washing and scrubbing it off and the next day it was still there. She done this even though she liked the smell straight away. Ok Ok it's time to show you, i am sure some of you have guessed already ........
Yes it is from one of the most prestige niche fragrance houses, Xerjoff and the fragrance is Alexandria II which has Laotian Oud along with Thai Oud. Many people compare this to Le Male, probably due to it being powdery but it has another very important note than Oud, the Bulgarian Rose which means this is one of the Rose Oud fragrances and depending on where you are on your journey you will most likely think or have thought one of the following..., "flowery roses on a man? Nah!" , "That costs how much? Nope!" , "I will try it at some point, but i am enjoying my designer fragrances still" , "That maybe has rose in it but that Oud is too masculine for me" , "oh i like that" , "bleh what the hell was that? I paid how much for this?" or my thought as i go to try this once more "I know i hated this at first, but i have worn a few rose Oud combinations now and the last time was a lot easier than the first, can i make this the one time i enjoy it from start to finish, think good thoughts, think good thoughts, i will tell you all about it , ok then here we go!" * SPRAY!