2012 is not yet here, but we are in an "oud deluge" and, to quote the famous movie of Peter Greenaway, this year we are drowning by numbers.
Thanks to a producer of real oud extracts I had the privilege to built a small collection of authentic oudhs from various Asian regions and my conclusion regarding these amateurs polluting the concept stores with their so called niche luxury perfumes is only one: they have not the slightest idea of the oud scent and definitively they have no intention to enlarge their olfactory horizon.
For Byredo, a brand with no olfactory culture behind, this has been obvious since the beginning. It is only M Mink which, maybe by a happy accident combined with the real talent of the perfumer, is different, spectacular and unusual.
The new perfumes called Accord Oud and Oud Immortel have no relation with the oud note (either the famous synthetic base from Firmenich or Le Labo interpretation) and only a slight one with the so called oud perfumes, already a genre since the first Montale creations.
If Oud Immortel (Byredo) is an oud, then the drydown of Black XS is the master of all ouds. In fact, Oud Immortel is a contemporary woody ambery masculine accord found in almost all "pour homme" virile perfumes where a pungent dihydromircenol note meets a strong molecule similar to Karanal, Ysamber or Trimofix. Try the less known brands Jacomo, Lapidus, Davidoff (airport), David Beckham to see how niche Byredo really is. Compared to many perfumes sold everywhere today, Oud Immortel lacks the other notes, it is an "incomplete" creation retaining only the woody dry incense ambery aspect adding to that some trendy cardamom. But if you really like this type of note with its strong burnt incense aspect, you should try the original Gucci pour Homme (2003) in the square bottle, an exceptional creation of Michel Almairac, without the snobbery, the high price and the Frédéric Malle bottle of Byredo.
Accord Oud (Byredo), as the name says, is more an accord and less a perfume, where all the main characteristics of the "Arabian style" have been sketched. It is a distant cousin of the recent line called "So Oud", but it is more harmonious and wearable, with a beautiful fruity rose (plum meets blackberry as in a l'Oréal creation) and several trendy notes of the family (saffron, patchouli) put together in an oriental soup. But unlike Oud Immortel, this is a perfume built from a GC, a copy paste around something else. The drydown after 3 days will reveal you that a Diva was there and this sketch has been worked out from a prototype of the 80's without the complexity of the era.
Both perfumes are neither original nor well formulated and the only interesting aspect is a herbal note (smoked herbs, clary sage, everlasting, fir balsam, etc) found in Oud Immortel, close to a facet of M Mink .
I do not understand why so many so called creative directors should constantly demonstrate their lack of olfactory culture. There were many good perfumes back in the 80's and early 90's, now all discontinued, and it would be better to bring them back in stead of exploring the unknown with pretentious niche brands.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art