Something really strange took place in the past 10 months in the fragrance industry. While the bling bling era is over and the golden Dubai shines with less splendor in the fashion industry, the "Arabian perfumes" knew an unexpected blooming, surpassed only by the golden success of One Million (Paco Rabanne). Suddenly, a note that was rather curious and hard to propose in the past 10 years became a must in the portfolio of brands. The "seeds" of oud found a fertile ground almost everywhere, in the same time showing that today is almost impossible to work on a new perfume without letting the rumors inspire the competition.
After 2 very interesting oud perfumes, one an oud-ode to the rose oil and the second an unusual deep woody animalic with the quality of a calligraphic ink, Kilian has launched another version of the oud theme, this time with … incense.
With less contrasts and the unmistakable fingerprint of the previous perfumes created by Calice Becker, the new oud takes us in the smoothness of woods and ambery scents, only modified with a rose oil note and a very shy leather smoky guaiac accent.
But this type of note, where the main accords are incense-woody, rose damascena-crystal amber-pink pepper, softly underlined by an oud reconstitution as seen since M7 and just a hint of balms/resins to soften the drydown, is not really new in modern perfumery. It comes from a long genealogy of creative perfumes. First the perfumes from Comme des Garçons have explored the incense and the woods in an unexpected non floral context perfecting the accord. Second, the very special Stella brought a new type of dark damascone rose over a sensual amber-ambroxan base, later reinterpreted in the perfumes of Juliet has a Gun. Third, several unusual creations from Eau d'Italie brought together woods, rose, amber, pink pepper and of course many other creative accents. Now, the new Incense Oud by Kilian appears rather a modern and wearable conclusion of these previous examples, where all the strong original notes have been smoothly blended. It has nothing to do with the Montale style of Arabian perfumery, where the synthetic sandalwood screams in front of a damascone bouquet. The combination of elements in Incense Oud (by Kilian) reminds the idea found in Portrait of a Lady (Frédéric Malle) with a different balance of ingredients (less rose, more incense, less red fruits).It is also different from the 3 new Armani ouds where the "Montale effect" is stronger because they are clearly intended for a specific market.
The top note of the perfume is very interesting, with its rose-pepper-strawberry-smoked herbs facet. The incense is suspended between a pleasant sensation and one that is close to the intoxicating effect of burning resins with almost a dry bitterness. The oud is again more a metaphoric vision because the perfume (a rose oriental incense with a musk bouquet) is not exactly related to the natural material and its deep essence. It clearly belongs to a trend with examples in other places than the niche universe.
Harmonious, pleasant and rather innocent compared to Pure Oud (Kilian), this creation lacks the depth, texture and subtlety of the previous creations of the brand.
My only fear is that in 2011 "niche rimes with pastiche".
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art