the number of so called oudh fragrances, in so called niche and main stream, or scents with so called oudh as a main note is growing without mercy. A quick overview of the latest additions you find for instance on Now Smell This, following the “please no more oudh”- tag. Click here for the posts with this tag. On a weekly basis you find new scents on the market with PR lines underlining the expensive and exotic character of the added oudh oil that they tell you is inside the bottle, like “with Oud oil, an extremely rare oil extracted from agarwood, a precious resin of the aquilaria tree.” Actually, this line is rather modest. And it is probably true as you can add a drop of any oil extracted from agarwood in a hectoliter of perfume and you have technically added oudh oil.
What is wrong with it? A lot. Often, “oudh” is used as a tag allowing brands to charge more because somehow everybody seems to think that perfume lovers are willing to pay extra for a fragrance with oudh notes. This does not make sense as there is not much oudh in anything. Yet, consumers pay the extra$$ and are told that they get the exclusive fragrance with this expensive ingredient. This is wrong.
Apart from a drop or two, the rest of the “oudh” is bases, often with cypriol, in varying qualities, far away from the “real thing”. The real thing does not find its way into perfumes that you buy in your perfumery. Even if you pay 5o0$$. So far so good. What else is wrong? Well, I think oudh is used a cheap short cut to evocate and painting cliché pictures of an orient, a middle east, that does not exist. Who cares? Actually, many care, because the whole oudh hysteria of the marketing departments and the press and other stake holders is destroying a basic trust; also a basic trust of prices. How can you, as a consumer trust now and in the future what you are told about a perfume? There is not enough oudh on this planet to make all the PR statements true. It makes you wonder: How about the roses? And the jasmine? And what do they tell me about sandalwood?
I can see how perfume lovers reach a point where they do not take brands really serious anymore when they bring an oudh fragrance to the markets right now.
In a similar context, yesterday, I got a bit annoyed about a PR company publishing something about an established niche brand with a great history that I like and appreciate, mentioning that it is “probably the smallest perfume manufacture in the world” (in German). A statement that is completely nonsense. There are many wonderful true perfume manufacturers on this globe that are proud to be small, and for sure smaller than this company that could afford to hire a PR company to come up with useless babbling. You find the shared PR and the discussion in German here on Facebook. Why was I annoyed? Again, for the same reason. This babbling and not entirely telling the truth by exaggerating and bending reality actually is not ok towards the the recipient, the perfume lover, the client, and retailers. The recipient will one day or another start wondering, whether the other stories that they are told are true. And this comes back to all of us who try to build trust in perfumery and perfumers, who try to tell what goes inside and what not and how it is made and how not.
But back to this week’s question: What perfume to launch. I was working for quite a while on a scent (and finished it) that is a bit spicy, a bit tobacco, a bit leather, suave, dry and fine, a bit amber, but not sweet, a bit rough, a bit wild, for sure woody oriental. I love it. It is rich, and quite complementary to what I have done so far. It lasts on skin, and I like it because in my nose it is wild and at the same time elegant. The note of dried tobacco leaves could be the dried tobacco of an expensive Cohiba. There is no smoke, though, but rather a dry, gourmand amber. I am considering to launch this scent as it would address my male fans, too. Of course, all these adjectives are my subjective appreciation of the scent. Main ingredients and notes are: Cypriol, ambrein, vanilla, cistus ladaniferus essential oil and resin, amber gris (not natural, of course), cinnamon, a patchouli-cacao combo and a few other things.
And yes, trust me: It is 100% oudh free.