Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Black Aoud -- A Review in Real Time

I’ve gotta tell ya, there are some things I just don’t get.

Having just applied Montale’s Black Aoud, I’m picturing a third-world hospital, in Turkmenistan maybe, after an earthquake. A room full of cast-iron beds, thin mattresses, nuns tending to the wounded, gauze bandages caked with yellow ointment, an antiseptic miasma hanging in the air.

Why would anyone want to smell like this?

Did somebody say “old wood?” As in, they just found Noah’s Ark, and dug it up?

I had a sample of Steam Aoud. It was supposed to be light. It was, if anything, even more medicinal than this. I swapped it as fast as I could, mostly to get it out of the house. Then I thought, why not try the Black Aoud? How could it be any worse?

Well, it’s not exactly worse, it's just…different.

Time to hit the books; what is this Aoud stuff?

Later: Apparently, Aoud is a resin, made in self-defense by aloewood, a.k.a agarwood, trees. It protects against fungus. Sort of like ear wax.

Among other things, it is thought in much of the Near and Middle East that the scent of Aoud/Oud/Oudh/Aoudh – the spellings differ – has the power to ward off the evil eye.

This is not hard to believe at all.

All right. It’s calming a bit now. I smell patchouli. Like a double-trailer semi bearing down on me on the freeway. And a little rose. Camphor, but that could be the patchouli. Man is this dark. I thought L’Artisan’s Voleur de Rose was Goth, but this? They should sell it in fetish shops.

Maybe this just isn’t a good Aoud. I have been reading here and there that the quality has to be first-rate, and if it isn’t, it can smell a little medicinal. Maybe that’s it. Who knows?

Truth is, it smells a lot better on skin than on blotter paper. (I have to test everything both ways now. Apparently my skin chemistry is really weird, blows thought the top notes immediately, and sweetens everything else to the point where blotter and skin don’t even smell like the same fragrance.) Damn it, I’m going to give this stuff every chance I can think of. Because there are so many who like it, and maybe they know something I don’t.

Now it smells like the Steam Aoud. I give up.

Hey…I have a nearly-full vial of Montale’s Black Aoud available for swap! Get in touch with Olfacta on MUA, y’all!

Notes for Montale’s Black Aoud include Aoud, patchouli, camphor, mandarine, musk and rose.


bookishredhead said...

You'll think I'm nuts, but I'd probably LOVE this stuff.

One thing I don't like. I mean REALLY don't like..Poison. EEeewww.

Anonymous said...

I found that this is a fantastic layering scent. I use it to give a woody undertone if I'm wearing something that needs it. Especially sweet chocolate scents. One example - a drop of Montale Black Aoud with a full dose of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Fleurs et Chocolat.

Love the blog!

Lisa Abdul-Quddus said...

This is interesting because I am intrigued by oud.

Abigail said...

Your piece cracked me up!

Ear Wax.

Oud/Aoud is heavy duty stuff.

To me, Aoud's are avant garde. I think I've tried all of the Montale Aoud's and unless I layered them with something to "cut the Aoud" it wouldn't be possible to wear. (Then what would be the point?)

I love woody, earthy, deep fragrances but the Aouds are a bit too much even for me (and psssst I love patchouli).

Perfumeshrine said...

The dirty secret about the aouds are they're not aouds. They're synthesized to smell like the real, ULTRA-expensive and rare stuff (which i have): how else could someone inject it in almost half of the current niche share of the market? ;-)

PS.I have this on a perfumer's authority ;-)