Unlike its Creed’s namesake sibling, which is all about “royal” with zero oud, Royal Aoud by Montale contains a ton of (synthetic) oud with a very little dose of “royalty”. In fact, like most of other scents by this brand, it isn’t exactly the most refined or “luxurious” scent around; but I admit I do see the efforts of making something a bit more sophisticated than their average standards. Also, contrary to many other more recent ouds by Montale which contain the same exact flat accord of mostly dry cedar with a weak oud-like shadow, Royal Aoud seems belonging to their “slightly-closer-to-reality” family of ouds – the nicer and more quality ones. Don’t get me wrong, oud here is still artificial to the bone, but it’s quite substantial, and it shows some complex, even nearly-natural-smelling nuances: the note smells in fact medicinal, compellingly woody, slightly “fecal” too at the beginning, quite robust and dirty, with a solid earthy-oily foundation just like real agarwood. Shortly it’s not just a slap of depressingly linear and shallow dry-cedary rubber, and that’s already something with Montale. So far, I got some “good imitation oud” only out of White Aoud and Aoud Cuir d’Arabie – and now, Royal Aoud.
Also, it’s surely enjoyable how they chose to pair it with an initial solid whiff of clean, bracing citrus, and a sort of floral-resinous, slightly candied base accord, which sweetens and tames down the acrid, medicinal-dirty nature of the oud note, finally revealing a quite pleasant, comforting musky-soapy rose heart with a classic British “barbershop” vibe (an association also enhanced by the presence of citrus). There’s even quite some evolution as hours pass: from a sharp, bitter, dark and quite bold citrus-oud opening to a mellow, powdery, clean yet somehow a bit stale “whiter” rose-medicinal drydown still bearing some light fruity-grassy echoes of citrus, reminding me a bit of White Aoud’s drydown (less sweet and plushy, still musky-vanillic but a bit fresher, darker, greener and more austere). That’s quite a transition overall, which is another evidence of the above-the-average quality of this fragrance - compared with other Montale’s, I mean.
Nothing to break the bank for, but more than nice to wear and also quite “easy” to pull off. Kudos!
Of the Montales I've tried so far (Aoud Ambre, Attar, Royal Aoud, Black Aoud, Aoud Lime, and Steam Aoud) Royal Aoud is the only one that goes on positively understated. In fact, it makes the others seem downright histrionic in their entrances. It also strikes me as both the most complex and the least direct of the lot.
This scent has a powdery-sweet foundation that tempers the medicinal and astringent aspects of the oudh. The listed fruit and citrus notes are very coy at first, but surface more completely during the development, where they serve to round out the heady note of rose. Eventually, a vanilla/tonka bean note slides in to add a bit of extra sweetness.
The oudh and the rose retreat during the drydown, leaving a pleasant, but not all that distinguished powdery-woody accord. On my skin, Royal Aoud does not have the stupendous (24 hr) tenacity of Black Aoud, but its development is not so glacially slow, either. (Black Aoud's drydown is so slow and extended that I didn't even realize it was happening the first few times I wore the stuff.)
Among the Montale's I see Royal Aoud, Black Aoud, and Attar as quite closely related, though differing in general character. Black Aoud, which is my current favorite, is bold, brash, maybe even brutal, in its directness and simplicity. (Imagine that! A "brutal" rose. Now there's a good name for a scent.)
Attar seems the sweetest of the three, with some mysterious accords and a drydown that goes in its own direction. I find Royal Aoud the easiest to wear of the three, as well as the "prettiest". Funny though: it's relative sophistication blunts it in comparison with its siblings, leaving it the most conventional of the three, and because of that, less distinguished. I prefer the olfactory challenge of Black Aoud.
OK, now I know what oud really smells like. I see the band-aid/medicinal thing . The rose note is subdued which is a plus for me. I'm not sure I get the citrus people have mentioned. Lasts long, projects well but oud is definitely not for everyone. Not too thrilled myself.
Edit- After a full day's wear, I can say that this stuff is dreadful. Smells awful. The wife didn't like it either. I don't think that most people will enjoy this one. I don't know what it is but I'm wondering what they mean by "spices". The band-aid smell never really goes away and, unfortunately, this fragrance lasts forever like most Montales. I'm going to have a hard time finishing the sample.
Finally managed to finish off the sample. It kind of grew on me. It still has that weird stink to it but it's not as terrible as I initially thought.
19th May, 2014 (last edited: 10th March, 2016)
This one is a really good one from this house.
The opening is extremely dark, almost smoky oud note with some tart fruity aspect in it but oud is the major note..
Royal Aoud has a lot of oud in it and it's extremely dark and smoky but it's not medicinal like "Dark Aoud"
There is some floral notes and some sweetness as well.
As time goes by the scent didn't change that much.
Only oud note settled down and you will get more sweetness and more floral notes.
Both projection and longevity is awesome.
Like others have said, citrus with oud. Really like this one. One I believe can be worn all seasons.