This is one of the more condom-themed Montale’s — the rubbery saffron-rose note that’s oddly appealing. But I think that what’s actually impressive about this is that it’s not as rose-dominated as you might expect, rather it takes the saffron as its focus and honeys it up a bit over the standard Montale “oud” accord. The effect is a slightly powdered, slightly gourmand take on the line’s usual Orientalist cliches, and it actually works. Furthermore, it’s not belligerently loud like many of their scents. As it settles, the rose does bloom a little more (not a good thing in my opinion as they usually smell cheap from this line), but all in all, it’s one of the better of the 50 or so ouds they’ve cranked out. A saffron gourmand with some spicy, rosy flourishes. No actual oud in sight, but that’s to be expected.
Red Aoud has an opening so obnoxious that you just want to slap its face. Really, it is quite an ugly cacophony of notes – red pepper, that fake chocolate/wheat note from Chocolate Greedy, the sour fizzing Montale oud, and bready cumin – all tumbled in together with no thought as to the outcome. But wait half an hour and all I can say is, Oh. My. God. The snowstorm of notes banks down to reveal a warm, rich gourmand oud that is deliciously reminiscent of halva, that Middle Eastern sweet made from pounded sesame paste and honey. The cumin and saffron notes contribute a bread/pasty feel and the sandalwood adds creaminess. But what really makes Red Aoud special is that red pepper note. It is pulpy, sweet and vegetal all at once, and smells exactly like pureed roast red peppers. Placed against a backdrop of mouthwatering creamy and sugary notes (the honey, the cocoa, and the pastry notes), the red pepper note sings out loud and clear. That, for me, is the secret of Red Aoud – it is half-vegetable, half-dessert. I think it succeeds for exactly the same reason Safran Troublant succeeds – they are both fragrances that balance an array of edible and inedible notes that are just disparate enough (but not clashing) to make you think of dessert but hesitate before putting it in your mouth.
When I first tested Red Aoud, I was disgusted. I thought it was an awful fragrance, stomach-turning in its richness and head-spinning in its cacophony of notes. Now I am obsessed with it. I am not claiming that it’s a great fragrance, but something in it work on me like no other, and I find myself wanting to wear it at least twice a week. I only have a drop left in my sample and I am rationing myself until I can get a bottle of it. I should mention that it is an extremely loud and bombastic fragrance, lasting for days on skin and hair, and weeks on clothes. I love its loudness and vulgarity. Red Aoud is all tits and ass, and wolf whistles from construction workers. And who doesn’t need a bit of spray-on sexual confidence sometimes, I ask you?
One of the most captivating synthetic oudhs of the market. A veritable "oriental" in style fragrance. Extremely exotic mélange of creamy oudh, inebriating fresh-velvety spices, piquant pepper (the "Red" effect lingering throughout as piquant undertone), soapy amber and woods. The saffron-cumin peppery accord, as merged with creamy agarwood resins, amber (benzoin?), fresh vetiver, smooth-powdery iris and musk, hangs out immensely exotic, vaguely laundry, daring and luxuriant. The note of balmy saffron is heady as mixed with creamy-musky oud. The spiciness is extreme, musky, waxy-rosey and bath-foam/soapy like (with a touch of suede). The "luxurious arabic hotel-hall type of aroma" (fresh, inebriating, vaguely medicinal) conjures me (in a more synthetical way of course) the fresh honeyed exoticism of several Abdul Samad Al Qurashi's concoctions a la Qurashi Family Blend and The One Blend, for instance (and ideal memories about hotels ballrooms, piano-bar, succulents and white-linen clothed daring men in sun glasses and crocodile shoes starts jumping on mind). Probably Red Aoud smells too strong over a synthetic-medicinal side despite I appreciate a lot conceptually the freshly exotic combination of notes. Not bad.
16th January, 2015 (last edited: 17th January, 2015)
Red Aoud opens with a stout, quite heavy accord of oud, flowers and red pepper, with a bold (and frankly a bit sickening, initially) overall smell that resembles to barbecue sauce on a roasted piece of pancake. Luckily it quickly becomes a bit more pleasant and tolerable, the floral side comprises mostly rose and other (a bit "generic") silky floral notes, then there's also spices and a light "red" note of red pepper. A more floral and "juicier" take on oud in short. I also detect a subtle honey-cocoa breeze on the base, together with the usual rubbery feel or synthetic oud. Nicely mediocre, and as other reviewers already remarked, hardly distinguishable from many other Montale's: not bad, but if you're into "rose and oud" you can find much better than this – for example Gold Rose Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi.
Red Aoud opens with the same bracing blast of oudh and rose as Black Aoud, Royal Aoud, and Attar, though sharper and higher than the others. The soprano voice in the opening eventually resolves into a sweet-tart fruit note while the sharp edge reveals itself as a pimento-red chili note that’s not unlike shot of Tabasco. The saffron in Red Aoud’s advertised pyramid isn’t all that evident. Perhaps it blends too closely with the red pepper note to register on its own. Ditto the cumin. What I perceive is a linear oudh and fruity rose accord with a bitter edge to it, and not a whole lot else.
I have to admit to losing some patience with the Montale oudh scents. The first few I tried struck me as novel and exciting, but having sampled many more, I’ve begun to see most as very subtle variations on a simple oudh and rose theme. Black Aoud holds my interest as perhaps the purest (certainly the most stark and powerful) variant, and Oud Cuir d’Arabie is unique in its smoky, animalic leather, but Red Aoud doesn’t seem to add all that much that’s new to the collection.