if you are looking for a true and simple "ode to oud" western-style fragrance, look no further than Oud Royal. it is very, very well done.
immediately upon spraying, another oud fragrance in my arsenal came to mind - Cashmere Oud by MFK.
Oud Royal is similar to Cashmere Oud primarily for the *type* of oud they both look to recreate - Laotian, and putting that note front and center. this variety is actually pretty rare in the "real" oud oil community, but the Laotian note seems to be the dominant one used by western fragrance manufacturers. possibly because it's the easiest to recreate chemically, but also because it seems to pair very well with other notes added to it. what is interesting is that although Cashmere Oud is marketed as "wearable, like a soft cashmere sweater", i would disagree. i think it is a roundhouse punch to the face of extremely potent and dense Laotian oud note wrapped up in little else. the sheer brazenness of its power and its simplicity makes it a work of art.
Oud Royal, however, is the real cashmere sweater of the two. striking but gentle, true but forgiving. the synthetic Laotian oud note can have a fierce petroleum streak to it, but Evelyn Boulanger has made certain to take that edge off. perhaps it's the saffron or the dab of vanilla. perhaps it's the perfect plank of sandalwood the whole fragrance is served on. but the sillage is much better on Oud Royal than Cashmere Oud. more inviting, warmer, more seductive. something you want to be around and enjoy, not just appreciate hanging on the wall.
I am also a saffron lover and the saffron note here is exquisite. others have mentioned rose but i am not picking up on much rose in this scent at all. to me (also an unabashed rose lover), this is actually a positive. it is far too easy to pair oud to dense rose and call it a day. but when you can make dry, woody fragrance that brings out the very best of what oud is about, and at the same time making it as wearable as your favorite t-shirt, then you have done something special.
if i had my druthers, i'd make this scent a liiiiiittle more potent. not much, just a tad. mainly because it's such a beautiful fragrance, i want more people to experience it from afar! the longevity is okay but not great. the Armani website classifies this as an "intense eau de parfum". i think they are stretching the truth there a bit.
a safe blind buy for oud lovers. and a wonderful introductory oud fragrance to those just discovering oud's magic. in fact, if i had to pick one western oud fragrance to show a newbie to see if they like the genre or not, this might very well be it.
Armani Prive's Oud Royal is another strong entry that's mainly ideal for colder weather, much like Rose d'Arabie.
Of the listed notes, I get mainly oud with a hint of rose, and perhaps some saffron and amber. Although it's not a listed note, I get a strong leather vibe together with the oud, and while both the oud and leather have their dirty sides, they're not so dirty here as to limit the sophistication of the fragrance.
As others point out, it's strong and rich but not overwhelming to the point of being off-putting. The possibility of this working for women seems remote to me, as this definitely strikes me as an implicitly masculine fragrance.
Performance is very good for an EDP in terms of both projection and longevity. Retailing at $290 for 100ml but almost 40% at Beautyspin, this could prove a winter signature scent that's relatively restrained and agreeable, and that's rendered somewhat affordable as opposed to the difficult retail entry price of the line.
8 out of 10
Holy cow! I felt guilty at first trying this one on at a local Neiman Marcus - over $500 for the bottle! I am just familiarizing myself to the oud fragrance world, and this one made a strong impact on me. I couldn't stop smelling my wrists! The scent is sophisticated and classy. Try a sample spritz first before plunking down the moolah!
A good hard Oud and light rose that preserves some of its weirdness despite being softened up for the western market. Incense liquorice and amber decorate what is otherwise a linear progression.
At four hours longevity is not so good.
For €220 Oud Royal is competing with less synthetic niche offerings, and the only reason to choose it would be its wider availability.
Oud Royal is a beautiful fragrance centred around a note of oud with a generous touch of incense. Initially the oud-saffron conjugate comes to the fore; the oud note is neither soft nor harsh, and quite captivating. Now and then there is a vague hint of an animalic character. I personally detect some similarities with the oud note in Epic Man. The rose is discernible, and helps to round out the composition. The incense lends a mild smoky vibe to the composition. There is not much transition in the fragrance as it wears on skin. The sandalwood is more prominent during the dry down as the oud remains and the incense subsides. The oud-sandalwood base is soft and sensuous.
Oud Royal is recommended if one is looking for a stripped down oud fragrance without too many other distracting notes. The fragrance is never particularly sweet, which I personally enjoy in this case. Projection is good at first and then subsides; longevity is good. A very good oud fragrance for wearing in fall and spring when it's cool but not cold.
How I wish I owned this!
Through my varied trials of oud-centric fragrances, this is probably my favourite. As to its legitimacy of any actual oud content, I cannot say, but it doesn't matter, it's so dark and smooth that it goes beyond ingredient quality/quantity.
Beautifully orchestrated, but too expensive, especially since Armani did away with the beautiful wooden bottles.
Update - broke down and bought a bottle. Couldn't resist.
07th April, 2015 (last edited: 27th April, 2015)