A gorgeous slightly creamy wood note that floats tantilizingly in the air, then disappears when you try to sniff it on your skin. When you sniff, you get oud, not the gentlest note to inhale deeply. I have a little bit of the same problem here as I did with Peace, that of the oud sort of laying over notes I really liked, but not quite letting me get to them. I know oud is hugely popular now, but sometimes it doesn't fully make sense or work in a fragrance. It is such a particular scent, because of its high piercing personality, not always sensitive to its fellow-notes. Especially ones that make you want to inhale fully, like several of the beautiful ones in this line, with gorgeous foundations. I have to say I don't entirely appreciate its presence here, feeling it's a little too much in the way. I keep stumbling over it.
The foundation is such a creamy mix of woods, fresh and rich, tolu, a black vanilla that doesn't smell like the parade of vanillas in mainstream fragrances, beeswax, arborvitae and other notes, that it is exquisite. I really want to bury my nose in the opening, but will content myself with the sillage.
This fragrance is so beautifully sultry, with very little use of florals, that I find myself trying to find the source of its sensual beauty. The sillage is really nice on this. After I got over my initial resentment at the oud and am letting the fragrance waft, it is so present that I've looked around several times to see if I'm burning Japanese or pine incense.
The smolder in this one is sensual without being animalic, though I notice many such notes in the pyramid. But they're wrapped around earthy, woody notes that blend them in beautifully without any one standing out or taking over - very well done blending.
And then, as it starts drying down, the beautiful accord starts burning off, but the oud stays, so it slowly becomes more strongly oud as it goes along. After several hours the oud is pronounced. After three most of the other notes are gone and you are left with oud and perhaps some animalics that are submerged in it. I wanted it to be the other way around :(
The main accord was really beautiful. It is perhaps not long-lasting, which I understand. But to me the solution would be to use a different note to extend it than oud. The ending was especially disappointing because the heart of this was so sensual. If this fragrance were reformulated without the oud, I wouldn't mind reapplying every three hours, the main accord is so nice. If this one works better on your skin, you are lucky indeed. The midnote is to die for.