Perfume Reviews

Reviews by AOUD

Total Reviews: 6

Lyric Man by Amouage

Amouage’s Lyric Man first came into my possession as a sample card that a kind Ebayer gifted me with the purchase of a decant from a completely different house. Two years since then, and with my sample well-finished long ago, I can only thank this kind person who first introduced me to the house of Amouage. During my continual search for the perfect rose—after Dior’s Oud Ispahan, Montale’s Highness Rose, Amouage’s Homage and Tribute, Xerjoff’s Zafar, and Malle’s Portrait of a Lady—I remain haunted by this fragrance whose meaning has slowly revealed itself to me like the most cryptic and sacred poem, tinged with rose, pine, and musk.

The debate over whether Lyric Man is feminine or not doesn’t matter to me much. I will wear anything I like. With that said, the following association ends up reverting back to gender anyways:

Lyric Man reminds me of smelling a young woman, fresh out of the shower, who is dressed in a light, flowing camisole and white cotton pajama shorts that do little more than cover a small part of her. She’s on your bed, brushing her still wet hair. At some point, you sneak in to give her a kiss on the neck before she falls over, laughing. As you start to travel down her body, from the back of her neck, where you kiss her again, and down her back, your face eventually reaches the softest part of her. You inhale through the thin, white cotton. That’s Lyric Man.

How this association still permits me to spray myself with glee every time I visit the perfume counter is due to the fact that I don’t mind smelling like I’ve laid in bed with the sweetest woman. One has to love the scent of fresh skin and intimacy. Bereft of the sultriness of romance, of wine and cigarettes and the night, or of mystery and libertarian indulgence, Lyric Man is for the poet who’s now alone and ready to compose a few verses for his lover who he and the world can only smell as a recent memory.
29th October, 2019

Homage Attar by Amouage

Amouage's homage to the lovely rose dials in a surprising amount of jasmine while initiating its journey with a potent dosage of white musk that alludes a little too fervently to cleaning products. At least this was my first impression upon letting two light golden drops fall on my wrists after tearing open my package that had arrived from Oman.

After moving around and switching rooms, eventually the liquid elixir began to open up into a scent that felt quintessentially classic and, at first blush, a bit feminine. "But there's no way that I've smelled this on a woman before," I thought.

Fast forward three weeks later and Amouage's attar has grown on me. It smells clean and sexy and unlike my usual wardrobe of oil spills, rotted woods, burnt incense, and rose. In fact, Amouage's Homage smells like a departure from the flower. Is this what they were trying to effect in the naming of their fragrance, a kind of adulation of the rose by way of its omission, much like Islamic art's forbiddance of representing God in human form? It could be that I just need to train my nose to understand nuance. Or perhaps Montale's Highness Rose or Abdul Samad al Qurashi's Taif Rose have set the bar so high (and so clearly). Or maybe I got the "soapy" stuff of the red box, like some of our other reviewers...

Whatever may be the case, I've ended up liking Homage not because of its rose, or lack thereof, but because of its oud that lies nestled in the deep recesses of this attar's dry down. Warm, amber-tinged, bordering on imperceptibly cheesy, and certainly deep, the "silver oud" (whatever that means...) that forms part of Homage's base is quite nice and just funky and woody enough—but only if you inhale deeply!

Taking the advice of a reviewer on a different site, I enjoy layering Homage with Jubilation XXV. The attar's potency shines through for the first 2 hours, inflected by Jubilation XXV's berries, before it begins to bow out as the latter's musky base takes over.
19th October, 2019 (last edited: 20th October, 2019)

Tribute Attar by Amouage

Tribute’s mentholated beginning is unexpected. There’s an herbaceous minerality that is likely tobacco, followed by a slightly alcoholic astringency that, coupled with the smoke, takes on a camphorous and elixir-like quality. The attar’s opening notes are its most addictively medicinal and perhaps the most off-putting for some. This is a concentrated oil, after all, and so the way in which the attar’s concentration slowly opens up and diffuses into its leather, takes time, patience, and intrigue.

I place one drop on each wrist, as well as one on each lapel of my wool jacket. If others reject this scent’s potency as inimical to office wear, I take the other perspective. Traveling to work, whether in your car, on your bike, or on a train, becomes a ritual that cherishes our waking moments. What I like about attars in general is that instead of enveloping you in a soft bubble—or a monstrous, “beast-mode” cloud—they resonate with the subtle power and dignity of having been anointed. One feels that perhaps the only way to apply this attar is to do so while taking a knee. What happens afterward (buttoning your jacket, heading out the door) takes on mystic proportions that the thinness of perfume spray can never replicate.

Where is the rose? Where is the frankincense? Batch variations lead me to think that perhaps I don’t have the best of what Tribute could or has offered. Still, I don’t wear Tribute to smell anything in particular. I wear it to induce a mood that evolves while recurring its various leitmotifs (solitude, nature, the moon in the early afternoon) for around 6 hours. In my mind, I’m not entirely sure I’d double its duration if given the chance. Not everything has to last forever. Tributes are small gifts of great value that indicate the worth of the receiver while signaling the wealth of the giver. Amouage’s discontinued creation does this and is dignified enough to do nothing else.
12th October, 2019
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Dahn Oudh Al Shams Special Edition by Ajmal

Dahn Oudh Al Shams Special Edition is my first introduction into Ajmal’s repute that has garnered secretive, noteworthy fame on Basenotes. Our Middle Eastern and Indian friends speak of the house’s offerings—excellent attars, a few poorly formulated alcohol-based fragrances, some entirely economic clones, a select number of potent, Arabic-styled perfumery gems. The perfume I’m reviewing falls into the latter category.

Purchased on Ebay from an Omani seller for a hefty sum of 140 dollars for 30ml, Dahn Oudh Al Shams Special Edition is an oud affair of the petrol, oak barrel variety. While reviews on other sites either exult or shrink from its supposed barnyard quality, I don’t get much funk. It’s neither fecal nor cheesy nor fermented. Brand new tires and alcohol fill the nose upon first spray and hang in the air with a kind of density only equaled by rich, resinous, amber-y orientals. To my delight, instead of vanilla’s pedestrianism or sandalwood’s familiarity, a primordial concoction of wood rot, fossil fuels, and marshland give the sensation that I’ve just atomized an attar.

Whether synthetic or natural or more likely some brilliant combination of the two, this is the closest alcohol-based perfume I’ve smelled that approximates real oud oil. Its facets are similar to Xerjoff’s Oud Stars: Al-Khatt, except that equally pricey offering is cheesier and sweeter, undergirded by vanilla and topped off by jasmine. Dahn Oudh Al Shams reminds me of a Borneo oil from my collection because of its jammy-ness that lacks the fruit nuances of fig or date that’s typically associated with some oud oils.

Unfortunately, I don’t get the greatest projection. Perhaps for better, the fragrance calms down around the hour mark and dries down to a woodier representation that still maintains its initial notes. My sense is that while the “ouddict” in me would prefer a powerhouse exulting its carnival-like complexity, for daily wear and public use, its dry down is much more appropriate, since a quieter intensity of its notes will exude from the skin in a more natural and attractive way that will have someone who hugs you or whispers in your ear guessing at what exactly it is they’re smelling.

The high price and small bottle have me rationing my sprays much in the same way I cherish and space apart the days I apply my 3ml oud oils. One spray of Dahn Oudh Al Shams Special Edition and then two of Dior’s Leather Oud or Oud Ispahan (plus a swipe of oud oil or Abdul Samad Al Qurashi’s Taif Rose attar) fattens the olfactory range I’m working within and makes everyone weak in the knees.
22nd June, 2019

Leather Oud by Christian Dior

In my experience, Dior's Leather Oud can be broken down into a question and a revelation.

The question is, "Is Leather Oud animalic?" Or, perhaps a variant: "Is Leather Oud as animalic as people say it is?" The answer is of course dependent upon the nostrils of the beholder. For someone like me who owns a few Indian oud oils that reek of horse dung before they settle into feral woodiness, Leather Oud is only an approximation of animalia, reaching it by way of furry musk in its dry down and a sour twang that sometimes wafts its way to the nose during hotter weather or more liberal sprays.

Dior's fragrance is certainly pungent, strong, masculine. It's neither romantic nor sexy. What it offers is something sexed, as all animalic scents do. They call toward our instincts and remind us, in the end, not of horses or cats or whatever other animal is referenced when trying to articulate the smell of the animal kingdom, but of ourselves—our bodies. With that said, Leather Oud is too refined and touched by human hands to be the holy grail of animalic fragrances, and its concept of imitating oud smoke rather than oud oil, also precludes it from being in the running for taking the top spot of oud fragrances. Nonetheless, that won't stop me from layering it with a dab of oud oil so that personalized magic starts to unfold.

This brings me to my revelation about Leather Oud, which not many people talk about. It's essentially a very good and unique incense fragrance. The secret has been in the branding all along ("Oud wood exudes aromas of leather when it is burned") and the proof rests on the comments I've received. No one's ever told me I've smelled good while wearing Leather Oud, and no one's ever said I stink, but they have made it an issue to note that I smell like I'm enveloped in incense. A few sprays before going out and I feel like I'm traveling along a Möebius strip representing the full spectrum of the animal and spiritual world., because as refined of a scent as this fragrance is, its own notes (ashtray, sour lemon, furry musk) work against its elegant craftsmanship to suggest the exudations of someone whose body is both a private temple and lived-in home.
09th June, 2019 (last edited: 17th June, 2019)

Myths Man by Amouage

Many speak of a "urinal cake" opening but I myself find the bizarre initial minutes of Myths to operate outside of any sense of animality. Rather, Earth and the built environment meet. Something like "wet cement," a geosmin-like prickliness in the nostril begins the perfume's journey. It smells neither good nor bad and instead does what surrealism set out to do. André Breton in the 2nd Surrealist Manifesto offers the following, "There exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and present, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions."

Looking at the listed note pyramid, I don't get much rum. The rose is hidden, soft, and what comes through to my olfactory memory is the smooth, simple wine ("Blood of Christ") of the Catholic eucharist enveloped not in the piney-lemon of burning frankincense, as one would think with ecclesiastical ceremony, but instead in the richness of burnt woods soaked in that very same wine with honey.

As the charcoal heating the bakhoor dies out and ashes remain, Myths sits on the skin, lies there, reminding me of the memory of fire and—strangely enough—of domestic privacy due to bakhoor's connotations with the home: its pillows, curtains, carpets and all other textiles that become infused with smoke when fumigating with incense.

If I could improve Myths for my tastes, I'd ask for more rose. The dark, brooding, daydreaming quality of this fragrance could benefit from a juicy rose and my hunch is that I should experiment with layering a few dabs of taif rose oil.

I also smell in the heart notes an occasional masculine note, perhaps the vetiver, that, while not unpleasant, nods too clearly toward gender constructions in a beautiful composition that otherwise merges all other contradictions. As Breton, the father of Surrealism, said, "Beauty will be convulsive or not be at all."
03rd June, 2019