Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Oud 27 by Le Labo

I went to London during Easter 2015 and among the few perfumers I wanted to visit Le Labo on Devonshire Street was one of them.

The location was really awesome and gave the feeling of an old-fashioned laboratory but among the three scents I purchased samples of - Santal, Patchouli and Oud - Oud 27 was not good IMHO at all.

Having previsouly sampled real Oud oil - I can recommend Arabian Oud on Oxford Street for this - I am at loss whether the Le Labo Oud 27 really has any Oud in the composition at all. The top-notes have some awfully artifical components in it (I can´t really identify what is it though) and honestly, that was as far I as came, since I scrubbed the scent of my skin with soap and water shortly after that (!).

Maybe the heart- and base-notes are awesome, but I wouldn´t know really...

For me there are many more Oud-based scents that you should consider instead, I am thinking about Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa Oud, I am thinking about Terry de Gunzburg´s Terryfic Oud Extrême (although a little quirky and playful) and if you have funds to spare the Amber Aoud by Roja.

05th April, 2015
Newly felled logs left in a pile get rained on overnight. A cat that has eaten something it shouldn’t have comes by and voids its bowels. The following morning, the work of stripping the logs begins: bark and woodchips fly, sap flows, a cloud of damp and earthy wood scents hang in the air. Next they are sawn into planks and left in the golden sun to dry, before being brought indoors, where they ooze their inviting, new-minted odour, driving you back again and again to where they are stored. Their scent changes in shades all the time, deepening, getting more and more civilized, picking up traces of honeyed floor wax, but keeping the rush of fresh sawdust about it.
This is Oud 27 for me – the wood is mainly an inviting sappy, sweet cedar which gains sandal accents over time as the aroma profile ‘dries out’. The oud could be the faecal emanation at the start (soon gone), or it could be the peppery dryness that lingers over the whole, but it’s not the focal point, in fact it seems not to be the point at all. As a straight up woody, this is a strong offering.
02nd April, 2015
A fun musky incense rose oud with a shock opening. I bought a small bottle of this that I went through about 1/4 of before giving it away to a friend that liked it. At the end it began to feel dated. How about that--oud started to feel so dated in 2015 that I didn't want to wear it, despite that I have never smelled an oud fragrance on a living person besides my sister, since no one wears anything at all. Still, oud and Iso E cedar have become the ubiquitous "last decade" fragrances.
25th February, 2015
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This one’s pure fun to me. It’s the most synthetic, rubbery, spacey oud on the market, and I kind of love that about it. It has almost no connection to actual oud (it's clearly Givaudan's Black Agar blend), and it’s like marinating in saffron and damascone beta. The overall result is a jammy, berry-like latex with some hardcore civet thrown in. It takes the whole Western wimpy "oud" concept and Westernizes it further with hilarious results.

It’s probably the most chemical smelling scent Le Labo has released, but I actually think that’s part of its weirdo charm. It’s also not something that you could wear on a regular basis—at least I couldn’t—as it’s strong and cloying at first. Upfront, you get honeyed damascone berries and civet, then the “oud” creeps in with “saffron” by its side, and from that point on the scent is basically latex gloves and skeezy florals. It’s sickly at first, but it sorts itself out a bit after a few minutes. The base seems to be a pedestrian vetiver/cedar combo, but I found that much of the scent fizzles out before it really gets to that point anyway.

If someone were shopping for ouds, I’d keep them far away from this one. But if that person needed a great scent for a trip to the circus, I think Oud 27 would be ideal. It’s fun, blaring, and super weird.
13th January, 2015
Genre: Leather

Le Labo’s Oud 27 starts off as equal parts smoky saffron, aggressively medicinal oudh, and animalic leather; somewhere between Alan Cumming’s signature fragrance and Montale’s Oud Cuir d’Arabie. The oudh soon softens to reveal a more conventional conifer wood accord that smells to me both of juniper and cedar. The animalic component also drops out almost completely with about a half an hour of wear, so that for most of its life on my skin Oud 27 is a surprisingly crisp, cool, and translucent fragrance centering on frankincense, saffron, and woods. Unfortunately that life is abruptly truncated at close to the two hour mark, after which a very faint, dry, woody base note (the guaiac, I presume,) is all I can detect. Anticlimactic and disappointing after such a distinguished start. My advice: don't buy this without trying Oud Cuir d'Arabie first.

22nd June, 2014
It's been stated before but bears repeating that Oud 27 was one of the first few niche oud scents to show up outside of Montale. At the time, its leathery saffron and upfront birch tar earned it a reputation as quite animalic, but now that we've all smelled dozens more of these, including truly animalic stinkers like Al Aoud and Bond's Harrods Swarkovsy Oud, Oud 27 feels quite tame by comparison, more like something CDG would do than the smell of a true fecal oud.

That being said, I still think Oud 27 is great. The rubbery oud plays against traditional sandalwood and a pinch of rose for sweetness, while smoky saffron lends strong leathery support. Over time, the birch tar picks up the heavy lifting, while the smoky woods settle into a slow burn. There's no barnyard stink or any of the moldy band-aid smells that typify real oud - this is an oud for fashionophiles at Barneys, not locals at a Cambodian bazaar. It's quite beautiful, though in a very dark way, but if you're looking for the huge stinker promised in the early reviews, you may be disappointed.
10th June, 2014
OFFICE TEST:
Female 1: 4/5, Impression: clean, out-doorzie
Female 2: 1/5, Impression: Too harsh. Hurts my nose
Female 3: 0/5, Impression: generic soap (GOD SHE’S PICKY)
Male 1: 4/5, Impression: Light and refreshing
Male 2: 3/5, WOODS (not wood, the WOODS)
Male 3: 3/5, Impression: Hard to say

Projection: Initially quite high, decreasing gradually after 2 -3rd hour
Longevity: 10h plus (but with very limited projection after 6 – 7th H)

My opinion:
This is good.This is potent. The most resinous thing I've smelled in a long time. Oud is obviously wood, but it’s nowhere near green. It’s smoky, incensy and pleasantly abrasive. A blazed trail of Satan walking the Earth could smell like that (stolen metaphor). There’s something Evil about it. It’s a quite monolithic for a typical perfume, as the other notes are heavily dominated by the agar - but it’s primal and clear in a dramatic way. I would probably love it, if it were slightly less oriental. Wish someone would make such a predatory oak. Not the best choice for the office – it is not easy on the more innocent noses, even though it mellows down significantly after 2 hours or so.
06th June, 2014
One of the few oud-based scents I like. I admit this is not one of my favourite notes, so among the thousands of scents I've never tried yet, oud scents are not exactly on my "top" list. But this one was quite a surprise. A friend of mine brilliantly defined this "an imaginative oud" and in fact, I think she was perfectly right. The opening is pleasant, a peculiar balance between an oud base, with its signature indolic/animalic personality, and a velvety, delicate, dusty rose breeze. The overall smell is much ethereal and spacious, but sharp and clear. The notes are linear and thin, the ambiance is rarefied and silent, vast and wide but calm and "void" in a way. All it's there, but all is transparent. Initially the oud note is much refined and civilised, and also quite subtle. It's more of a linear, woody accord, quite clean and a bit rubbery, with just a slight but palpable and ambiguous "oud" heart. The same for the rose note, it's talcum-powdery but restrained and positively plain. This makes me think of "sheets", one on another, on a perfectly white glass desk, if that makes sense. The vibe is open-air, but industrial too, or more precisely, a "lab" vibe, with that specific medicinal/suspended mood, rarified but oppressing too. I also think of waiting lounges and that kind of post-modern "non-places". After a while a balsamic refreshing breeze arises, still with a powdery feel, and I like this passage a lot – often notes vanish or tone down, this instead just "comes in" like if someone opened a window. The "key" adjective here are "clean", "sophisticated", "subtle", "aerial". The oud base is there and it's shady, but is also delicate and fairly inoffensive (which is perhaps one of the reasons why I like this scent, I like oud either like this, or just raw and unleashed, like is the darkest Montale's). After one hour or so, a nice twist again, some unexpected accords come in shape; a woody/incense nuance, a dry white musks accord, a slightly salty breeze. Luminous, in a totally contemporary, artificial meaning. Moreover, some of those notes fades away, and all that aerial lightness gently "vanishes". The drydown turns almost into a delicate and essential chypre, a nostalgic, dark and somehow sensual thin accord, still clean but a bit more dense, gloomy and sweaty. A great evolution for a really good scent, not my cup of tea but brilliantly executed and worth a try.

7,5-8/10
18th May, 2014
At the opening I can smell an oily woody dark oud note mixed with some spices and heavy animalic scent.
I can still detect dirty and herbal vetiver note though but oud is more prominent than other notes.
It's dark, woody, oily, a little sweet and dirty musky all at the same time.
As time goes by and in the mid the animalic scent settled down just a bit and I can smell a little more sweetness and a little more oud and vetiver notes that together giving the scent more dark and a little smoky feeling.
I can smell some floral notes too but they are in the background.
Projection is OK (not that great) and longevity is around 6-7 hours on my skin.
A simple and high quality oud based fragrance with good supporting of animalic and vetiver note.
30th January, 2014
This is a middle way oud. Not a good scent with a bit of oud added - like Royal Oud - nor a full-frontal oud. I do get out from the beginning, but always with incense and wood notes and later with a nice patchouli drydown. Later an unusually dark saffron signals the late stages of its development. The overall impression is rich but not overwhelming, dark but not brooding, very well made creation of high-quality ingredients and balanced. Good silage and projection with a not-too-great longevity of four hours. For autumn, not too phantastic but a good oud that was launched just before the recent oud avalanche came over us.
20th January, 2014
Entertaining fragrance

Le Labo Oud 27
Oud 27 is notorious. On perfume forums, not a single thread about animalics goes without mentioning Oud 27. It is one of the most debated and polarizing modern fragrances.
Oud 27 is deceptive. Reading about it, you will find little truth. Half the people will say that it is repulsive, and another half will tell you that is is gorgeous. What is even more deceptive is that there is no oud, synthetic or natural, in this perfume. You have to experience it for yourself.
Perfumes promise to delight. When one first smells a fragrance, they expect to be pleased, not challenged, and definitely not offended. For a common person, Oud 27 is a sucker punch straight to the nose. First breath, and it feels like you had the air knocked out of you. The civet reeks. It is stale, unsettling, pissy, and dirty. It overpowers everything and leaves you shocked. However, you notice something strange behind the civet, and instead of recoiling in horror, you sniff on and find a strange, sweet, synthetic berry accord drawing you to inhale deeper. Here you find that pleasure which you expect to get out of a perfume. Here lies the art of Oud 27.
I can't say that it is well blended yet. As it develops, the dusty, dirty, earthy, pissy animalic accord does not go anywhere. It stays there like Quasimodo, in an old suit, holding a bouquet of stale flowers and a box of dried fruit candy. Oud 27 is a juxtaposition of tenderness and repulsion.
Oud 27 is triumphant in the drydown. The dust settles down. The dirt grows on you, flowers bloom, and you learn to love it.
Oud 27 is an antihero. The audience is presented with something unmistakably flawed and human. At first, there is more to dislike about Oud 27 than there is to like. However, something about it is promising. There is a glimpse of beauty within the character, and the audience is gripped by an inner conflict of the ugly and the good. In the end, you learn to, if not love, then at least respect Oud 27 for the complexity of its nature.
Rating: 10/10
First experience: I received a broken sample from the perfumed court, and the envelope was permeated with Oud 27's dry down. I knew it was bottle worthy there and then.
veteverian.wordpress.com

Pros: Artistic composition
Cons: It is repulsive"

29th August, 2013
Really interesting offering from Le Labo. Wildly intoxicating animalistic medicine. Smells like a young papuan oud, interesting thing there is no oud in the fragrance. Atlas cedar, incense, Patchouli, Saffron, Gaiac wood.

P.S.

If someone has urine that reminds them of Oud 27 - bottle it and have lifetime supply of magic potion.
08th April, 2013
The first Le Labo Oud 27's leathery/animalic, vaguely medicinal and spicy blast conjures at me up in a while Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur and i have to say that the resemblance between the two compositions is soon notable also along the following stages of the evolution. Apart indeed a certain dose of initial spiciness surrounded by rough leather, animalic "powdery saltiness" and vaguely medicinal aoud, the aforementioned concoctions share also the note of rose, than cedar, amber, patchouli and probably hints of orange. Oud 27 starts with an inebriating and prickly cloud of peppery saffron and dry/spicy patchouli (a la Patchouly Etro) followed by a "white powdery" and barely medicinal oud/leather accord pushed up by a touch of aldehydes and incense. The powdery effect rises up in the course of the development and the "white (in a second moment soapy)" effect is turned out due to the interaction of aldehydes, incense, powdery cedarwood and saffron. The note of oud (in my opinion minimal in dosage), after the initial pharmaceutical shortly lasting temperament, becomes enveloping and barely "carnal/animalic" with hints of civet and in this phase the white (i don't see any darkness around) powder turns out vaguely incensey, cedary and rosey. A touch of resinous aura rounds finally the elements in a general aldehydic/soapy and almost talky animal atmosphere with hints of powdery woods (mostly cedarwood) and musky ambergris. This radiant, talky, soapy and averagely sharp dry down reminds me vaguely some mossy and castoreum based glorious chypre of the past a la Jil Sander Man Pure. A soapy animalic take on aoud with a wonderful spicy/aldehydic, incensey and leathery radiancy.

PS. Along the dry down i effectively detect unmistakably a subtle aqueous/salty vetiver presence (spaced ouy by the sweetness of amber and cinnamon) which increases in me the perception to enjoy a classic masculine (mossy animalic chypre) of the past.
13th February, 2013
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Sure, it's got a bit of a funk to it at first. I personally find it to be pretty refined. I'd wear this in a suit, no tie, when I go out in the city with friends to a classy place. The oud shines, it has the "cleanness" that all Le Labo scents seem to have, even though it's certainly on the dirtier spectrum of fragrances.

The "urine" scent a lot of reviewers speak of, I think, is mostly the oud. I definitely see the comparison to urine but I'd definitely not say it's like you are wearing your local subway men's room on you - that completely ignores the overall awesome, smooth, refined woodsy/spicy scent.

Good projection, average longevity, great scent. Not nearly as challenging as I expected.
18th January, 2013
As a fragrance, it's nice, but expensive. It is, after all, an expensive brand. However, as an Oud, it's neither here nor there. It just does not stand out. It doesn't smell like cheap, synthetic, rubber "Oud." Definitely a good thing. But it also doesn't provide the sensory overload that I crave from actual Oud.The civet is fine, but does not last long enough and is not prominent enough. Of course, some qualities which are negative to me will be attractive to others and some qualities which are positive to me will be unattractive to others. If you're looking for a Monster--as I was--you will instead find a tamed house-cat. If you're seeking an Ascending Lark, you will instead find a filthy big city pigeon. Overall, I sincerely feel this fragrance is neither here nor there. Is not distinctive. It smells nice, but that's just not enough. From this brand, I prefer Labdanum 18.
19th December, 2012 (last edited: 11th January, 2013)
I bought this in a split and was taken away by the complexity of this scent..Put in a nutshell it is a beautiful scent. Everyone I have had smell this fragrance just love it. I personally love it so much I am on my second bottle.
17th December, 2012
the opening remindend me of Midnight oud by Juliette has a gun, that has gone a bit sour, the oud scent was mixed with something sour maybe pee like smell, not so unpleasant but not nice at all, after 15 minutes this unpleasant sour smell went away and all was left was rose-oud-woddy smell to my nose! maybe a touch more creamy not so dry like Pure oud by Killian

not bad, just i dont like that medicinal-alchoholic smell it has...it smells cheapish and synthetic to my nose... drydown is nice though!! Oudish:)

Edit: i changed my review to thumbs up, because what smelled cheapish synthetic to my nose is aoud, its almost fruity sweet one, maybe from patchouli but smells really unique and not trying to appeal to everyone, and is much nicer then good Midnight oud
31st October, 2012 (last edited: 24th March, 2013)
I am actually getting a pine sap smell in this. Reminicent of my days as a boy scout, camping out and being in the wilderness. When climbing trees or chopping them down I'd often get that thick sticky, IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE sap on my hands and it would not come off with anything but kerosene or gas.
The opening of this OUD 27 by Le Labo has much the same aroma as that sap.

I cannot say if it's thumbs up or down. Leaning toward up though.
14th September, 2012
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United States
Awful stuff...prob. the worst oud based fragrance I've ever tried.
It's not the oud in this I have a problem with, it's everything else...it's just really, really sour and fecal smelling stuff. The oud is kind of in the background in the whole thing and the opening is very overpowering.
Knock out stuff -- def. do NOT blind buy this or any le labo.
13th May, 2012
Woo! Wee wee wee all the way home. More like wee wee all the way home. Has anybody seen my pet civet by the way? A sweetened urinous oud. Really quite pretty, well made, dramatic and engaging. Will not accept being ignored. This may very well be your cup (or at the very least your specimen flask) of tea. This little piggie had none.
30th March, 2012 (last edited: 15th April, 2012)
As with a lot of Le Labo’s, the name on the bottle is not characteristic of the scent. This one opens with some animalistic accords, medicinal type oud notes, and some sourness. The medicinal aspects and animalistic notes fade rather quickly and you are left with a slightly incense and woods scent that wears very close to the skin. If you are looking for a synthetic analogue of the Arabian oud’s, I suggest you look elsewhere.
08th February, 2012
Oud 27 by Le Labo - One is initially overwhelmed by a animalic tango. A foul and sour oud partnered with an earthy, floral saffron give life to a miasmic melange of stale urine, foetid smoke, raw leather and slimy sweetness. For a time, this vomitous blend rankles, and is spewn to the rehabilitating middle. Atlas cedar, with its balsamic and evergreen woodiness, coupled with a refreshing incense suffocate the putrid piss and stenchy fumes, as well as rehabilitate the saffron with creamy and honey aspects and the oud with a bright and fresh aura. The awaiting base with its complementary guaiacwood imparts its pleasing smokiness and candied smoothness, aided by a mildly peppery and herbaceous patchouli. A prosaic drydown ensues. This edgy composition lacks projection and longevity.
19th December, 2011
If you're into skanky "oud-and-animalic" concoctions a-là Aoud Cuir D'Arabie or Dior's Leather Oud, this one could represent a fantastic alternative (or addition). Oud 27 opens with a strong and sort of arresting accord of saffron and raunchy leather while the oud enhances the overall challenging vibe with an extremely pungent/sour presence. WOW! The first hour is quite an experience. Unusual, uncompromising and shocking.

After the initial brutal blast, Oud 27 settles down and turns to be slightly more "conventional" playing the dark woods game. In this phase the oud shines joined by woods galore and bringing to mind of a (much) paler version of ByKilian's Pure Oud. While I still thoroughly enjoy this composition, I find it somehow short-lived. Lasting is not among the best (expecially considering the intense opening) and the fragrance looses its initial challenging power too rapidly. Personally I stick with the bolder (and even skankier) Leather Oud, but Oud 27 comes definitely as a close second.

Not for everybody.
17th December, 2011 (last edited: 13th February, 2012)
Oud is a note that is relatively new to me. As I strolled through the department store, I noticed Oud 27 and thought that it would be the perfect moment to experience oud, which is either a love it or hate it.

Oud 27 opened quite strong and edgy, however despite its rather loud entrance, I sensed that I was falling in love already.

In my words, Oud 27 smells like rich, resinous woods with a touch of spicy earthiness and fragrant smoke. It's not your typical run-of-the-mill type scent, it is very unique and sits more on the masculine side of things.

I'm a girly-girl, however I love wearing this. The scent makes me feel in control and sexy, in a bad-girl way.

This fragrance has a somewhat leathery feel, which reminds me of Bandit by Robert Piguet, however I wouldn't say that they are very alike in scent. There really isn't anything like it.

The earthiness does create an almost dirty feel, which can be off-putting for some. Oud 27 is very raw and I would say, shocking. It actually smells a little bit like sex.

I adore Le Labo's Oud 27. It is absolute perfection to my nose. The amazing lasting strength and sillage only adds to this fragrance's impressiveness.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a bottle of this sitting on my dresser very soon.

22nd October, 2011
This is by far the best of the Le Labo range - rich, just a bit skanky and very, very sexy. But do heed the previous reviewers' advice and be judicious with the sprayer.

I've gotten several compliments on it, once the woman is close enough to smell it on my neck. I keep this on the shelf beside Teck, Yatagan, Kourous and Balenciaga Man as my go-to scents for dates. This is, of course, based on the fact that these are the scents that have drawn multiple compliments from women. They also make me feel GREAT when I wear them...

In return, I would LOVE to smell it on a woman. I think it would be incredibly sexy.
15th October, 2011
Oud 27 by Le Labo is one of those very unique fragrances. It varies from dislike to enjoyment depending how many sprays you use. Application is key with this one. Spray just enough, 1 or 2 sprays under the shirt, and it becomes a beautiful, sweat, musky oriental. Put too much on, and it becomes rancid, sour and pungent, like wet socks. Beautiful fragrance, you just have to know how to use it. This one needs some taming. I find the oud note in this, very close to the authentic middle eastern oud oils I've smelt. It probably has one of the most authentic oud notes in any mainstream or niche perfume. The true, dirty, barnyard kind.
18th August, 2011
Wow! Where to star with this one. It is very sour up top and i dont like the animalic note in this. It is a very unique scent. I dont dislike it but i wouldn't buy a bottle of this. Its quite offensive.
08th July, 2011
I've finally gotten around to sampling Oud 27. I'd been looking forward to something borderline dirty, but got something completely different -- but nice all the same.
First of all -- where's the oud? I know tons of oud fragrances, e.g. all the variations on the theme in the Montale and Amouage lines. There must be some in there, for it is a woody scent, but the oud is not prominent.
Second of all, where's all the dirty stuff that's supposed to be going on? I know dirty frags too where there can be no doubt of the intention, whether it's Kingdom, Muscs Koublai Khan or even Eau d'Hermès. But here? No.
All I could think of upon sampling it (not just once) was "edgy woody musky jasmine". It's much more harmless than people have made it out to be, and pleasantly so. There is indeed something "off-kilter" about it I've yet to place my finger on, which removes it nicely from anything too mainstream -- so yes, it is a bit edgy. It's like the nice boy or girl-next-door discovering a subervise vein one evening, and loving it. Anyway it's a pleasant, masculine musk with a pleasant unisex jasmine. Completely different to what I'd expected. But nice.
23rd June, 2011
This is one of the best oud fragrances ever made. I have tried up to a dozen ouds but nobody else comes close to Oud 27 is making a true and a beautiful oud scent.
16th June, 2011
Oooo... I'm a BIG fan of this stuff!

My overwhelming impression is one of brightness, luminosity and radiance; there's a buzzy, high-pitched, sour vibe from the oud and saffron when the scent first goes on the skin. Later it settles down and moderates it's behaviour when the cedar wood and resins become more prominent. There is a very assertive sour note that I can understand some people might compare with the unwelcome, edgy smell of urine - but for me, it has an entirely different, pleasant quality; it's very attractive in my opinion.

The uniqueness of this perfume has somehow burned it's way into my olfactory memory and I've experienced a strong craving for it on several occasions since acquiring the sample bottle... so a purchase is inevitable in the near future.
15th May, 2011