I didn't like this at first, and in the end I still feel it's not for me, but I can appreciate its beauty.
When first applied I smell scorched sugar with an alarming plastic and/or chemical smell, with hints of magic marker. There are some vanilla notes that smell like plastic to me and that's almost what I'm getting here, but it doesn't stay long. It's the opening stage of this fragrance that I don't like.
After an hour or two the chemical feeling calms down a lot. I would call this heady and intoxicating, decadent, like a super-rich dessert that is almost too rich. Very smooth, and more than a little sexy.
Another hour later, the base notes come in and I like this even more. I think cedar is coming out or maybe patchouli. At this point I start thinking maybe I could wear this after all. But I think I would only put it on a couple hours before leaving to go out, not sooner. It's still somewhat of a scorched sugary scent, but now backed up by the grounding woodsy notes. Not bad but I'm not sure where I would wear this.
Last thought....I'm still not sure I know what oud smells like, so I can't comment on its presence in this scent.
At my first testing the aoud came across primarily as an aromatic background to a caramel-sweet foreground. The more often I’ve tested Aoud Gourmet, the more aoud and the less caramel I get. I’m happy with the direction the fragrance took. The aoud note never becomes strongly impactful, but it has come to dominate over the sweet accord of honey, sugar, marzipan in the opening. It’s a civilized aoud… (or neutered, depending on how one feels about that particular note). As to the other notes listed in the top two levels of the pyramid, I am barely aware that patchouli, cedar, nutmeg, musk are present. If the pyramid notes actually ARE there, they are incorporated into the sweet / aoud accords seamlessly. This is a highly refined fragrance.
From my description, Aoud Gourmand doesn’t seem very interesting or complex... But it is much better than my weak description of it would indicate. In the actual wearing, AG sends off a sillage that is a lightly exotic and comfortably sweet. The soft sillage is quite enjoyable as it disperses its occasional wisps of mystery. It’s an easy wear and has quite good longevity.
A little bit of oud. A whole tonne of caramel sugar. Nothing else happens on my skin. If the near burned sugar made me happy in itself, this would be a thrill. As it is now I feel gassed out by all the sugar and yearn for some notes to add depth or complexity. I'm disappointed by the effort...it feels like it was a bit of cop out on the part of the company.
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Aoud Gourmet is a very clever oud/gourmand. It's not all that different from Micallef's own Vanille Aoud but instead of a rich, creamy vanilla balanced by a subtle oud note this perfume presents a marzipan/almond/vanilla accord accented with a moderate dose of oud to counter the gourmand notes' sweetness. By way of comparison Aoud Gourmet is in the same league as Montale's Red Aoud, but I find it much more wearable and the oud note less prominent. As with the other Micallef ouds, this scent is tremendously well balanced and the oud note melds into the surrounding accords.
Sillage, longevity, and price are all on the high end of the spectrum for sure. If forced to choose I would likely prefer Vanille Aoud, but I don't feel that owning one precludes owning the other by any means. Thumbs up.