This renaissance of oud we've experienced in 2009 has found a number of perfumers attempting to tame the wild beast that is oud. It is not an easy task. Give it too much space and that is all you get. Dumb it down too much and you wonder what the point is of having it in your perfume. Too much oud and it is an acquired taste as it overwhelms, too little oud and the interesting qualities leave you wanting more. Calice Becker has, for my money, done the best job of getting this balance right in the 2009 release for By Kilian, Pure Oud. When you see a fragrance named Pure Oud you brace yourself for a blast of oud and what Mme Becker does, that is quite wonderful here, is she gives you that but then she pairs it up with the strongest notes set of notes in the perfumer's toolbox. This creates a beautiful complex trip into the darkest areas a fragrance can land. The top is the promised oud and it is paired with just a hint of tobacco. The slightly sweet aspect of the tobacco contrasts well with the oud. The heart is a dance of leather and oud and it is a raw leather to go with the raw oud. Just when I think this can't get more intense a civet note enters the mix. This phase is an animalic lover's dream as the oud provides an incredible base for the leather and civet. Plus those notes have enough heft to push back against the oud and take their place as olfactory equals in the heart. The base is the maple syrup accord that immortelle brings to things and it is also a great choice as it imparts a woody richness to the oud which allows Pure Oud to finish on high note. Pure Oud has outstanding longevity on me but it is a very close wearing scent. Mme. Becker has created the most well-balanced oud I've experienced, so far, as by choosing notes and accords that have an equal intensity to oud she ends up revealing all of oud's wonderful complexities in comparison. Pure Oud is a pure pleasure to wear.