I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on Creed's Royal Oud, your experiences with it and especially your first impressions of it. To provide some background, I haven't tried many oud scents, and I'm not into particular notes as I am of fragrances as a whole, but I do love M7 and it's oud note. RO is definitely one of the most well liked Creeds on here, and I've tried all of the Creeds except this one, so this one was coming for sure. I've tested it to a good extent and I'm ready to share my thoughts.
Royal Oud opens with bergamot, a lime-like citrus, with a shrill spiciness which may initially make you feel indifferent, but you might warm up to the opening and enjoy it like I did. The cedar in the middle will allow the fragrance to sweeten and all the woods will converge together in a nice dark forest-like aroma. During the base, is where the poor sorting of this fragrance make it dirty. The incense and vetiver come at the end to spoil it. The sandalwood base note is good, but Creed has done the sandalwood-cedar combination so much, it feels like a retread. Surprisingly there is no ambergris present. The oud rides through the fragrance throughout, being enjoyable, but never doing anything special or notable.
Let's be honest: "Royal Oud" is more of a business decision than an artistic one, which is unfortunate. There's definitely a noticeable amount of oud in here, but it's far from the main feature of the fragrance, though "Royal Cedar" just doesn't have that charisma to it. Clearly, instead of making a fragrance around oud, Creed decided to just make a fragrance for an entirely different reason and market it as oud-based to cash-in on the oud fad. The oud note is good, but in the end, it's deceptive marketing to base your fragrance on a certain note and giving them a fragrance that bears the oud note as something to accomodate rather than something to display. Yet, Creed did this with Tabarome Millesime.
The safeness and wearability is questionable. Many say it's a wearable oud, but it's all relative. Basenoter's standards are different from real-world people standards. Compared to most oud fragrances, Royal Oud is easy to wear and not very offensive. But if you compare Royal Oud to most fragrances in general, Royal Oud is certainly not safe and I think a bit too dirty for "the masses". It's a dirty scent (most people probably won't love it). Some will say it's masculine; other say it's feminine. Perhaps it's both, but it's traditional and classy, good for either sex, but not for younger people. People I knew didnt like it at all. Personally, I do like it, but it took me an open-mind and a sense of forgiveness for all it's weaknesses.
The performance is disappointing. The scent does last for a considerable amount of time, but projects only for the first 2 hours and is totally silent after that cutoff. For a zen summer fragrance like Virgin Island Water, I get it, but for this category of fragrances, it's baffling how weak this performance is. You certainly need to spray more on you if you want people to smell you, which is not a problem in an of itself but the problem is compounded by the fact that it costs $300 and 75ml is the only size you can get it in. If you do decide this is something you want to wear, it's perfect for all four seasons.
For me, Royal Oud is a like, but never a love, especially considering its flaws. Royal Oud good, but nothing special in my eyes. In the end, there are lots of Creeds I'd buy first and I'd probably never buy this one, especially at it's exclusively high price. Oud fans may love this fragrance (even if Creed is shamelessly trying to cash you guys in) because it's a [relatively] light wearable oud (in the same way that Original Vetiver is a light wearable vetiver, but still a vetiver). Everyone else, especially if you identify more with the every-man than the average basenoter, should exercise caution and not blind buy this one.
Your thoughts on Royal Oud?