There's a very real difference between something that SMELLS natural and something that IS natural. Naturals are inferior to high quality synthetics and I will try to explain why.
A natural ingredient is very complex, so some facets will reflect the beautiful door the relevant note is famous for, while other facets will carry bitterness, earthiness and other elements that the perfumer or the user don't want to be there. High quality synthetics address this problem by separating
I have experienced fragrances becoming richer and smoother with age many times over. I assume this happens for countless reasons, but perhaps I can speculate that:
1). The mixing process creates a lot of chemical reactions that produce volatile, unstable long chain molecules that breakdown with time into simpler molecules that no longer accent the fragrance with chemical resonance
2) The perfumer will need to overload the volatile topnotes to ensure they are present
I review a lot myself, but ultimately the reviews should be moderated by the reader if the reader doesn't know who the reviewer is and what their preferences are. The best reviewers, of which we have maybe 2 or 3 on this site, are so good at describing a fragrance that even when they personally dislike a fragrance you can determine that you will like it, or vice versa! I myself am too lazy in my reviews to achieve this but occasionally I try. I review mainly to keep track of my own thoughts,
1) your own pleasure or
2) to convey who you are and what state of mind you are in, either to yourself and/or to others.
In the first case, the masculine/feminine descriptor has no purpose, "wear what you like". In the second case, the feminine/masculine distinction can often be a useful descriptor if it has been carefully considered by the fragrance house. But note breakdowns and ultimately your
Very interested to hear from the oud experts! Let me state upfront I am not one of those.
I only own a handful so my top 3 will not be very informative, but I have tested dozens and settled on these usual suspects that reportedly contain the synthetic interpretation of oud but no actual oud. There's no shame in synthetic interpretations IMO, these each benefit from a rich/oily/woody/leathery accent that is attributed to oud.