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  1. #1

    Default Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I am in need of assistance! Since I started collecting fragrances, i've dabbled in oud a little bit. My first "oud" purchase was LM Parfums "Black Oud", and sampling of many others. I was ignorant to the fact that the fragrances I was trying by and large were synthetic oud. All I knew was that I could not for the life of me figure out what it was that was supposed to be the "oud". The burnt smell? the weird bandaid? THAT'S oud? What's the big deal? I do find many (Montale's Black Aoud, AdP's Oud...) to be very nice fragrances, but more for the composition then for the love of oud. It wasn't until I sampled the Xerjoff line that my eyes were opened. In particular, Zafar.

    Aged Laotian agarwood, what a glorious smell. Opening is nasty, hard to accept at first, and then a transformation that I have not experienced before. I'm not saying I'm in love with that fragrance, if I was, I wouldn't be asking for your help. It has it's faults which I'll get to in a moment. But I began to appreciate oud with that fragrance, and understand it a little bit better. I've sinced sampled Real Oud by Phoenicia and others ( the entire Roja line, Mona di Orio and By Killians) and can say I need oud in my collection. I need it badly, and not a polite oud that is hidden within a list of other very pleasing notes. No, I want a loud oud, one that is unmistakably dominated by that heavenly fragrance. But so far I have not found my holy grail.

    The problem I've had so far with the other ouds is the value and quality. I find that the Xerjoff line to be nice with high quality ingredients, just not a lot of those ingredients in the bottle. I find them to be... hollow. Not very rich. In comparison, when I smell the complexity of fragrances like Diaghilev, Amouage Homage/Tribute, and LM Parfums Hard Leather, they just smell so complex and rich, and absolutely amazing. Transports me to another place and I'm on a journey with them (NOT a plug for Amouages new fragrance...). As I've worn Zafar several times, it seems like it wants to do the same, but they just couldn't put enough into that bottle to take me there. Then there's the Roja line. Roja, while very nice and I appreciate his fragrances, are so grossly over priced that I would hate myself if I gave him any of my money. He's catering to a different market than the one I'm in, and that's cool. Perhaps one day when I am rich I'll own all his fragrances and my resentment towards the pricing will abate, but until then, he's off the radar.

    I am certain I can do better, with a better value, but the problem is the sampling! Looking at Agar Aura, it will cost me over a 150$ just to get a little tiny sample of each of his fragrances. And he's one of the few that seems to offer samples. So I turn to you, oh fellow basenoters, to narrow my search and offer me guidance. I'm hoping that there is an oud/oud blend out there that is pungently oud at a decent concentration, with the complexity and richness of Amouages Tribute Attar. I love my Tribute, and honestly wish that I could find something like it but with far more oud. I want to smell the real thing throughout my day, to stick my nose in it, bathe in it's scent. I've looked at Oudimentary, Agar Aura, and several others, and have read a ton of the wisdom within the oud group. So I'd like to hear what others think, so that I'm not spending 100's of dollars on sampling many things that don't come close to hitting the mark. What would be your top picks given what I've said? Price is not as much of a concern as value is (that terribly subjective word...). I think one that comes close is Phoenicias, I just found the dry down of Real Oud to be a bit too burnt vs the dry down of something like Zafar. I live in the NYC area, so am limited to our market here in the US. Thank you for any suggestions you might have for me! BTW, I truly hoped I would find my answer somewhere within the forum, perhaps in the agarwood group, but so far have not. So I turn to you for guidance.

    TL/DR: Looking for my holy grail of oud, with the complexity and richness of Tribute Attar, and the beauty and transcendence that the real thing and not the synthetic has to offer its wearer.
    Current favorites:
    1. Invasion Barbare by MDCI
    2. M by Puredistance
    3. Epic Man by Amouage
    4. Jeke by Slumberhouse
    5. Hard Leather by LM Parfums
    6. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
    7. Tribute Attar by Amouage

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I know you've tried other Montales. but I would suggest sampling Montale Original Aoud. It's very linear - only oud in it - nothing else. See what you think.
    Last edited by hednic; 19th May 2014 at 02:10 AM.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Please do yourself a favor and order some samples from Agar Aura. This is exactly what you're looking for.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    There is no oud perfume in the market that smells like the oud oil we use here.
    You're better off using real oud oil.

    Beware , I was sent 3 samples of oud oil from a particular online vendor.
    Turns out none of them was oud. In fact one was vetiver.

    for swap/sale:





  5. #5

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I'm no Aoudphile, but it seems to me that this ingredient, particularly the real stuff, is pretty exotic, and there's just no way around it, you're going to have to spend $$$ to get the real stuff.
    NEW SPLIT - Tom Ford Lavender Palm 50ml in Atomizer - DISCONTINUED!. .

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

  6. #6
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I am sort of stuck in the same situation you are and have been on the hunt for quite some time. Real oud covers such a range of scents that I am left bewildered even if I was to buy a few mL from a respected dealer. And western scents just do not use the real thing. I have found that I am satisfied enough with Leather Oud and another that I really appreciate is Bond's Harrod's Oud. Before anyone says it, I know thst these are chemical interpritations of oud, but givenn my choices I still like them and appreciate them as western scents. I look forward to the suggestions others may have too!
    My Favorites

    1. Amouage Epic man
    2. Dior Leather Oud
    3. Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial Black
    4. Le Labo Patchouli 24
    5. Amouage Opus VII
    6. Byredo Bullion
    7. Norma Kamali Incense



    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.


    The IFRA can bite me!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    I know you've tried other Montales. but I would suggest sampling Montale Original Aoud. It's very linear - only oud in it - nothing else. See what you think.
    . As always, thank you hednic! Will check it out next trip to NYC

    Quote Originally Posted by cwill View Post
    Please do yourself a favor and order some samples from Agar Aura. This is exactly what you're looking for.
    Ugh. Any recommendations on where to start with sampling from them? The sample price is so high, I'd like to narrow it down. Have you bought any?

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    There is no oud perfume in the market that smells like the oud oil we use here.
    You're better off using real oud oil.

    Beware , I was sent 3 samples of oud oil from a particular online vendor.
    Turns out none of them was oud. In fact one was vetiver.
    Thanks hedonist. I've paid a lot of attention to your posts on this. Given my love of tribute, a westernized attar, I'm ok with a lack of regional authenticity. I just hope that I get good bang for the buck and NOT have the experience you had. Sorry to hear that, it sucks getting ripped off. I hope it wasn't too expensive! Given what I've said, any recommendations on any particular oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post
    I'm no Aoudphile, but it seems to me that this ingredient, particularly the real stuff, is pretty exotic, and there's just no way around it, you're going to have to spend $$$ to get the real stuff.
    You are absolutely right. I think the real thing is worth it though. My nose will likely be unable to tell the difference between a 1000 dollar oud vs a 300 dollar oud, so I'm happy about that! But what little of the real thing I've smelled has me smitten. If I'm going to spend three to five hundred, I want it to be money into the richness and quality of the ingredients along with my personal enjoyment of the scent. Thank you for responding MC! Have you delved into oud oils etc...?
    Last edited by rouj; 19th May 2014 at 05:27 AM.
    Current favorites:
    1. Invasion Barbare by MDCI
    2. M by Puredistance
    3. Epic Man by Amouage
    4. Jeke by Slumberhouse
    5. Hard Leather by LM Parfums
    6. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
    7. Tribute Attar by Amouage

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I'll probably be laughed out of court for suggesting this, but Montale Cuir d'Arabie might be a reasonable stop-gap if that dense, biological, cheesy note is what you liked in Zafar. Not a substitute by any means, though. Actually I'm in the same boat as you. Having smelled Zafar, I realised that oud has dimensions that I really want to explore.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Cuir d'Arabie - but I didn't post for fear of being 'laughed out of court'. But anyway, it's a stunner in its own right, synthetic oud or not.
    Loving this thread and looking forward to the suggestions that my budget may allow testing...

    Quote Originally Posted by OdilonRedon View Post
    I'll probably be laughed out of court for suggesting this, but Montale Cuir d'Arabie might be a reasonable stop-gap if that dense, biological, cheesy note is what you liked in Zafar. Not a substitute by any means, though. Actually I'm in the same boat as you. Having smelled Zafar, I realised that oud has dimensions that I really want to explore.

  10. #10
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Oud is great. Most oud fragrances aren't. Regardless of how you perceive the oud in them, Songe d'un Bois d'Ete and Leather Oud are probably the best oud fragrances out there. I agree that Oud Cuir d'Arabie is also excellent.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I am little bored by most 'oud' fragrances on the market now.

    However, Bella Bellissima have 4 'Essence of Oud' fragrances that I really like.
    The best 'oud' from them imo is actually not in that range and is called 'Noble Incense' which has incorporated a fantastic oud note. £150 for 50ml though is outrageous.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Yes, I have ordered plenty from A.A. Any of them would be great, but considering the site is down from now until June 20th, I would suggest Oudimentary as a lower priced high quality option. Their Super Cambodi is quite good for the price.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Just go with the oils from Ensar, costly but worth it if you want true quality : I was and still kind of in the same boat as you but have touch base with "Aoud" from Roja Dove which I adore as the skankiness in the blend (not denoted in pyramid) did it for me but I'm still open to discover others but currently satisfied with Roja's Aoud.

    Btw: try sampling out their "Oud stars" collection from Xerjoff you might even like "Zafar" from this line , who knows??
    Last edited by magnus611; 19th May 2014 at 03:19 PM.
    "Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "

  14. #14

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    in answer to your question, no I haven't really dabbled with anything beyond the usual suspects in Western versions of Oud. One day I'll probably do the AA sample pack but for now there's still a few more to sniff and buy. Plus I'm slowly extracting myself from this hobby and as I resurface where all the 'normal' people are I'm realizing that things like skanky musks and ouds and such aren't exactly 'friendly' smells...
    NEW SPLIT - Tom Ford Lavender Palm 50ml in Atomizer - DISCONTINUED!. .

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

  15. #15

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    As many already stated - no fragrance has really captured the "oud" as a pure oil can. So that's the best option.

    The one fragrance with oud came the closest imho was "I Scent Supreme" edp (I own others already mentioned here) - sent to me by a generous basenoter - apparently, from his sources, the company that makes Xerjoff is behind this. I was not able to find an online link for this yet...

  16. #16
    Basenotes Junkie bigbloke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I've really enjoyed Rania J Oud Assam, one of the best Oud fragrances I've tried. I think you would like it and it is not too expensive.

    I would also get a sampler pack from Ensaroud and a bunch of samples from AgarAura; Cantik Candan, Kemegahan & ZBH would be good. Also Hindi Brut if you liked Zafar.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Quote Originally Posted by magnus611 View Post
    Just go with the oils from Ensar, costly but worth it if you want true quality : I was and still kind of in the same boat as you but have touch base with "Aoud" from Roja Dove which I adore as the skankiness in the blend (not denoted in pyramid) did it for me but I'm still open to discover others but currently satisfied with Roja's Aoud.

    Btw: try sampling out their "Oud stars" collection from Xerjoff you might even like "Zafar" from this line , who knows??
    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Ensar, been reading through their site. Outstanding. I've gone through the Oud Stars, I think Xerjoff has a nice fragrance, but as Ensar points out, the amount of oud in it is minuscule, so to me terribly over priced for what you are getting. Ensar and AA seem outstanding... but expensive. Debating the oud sample pack from Ensar. Expensive, but also perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwill View Post
    Yes, I have ordered plenty from A.A. Any of them would be great, but considering the site is down from now until June 20th, I would suggest Oudimentary as a lower priced high quality option. Their Super Cambodi is quite good for the price.
    Last night, I went on and committed to ordering samples of all his fragrances (not the 600 dollar sample one, that's crazy), only to find the "checkout" button wasn't working! I am disappointed to see I must wait till June.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbloke View Post
    I've really enjoyed Rania J Oud Assam, one of the best Oud fragrances I've tried. I think you would like it and it is not too expensive.

    I would also get a sampler pack from Ensaroud and a bunch of samples from AgarAura; Cantik Candan, Kemegahan & ZBH would be good. Also Hindi Brut if you liked Zafar.
    Great list, thank you. I will check them out.
    Current favorites:
    1. Invasion Barbare by MDCI
    2. M by Puredistance
    3. Epic Man by Amouage
    4. Jeke by Slumberhouse
    5. Hard Leather by LM Parfums
    6. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
    7. Tribute Attar by Amouage

  18. #18

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Unfortunately, there is no real alternative to actual oud oil. And yes, they are horrifyingly expensive. But if you try the real thing and fall under its charm, you may find yourself later laughing at the idea that $150 is "expensive"

    From the current offerings by the "big two" I'd suggest either Oud Yusuf by EnsarOud if you want a safer, lighter, airier and more floral type of a sweet Cambodi-type oud or his Encens d'Angkor if you think that you may want a bolder, darker, more robust aroma (it still falls within the same general Cambodi-type). Yusuf is far less polarizing and should be 100% safe to wear in the office, but perhaps is too light for a seasoned oud aficionado while Encens d'Angkor is edgier, punchier and with far more character, but may be more challenging to wear around the uninitiated, I also find it more suitable for cooler weather. But to be honest, when the weather is really warm, anything save for the freshest, airiest Borneo-type ouds would be too much. And even they can be too much, I usually switch to vetiver oil or some or other "eau" when the summer really gets going.

    From AgarAura's current line-up I'd recommend sampling his most excellent ZBH. It's a Hindi oud, and Hindi's almost never are a good first oud to try, but since you managed to like some aspects of an aged Lao you may be able to appreciate ZBH. It's the gentlest and most laid back Hindi I've ever tried, with delicious combination of very airy top notes and a well-rounded sweet base. No barnyard whatsoever, no rotting hay.

    Pure oils can be a challenge for many, the good ones are so complex it takes the wearer many months to get acquainted to them fully. And even then, their beauty can be sometimes too austere and analytical as opposed to sheer appeal of a commercially blended perfume. I'd probably look at a Plan B too - sample some good blended frags with real oud in them. AgarAura's Cuir et Buis smells like a French perfume but is mostly sweet Thai oud. Ensar's perfume sampler is only $60 and is worth considering too.

    As for the size of the samples - don't let that discourage you. The tiny amounts of oud oils and perfume blends with oud will go a very long way, certainly enough for many full wearings.

    The other thing you can experiment with is try augmenting your perfumes with oud by layering them. If you really like Tribute, try wearing it with a soft oud oil. I wore TF Neroli Portofino with ZBH the other day and it was great

    Good luck!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I am on this journey as well and started it the same way you did, with tribute attar. I am going to do the samples from AA!

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    improving olfactory environments one molecule at a time....

  20. #20

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Quote Originally Posted by Igor01 View Post

    Good luck!
    Igor, your posts on ouds have been excellent, been reading through so many of them, thank you.

    As an update, I ordered the perfume sampler from Ensar three days ago and it just arrived today! I put Jungle Kinam on several hours ago on one hand, and am... appreciative of it's fragrance, but not excited. It reminds me so much of my beloved Norne! That is a huge thumbs up, but also redundant in my collection. The warmth of this fragrance surprised me. I'm going back and forth between typing and sniffing, it's now very green and earthy, almost a clean refreshing moss. Nice, and I'd also say safe. I wanted more though. So I decided to give a swipe on my other hand of "Pink Papua".

    Wow, good stuff. I'm not going to try to explain it, don't know what's going on. Much more skank, more of what I wanted. looking forward to the dry down on this. It's definitely interesting, not quite what I'm seeking, but enjoying it so far. I wish it had more going on, but then again, I've only been wearing it for an hour or so. Gotta give these time to see what they do.

    I decided to go with the perfume sampler, will do the same with the one perfume AA has as well, along with their straight oils. The gentleman from Ensar actually called me back from Jordan to answer some questions I had about his sampler. Such a nice gentleman, didn't realize he was over there right now. Our numbers shared the same area code, I was hoping he was local and I could go see him.

    Will continue to post as I sample. Thanks again to those that have given me some guidance. To those who are also seeking, I'm in the NYC area if you want to give your hand a swipe of some of these samples! They are worth checking out!
    Current favorites:
    1. Invasion Barbare by MDCI
    2. M by Puredistance
    3. Epic Man by Amouage
    4. Jeke by Slumberhouse
    5. Hard Leather by LM Parfums
    6. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
    7. Tribute Attar by Amouage

  21. #21

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Overall, the perfumes that I received from Ensar were not my cup of tea, I think their Ouds are probably the way to go. However I am not quite yet ready to spend 300+ on samples. So instead yesterday I ordered a sample of everything off of Agar Aura's site (except the Candan Kalimantan for 565). He has two new items, Oud M1 and an attar called Marrakech. I have been waiting and waiting for his site to be back up, and am thrilled that I'll be getting my hands on these.
    Current favorites:
    1. Invasion Barbare by MDCI
    2. M by Puredistance
    3. Epic Man by Amouage
    4. Jeke by Slumberhouse
    5. Hard Leather by LM Parfums
    6. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
    7. Tribute Attar by Amouage

  22. #22
    Basenotes Junkie bigbloke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    You won't be disappointed

    Your wallet may...

  23. #23
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    I just ordered Hindi Brut, Oud M1 and the Marrakech attar from Agar Aura last night!

    I tried Sweet Siam (sample) and really liked it. I guess the write-up of Oud M1 convinced me to give that a try instead.

    Cuir et Bois is my SOTD and I really like it.

    I too am very early in my Oud journey, so it's hard for me to compare things or write in much detail. I appreciate all the info our more experienced friends are able to provide here on Basenotes.

    -Delly

  24. #24
    Basenotes Junkie bigbloke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...


  25. #25
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Thanks for the link, bigbloke! Just joined!

  26. #26

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    Igor was terrific in helping explain to me about the realm of oud. It was fascinating and sorely disappointing as well. Synthetic oud abounds in perfume. Nobody save for special niche makers are using the real thing (and consequently they are super expensive). You can try buying "affordable oud" from attar sellers, but it's a complete crap shoot... where you either get real but very low quality oud, or synthetic oud.

    I resigned myself to the fact that based on my spending limits for fragrances, I have to stick with synthetic for now. Some of it actually smells nice. I know it's not "real oud" but it's appealing enough for the time being. However, when I'm sufficiently cash flush in the future, I'll buy Ensar Oud's sampler set, most definitely. Until then... I wait and hope the samplers will still be offered when I'm ready!

  27. #27

    Default Re: Help! Does my ideal oud exist? My journey so far...

    My current favorite is Illuminum Rose Oud which is becoming impossible to get in the States. Bendel's is closing their Illuminum Lounge but I was able to get a couple of bottles from them a couple of weeks ago. Since you live in NYC you might go by there and sample it.
    Betsy
    Items in my wardrobe not in the fragrance directory:
    Exhilarators (Elizabeth Arden Bath and Body Spa from 1980's - no relation to Sun Flowers )
    Chanel No. 5 Voile

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