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  1. #1

    Default Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    This is a thread for fragrances that can be confirmed, which use either real or synthetic oud.

    Note: I'm not asking for your opinion of which you think it is, I'm asking for a confirmation of a fragrance that you can prove is using either real or synthetic oud. If you can prove or disprove the use of the material, please provide reference source material.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Mona di Orio Oud , and the 4 Kurkdjian Oud's. Other than that, I don't know.

    Its "real" in some way.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by steve0580 View Post
    ...I'm asking for a confirmation of a fragrance that you can prove is using either real or synthetic oud. If you can prove or disprove the use of the material, please provide reference source material.
    And after that, do we have to report to the commissioner? LOL. Seriously, I think you should ask this of the companies that sell the scents!

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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    I'm skeptical that the Kurkdjian Ouds use real oud; if they do it must be in very minute quantities. I understand that the Mona di Orio does, as does Idolo 33, but again in both of these it's in a small quantity.

    Phoenicia RealOud by all reports uses real oud, though I haven't smelled it.

    The Xerjoff Oud Stars use real oud; it's quite evident in each composition.

    On my trip to London and Paris, on two different occasions I had a chance to smell and wear real oud oils (including one offered by Gerald Ghislain from Histoires des Parfums, which was neat!). It was heady and fascinating, of course, but also instructive. I've got my "nose" on oud now (especially having sampled several varieties, including some of the pungent fermented sort). Now that I have, I find most of these current "oud" scents amusing in how much they do not smell of oud.

    Interestingly, one of the three oud oils I sampled in London had a profile in the beginning which reminded me immediately of M7. I had new respect for the YSL composition, which I very much doubt contains real oud, but instead did what I now regard as an admirable job reproducing the effect of at least one sort of oud by means of other notes. Fascinating.

    Also, in my samplings, the rich, heady phase was in the first hour or so of wearing -- that's when these oils really do smell not quite like anything else. Then they shift eventually to a very clear, natural, "green" wood note. At that point it smells a bit like wearing some slice of a forest. Quite beautiful.

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    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    I appreciate the intent of the thread, but you will get anywhere between 0 and 1 responses with "proof". There will be dozens with speculation, and some "statements", but how will someone provide proof?

    Personally, I couldn't care less if it's real or synthetic oud - or any other ingredient. And besides, if you can't tell by smelling it, then what difference does it make? Will documented evidence make it smell better or worse? I am far more interested in the composition as a whole than in isolating a single note and determining how natural it is.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    I appreciate the intent of the thread, but you will get anywhere between 0 and 1 responses with "proof". There will be dozens with speculation, and some "statements", but how will someone provide proof?

    Personally, I couldn't care less if it's real or synthetic oud - or any other ingredient. And besides, if you can't tell by smelling it, then what difference does it make? Will documented evidence make it smell better or worse? I am far more interested in the composition as a whole than in isolating a single note and determining how natural it is.
    Excellent points, all. If you want to know you're smelling real oud, find yourself some real oud (like a sample from Ensar or Agar Aura). Truth is, very little of what's presented as having "oud" actually has real oud. But that shouldn't have anything to do with whether you enjoy a fragrance or not (though it may reasonably make you suspicious of some of their high prices).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    I appreciate the intent of the thread, but you will get anywhere between 0 and 1 responses with "proof". There will be dozens with speculation, and some "statements", but how will someone provide proof?

    Personally, I couldn't care less if it's real or synthetic oud - or any other ingredient. And besides, if you can't tell by smelling it, then what difference does it make? Will documented evidence make it smell better or worse? I am far more interested in the composition as a whole than in isolating a single note and determining how natural it is.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post

    Personally, I couldn't care less if it's real or synthetic oud - or any other ingredient. And besides, if you can't tell by smelling it, then what difference does it make?
    Feel the same way.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    AgarAura mukhallats/attars and Ensar Oud parfums both contain single source artisan Oud oils. The rest from TF to Kurkdjian, mainstream designer and niche perfumery, use Givaudan Orpur, Black agar or Firmenich Oud synthetic blend, confirmed by the perfume industry, common sense and availability, although some do a better job than others of creating the impression of using pure Oud oils, yet I have no interest in them currently, if I'm going to pay a premium for Oud I'm going to get Oud.
    Last edited by PEARL; 22nd June 2014 at 01:51 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    And after that, do we have to report to the commissioner? LOL. Seriously, I think you should ask this of the companies that sell the scents!
    Or I could post it in a thread, where other people could confirm it. LOL, Seriously, it appears that you have nothing to contribute.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    It's to satisfy my own curiosity. I know I own fragrances that contain synthetic oud and others, I'm not so sure. Considering the price of some of the fragrances on the market, I'd hope they'd use the real stuff.

    To me, a lab composed oud cheapens the quality of a true oud fragrance, so in some ways, it does make a difference. For all of the talk of "quality ingredients" in a niche brand, IMO, they should be using the real stuff.

    In regard to Ensar and Agar Oud, I've been looking at their websites and will order from one of them, although I'm not certain how soon. When I do, it will be a sampler set and from there, I will buy a container of what I like.

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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    The Xerjoff oud line contains real oud and are incredible fragrances. They are priced accordingly. Mona di Orio is also real.

    If the bottle did not cost several hundred dollars then there is very little chance its real. Zero designer frags and 99% of niche are not real oud.

    Seems that it would be a big waste to mix and dilute real oud oil unless the frag is very well done.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Black Agar is actually quite pleasing, I have smelled it in a number of scents, including Montale Dark Aoud. As far as real oud goes, definitely in Phonecia's Real Oud and Real Oud Feral.

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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by steve0580 View Post
    If you can prove or disprove the use of the material, please provide reference source material.
    The only person who can prove a scent uses a natural versus synthetic ingredient is either the original perfumer or the person who sourced the ingredient in question.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    When a frag uses real oud they make sure to announce it in the description. No one is going to hide that fact.

    http://www.phoeniciaperfumes.com/products/realoud-5-ml

    You can look up the Xerjoffs and MdO on Luckyscent.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by rynegne View Post
    Black Agar is actually quite pleasing, I have smelled it in a number of scents, including Montale Dark Aoud.
    I have some Black Agar which I use when dabbling with making my own fragrances. I really enjoy the stuff. I've even worn it by itself (diluted to EdT strength, of course) in order to really get the feel for it. It is indeed quite pleasing!

    I think people here sometimes worry too much about names, words and classifications and don't pay enough attention to how something smells. I personally don't care if a perfume uses ingredients that are natural or synthetic. I only care about how it smells to me, and how it wears on my skin. Take Interlude Man, for example. I'm sure there are natural ingredients in it, and I'm sure there are synthetics as well. Is the oud natural or synthetic? I have no idea. I just know Interlude Man smells absolutely wondrous to my nose. It wears fantastically and I get compliments when I wear it, which is a very nice bonus.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    And after that, do we have to report to the commissioner? LOL. Seriously, I think you should ask this of the companies that sell the scents!
    That's exactly right. I asked the Kurkdjian account exec at the last master class at neimans. He told me there is real oud essence in all of them.

    How much and what they consider "real" is unknown.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    I could care less too. Synthetics make most fragrances better, in moderation. If the ingredients are quality, blended well and generally the fragrance smells good...that's all that matters to me. Actually, I think natural oud would be off-putting to most of the general population...among basenoters though...I cant' say the same. We're an odd bunch :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    I have some Black Agar which I use when dabbling with making my own fragrances. I really enjoy the stuff. I've even worn it by itself (diluted to EdT strength, of course) in order to really get the feel for it. It is indeed quite pleasing!

    I think people here sometimes worry too much about names, words and classifications and don't pay enough attention to how something smells. I personally don't care if a perfume uses ingredients that are natural or synthetic. I only care about how it smells to me, and how it wears on my skin. Take Interlude Man, for example. I'm sure there are natural ingredients in it, and I'm sure there are synthetics as well. Is the oud natural or synthetic? I have no idea. I just know Interlude Man smells absolutely wondrous to my nose. It wears fantastically and I get compliments when I wear it, which is a very nice bonus.

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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by aphexacid View Post
    That's exactly right. I asked the Kurkdjian account exec at the last master class at neimans. He told me there is real oud essence in all of them.

    How much and what they consider "real" is unknown.
    Perhaps there is a difference between oud and oud essence.
    Perhaps their fragrances use both.

    To me, it doesn't matter so long as the scent smells great.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    While on one hand I do not care if the oud is real or not, there is another side. Lets take MFK Oud, which goes for $300. This is contrasted with most of his other line, which sells for between $175 and 185. The implication is that the Oud is more due to the ingredients being more (Oud). If this is not the case, due to a lack of real Oud, then there is an implied dishonesty here (again, I am not saying this is so, as I don't know if it has Oud or not). Now, I don't begrudge a perfumer from making a good profit, but if charging more than the others only to create the impression of real oud, when there might not be any? That I have an issue with.

    This is not only applicable to MFK- I picked on him here as I love the Oud, Amyris, CPLS and Lumiere Noir.

    So, I guess I am on the fence about whether or not I care if the Oud is real, due to this price diferential.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    The only person who can prove a scent uses a natural versus synthetic ingredient is either the original perfumer or the person who sourced the ingredient in question.
    On the contrary. Myself and a few others on here can prove if it is indeed real and pure, or synthetic, based on weather it gives us a rash or not. So everyone send us samples to test for you. ;-)

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    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by steve0580 View Post
    To me, a lab composed oud cheapens the quality of a true oud fragrance, so in some ways, it does make a difference. For all of the talk of "quality ingredients" in a niche brand, IMO, they should be using the real stuff.
    Could you please clarify - I am not sure I understand what you mean. You imply in your original post that natural oud is better than synthetic. Then you ask that people provide whatever evidence they have (which wouldn't really be necessary if it is indeed vastly better).

    But here you say that lab oud cheapens the quality of true oud. How? If true oud is superior, then it can certainly stand up against the synthetic competition - the differences would be obvious. If it isn't that superior, then by definition, it is on the same level as the synthetic oud. And if that is the case how can something of equal quality cheapen something else?

    Regardless of the "quality" differences, how can one fragrance cheapen the quality of another?



    It seems like some people on Basenotes people need to find out whether the oud is "real" in a fragrance before they can say they like it. And if they liked it, and found out it wasn't real, that would diminish their appreciation for the scent somehow. I don't understand that at all.

    Price is a factor of free market supply and demand. Nothing is implied about the source of the oud based on the price - there are extremely expensive fragrances on the market that have no oud whatsoever - and don't list oud as a note/ingredient. The price only asks "do you like it this much?"
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    I think Rania J uses real oud in Oud Assam.

    Uses naturals:
    http://www.raniaj.com/parfums.html

    Oud from India and South East Asia:
    http://www.raniaj.com/oud-assam/oud-assam-rania-j.html

    It certainly smells real. I love it regardless of real or not.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    It really is fascinating and instructive (not to mention, a pleasure) to smell real oud oils. Having done so, you'll be able to tell pretty easily if a fragrance contains actual oud in any meaningful sense, simply because real oud oil smells entirely different than the synthetics mentioned here. If nothing else, it's great training for your nose and a way to appreciate this hobby even more.

    That said, you'll be left in the position of needing to evaluate compositions on their own terms, as it doesn't really matter what ingredients go into creating the whole, but whether you enjoy the whole. Since they're two different things, one could easily enjoy real Borneo oud, for instance, and also a Montale release, because one wouldn't expect the latter to have much to do with the former.

    I've seen a few folks make the distinction between "oud" as in the actual oil or wood on the one hand, and "oud" as a category of Arabian-inspired fragrance composition on the other. That's handy. Almost all commercial fragrances with the word "oud" are in the latter category, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying them.

    One interesting thing to me: given the rarity and prohibitive cost of real oud (not to mention its variable fragrance profile), you'd think more perfumers would try recreating the experience using other elements, as oud oil is a complex, evolving experience with various facets as it wears. Instead, most of these "oud" compositions are more about putting an "oud" synthetic in a Middle East-inspired context ("oud" plus rose, "oud" plus patchouli, etc.), mimicking traditional attars and such which may have done the same but with real oud doing a lot of heavy lifting. Thing is, since the synthetic is very different, you end up with something else entirely.

    Notably, here and there a perfumer has evidently instead gone for recreating the stages and notes of real oud as the sole point of a composition (without much relying on synthetic "oud"). I'm thinking of Le Labo Oud 27, which is sort of an abstraction of the effect of real oud, or more admirably, the first phases of M7, which I didn't appreciate until recently does a surprisingly good job of approximating one type of real oud oil I'd sampled. Obviously not the same, but it creates an accord that certainly evokes the real deal. Real oud oil is complex enough on its own that the right way to "synthesize" it is likely to devote the whole fragrance composition to it. Still won't be the same, but at least it's a closer approximation.
    Last edited by onethinline; 22nd June 2014 at 04:53 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbloke View Post
    I think Rania J uses real oud in Oud Assam.

    Uses naturals:
    http://www.raniaj.com/parfums.html

    Oud from India and South East Asia:
    http://www.raniaj.com/oud-assam/oud-assam-rania-j.html

    It certainly smells real. I love it regardless of real or not.

    +1. Though I doubt my ability to *prove* this one certainly smells authentic, real woody/oily/thick, and that's what's important.

    I have also heard MFK's oud uses real oud which is believable considering the price and quality. I like that one a lot, but there's no way to tell how much is being used even if it is "real oud from Laos" as they claim.
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by steve0580 View Post
    To me, a lab composed oud cheapens the quality of a true oud fragrance, so in some ways, it does make a difference. For all of the talk of "quality ingredients" in a niche brand, IMO, they should be using the real stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    Could you please clarify - I am not sure I understand what you mean. You imply in your original post that natural oud is better than synthetic.
    But here you say that lab oud cheapens the quality of true oud. How?
    I can't speak for S0580 and I guess I auto-edited his statement and read beyond the words, but I took it to mean that the use of synthetic oud cheapens the quality of a fragrance where the hyperbole, conjecture, inference, marketing, etc. suggest the use of real oud, when in fact the fragrance does not contain real oud. Also, IMHO I believe that many consumers seeking out oud in modern perfumery are seeking those that make the suggestion of using real oud hence the marketing campaign, price and jargon, in affect they are being duped, especially when the real alternative exist in the market via places like AgarAura and Ensar Oud.

    With regard to MFK, Xerjoff(enjoyed Mamluk by the way), and MdO, I question the consistency. Of the 30 or so real oud oils I've smelled some were similar but none the same, and when the individual oil with its individual scent profile was exhausted, it was unable to be reproduced. Whatever these companies are using as their "oud" note, real vs synthetic, it is prominent, evident, persistent and even more importantly consistent in the compositions. Although the aforementioned houses are niche, they do sell worldwide a lot of bottles and I don't hear about any batch variability. So what that means for me is that IF, and I mean IF, any real oud is used by those houses that it is in such minute, insignificant amounts that it has no appreciable effect on the scent profile of the final product, with the remainder(what gives the scent its flavor and provides the "oud" note) being synthetic oud(allowing consistency), but it would however allow those houses to say that they use real oud. If one looks at some of the larger ME houses that have been doing oud oils and blends for years such as ASAQ and research some of their top tier products such as pure oud oils like Thaqeel and Kalakassi, and blends that contain real oud oil like King Fahed, Prince Diamini and Prince Bandhar, those with experience with them will tell you that they have changed, have batch variations based on the inherent batch to batch variation of distilled agarwood, i.e. oud oil.
    And, with those aforementioned houses, I'll not pay a noticeable premium for an unnoticeable ingredient(which I don't think is there at all), especially when the real alternative exist.
    Last edited by PEARL; 22nd June 2014 at 06:05 PM.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by RichNTacoma View Post
    While on one hand I do not care if the oud is real or not, there is another side. Lets take MFK Oud, which goes for $300. This is contrasted with most of his other line, which sells for between $175 and 185. The implication is that the Oud is more due to the ingredients being more (Oud). If this is not the case, due to a lack of real Oud, then there is an implied dishonesty here (again, I am not saying this is so, as I don't know if it has Oud or not). Now, I don't begrudge a perfumer from making a good profit, but if charging more than the others only to create the impression of real oud, when there might not be any? That I have an issue with.
    Quote Originally Posted by PEARL View Post
    I can't speak for S0580 and I guess I auto-edited his statement and read beyond the words, but I took it to mean that the use of synthetic oud cheapens the quality of a fragrance where the hyperbole, conjecture, inference, marketing, etc. suggest the use of real oud, when in fact the fragrance does not contain real oud. Also, IMHO I believe that many consumers seeking out oud in modern perfumery are seeking those that make the suggestion of using real oud hence the marketing campaign, price and jargon, in affect they are being duped, especially when the real alternative exist in the market via places like AgarAura and Ensar Oud.
    These comments sum it up for me. If a company is going to market and sell an oud product, there should, at the very least, be an expectation that the true natural form of the ingredient exists in some quantity.

    In a designer fragrance, I expect a synthetic substitute. With the higher price niche products (Amouage, Montale and MFK), I expect that the natural form of the ingredient should be used in some quantity, be in .1 or .01 or .001 of the composition.

    As aphexacid said" I asked the Kurkdjian account exec at the last master class at neimans. He told me there is real oud essence in all of them. How much and what they consider "real" is unknown."

    To me, that's a reasonable answer from a company and some source confirmation to me that yes, the natural product is there.

    The marketing description would have you believe that it contains much more than it does (in my opinion). Here a paragraph from the MFK Oud description:

    "This is an oud even the most ouded-out could curl up with. Sweetly leathery and animalic, with the touch of honey real oud gives off – and there is real Laotian oud in the blend. With its citrus and pepper facets, elemi resin adds sparkle to the top notes. Saffron brings out the leather effects of oud, set into the tenderest woods: the leathery, almost jam-sweet Atlas cedar, and a lavish, un-musty patchouli."

    Since the MFK rep says that oud in the product and their marketing says that there is as well, I don't consider MFK to be a dishonest perfume house, (expensive, yes, dishonest, no.) although as Rich pointed out, the implication of the additional product expense is due to the oud ingredient in the formula.

    In regard to my comment of " a lab composed oud cheapens the quality of a true oud fragrance, so in some ways, it does make a difference." Pearl summed it up in words better than I can: "the use of synthetic oud cheapens the quality of a fragrance where the hyperbole, conjecture, inference, marketing, etc suggest the use of real oud, when in fact the fragrance does not contain real oud".

    My thoughts with oud in a fragrance kind of go along the lines of "Don't sell me orange juice at a premium price, when it's really just an orange drink that contains no real oranges". That may be a bad analogy but at least you can see my thought process.

    As far as posting on a board to ask the question about real or synthetic oud, it's a valid post. You never know who reads these board. I'm sure quite a few people associated with different perfume houses come here and I'd be willing to bet that at least one person from Montale or Amouage has read this thread but chose not to comment.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone for the responses.
    Last edited by steve0580; 22nd June 2014 at 11:03 PM. Reason: spelling error

  28. #28

    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    At the price points we see Amouage and especially Montale, I would have my doubts that there is anything more than a speck of oud in them. When Amouage can be sold for 70 USD on certain sites, it does highlight the price markups in all fragrances. The Amouage Attars are a different case and reflect that in their prices.

    I wouldn't expect actual oud from most companies - designer or "niche." There are exceptions and the more "boutique" ones - Ensar, Agar Aura and high-end ASAQ do contain oud but the price very much reflects that. Almost no fragrance is as natural as the ad copies make it sound. The Creed family is not off picking roses in France, the non-existent Montale is not off in a Cambodian jungle that is for some reason in Nepal looking for oud, etc. Even MFK is probably not using that much oud/saffron/etc in his designs - as lovely as they smell.

    Also, chemical compounds do heighten the smell, provide regularity, and prolong the scent even when diluted with alcohol. A good example of that would be the prevalence of truffle oil (which also does not contain actual truffles no matter how much the marketing implies) in restaurants has resulted in actual truffles tasting "blander" for people because they expect that powerful truffle note in food.

  29. #29
    Dependent heperd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Companies claim all kinds of notes though and notes do not equal ingredients.

    No one is going to put in even 0.01% real oud and not tell you about it.
    Perfumer companies are trying to make money so they will SPECIFICALLY TELL YOU THAT THE FRAGRANCE CONTAINS REAL OUD. It would be the main selling point. The MFK rep is a salesperson and SAs will lie to you face for a sale. None of the MFK marketing says that there is real oud in the frags because there is none.
    If Amouage or Montale had real oud then everyone would know. They would also cost at least twice as much.

    The frags that contain real oud probably only "technically" contain a drop per gigantic batch. All the commercial frags already listed itt are likely the only ones with real oud.

    When you get some real oud you will realize what a same it would be to mix it with other ingredients. A drop of real oud already smells like 100 different things.
    Want to trade - Chanel Platinum Egoiste for Dior Eau Sauvage...
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/394...82#post3308582

  30. #30
    Basenotes Institution L'Homme Blanc Individuel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confirmed: Real or Synthetic Oud

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    Companies claim all kinds of notes though and notes do not equal ingredients.

    No one is going to put in even 0.01% real oud and not tell you about it.
    Perfumer companies are trying to make money so they will SPECIFICALLY TELL YOU THAT THE FRAGRANCE CONTAINS REAL OUD. It would be the main selling point.
    The problem with that is, though they may use real oud, they may also use synthetic oud as well - meaning, both, in the same scent. And it could be strictly for marketing, adding a drop of real oud along with a lot of the synthetic but still claiming it contains the real thing... because, technically, it does contain the real thing,

    It's like when you buy fruit juice. Even some that say they're not just natural but ALL natural aren't.
    Current Favorites (in no particular order)
    Castile
    Royal Oud
    Tabac Rouge
    Petit Matin
    Curve
    1725 Casanova
    Tom Ford Extreme
    Green Irish Tweed
    Interlude Man
    Prada L'Homme
    Les Exclusifs Eau de Cologne
    Terre d'Hermes Parfum
    Aqua Universalis
    Pomelo Paradis
    Hanae Mori H.M. EDT
    Currently wearing: Green Irish Tweed by Creed




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