Perfume Directory

Midnight Oud (2009)
by Juliette Has a Gun


Midnight Oud information

Year of Launch2009
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 92 votes)

People and companies

HouseJuliette Has a Gun

About Midnight Oud

Midnight Oud is a feminine perfume by Juliette Has a Gun. The scent was launched in 2009

Midnight Oud fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Midnight Oud

The opening is a lot of oud with Chanel N•5 as a base. Very synthetic oud and light. Average, even if it’s more original than their (An)other Oud. Very representative of this house’s superficiality. I think they are really good at “niche” marketing. And that’s it.
10th May, 2020
Romano Ricci's Juliette Has a Gun line was supposed to stop after five fragrances, and Midnight Oud (2009) was the first sign of that not being the case. Francis Furkdjian was not tapped for this like he was with Lady Vengeance (2009), but the same rose and cetalox (ambroxide) is featured, just swaddled in some synthetic oud and other oriental notes which evoke a Middle Eastern perfume. The gold bottle and ornate decoration really hit home what market this was meant for, but we got it stateside here in the US as well, so you can travel to any Sephora or other department store and perfume boutique that carries the brand to sample it. As someone who has smelled Areej le Dore and Bortnikoff perfumes plus handmade oud attars from my local niche shop, I have sort of developed a distinction between aoud and the "oud" typically used in Western perfume, but if you're not looking to spend hundreds on a rose/oud combo, then I can heartily say you won't go wrong with this. Midnight Oud sort of comes across like a Montale Black Aoud (2006) lite, which isn't an insult by any measure because that shit is insanely potent and medicinal almost to the point of being confrontational, while Midnight Oud seeks to domesticate the same sort of vibe with some smoothing and judicious use of animalic musks. I know it might be hard to believe that any modern perfume not made by an artisanal perfumer contains any animalic musks anymore, and the risk is mostly in the buying public reacting strongly with claims of animal cruelty or gag reflexes since the modern non-perfumista nose is used to clean laundry musks like galaxolide, but animalics are here in tiny amounts.

The opening is a bold rose, bergamot, and birch tar combo, which quickly leads Midnight Oud into a heart where geranium and saffron both extend the rose while mulling it down. There is also a bit of amber in the heart stage as well and the synthetic oud accord is already present by the opening rose note, tuning in more clearly as the scent dries down. The base has amber, patchouli, the oud, guaiac wood, and the cetalox, although I suspect everything but the amber and patchouli is done with synthetics like norlimbanol. The animalics creep into the dry down as a small puff of castoreum, providing a warm leathery backdrop to the rest of the composition that does its magic behind the scenes unlike something more obviously animalic like an 80's powerhouse. The rose remains very lucid throughout the wear, and unlike Black Aoud, the oud note here doesn't keep beating you over the head, making Midnight Oud somewhere between the rose/patchouli/ambrox combo of Lady Vengeance and the rose/synthetic oud combo of Black Aoud, like Midnight is a further development of the former to be more like the latter. Wear time is definitely past 10 hours but sillage isn't monstrous with careful sprays, meaning you can get away with office use if you really feel the need to wear something like this to work, but I'd also limit this to fall through spring because you'll want a fresher rose for hot weather if you're going to be outdoors. Midnight Oud is about as unisex as one can expect from anything featuring a prominent rose/oud, even though Juliette Has a Gun markets this as a female fragrance. In short, this is an early forerunner of the Western oud market done exceptionally well with good versatility, and is really balanced for lovers of rose, but is just is not very exciting either.

Midnight Oud has the distinction of being one of the early Western oud perfumes to really make a dent on the market after Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002) introduced the accord to the buying public (even if Balenciaga tried the waters first back in 1990 with the much-skankier and therefore doomed Balenciaga pour Homme), so it's likely to have been many Westerner's first taste of a rose and oud fragrance since Montale was not distributed much outside the Middle East at the time. The stuff must have done well enough for itself because you can still buy it, unlike a lot of other Western ouds that were swept under the rug in short order after a number of years, but Midnight Oud is really just a tease to those who know better. I like this a lot and I'd never have a problem wearing or smelling it on someone else, but with so many other options in this bloated category both higher and lower in price, you'd really just have to a be lover of the house to sink your teeth into it. For me there is a lot of better stuff if I want rose and oud whether natural or synthetic, albeit oud perfumes tend to be that one rare exception in the market where paying more does actually get you more, so at $145 Midnight Oud is a bit of a stretch since another $60 or so nets you something exponentially better. Still, I won't begrudge people who have fallen in love with this but at the end of the day, an overly-friendly and approachable oud sort of defeats the purpose of using a wood type known for it's pungent partially-decayed smell. There's nothing really friendly about that, and people who wear ouds are usually looking to make a statement or enjoy the exotica taking place on skin, neither of which Midnight Oud delivers despite how well-made it is. Neutral
02nd January, 2020
Black Aoud light. Done too many times before. Not bad, just not original.
25th July, 2018
The principle notes are oud - saffron - rose : but none of them are really 'real'. A dearth of natural oils makes Midnight Oud feel pretty synthetic; but thats not to say that synthetic is bad - on the contrary, the syrupy-plasticky background sets the fake oud off to good effect.

Its a clean type of oud with no smoky or animal notes but instead you get a smidge of rubber at the start, possibly from the dry bitter saffron substitute. The 'saffron' pairs up with the oud for most of its course, and there's a shy rose accord which mingles in the background with a red cocktail of fruity molecules; this is where the plasticky syrup texture comes in. There's a complement of woody notes and powder which lend a slight hint of naturality to proceedings, but having said that, powder isn't a natural aroma - its just simply one that we mostly all recognise, and so in fact the only natural smell in Midnight Oud is a minor undertone of wood.

Even though 'real' smells are in the minority the profile still doesn't take off into the realms of science fiction, but, by Western standards the red brown, hard bitter woody-oily note combined with the disinfectant twang of 'oud' is pretty out there none the less.

Considering the financial constraints - $15,000 a kilo for oud oil, $1,500 for saffron - (top prices on Alibaba), it should be no surprise that Midnight Oud (like all commercial 'oud's) is a synthetic reconstruction.

But, whether this perfume smells like 'real' oud and saffron or not is really besides the point. Midnight Oud - like Joy, No.5, J'Adore and all other modern perfumes employ interpretations of natural smells (or other perfumes) and not reproductions of them; ie they don't claim to be - or aim to be - copies of flowers, wood, fruit etc, and we shouldn't regard oud as any different to jasmin or rose in this respect. One hardly ever smells pure jasmin or real rose in a (modern conventional) perfume, they are always augmented by isolates and synthetics - and for a host of good reasons, not only price. Therefore, even the best made of modern perfumes must - by their very nature - be, and smell, artificial.

Because Midnight Oud is Romano Ricci's interpretation of the old Arabian construct of oud - saffron - rose, it is doubly artificial. It uses synthetic materials to achieve an interpretation of an exogenous style; its not a genuine Arabian perfume, but an 'Arabian style' perfume made in Europe - big difference.

Modern perfume does not, and indeed should not smell nature identical (be a straight up representation of flowers etc). It is, and should smell like, an interpretation; an artistic (or crafty) re-presentation of 'flowers', filtered through an individual's personal vision.

And what of this interpretation of oud using an imitation of Oud? The question, to my mind, is not "does it smell like oud?" but does it smell any good?

Well, no it doesn't really - and yes it really does.

11th January, 2017 (last edited: 12th January, 2017)
Lovely bottle, but if you're not into saffron, rose and oud stay away. The oud isn't over the top and compared to Another Oud by Julienne Has A Gun, it's a lot more palatable here. It's just ok, not bottle worthy really unless you get a deal on it. I would suggest getting your hands on a sample first.

Also this is listed as feminine, but a lot of guys have this. Safe in the day- not so much for the office.
22nd October, 2016
On me it opens very strongly with the rose, which fades down directly from the skin after only about five minutes but remains in the sillage. The strength and slight initial "rottenness" of the rose note reminds me a little of Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet.

After about 30 minutes it settles into something much quieter and more harmonious, oud and restrained patchouli. A little sweet with something I can't quite identify. It continues in the same way, getting woody as it finishes.

Good sillage, long-lasting (about five hours on my skin), and pleasant enough but I'm left feeling a little "so what?"
30th April, 2016

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