Perfume Directory

Al Oudh (2009)
by L'Artisan Parfumeur


Al Oudh information

Year of Launch2009
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 134 votes)

People and companies

HouseL'Artisan Parfumeur
PerfumerBertrand Duchaufour
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group
Parent Company at launchFox Paine & Company > Cradle Holdings

About Al Oudh

Al Oudh is a feminine perfume by L'Artisan Parfumeur. The scent was launched in 2009 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour

Al Oudh fragrance notes

Reviews of Al Oudh

Al Oudh belongs to a class of outrageous incense Orientals, that I mostly associate with Italian fragrance houses, especially a couple of fancy, limited-edition perfumes, from Bois 1920. Those perfumes have a lot of Uber spicy patchouli under the hood, and I think that is what is also powering this complex monster. L’Artisan has not launched anything worth discussing in a long time, and revisiting some of their old classics lately, has reminded me what an amazing house it used to be, with perfumes that smelled like nobody else’s. I cannot really say, that I have found any signature accords, or obvious thematic elements, that tie the house’s perfumes together, I don’t smell any of them and think, this must be L’Artisan, like I do with perfumes from Guerlain, or Chanel, or Etat Libre d’Orange, however, I used to know that, whatever it was, it would be fresh, stimulating, and likely take a while, for me to understand everything I was smelling. Al Oudh is still confusing to me, but I think that might be one reason I love it so much.

If I had to choose a single word to describe Al Oudh, it would be ... raspy. It smells like hot sand, dried peppercorns, desiccated fruits, a shot of Scotch whiskey, the kind of incense that gets in the back of your throat and makes you cough a little, Smelling it, is like running your fingers over the rough surface of my favorite set of makeup brushes, that have a rose-gold sandpapery texture on their handles, rough, but with an appealing dull sparkle that makes holding them an experience. It almost attacks you when it first comes from its sprayer. It is, almost, like pepper spray, and I say this, as an endorsement. It is like wearing a desert, if the desert were packed with chili peppers and dates, which are fruits that love desert climates. Perhaps, that was what Bertrand Duchaufour was thinking, when he composed Al Oudh, not only the dead things in the desert, but the live things, too, and the stuff they leave behind, the scraggly plants that grow on rocks, and their resinous products. I smell dried rose, the leathery trail of labdanum, a powerful cloud of frankincense, and masculine-urinous castoreum twinned with feminine-uruinous civet. Clove slices through the melange. It is, actually, much like Opium, but with two-day unshaven stubble.

The perfume critic Luca Turin, likes to describe Duchafour’s perfumes as “transparent.” Al Oudh is not transparent. It is not just dense, it it opaque, in texture, and it does not let up. Rose comes forward, as it warms on the skin, and the perfume’s spices swirl in its winey density. At this stage, it reminds me of the red-hot cinnamon-candy spiciness of a glass of powerful California Zinfandel, with the same restorative effect on the senses. Wearing Al Oudh always wakes me up, and I reach for it on dull, gray, winter days, for a similar warming solace. Then its amber base comes forth, and it dries down to a spiced cocoa base that sticks to skin for up to 24 hours.

Al-Oudh is not universally loved, in fact, some people actively hate it, so I recommend it, with a warning. If you like some of the more exotic Commes des Garçons Incense Series, Sahara Noir, or L’Artisan’s own Timbuktu and Dzongkha, you will find something here of interest. What you will not find, is oud. I do not smell petrol, bandages, or anything fecal, so its name is confusing, if not actively misleading, which does irritate me, perfume names are poetic, and I believe Duchaufour was aiming at a perfume that speaks of the place and atmosphere of the same places and world that celebrate oud, not a reconstructed imitation of the actual ingredient. It also makes interesting smelling for lovers of spicy rose perfumes like Rose Rebelle Respawn.

I have a personal perfume category of “kitchen sink” perfumes, scents that seem to combine nearly everything in the perfumer’s library, and Al Oudh occupies a spot on that list. Most kitchen sink perfumes, are opulent floral oroentals, so this one stands out among those bedecked and bejeweled feminines. I love it in cold weather, and it is one of my favorite scents for nighttime and clubbing, where it stands out among all the fruity desserts, that usually dominate that landscape. It is dashing, daring, never a dull companion. I am still trying to understand it, and I write this review, in the hope that someone who has not tried it, or has not smelled it in a long time, perhaps, will find it as interesting, and even lovable, as I have found it. It is a standout, in the work of a perfumer, and the roster of a house, with an outstanding record of great work. It is, also, one of only a very few L’Artisan perfumes, that can still be found in their beautiful old presentations, at extremely economical prices. Four and a half stars, as not everyone will find Al Oudh wearable, and two coppery-red, manicured, thumbs up.

18th January, 2021
The opening vascilates between a soft sweetness, from the cardamom and pink pepper together, and a balsamic leathery saffron. It is not heavy and oppressive, but feals somewhat clear. As it dried, say 15 minutes in, I get some of the dates and incense. There seems to be quite a bit of blending here, and it smells like a nice quality fragrance. It has a similar feel to Declaration by Cartier, but with some background sweetness. At discounters I see this right now at about $45 for a 50ml bottle. At this price, if this is to your tastes, it seems like about the right price for quality.
11th January, 2020
What a great and original oudh. It’s got no rose, but a lot of wood and spices. Very special and might be useful if you want to smell real oudh.
31st January, 2019
I've nosed some skanky ouds, and this is not one of them.

Maybe because I am female, chemistry is at play? All I get and all I've ever gotten is a cinnamon/rose BOMB. I kept Al Oudh over Clinique's Beyond Rose because of its superior quality and better blending, but they are substantially similar scents.

Dries down spicy and powdery; a real firecracker. Did I mention there is NO oud?
10th December, 2018
To me, this smells powdery at first. It's the iris. I also smell pink pepper and orange blossom. Then, saffron. Incense and rose creep in. There is an underlying smokiness - a balsamic tone. Individual notes are many; hard for me to pick out, for the most part.

The powdery vibe leaves after some time. Incense and myrrh kick in for the rest of the journey. This, is a very calming and meditative fragrance, for me.
27th October, 2018
Al Oudh

Al Oudh is a spicy, musky, warm oriental fragrance. Despite the name there's no oud - at least oud oil. It might give the merest hint of oud wood - however that's by a long stretch.

Al Oudh is primarily an assortment of spices over a musky base with woody notes, and with a slight edginess. Cumin is the leading spice, together with cinnamon and cardamom. This is amply supported by a musky accord of civet, castoreum, and honey. The florals are there in the background, with rose being discernible. This lends a good balance to the composition.

At first there is a striking accord driven by cumin, and supported by animalic notes of civet and castoreum. The honey immediately comes through. Once this calms down, one can pick out the floral elements. The final dry down is more musky, with hints of wood, and a balanced spicy sweetness. The fragrance is not too dry, and only very slightly smoky initially. There are leathery (mid phase) and resinous (dry down) elements in the composition, but to me musk is the dominant theme.

This would be in the same group of fragrances as Absolue Pour Le Soir, Salome, MAAI, Kouros, and by a stretch Arabie (because of the warm spices).

Sillage is average, and longevity is good at around 8 hours on skin (based on a generous application). The other notable point is that despite the notes and the structure, this is more of a middleweight composition. This makes it an ideal everyday scent, more so in cooler weather. The great aspect of Al Oudh is the harmony and balance, and how the different elements interact without dominating one another - typical of Duchafour's compositions, though the interplay is not as dynamic as in, say, Dzongkha. This only adds to the abstraction of the composition.

06th April, 2017

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