Admittedly, I am hesitant to try any oud perfumes. This is because the choices can be overwhelming, and when bombarded with a myriad of oud variations, it is difficult to pick one. I also find that in most perfumes the note has a particularly irksome quality reminiscent of a medicinal plaster. Even the only one that I consider deserving a try and find it pleasant enough, that is 1001 Ouds (Annick Goutal, 2015), that quality persists, almost as an inherent, ineliminable character of oud. So, I have grown weary of oud almost to the point of aversion.
But that might just change with Pure Oud (by Kilian, 2009).
The name itself does little to offer any promises, but give it time and let it unfold on your skin, and you will be rewarded with probably the best oud interpretation out there. Unlike most other ouds I have tried, Pure Oud, despite featuring such a rich, dense material, is unfathomably radiant. This familiar surprise, if you will pardon the oxymoron, is invariably unique to the style of perfumer Calice Becker who crafted it. She is adept at rendering shimmering compositions, and Pure Oud is one such fine specimen.
Whilst it initially seems monolithic, the composition comes to life as the facets readily reveal themselves. Wet civet and dry tobacco are the first juxtaposition. Then, it becomes drier and smoky with guaiac wood. Saffron and musky violet suggest the nuance of leather. Far from being a dull woody accord, which is what I find in most oud perfumes, the interplay of facets is what makes Pure Oud dynamic and interesting.
Although employing shades and accents to polish the accord might seem like an obvious trick, the balance with which they are executed is no mean feat. Here, the sum clearly is round and mellow, and more importantly, the discordant note of medicinal plaster found in most ouds is absent.
A harmonious dark wood blend that continues to mesmerise with its lambency, Pure Oud more than deserves to be tested on skin. And in so doing, the richness of animalic woods will continue to hypnotise all day long.