The last time I tested a perfume centered around a rose and oud theme it was Montale Black Aoud, which sadly turns my skin into a sour mess with a side of tangy burnt rubber. I still try it from time to time, just to torture myself a little. Recently the torment has been even worse. I was not supposed to like Rose Oud from Kilian Hennessey's Arabian Nights Collection, part of his By Kilian line. But I adore it, of course. Montale is such a cheaper date.
The rose in Rose Oud doesn't turn sour because it's almost candied, like a rose preserve (what happened to those Hungarian and Bulgarian rose confitures they used to have at some delis? I haven't seen any in ages and would love to get some). It's enriched with a fruity pulp and reminds me of the rose note in Amouage Lyric for women, only dirtier. It has a very sensual quality, even if it's not really feminine. The perfume radiates warmth and a velvety feeling.
The oud itself has a black leather quality- that's where less opulent ouds turn into rubber, but Kilian's is smoother. So smooth, in fact, that it's almost drowned by the rose and accompanying spices. I wonder if I like this one because it goes down so easily with the rose dessert, but I'd like to think it's because the combined notes work so well together on my skin. Speaking of which, the strength and lasting power of Rose Oud are beyond phenomenal. It requires more than a quick shower to get rid of it, so I end up reapplying and living with it for a couple of consecutive days. No complaints from my nearest and dearest so far.
Rose Oud ($395, 50ml) is available anywhere the By Kilian line is sold (Bergdorf, Aedes, Luckyscent). I got a sample at a press event.