I don't get what's going on at Caron. I'm not even talking about the reformulation and continuation. This time I'm merely wondering about their marketing strategy (if they even have one), the state of their website and the fact they do diddly squat to inform the public about their very exclusive oud perfumes (not to mention they don't sell them outside of Paris). There are three ouds, all are extrait de parfum: Oud, Secret Oud and Royal Oud. Thanks to a resourceful member of Basenotes who organized a bottle split I have a nice decant of Oud. Now, if only I could make up my mind about it...
Oud is, as expected, quite big boned and assertive. The often dark and medicinal aspect of the agarwood note has been largely Caronified through the use of lavish florals. Since there's no official information online, all I know about the notes is through the Perfumed Court and the above mentioned Basenotes member, and that's limited to jasmine and saffron. My own nose also says (screams, actually) rose, and quite a lot of it. It's a lush and velvety rose which doesn't turn sour on my skin, for which I'm very grateful. There's some fruity roundness around the jasmine which makes me think of ripe nectarines. It's also a bit retro, which is not a bad thing, but the big (BIG!) opening and is so obvious and bordering on kitschy, it makes me question my own taste level on days I find it charming.
The husband says the first hour of Oud is over the top and too floral. I don't blame him, but I actually think he wears it well. A couple of times I forgot this is an extrait and sprayed myself silly, only to thank my guardian angel I didn't have to leave the house that day. This Caron has so much cleavage I would have gotten arrested for public indecency or disorderly conduct (and I'm sorry of the latter makes you think of Snooki's latest adventure).
I like the late dry-down. That's where the richness is at its best and the notes merge and meld with the skin into a sensual and almost musical veil. I find it very feminine at this stage, something to wear the night you expect him to propose or something equally grand. I suspect the whole thing is not really me, but I enjoy it anyway, like playing dress-up. The bottom line is that I'm more comfortable in By Kilian's Pure Oud. Not that it makes it easier, cost-wise.
Caron Oud extarit de parfum (210 euro, 20ml) is only available at the Paris boutiques. The Perfumes Court has samples.
Art: Tablado Flamenco by Fabian Perez