I married a man who doesn't like oud very much. He's Ok with it in Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood (which I suspect is rather low on real oud). He begrudgingly admits that By Kilian Arabian Nights Oud perfumes are really really good, but I don't foresee him ever coming home with a Montale bottle. His dearest wish is that vetiver becomes the next big thing in the perfume universe. Considering the way these two notes, oud and vetiver, behave on his skin, I can't say I blame him.
The many faces of Le Labo Oud 27 (a 2009 release from their regular line) are evident in the many reviews of this fragrance. I've heard everything: whiskey, skank, Bandit-like civet... the more reviews you read the more confused you can get. Naturally, my scent twin has the closet interpretation to my own saffron and leather experience. But it seems that the rose-gone-south that happens on the poor Blond's skin is a somewhat unique experience. Personally, I don't think he smells vile in it, but he begs to differ.
I consider Le Labo's oud to be quite sexy. I like a good saffron-rose note and I enjoy dirty peaty wood. There's a damp black earth and roots to Oud 27 that is a touch medieval and very raw. There's also a lacquered wood and varnish thinner note that's surprisingly pleasant. I absolutely adore the dry-dow, especially the very late one (I'm talking 8-12 hours and counting. This stuff is more tenacious than Betty White). Sweet orientalized rose, animalic leather and golden ambered woods- what's not to like? After a few hours even the husband is willing to sniff my neck.
Notes: Agarwood, Aldehydes, Atlas Cedar, Incense, Patchouli, Black Pepper, Saffron, Vetyver, Gaiac, Civet, Musk, Rose Bulgare, Amber, Ambergris.
Oud 27 ($58, 15ml larger sizes available) is part of the regular Le Labo collection. It's available through their stores around the world and also from Barneys, Colette (Paris), Luckyscent and lelabofragrances.com. I highly recommend the 3x5ml discovery sets ($58) that allow you to test several perfumes and really get to know them before ordering a bigger size.
Image: a detail on a Japanese wooden box from the-kura.com online catalog.