An amber and oud composition sounds like playing it safe-- putting together two popular, not to say irresistible, notes. We could have called it a cheap trick, but we're dealing with a By Kilian fragrance, so if there's one certain thing, cheap it is not. Annoyingly, By Kilian's Amber Oud from the Arabian Night series once again forces me to do away with the snark, take a big sniff and wonder if one can get a mortgage on a cat. It's so absolutely delicious.
Other perfume in this By Kilian range are more hardcore oud. I think I like Pure Oud the most, as difficult as it can be at times because it takes over the senses. Amber Oud is much cuddlier. The oud is cleaned and scrubbed quite a bit, leaving only a hint of the medicinal quality of its scent, and even that is well-concealed under a pile of ambery goodness.
As perfumer Calice Becker composed Amber Oud for By Kilian, she put together the best of all worlds. There's soft and smoky incense that goes beautifully together with the dark oud that holds the fragrance together. I think it's even more balanced and refined than Incense Oud, a lovely perfume and the gentlest one in By Kilian's Arabian Nights series. Amber Oud is magical because of this balance and because the amber itself is fantastic. It straddles the line between the intoxicating and edible-- if you read Victoria's review of Amber Oud on Bois de Jasmin you'll see her analysis of the gourmand aspect on all its complex layers. She's spot on in her comparisons to other dazzling and rich perfumes that seduce with their vanilla, smoke and other oriental treasures. Amber Oud is all that, with that added mystery of, well, oud. It looks and smells like a million dollar, or better-- Aladdin's Cave of olfactory wonders. Sorry for the well-beaten cliche. The stuff really goes to my head.
Notes: amber, oud, bay leaf, cedarwood, vanilla.
By Kilian Amber Oud ($395, 50ml EDP or $235 for the 4 x .25oz travel set) is available at MiN NY, Luckyscent, Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks 5th Avenue. The sample was sent to me free of charge through the company's Facebook page (anyone can register).
Artwork: Magic Carper Ride by Viktor Vasnetsov.