You know what? I'm actually Okay with the oud trend. It beats peony and red pepper. And this is the reason we have several good and interesting perfumes. Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of them.
Oud perfumes come in many shapes and forms. Some are rosy, others are woody and smoky. Francis Kurkdjian created an oud fragrance that is all gold. The first time I tried Oud, I sprayed it and waited for the familiar hit of a medicinal camphoric band aid-ish creature. But none came. There was also none of the sour rose that usually accompanies oud (thank you, dear Francis!) an spoils it for me. It's not that Kurkdjian's Oud lacks funkiness, though: Katie Puckrick smelled some train oil-dunked cheese, along with a nostril-flaring twang of bleach. I wouldn't go that far, but there is something pleasantly weird in the opening, before the golden part arrives.
MFK Oud soon presents a warm and spicy heart. Saffron and a jammy fruit that makes the oud slide in beautifully. The smoky oud and cedar and the opaqueness of some seriously good patchouli give that luxurious aura of a golden afternoon. Oud feels wonderfully balanced. Neither masculine nor feminine, little drama but not a shy little perfume, either. It has that thoughtfully-crafted, almost scientific precision we find in many Kurkdjian fragrances, even the most commercial ones.
Oud is medium-low in sillage but has enough elegant presence to last for 6-8 hours. That's probably my only complaint. I would've expected a more impressive staying power.
Notes: saffron, elemi gum, Laos oud, Atlas cedarwood, and Indonesian patchouli.
Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian ($300, 70ml) is available from Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. The sample for this review was part of a Bergdorf gift bag at a media event.
Photo: Golden harem, Topkapi by *Pia* on Flickr