Agar Musk by Ramon Monegal is described On Luckyscent's website as a possible gateway to oud (agarwood):
"...this may be the fragrance that makes you dive right in and never look back."I can definitely see why. Oud purists will most likely scoff at the soft and thin layer of oud that holds this spicy musky fragrance together. Still, Spanish perfumer Ramon Monegal composed a westernized version of the Middle Eastern olfactory delicacy that's smooth and attractive. Not only that, the difficult aspects of oud are successfully contained: there's only a hint of the famous sharp and medicinal note; instead, the oud has been smothered in musk and leather.
One word about the musk used in this Ramon Monegal fragrance: I'm pretty sure I'm anosmic to some of it. I get the softness of a sweet slightly fruity/animalic musk, but I can also tell that there's something missing about halfway through Agar Musk's development. It's like smelling a negative space around some of the other notes, if that makes any sense.
The dry-down of Agar Musk is smoky, oudy and incensy. It's elegant and gives that pleasant feeling of "something here smells good...oh, that's me!". If you're a hard-core oud fiend, this might not scratch your itch. The sillage is very modest, but longevity is decent (not incredible, but I've been dabbing, not spraying, so take that into consideration). For an oud fragrance, Agar Musk is fairly unisex-- it's softer than most and almost cuddly, so even women who have a fear of oud should give it a chance.
Notes: Arabian Agarwood, Leather, Nutmeg, Vetyver, Musk.
Ramon Monegal- Agar Musk ($185, 50 ml) is available from Bergdorf Goodman and Luckyscent. The sample for this review was sent to me by the company.
Photo: Vogue, May 1949 Suit by Schiaparelli via myvintagevogue.com.