The name, notes, and official description of Oud Cashmere Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian are quite misleading. The expansion of the original Kurkdjian oud theme into the Mood series was said to represent a feeling by use of a tactile idea. In this case of Cashmere Mood it's supposedly about comfort (Silk Mood is shimmer, while Velvet Mood is warmth). The actual bitter and harsh opening of Oud Cashmere Mood took me by surprise.
Oud can be many things. At its best, this precious note (and material) is dark and animalic. It can also smell medicinal and scary. Pairing it the way perfumer Kurhdjian did here with Moroccan labdanum, benzoin, and vanilla was supposed to create the comfort of a large and thick cashmere shawl. Instead, I get a desolate and almost bleak sensation, an otherworldly chill that finds the spine through the layers of cashmere.
Basically, it's a cold November day.
It takes a while (at least half an hour in my case) before the rubbery medicinal opening becomes friendlier. This effect, created by the very dark and stark labdanum-oud combination, is not completely pleasant on my skin (it was perfectly fine on a blotter, if I remember correctly). I don't think I've ever come across a less sweet benzoin/vanilla composition, which is fascinating in a somewhat perverse way. Is it cashmere-like? Maybe. I don't usually go the oud way for my comfort scents, but this Francis Kurkdjian ends up warmer than it begins, probably thanks to the whiffs of smoke that wafting in and out of my personal space when wearing it.
Longevity of Oud Cashmere Mood is pretty good (longer than the original MFK Oud), sillage and projection are light and polite, at least when dabbing. I much prefer the original, but I get why this can be a huge hit among the oud-crazed.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian- Oud Cashmere Mood ($375, 70ml parfum extrait) is available from Twisted Lily, Osswald, Luckyscent, and Bergdorf Goodman.
Photo: An abandoned church by Janice Dunn, 2006.