The note du jour? Oud. there’s no denying that the Middle Eastern ingredient has taken the scent world by storm, with almost every single fragrance house using it to create exotic perfumes. But if you thought its intoxicating, incense-like smell wasn’t for you, think again – oud now comes in all forms.
From feminine florals to crisp citruses and heady woods, whatever your perfume preference, there’s an oud for everyone. This Eid, give a loved one the gift of this musky must-have, starting with a little help from our edit of the very best from the likes of Guerlain, Dior, Amouage, and more. It’s time to get in the mood for oud.
Cartier 'Oud & Menthe'
Oud mixed with mint? Yes, it works. And yes, it smells sublime. Cartier’s new olfactory offering, created by innovative in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, is inspired by two seemingly opposite ingredients from the Middle East – fresh mint, and dark, intense oud. The result? A captivating oud scent and “a sugary and suave infusion with a breath of plant-like freshness from the mint.”
Bringing urban edge and a touch of Parisian flair to an oud fragrance, Ex Nihilo’s oud offering is cool and contemporary. Its story is told where East meets West in the middle of Place Vendôme, opening with spicy saffron, warming ginger, and cinnamon before the heart of cedarwood and galbanum is revealed, enveloped in heady musks, incense, and agarwood accord.
Mr. Ford set out to create a scent that added a new dimension to oud – and did just that – with ‘Oud Minérale’. A marine and woody take on the iconic ingredient, it features salty seaweed, fiery pink peppercorn, and fir balsam, beautifully blending precious oud with the vitality of the sea to form an unexpected, aquatic scent that’s sure to capture any nose in close proximity.
This scent is a celebration of oriental perfumery, with creator Thierry Wasser drawing inspiration not only from the Middle East but also exotic destinations like Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. What makes this scent extra special is the freshness it gives to the oud note, all thanks to ingredients such as green rose and cedar. Plus, the elegant green bottle will look gorgeous on any vanity table, making it a firm fragrance favorite.
Pure perfume perfection. Prada’s new olfactory offering is one of the most sumptuous creations ever made. ‘Miracle of the Rose’ uses layers of different scents to create a multifaceted oud that draws upon the elegance and femininity of the rose flower. Deep notes of leather, oud, agarwood, and tobacco blend beautifully with delicate yet heady patchouli and rose absolute for a rich floral fragrance.
Gucci’s gorgeous oud scent is imagined through a walk in a forest, where scents of nature merge together. It opens with top notes of rich blackberry, spicy pink pepper, and Bulgarian rose to capture the feeling of rays of light illuminating the leaves and flowers. Mysterious, misty shaded areas are expressed with earthy notes of patchouli, goldenwood, and cypriol, and those secret shadowy nooks are captured with dark amber, leather, and natural oud notes.
In the words of perfumer François Demachy, this scent is “the enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of Labdanum Absolute, tempered by Damascus rose. This fragrance captures the Orient.” Created in honor of the young Christian Dior, who was fascinated with the colors and intoxicating scents of the Orient, ‘Oud Ispahan’ blends sweet, fresh rose with soft oud notes to make for a truly warm and welcoming scent.
This Acqua di Parma fragrance takes you on a journey from Italy to the Middle East. Placing oud at the heart of the cologne, it opens with fresh citrus notes of orange essence and Calabrian bergamot, merging the brand’s rich Italian heritage with the Arabian world. After a brief stop along the way in Russia, with notes of coriander and warm Amyris wood making an appearance on this olfactory journey, it’s then on to the Gulf. Here, balmy incense, cedarwood, and patchouli come together for a fragrance that combines unique and far-flung worlds in a rich brown bottle.
A fragrance made with only the finest of ingredients, ‘Black Gold’ is a piece of perfume art. This intense and elegant oud features fresh citrus notes atop a floral heart and woody base. “The most important aspect of creating the perfume was searching for the most absolute ‘absolue’ oils,” says creator Linda Pilkington.
This oud was inspired by the internationally acclaimed movie The Red Violin, which follows a picture-perfect red violin across five countries over the span of four centuries, bringing passion to each of its many owners. ‘Opus X’ focuses on the different facets of the rose to represent the bewitching soul of the violin. Blending together sensual leather, exotic ylang-ylang, elegant Laotian oud, and amber, it is both dark and radiant, seductive and subtle – a scent that tells a story as magical as the one that inspired it.
In the words of Master Perfumer Philippe Bousseton, “Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold is a refined fragrance with dark complexity.” The scent opens with spicy black pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon-leaf oil along with a citrus burst of bergamot before revealing its floral heart of rose and black tea. This soft core contrasts against the dark, strong base of leathery oud, golden honey, moss, vetiver, cedarwood, and tobacco fumes. A touch of saffron creates an air of mystery and perfectly rounds off the spicy but slightly sweet scent.
Soft and smooth, intoxicating and intriguing – that is Narciso Rodriguez’s ‘Amber Musc’ in a nutshell. This fragrance brings warm spices, sweet florals, musk, leather, incense, and amber together to create a scent that is impressively long-lasting and velvety.
Jo Malone London has teamed up with award-winning artist Wissam Shawkat to create some of the most beautiful perfume bottles we’ve ever seen. Adorned with his celestial designs and housed in a deep-blue bottle, this revamped version of the ‘Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne’ boasts notes of rich Damask rose, smoky oud wood, spicy clove, and decadent praline. The only downside? It’s a limited-edition scent, so move fast.
Made with a whopping 17 ingredients – all carefully selected to create the ultimate oriental fragrance – this scent celebrates the mythical world of oud. Spicy top notes of saffron, clary sage, and Indian cypriol blend into a floral heart of rose, while its base sees woody wonders of myrrh, moss, guaiac wood, and amyris mesh together. With hints of vanilla and praline thrown into the mix, the Lancôme ‘L’Autre Ôud’ is a dreamy and decadent fragrance like no other.
When it comes to the ultimate scent for oud enthusiasts, this is it. Containing the largest amount of natural oud in any fragrance, it’s an homage to a Middle Eastern night – the coolness of the desert, the time of love, a sky filled with stars. Rich Indian oud is mixed with a generous amount of amber and Turkish rose to reflect the richness of Arabia, transporting you straight into the heart of its rolling sand dunes.
This smoky and mildly spicy scent has a slight sweetness that makes for an interesting olfactory experience. Tobacco leaves and moss add depth and dimension to patchouli, papyrus, incense, and cardamom, with just a hint of rich Brazilian rosewood bringing the heart to life.
Luxe scent brand Ghawali is home to some of the finest ouds in town, including one of our favorites: ‘Al Laylaa’. Perfectly capturing the scent of a beautiful Arabian night, it opens with sweet hints of apple and subtly spicy hits of cardamom before revealing a vibrant floral heart. A deep, decadent base of vanilla and sandalwood adds a rich, intoxicating finish.
“I created a perfume that combined two of the most legendary materials of all: musk and oud,” says Roja Dove of his musky masterpiece. “I wanted to see how far it was possible to push the note of oud from its traditional route and create something totally unexpected.” Mixing musk and oud with leather, earthy patchouli, and warming vanilla (as well as subtle splashes of rose, ylang-ylang, and jasmine), the fragrance is brought to life with citrus notes of bergamot and lemon and just a pinch of nutmeg.