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, Jo Malone, 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. Created by innovative in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s olfactory offering 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 ‘Oud Essentiel’ extra special is the freshness it gives to the oud note 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 – that is Prada’s ‘Miracle of the Rose’ in a nutshell. It 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.
“The enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of Labdanum Absolute, tempered by Damascus rose,” is how perfumer François Demachy describes this scent. “This fragrance captures the Orient,” he adds. Created in honor of the young Christian Dior, who was fascinated with the colors and 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, it’s then on to the Gulf. Here, balmy incense, cedarwood, and patchouli come together for a fragrance that combines 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 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 – meet ‘Amber Musc’ by Narciso Rodriguez. 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 Turquoise Mountain to add a special finishing touch to its ‘Oud Intense’ collection this Eid. The organization works with artisans across the Middle East and Asia to revive historic areas and traditional crafts. These skilled artisans have created beautiful Mother of Pearl charms to adorn bottles, with a limited-edition box to boot. We love the ‘Velvet Rose & Oud’, with is notes of rich Damask rose, smoky oud, spicy clove, and decadent praline.
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, 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.
Taking you on a trip down one of the world’s most storied rivers, ‘Oud de Nil’ is exotic, sweet, and full of light. And as you set sail across Egypt, the scent of sweet orange blossom and rose intertwine with luminous grapefruit, jasmine, and watery oud notes, while deep amber and guaiac wood bring depth and stability.