For quite a while I hesitated to even try an oud-laced perfume oil. However because this is a definite trend and I thought maybe I am missing something, I started testing a few tiny samples of pure oud and rejected them outright, shaking my head and muttering some very descriptive nasty names. Those were medium quality oud samples from a reliable source. I don't think that I will ever appreciate inexpensive ouds and the outstanding, high quality, long-aged and very expensive pure oud will be out of my range anyhow.
But there is something for regular mortals: those are the "Oud Blends" (Mukhalats). There are many variations - so, following the recommendations of people-in-the-know, I bought a few 3 ml samples. They come in short sturdy little glass bottles with a dipstick and are not miniature versions of the elaborate fancifully decorated bigger sizes, they are just plain sample bottles.
"Attar Al Kaaba" is the first oud oil blend I experimented with following a recommendation. It is suitable for women and men. After further research I believe that it is a "classic" and widely available in the Middle East.
Daintily applied with the dipstick on the skin, with feather light strokes, say on the inner elbows and a touch under the chin and a tiny pinpoint behind the ears is more than sufficient. Trust me on that. Who uses more may spoil the enjoyment not only for herself but also for others, so potent is the aroma of that little gold brown oil. First I startled, "another mistake ... this smells like cough drops" but wait, say no more, and after a while the aroma changes slowly into sweet and refreshing warmth. Very easy to wear and pleasant to a Western nose.
The way this scent speaks to me is an impression of mild oud mixed with flowering fresh roses, sustained by some spicy nuttiness. The mild oud persists throughout and sort of holds it together.
Unlike Western perfumes with a 3-level pyramid where the perfume dries down into heavier base notes, this oily aroma rather vanishes in a pleasant way, getting more and more faint over many, many hours. At the end some lovely little mimosa-type notes come out before the aroma settles into a skin scent. No strong surprises of anything musky, indolic or heavy. Just a pleasant fading out.
But potent is the name: On paper it lasts twice as long, a few drops spilled on wood burned a hole.
After this successful encounter with Oud in Arabian Perfume Oil Blends, I was fascinated and pursued this road of discovery, eagerly testing the next 3 ml mini samples. A whole new world opened up.