Now *This* Is What A Composition With A Large Amount Of Real Oud Smells Like...
The Night opens with a heavy barrage of real Indian Oud that comes on extremely strong right out of the gate. The Oud can best be described as having a moderate barnyard aspect with an additional sterilized gauze-like quality. Excellent quality rose is also present at the open, but it is almost unnoticeable due to the Oud being so strong it gobbles up anything and everything in its path. As the composition very slowly moves to its heart about 45 minutes to an hour later, the Oud starts to gradually calm down, allowing the rose to begin to shine through, though never gaining complete parity... During the late dry-down a bit of a subtle, high quality Amber accord is mixed into the Oud and rose tandem to smooth out the composition through the finish. Projection is off the charts outstanding, while longevity is excellent at about 12 hours on skin.
I fear the relatively few folks that will be lucky enough to sample the limited distribution release, The Night, are going to be in for quite the shocker if they are not used to real Indian Oud in all its glory. Malle promoted the composition as having an unprecedented amount of the good stuff in the bottle, and having now worn the composition a few times I have no doubt that he was being entirely candid. The Oud one experiences at the open is all encompassing. Oh yes, there is some high quality rose in there too, but it goes almost unnoticed as the Oud is just so potent nothing can distract attention away from it. This is not the easy to digest synthetic Oud many folks used to Western perfumery have experienced all too frequently nowadays... No, this is the real stuff, which in this case means barnyard animalics and sterile gauze-like qualities. If one hasn't encountered it before, it will most likely take some getting used to. Speaking personally, the experience was a bit much to digest the first time I wore it, and the open stays this way for nearly a full hour before finally letting the Oud die down enough to allow the fine rose to sing and at least play co-star (albeit, a distant one). It is at this point that the composition really reveals its charms, as when the rose (not so unlike the quality stuff used in Ropion's own Portrait of a Lady) starts to mesh with the Oud, the result is absolutely outstanding and smells quite different than any Rose/Oud composition I have experienced to date. The amber used in the late dry-down is near transparent, but it adds just another facet to the minimalist development, smoothing out the Oud a bit further through the finish. It should be mentioned that the composition really is not an symphonic amalgamation of multitudes of ingredients like most Ropion works, quite the polar opposite. In the end, whether one loves or hates The Night is near-certainly going to depend on their acceptance of the heavy dose of real Oud early-on. Let's face it; we frequently deride western perfumes and the houses releasing them at faux premium prices for their creative marketing that promises Oud nowhere to be found, or in extremely small doses... In the case of The Night, Ropion and Malle go to the complete polar opposite of the spectrum in going "all-in" with the good stuff. The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for..." may apply for some, but this reviewer thinks Ropion has another winner on his hands, especially after 45 minutes to an hour in when the rose gets to shine too. The bottom line is the $755 per 50ml bottle The Night is insanely expensive in relative terms, but Ropion delivers the goods with both ingredient quality and composition structure, earning it an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5. This is one that absolutely merits a sample, but prepare yourself for the unexpected if you haven't tried real Oud by itself before...
As an aside, I tried a fun experiment in layering Portrait of a Lady (original formula) with The Night to see if the combination would bring out the rose earlier in its development, but just as with The Night by itself, the Oud gobbled up the rose of PoaL at the open too. It became quite obvious that it wasn't a lack of rose absolute in The Night that was the cause of the Oud coming on so strong in relative terms without any countering presence early, but rather there is such a large quantity of the good stuff in The Night that even a large dose of rose absolute can't compete with it. Later on, just as the rose and to a lesser degree Amber came out in The Night worn by itself, the Portrait of a Lady rose, patch and incense showed up too. It just appears that the Oud needs time to calm down a bit before the composition can let other facets show.