Produced in Taiwan in 1971, the film "A Touch of Zen" can also be recommended to those who (like me) aren't martial arts fans by any stretch of the imagination. "A Touch of Zen" has nothing to do with the scent of Shiseido and only a little more than a touch to do with Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. It is, however, a timeless classic that was rightly the first martial arts flick to be nominated for a Palme d'Or at Cannes; and it really deserved to get one.
The plot and characters are nuanced and complex, the film's attitude is rather pacifist - and the martial arts scenes are incredibly aesthetically choreographed. In that the main heroine Yang (embodied by the beautiful Hsu Feng, who was only 19 when filming began) is the much stronger character compared to the male protagonist, the goofy Ku (Shi Yu), the work also exhibits what I think was a considerable feminist tendency for the time. A film that in some ways echoes the now 50-year-old film is the 2000 modern classic "Tiger and Dragon" (starring Michelle Yeoh, then exactly twice as old but just as beautiful, in the female lead).
Likewise, Franck Olivier's 2014 fragrance "A Touch of Oud" (oudTouch) definitely deserves attention - even from those fragrance aficionados who (like me) are not thoroughly tested oudists.
Who Franck Olivier is, has remained a mystery to me, I think times, it is not the eponymous Belgian-Canadian, now probably also quite stale, crooner. Maybe the name just sounded good (like Häagen-Dasz) and there is no such person at all. I'm not familiar with any other fragrances in F.O.'s "Touch" line, or even any other Olivier fragrance. I merely bought a bottling of this one product, inspired by the enthusiastic review of the esteemed Carlitos - and I have not regretted it.
As our Portuguese friend has already pointed out, the ingredient list of this powerful, complex and extremely characterful fragrance contains neither oud nor any other wood. Whether it's a fun omission or the unnamed perfuming genius behind OudTouch has masterfully recreated the wood through other ingredients, OudTouch smells quite massively woody. It's a massive, solid, dry hardwood that forms the heart, soul and center of this piece. The scent is fairly linear and, despite its complexity, highly homogeneous, in the sense that no note is allowed to stray too far or independently from the hardwood buck at the center of OudTouch.
Despite the listed notes of "toffee" and "vanilla", I do not find OudTouch to be gourmand or sweet by any means, nor do I find it to be 'oriental' despite the incense, patchouli and jasmine. Raspberry is mentioned, but the thought of a banal Tuscan Leather imitation does not arise for a second.
If the solid, compact, dry woodiness is loosened up by a hint of delicacy, softness, possibly earthy rootiness, that may be due to the violets, though, and if a hint of opulent richness and (albeit dark, almost bitter) sweetness does make itself felt, that may be a very atypical citation of rose.
What imposes itself on me in contrast, is the olfactory image of a strong, black, sharply roasted Robusta coffee (coffee, however, is as little listed as wood). To guess (but again not listed) seem to me also dry, strong and warm, at times almost hot spices such as clove or nutmeg.
OudTouch is a stroke of genius and a mystery to me. I like to pick up the bottling every now and then. It lasts a long time because the scent, without being killer, is a performer in both radiance and endurance. Undoubtedly, OudTouch would move into my collection, if not the direction of the kraftstrotzenden woody fragrances would lie generally rather far from me and with the taste of Mrs. von Spee even explicitly crossed.
100 ml of this premium fuel are currently available at Notino for 17.55 euros. For me, another example of the fact that there is no regular correlation between price and quality in fragrances. OudTouch could easily find buyers for 175.50 euros (which is not a plea for a price increase).