Actually, it seems frivolous to deal with such superficial things as good scents in times like these, overshadowed by a life-threatening pandemic. But I would like to spend at least a few minutes thinking about something other than the C-word, quarantine, curfews, empty streets and closed shops and restaurants. So I allow myself to think a few thoughts about a perfume I bought when Covid-19 was still a virus somewhere far away in faraway China.
Buying a relatively expensive perfume without having tested it first requires some courage and a certain amount of determination. Since I am unfortunately not blessed with immeasurable wealth, I usually consider purchases of luxury items very carefully. But this time I had to decide quickly. An online perfumery granted a discount, which was of course only valid until midnight. For a fragrance like Oud from the Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, a 22% discount makes over € 50,-. The perfume had been on my wish list for a long time. I simply trusted my gut feeling and ordered it
When it comes to oud, I'm a latecomer. I had no experience when the parcel arrived. Already the exclusive and amazingly heavy packaging under the cellophane shows that this is something very special. Lovely details such as a fabric flap with the MFK insignia, with which the flacon can be pulled out of its protective narrow embolage, complete the impression of value and luxury. The packaging, with its golden ornament on a black background, has an oriental feel to it, which is also suitable for an oud. Doesn't it? Oud is also the Arabic word for the currently so hyped smoked wood of the eaglewood tree. However, this tree grows almost exclusively in South East Asia. In the Orient, however, the fragrance was already used more than 2000 years ago.
The fragrance is allegedly more expensive than gold. Prices of € 250 000,- for 1 kg of best quality oud are not uncommon. Understandable, considering that the eaglewood tree is threatened with extinction and it takes no less than 80 years for it to form the coveted resin. All the more I am surprised that at the moment there is a huge amount of oud perfume being produced everywhere, which seems to be quite affordable - except for a few high priced ones.
There are countless legends and myths surrounding the Oud Wood. One of them says that it has pheromonic effects just like Iso E Super. Meaning it makes people more attractive than they are. This aphrodisiacal quality may also be questioned, of course. Oud is available in different quality levels and none of them smells like the other. Some have a spicy scent, others an animal or balsamic one. It can appear bitter, smoky, dry or sweet.
I am curious to see how Master Kurkdjian's famous oud will develop on my skin. Although oud is not the only fragrance in this EdP. It also contains saffron, cedar, patchouli and elemi resin
The flacon is like many other ouds made of heavy, dark glass, which suggests mysticism and preciousness.
And the smell? It's so complex right from the start, it's hard to describe. It is woody, spicy, smoky, earthy, woody, heavy and definitely fascinating. It reminds me of old wood that has dried in the sun for a long time. It is a headstrong, unusual scent, sensual, but also elegant, beguiling, a flatterer, which nevertheless does not immediately open up to you. That is also good. Because that way the fragrance remains exciting and never gets boring
It is said to form a bond with the skin of the wearer. This may explain why it seems different, new every time I wear it. Sometimes it is soft, gentle and warm, and sometimes surprisingly animalistic. Another time it shows its creamy-balsamic qualities, another time its resinous note dominates. It is precisely this complexity that makes the fragrance so appealing. What convinces me about this oud is the puristic, minimalistic. Few, but perfectly harmonizing scents, pleasantly far away from any sweet flower and fruit scents or gourmand vanilla tales. A quiet, restrained sweetness is present, but very natural and subtle.
There is also something abstract about it, which is sure to put many people off, because it is not easy to classify.
Some people therefore fantasize about nuances of horror vacui that are not there, such as raspberries, leather, rose, vanilla, fresh laundry, musk, cinnamon, Nivea or Penaten cream, even caramel, in order to be able to tame it. To have an association to hold on to, to bring order to chaos, so to speak. I'm glad that I don't notice any of this and that I can enjoy the fragrance in the abstract without having to compare it with anything. Just as I belong to those who do not automatically see any beautiful landscapes when listening to classical music. That would distract me far too much. But I'm not afraid of chaos and abstraction either.
Today the fragrance has something archaic to me, still alive, powerful but not frightening - and yet somehow sublime, regal. The Orient can be felt, but it is not a tourist kitsch Orient, but a noble, original one. Wild, but cultivated. Paradox? Yes, perhaps. But certainly interesting in this harmonic dichotomy. Another paradox? Not at all. Opposites can sometimes complement each other perfectly.
Of course, the fragrance can be enjoyed abstractly, i.e. analytically, with the intellect. However, it contains an inspiring sensuality that should not be closed to. It's a fragrance that you want to get into like the image of a landscape. And which landscape does this oud convey to me? Of course I am also influenced by the association of oud with the Orient. Therefore my oud landscape first of all breathes vastness. Shimmering light, sand dunes, superficially silent, barren and majestic, behind it you feel adventure waiting.
Oud evokes a wanderlust in me, a longing for the foreign, which perhaps does not even exist. It is silky soft like a gentle wind over the desert, at the same time tender, whispering, playful, strange, but strangely familiar. And very present. Heavy meets lightness, distance meets closeness. The sun elicits a fine, spicy sweetness from the dead, bleached wood, which one wants to perceive again and again because it has something intoxicating.
The fragrance is sophisticated - like modern art - and therefore certainly not suitable for everyone, because you not only have to be able to endure this vastness, the contradiction, abstraction and puristic beauty, but of course you have to be able to enjoy it.