I received a sample of this perfume along with an order I recently placed. You can't imagine my reaction when I saw it was none other than Tom Ford Oud Wood. Yes, because this perfume is on my wishlist, together with Faking Fabolous. I love potent aromas, everything related to the word "animal", understood as something that comes from the way of the fauna and the flora. Mineral, metallic, resinous, smoky, leathery, medicinal scents drive me crazy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that ingredients such as leather, moist earth, rain, resins, petrichor, balsams, syrups, and amber are all my cup of tea. By the way, about Oud Wood, this fragrance differs from most of the Arabian colognes, meaning it does not rely on the well-known formula of oud-rose or oud-saffron pairs. Instead, it is planned differently without too much sweetness. It doesn't smell like any other Oud out there, and I think that's why I love it. Because it smells different, like I've never smelled any other perfume like this before.
Nonetheless, I was expecting a monster of oud from a Tom Ford fragrance, something truly animalic, medicinal, aggressive. Instead, once sprayed on my skin, a burst of camphorous accord, naphthalene with a strong mothball smell, came right in my face. It took me by surprise, unpleasant at first. And I am perplexed, not because I don't like the smell of mothballs—I want to stick my nose into the bag that contains the white balls. Regrettable because I was not prepared. I don't know if this is a facet of the oud that I didn't know yet, or it may depend on the fusion of the oud with some other note. Perhaps it is nothing but the output of the Chinese pepper and cardamom. Not happy, I tried to spray some perfume on the paper strip, and I got the same result: the smell of mothballs. I must confess that opening is rare, maybe unique, with one of the most unexpected accord. The name, Oud Wood, is partly misleading. The note given by the oud is barely hinted at, far from the typical oriental-inspired oud fragrances, sometimes revolting for novices. There is an opening made of dry and fresh woods in the background, with no sugar and no citrus fruits, instead of balsamic and spicy.
In a short time, the blend exudes an essence of exotic rosewood followed by a smoky accord of oud wood, sandalwood and vetiver roots, which envelop me in pleasant warmth. The vetiver emerges genuinely, and it remains prominent for the length of the perfume's development. There is no massive bite to the oud, and the oud here is different to others that I have smelled. Cardamom has become slightly more prominent now, with a heavier camphor tone. Its cool undertones balance the rosy notes that are often found in oud fragrances. And the combination of oud with the aromatic and nutty cardamom is terrific. The smokiness reminds me of the atmosphere of an ancient incense-filled temple during some spiritual function, where the walls, floor and roof soak in burnt olibanum oil veil. It is a resinous woodiness with an interesting smell.
On the finish, the woody background prevails, sometimes almost green, complex, dry, which gives the perfume a vaguely austere elegance. The creamy and powdery aromas of tonka pod, spicy vanilla, and sensual amber give the fragrance a dense trail of warmth and sensuality. There are faint traces of vanilla and tonka. The base is not a sweet and gourmand bomb, and the oud occasionally appears fleeting, but the ground is mostly just sandalwood and vetiver. Using that bit of amber is done masterfully, and if they used more, the bottom would become too sweet and powdery a deal. A very virile, woody and at the same time gentle and masculine drydown.
The persistence is average, and it is good overall on my skin. The sillage is moderate; it is perceptible, much less by people around me unless they come closer. This is an advantage or a defect, depending on your tastes. A small masterpiece of masculine elegance, versatile on all occasions, possibly only avoidable at the hit of summer. I imagine this fragrance suitable for fall evenings, dinners, and outdoor events. This is a guilty pleasure of mine because I like it. My last word, don't buy it for compliments, buy it for yourself.
I base the review on a decant I have owned since December 2021.