In the enchanting world of fragrances, none come as close to the mystique and allure of oud. The captivating blend of sweet, woody notes with hints of spice and earthiness does its due diligence to set itself apart from the rest. The essence of oud has been highly revered, sought after by perfumers and connoisseurs for its rare and almost animalic charm. But what makes oud fragrance truly extraordinary is not just its exquisite scent, but the intricate process behind its creation that transforms resin into liquid gold.
Due to its scarcity and complexity, oud is one of the most expensive raw materials in the world. The fragrance element is found at the core of aquilaria trees, a species native to Southeast Asia and can only be produced when the trees experience a fungal or parasitic attack, producing a rich resin as a result. This resin is then distilled and condensed into an extravagant oil we recognise as oud.
The olfactory experience is elevated when oud comes into play. The scent itself amplifies one’s skin chemistry when spritzed on, waltzing with its fragrance counterparts to create an intimate and compelling encounter. It’s no surprise then, as to why the popularity of oud has only seen a steady increase in the market. Take luxury cult brand Byredo for instance, whose newest extrait de parfum Rouge Chaotique makes for the artisan’s first oud gourmand fragrance.
And there’s no better time for oud to linger. Following the dark and moody demeanour of fall and the upcoming spooky season, this complex scent will also make a seamless transition for the joie de vivre of the year-end festivities. Whether you prefer an enchanting blend of East meets West, or an exotic and sensual complex, Vogue Singapore’s pick of fragrances will set the stage for the chillier seasons to come.
1 / 7
Tom Ford Tobacco Oud
If fragrance was a vice, it would be Tom Ford’s Tobacco Oud. The brand looks to Arabic regalities in life–oud and dokha, an aromatic blend of herbs, flowers and spice-laden tobacco. The initial smokiness of tobacco absolute eventually gives way to the underlying notes of rare oud wood, roasted tonka beans and olibanum oil, taking you through a mesmerising journey on the hidden history of irresistible Middle Eastern passions.
Tom Ford Tobacco Oud, $450 for 50ml eau de parfum, available at Tangs.
2 / 7
Amouage Opus XIII Silver Oud
Inspired by the encircling themes of confusion, passion and destruction in Stendhal’s 19th-century novel ‘The Red and the Black’, Opus XIII Silver Oud is a rivalry of ideologies and ethics, and eminent desire. A part of the brand’s Library Collection, the fragrance is bold and unexpected. Rich oud assam sits at the heart in unison with Madagascar vanilla, accompanied by notes of birch and Guaiac wood. Earthy traces of patchouli and cedar sit at the top, reminiscent of a bibliotheca and the knowledge it holds.
Amouage Opus XIII Silver Oud, $778 for 100ml eau de parfum, available at Escentials.
3 / 7
Jo Malone London Oud & Bergamot
Oud & Bergamot is charming and refined, thanks to the depth and versatility of the oud that undercurrents the saccharine aura of bergamot. The bright and crisp bergamot petals strike a balance with the rich and alluring oud wood, enveloped in cedar for a woody punch. This makes for a good beginner’s guide into the oud realm, as the scent’s intensity is cushioned by the perfume’s floral counterpart.
Jo Malone London Oud & Bergamot, $332 for 100ml cologne intense, available at Jo Malone London boutiques.
4 / 7
Diptyque Oud Palao
A tenacious blend lingers in the air when Oud Palao is spritzed, as East meets West in this interlacing of oud wood, vanilla and rose. Hailing its name from the oud species native to Laos, this bottle is an ode to one of the earliest essences in perfumery. The oriental woody fragrance lends a dark and warm atmosphere, perfect for the colder seasons to come.
Diptyque Oud Palao, $266 for 100ml eau de parfum, available at Diptyque boutiques.
5 / 7
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood
Maison Francis Kurkdjian brings classic oud to life in a woody, ambery scent that compels the senses. Oud wood is combined with distinct elements to create an olfactory encounter–with the likes of Damascena rose, a honeyed accent with a slight spicy twist and vanilla amber accord, a warm and saccharine aromatic compound. With a lilting violet accord as the cherry on top, Oud Satin Mood is the only accessory needed as it leaves an enchanting and delicate sensation, much like the fabric it’s named after.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood, $441 for 70ml eau de parfum, available at Maison Francis Kurkdjian boutiques.
6 / 7
Guerlain Oud Essentiel
For a quintessentially oud fragrance, Oud Essentiel is your best bet. An electric blend of frankincense and leather complement the majestic oud wood, revealing its divine opulence and sensuality. Traces of Bulgarian rose add a mellow touch to the rich Oud Essentiel that pays homage to the rare and decadent element.
Guerlain Oud Essentiel, $334 for 125ml eau de parfum, available at Guerlain boutiques.
7 / 7
Byredo Rouge Chaotique
Although inspired by nocturnal chaos, Byredo’s Rouge Chaotique is irresistible any time of day. The animalic essence of oud is heightened by tantalising gourmand notes that draw you in. Velvety sensations of plum and toasted praline, blackcurrant and bergamot create an insatiable orchestra, led by a prelude of saffron. A little spritz goes a long way as it lingers for hours on end.
Byredo Rouge Chaotique Night Veils, $504 for 50ml extrait de parfum, available at Byredo boutiques.