Montale Steam Aoud : Fragrance Review

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Persianminiature

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

One of the newest fragrances in Montale Aoud range, Steam Aoud is a scent that blends the earthy warmth of hot stones, darkness of dry roses and medicinal pungency of oud. Its base laced with sharp sandalwood and patchouli, Steam Aoud is reminiscent of other fragrances in the Aoud range. …

However, unlike other Aoud fragrances, it is rendered as lighter and more transparent, which makes it less challenging to appreciate. While it bursts with a firework of camphorous notes, over time Steam Aoud softens losing the overwhelming pungency and even attains a hint of creamy sweetness.

However, expecting the complexity of real oud, one would be disappointed, because it is lacking here. The oud is aggressive and medicinal in Montale Aoud compositions, never assuming the subtle nuances that mark the high quality oud. Nevertheless, one can discover unusual fragrances that might strike those new to oud and attar as exotic. I vacillate on what I think of Aoud range, because on the one hand, the headiness of Aoud Roses Petale and the woody richness of Steam Aoud are appealing. On another, the heavy bluntness of these compositions and the lack of subtlety makes them tiresome over a long run.

Montale fragrances are available at Montale website, Aedes, Parfumsraffy, The Perfume Shoppe, and First-in-Fragrance. The boutique is located at 26, Place Vendôme in Paris, and the orders can be placed directly by either contacting them via email at montaleparfums@hotmail.com or by telephone at 33 1 42 96 97 44. The 50ml bottles are quite reasonably priced and the shipping is waived on orders over US$100.

Persian miniature. Ali-Mriabadi, from persianpaintings.com.

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63 Comments

  • Cait: One has to give it to Montale; steam oudh is a very compelling idea, even if the execution leaves something to be desired. I immediately think of the Turkish/Italian movie by Ferzan Ozpetek called “Steam” and the idea of a simultaneous losing and finding of oneself in a sufi tradition. Just when I thought the tropes used in perfume were getting a little shopworn! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. December 28, 2005 at 2:17am Reply

  • sara: Thanks for the lovely review. I tried Steam Aoud last week at the Place Vendome boutique and I agree with your thoughts. Black Oud and Aoud Queen Roses are my favorites in the line but this is an interesting addition to the line. Cheers, Sara December 28, 2005 at 7:23am Reply

  • Judith (lilybp): Well, I had just heard about this from Sara–and your fascinating review confirmed that it is a “must try” for me. I do like the Montale aoud line, though I don’t wear the ones I have quite as often as I thought I would, probably for the reasons you mentioned. My favorites are Rose Petals (beautiful) and Cuir d’Arabie (although my husband has stolen my decant–it IS great on him!), but I also enjoy Queen Roses and Black Aoud. Thanks for the review! December 28, 2005 at 7:35am Reply

  • Marina: I vacillate too. I do find them, as you said, exotic, btu they are not easy for me to wear. I do like Black Aoud quite a lot though. December 28, 2005 at 9:20am Reply

  • annE: Thanks for the insightful review! I’m grateful to hear from you (and Sara) what’s new in the world of Montale. Although I agree with you that their creations can be lacking in subtlety, I give them credit for going where no other perfumer has dared to go. Please tell us, have you ever experienced a fragrance that’s made with a higher-quality oud oil? December 28, 2005 at 9:20am Reply

  • marchlion: Having read and much enjoyed the account of Luca Turin searching for non-synthetic oud in India (The Emperor of Scent), it was never clear to me what oud *smelled* like… thanks for the very fine description. I’m hooked. Along the lines of annE’s post, if you were to recommend one oud fragrance as a starting point, which would it be? Thanks. December 28, 2005 at 9:42am Reply

  • Laura: V, I share your ambivalence about the Montale line, but you’ve piqued my interest here–as usual. Your portrait of oud is excellent—just fascinating. And I LOVE the painting you’ve chose to accompany this post! Thanks for a delightful read this morning. December 28, 2005 at 9:52am Reply

  • Anya: Dear V,
    One can only wonder why they use the medicinal (flat, to me) Oud in their line. There is also so much of the non-Muslim uses of Oud not recognized by their turning it into a perfume. Buddhist monks smoulder (not burn) the wood to aid in meditation. I have many fine Oud wood pieces and distilled oils, and I can attest to the alpha, sometimes theta-brainwave production upon their inhalation. A good Oud can produce the most intoxicating, sensual perfume. The medicinal ones, the poor ones, are rather like, well, vomit to me. They have that note. Obviously Montale has eliminated that.

    You mention heavy bluntness. That is what Oud is. Nothing subtle about it. Tenacious and brainwave-altering. I remember I sent some to a perfume-making novice who was anxious to try it. Knowing she was on anxiety medication, I warned her of the ability of real Oud to make you feel as if you are drunk (Western definition – Eastern definition would be in “altered state”). Anyway, this person didn’t listen to me, and actually got drunk (she drinks a lot) before sniffing the Oud, and had a full blown anxiety attack, freaking out and shrieking. Later, she got some frail Oud CO2 and declared it made her horny. I suggest she stay away from Oud, as that is too potent an oil to be in the hands of amateurs (or heavy drinkers 😉

    Some Zen masters I know (those who have shared their Oud with me) would be aghast at the trivialization of Oud as a perfume. To them it is for meditation and to reach the inner world.

    End of rant. 😉

    PS I conserve and respect my Oud/wood stash. I sniff perhaps twice a year, for meditation. I smoulder the wood about once a year, for a significant purpose, TBD at the time of use. Just thought I’d share the other side of Oud, the non-perfumery side. December 28, 2005 at 10:18am Reply

  • Robin: Great review, V! I love Roses Petals, and to a lesser extent, Aoud Lime. What do you suppose they meant to evoke with the word “steam”? December 28, 2005 at 11:52am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, the association with Sufi mystic traditions is indeed what I was thinking about, however in the end Steam Aoud is much less mysterious. It is rather pervasive, and I found myself waking up in the middle of the night because of its smell (from a blotter left in the bedroom). Of course, now I have to seek out “Steam,” because you are the second person who mentions this movie to me. December 28, 2005 at 12:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sara, I tried Black Aoud and found it interesting as well, perhaps even more so than Steam Aoud. Aoud Queen Roses is my other favourite, topping Aoud Roses Petale for a voluptuous, incense redolent rose on oud base. December 28, 2005 at 12:35pm Reply

  • monique: I tried several Montale fragrances but they are so strong. They made me sneeze. I liked Sweet Oriental Dream the most. December 28, 2005 at 12:37pm Reply

  • cait: “Steam” is great but I also liked “Harem” and his others. They’re great for intrigue, history and beautiful shots. December 28, 2005 at 12:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I liked it for its exotic flair, but the strength and the pungency are overwhelming. Real oud is pungent and overwhelming, of course, but it also has many nuances that are completely missing here. Moreover, I find the entire range impossible to navigate–there are too many fragrances and many are quite similar. December 28, 2005 at 12:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I liked Black Aoud too and I actually liked another composition that smelled like Chinese herbs, clay and oud. I do not recall what it is called. It is not something I would wear, but it is rather compelling. December 28, 2005 at 12:41pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ann, my pleasure to share! There are other new additions as well: Roses Ambre (or something along those lines) and Velvet Flowers. Aoud is still my favourite range, even though I hardly reach for the bottles I have.

    As for interesting oud fragrances that are easily available, there are several that use oud as a supporting note:
    Ormonde Jayne Men
    Paul&Joe Bleu
    YSL M7
    DK Chaos
    Gap Om
    Gobin Daude Nuit Au Desert
    CdG Sequoia

    There are two others: La Base for Her and Rykiel Woman, but oud there is really subtle.

    I still doubt that real oud is used in these fragrances, but I like the accent it gives. December 28, 2005 at 12:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, glad that it was helpful! If you are curious to smell read oud (albeit a low grade one), I would recommend ordering a sample from Eben Botanicals. It is the most fascinating smell, and even that low grade is miles away from the kind most often encountered in terms of complexity. December 28, 2005 at 12:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I am glad that you enjoyed it. I saw the paintings and it just appealed to me–vibrant colours, curving lines. There are other lovely miniatures on the site. December 28, 2005 at 12:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, fascinating! Thank you for this account, which definitely expands the understanding of oud. I find it a wonderful smell, unique and bracing. I agree that it is not subtle, but it is complex, which I cannot say about Steam Aoud. Have you ever tried Aoud fragrances from Montale (I know that you tried their Sandflowers and hated it, although it is quite different)? I would be curious to hear your thoughts. December 28, 2005 at 12:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Monique, they are strong! It is one of the reasons why I get tired of these fragrances quickly. December 28, 2005 at 12:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, “They’re great for intrigue, history and beautiful shots.”
    That is exactly what I love. I hope that Netflix carries them, or else I shall search elsewhere. December 28, 2005 at 12:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Robin, thank you! I wonder what Steam meant to evoke as well. Perhaps, the airier take on oud than the usual Montale base is responsible for the name. It is certainly not as dense and heavy as some of their other ouds. December 28, 2005 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, I don´t like the medicinal smell that oud has in most of the Montale compositions. It´s harsh & somewhat disturbing to my nose. On the other hand it´s also an interesting smell & quite unique, but it´s not tempting enough for me to purchase. December 28, 2005 at 1:44pm Reply

  • Tara: I own Montale’s Oud Pur Oriental, Oud Queen Roses and Oud Ambre. While I admire them, I don’t often reach for them as they are quite medicinal and strong, and I don’t often want to smell like that. I will make a point to seek out Black Oud and Oud Steam though, on my next visit. The line is indeed hard to navigate with so many similar-smelling scents. I also have Vanille Absolue, which is quite easy to wear and a favorite vanilla scent. December 28, 2005 at 2:50pm Reply

  • ivanovna: My favorite Montale Ouds are Black Oud, Aoud Queen Roses and Cuir d’ Arabie and am a huge fan of Chaos, Nuit au Desert and Sequoia, which you mentioned as having oud also. I think oud is an acquired taste and, although it took me awhile, I’ve definitely acquired a taste for it. Am now determined to find a high quality oud after reading what your wrote today, so am ordering the sample pack from Oriscent. Hoping these are indeed good quality! Am assuming they are given the less than bargain basement prices of the ouds they have. December 28, 2005 at 6:45pm Reply

  • Anya: Dear V, yes, I have a tiny sample of Oud Rose Petale, gifted from a lovely friend 😉
    I dabbed some on tonight before going out to dinner with friends. Immediately I was overwhelmed by the strong, powdery aldehydic wood scent (I know, it seems a contradiction) and the extremely pungent fake rose. Interestingly, the rose, in the drydown, opened up, with a wetness, and seemed almost real, like an old-time rose cream. I detected no Oud, but that may have been because my nose was overwhelmed by the synths.

    Universally, my friends disliked the perfume. I know it went well with my skin chemistry, that is not the problem. The linear, almost choking diffusion and sillage was classic good perfumery,just not for me and my friends. No offense to those who love this scent, and I know there are many. It was just too strong and synthetic to my nose. In earlier days, I may have loved it, it is a real ka-pow-in-your-nose “notice me” scent.

    Aloeswood, the source of Oud, is varied and fascinating. As you note, there are good and poor qualities of Aquilaria out there. I have some gorgeous incense I will send you,V, and a drop of the “good stuff”. Just placing a few sticks in a drawer will diffuse an elegant, timeless woody scent that is intoxicating. I am grinding and tincturing this incense (fine quality, no filler, no stick, just pressed wood) for a perfume base, but have no perfume in mind for this at this time.

    Here is a wonderful site to read more about aloeswood and the Eastern (as opposed to the Middle Eastern focus of Montale) traditions of its use.
    http://www.japanese-incense.com/aloeswood.htm

    Anyone in NYC should stop by Enfleurage, as Trygve is an expert on Aloeswood and Oud, and has many samples in her shop (I believe): http://enfleurage.com/ Online, read the Articles on this precious wood and oil — she really knows it inside and out. Oh, it would be so interesting for her to sniff the Montales! December 28, 2005 at 8:29pm Reply

  • gail: I work with Oud both in fragrance work as well as ritually. Years ago I procurred a variety of woods and I parse it for myself.
    I particularly love burning it in Japanese fashion on a plate. The experience of burning Oud is for me, the most delectable mode of enjoying this aroma. It loosens the loins as well as the spirit-g. December 28, 2005 at 10:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear C, yes, the smell of oud in Montale fragrances is both unusual and difficult to carry off. I wonder if I would like it more in a room fragrance scent. December 29, 2005 at 4:00am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara, I have not tried their Vanille Absolu yet, however I will during the next visit. I generally avoid straight up vanillas, however once in a while I crave something along these lines. Sounds interesting based on what I read about it. December 29, 2005 at 4:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ivanovna, I cannot agree more with you on the point that oud is an acquired taste. It is definitely not gentle and merely pleasant. Its aroma is so potent and mystical that it is difficult to forget it. I love it, but there is something about Montale oud that does not appeal to me as much as I thought it would.

    I would also recomment oud from enfleurage.com. If you are in NYC, the store is a must visit for the one who loves scents. The collection they have is fascinating. December 29, 2005 at 4:04am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, I can actually relate to what you mention about Aoud Roses Petale, because while it is different from what I have, it is heavy and difficult to wear. One of my friends who now lives in Arab Emirates identified it as a fragrance that would be favoured there, heady, rich and opulent. I think that what you identify as strong synthetic wood is actually oud, as this same note is present in all other Aoud fragrances from Montale. Of course, this is very different from natural oud you have experienced.

    Thank you for the link. I found it very interesting! It is always fascinating to explore a usage of the same material in different cultural settings.

    Like you, I also really like Enfleurage, and I am planning another trip there soon. December 29, 2005 at 4:11am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Gail, lucky you! I would imagine that burning the wood might produce the most fascinating aroma, and although I have not tried doing so yet, I will make sure to find a way to experience it. December 29, 2005 at 4:12am Reply

  • Anya: Victoria, I called back my friends last night and asked *why* they didn’t like the perfume. One said it was so strong it overpowered the dinner, the other said it “wasn’t you”, being so woody, and, again, it was too strong. Both said they might like it in another setting, on another person 😉

    True, as your friend in the UAE says, it is very heady and best to keep that in mind. Now I must share something on the mystical lines 😉

    I posted the link to my friend’s website in my post, and got to thinking about him, as we haven’t kept in touch in the last year. He has gifted me with fine aloeswood, sandalwood, incense, and Oud. He gave me a ml of the famous 1971 Oud from a professor’s Ph.D. thesis work. That Oud is legendary, and very, very potent in the cosmic sense (Buddhist meditation, brainwave refs 😉

    I wrote my friend to let him know I was thinking of him, told him about the link, etc. This morning a member of my yahoo group sends me an email with my friend’s name in the subject line! Seems he called him yesterday to discuss sandalwood chips, and they had a long chat, and my friend sent wishs my way.

    Discuss amongst yourselves, lol.

    PS V, there is a HUGE market with synthetic Oud, European based, at that. I will send a bit of the Roses Petale, since that is the only Montale Oud I have, to my recently-relinked friend and ask his opinion. Nothing can fool his nose.

    PPS I actually see nothing wrong with Montale using synth Oud, if they wish. All the synth perfumers use synth rose, sandalwood, etc. Their customer base isn’t the base that would demand natural Oud, anyway, so there is no harm. Plus, it doesn’t put any more demand on the endangered aloeswood forests.

    PPS. V, if you wish to learn to smoulder, not burn (you never burn sandalwood or aloeswood), my friend’s link has instructions on the ash, mica plate, etc. you will need. You never want to see smoke rise, you bury the charcoal in the ash, place the mica plate above it, a little more ash, then the wood. You should only see heat waves, like you see in the air on a hot summer day, rise. The scent is dispersed gently, beautifully, smokelessly. December 29, 2005 at 9:40am Reply

  • linda: Thank you for an interesting description of oud! I never knew what it smelled like and now I really want to try it, even if low grade. I should make a trip to Enfleurage. All of these treasures in my town and I didnt even know about them. 🙂 December 29, 2005 at 1:42pm Reply

  • linda: If I have never tried any Montale ouds, which ones should I start with? December 29, 2005 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Anya: Oh, Linda, you will enjoy Enfleurage! I say that without ever visiting there myself, but I know many who have. It is a charming store, they have every raw aromatic you could wish to sample, and the owner is very knowledgable and helpful.I will bet her “low grade” is far superior to most sold on the market. Her “high grade” is heavenly, but make sure you are near a couch if you sniff, you may be overcome — the stuff truly is psychotropic.

    Is Aedes near her shop? You could sample the Montale line there, yes? December 29, 2005 at 1:59pm Reply

  • linda: I wish I could go today! 🙂 Aedes is close by and I will stop by there to sample Montale fragrances. I can’t wait to experience what you said about oud for myself. Thanks to you and V for expanding my horizons. December 29, 2005 at 2:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, sounds quite mystical! Things like this happen to me from time to time with my best friend who lives in Eastern Europe, and every single time it is like a jolt.

    I do not see anything wrong with using synthetic oud either, and there are some very interesting alternatives. It is definitely a better option that continuing to fell endangered trees. Farmed oud is another alternative one can find these days, although the resin from younger trees is just not as good. Still, it is very interesting. December 29, 2005 at 3:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, I am glad that it was interesting. I discover fascinating places in New York all the time. Enfleurage is definitely worth a visit. December 29, 2005 at 3:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: If you are new to Montale Aoud, I would recommend starting with Aoud Roses Petale and Aoud Lime. They are not nearly as strong as some other options from the line. Steam Aoud is also nice, but it is not that easily available in the States yet. December 29, 2005 at 3:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, I must say that your description is tempting me to explore Enfleurage more! Their collection of oils is astounding. December 29, 2005 at 3:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, please let me know if you visit the store as well as your impressions of it. I would be curious how oud will strike you. December 29, 2005 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Anya: L, I am so delighted that you will be able to visit both places. Just remember not to drink first, or the Oud will knock you out 😉 I’d be interested to hear what Trygve has to say about the zoning properties of Oud. December 29, 2005 at 5:46pm Reply

  • co: dear Anya,

    thank you so much for your posts, this is so intriguiging…and fantastic to get a small share of your knowledge!

    I have to ask my meditation teacher if oud is sometimes being used here in HK, in the monasteries during the retreats she is having with the zen monks! I would love to come across the experience of smelling/meditating with it!

    In the area around my office here are several sandalwood dealers, they got all kinds of shapes and blocks of wood but I wonder if its just infused with sandalwood or the real one, also there is this very natural driftwoodlike looking wood in small pieces, might this be the aloeswood?
    It all is still a kind of mystery to me…thank you for passing on the japanese incense link! Loving woody scents I will definitely explore more into this direction now and your posts are just being the little kick that was needed ;).
    My future lunchbreaks will be spent in the incense shops, although high quality stuff is not easy to find, most of it is the generic joss-stick for the local temples stuff, not pure/refined at all. Will try the process you described to Victoria, powdering the wood, placing it in ash, smouldering it, very soon! maybe this weekend! guess it takes years to master this technique…

    again, thank you and Victoria for starting this topic!!!! December 29, 2005 at 9:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, what do you think of Eden Botanicals oud? I have a little sample of it at home. December 29, 2005 at 9:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Co, I agree that the discussion was very interesting, and like you, now I am very curious to explore more. Aloeswood incense (kyara) is such a fascinating topic, as is oud in general. If you make new discoveries, please share, because I would be very curious to hear more. Other than Enfleurage, I am not aware of other places in NYC that sell incense and oud, although I am sure that there are others. December 29, 2005 at 9:37pm Reply

  • co: ….so I went to this little budhist shop at noon as I wanted to see what kind of urnes/containers they are having for burning the woodpowder. They have several kinds of all natural herbal powders and herbs for burning, sold in the most exotic packages from the Himalayas, China, India.
    The smells are strong but being burnt they give a very pleasant smoky smell, “cleaner” than incense and much more subtle than unburnt. The owner showed me to just put a little trail of powder on the ash, even a plate is fine to use.
    So now I got crushed pine, a special kind and next on the list is another mix of crushed herbs and another blend of himalayan powdered herbs.
    Mixing is advised and oh so many ideas are coming up, must try to burn tealeaves, dried rosemary, tomatoestems..maybe not? you never know!!! 🙂

    The owner has never heard of oud and explaining it to her didn’t ring a bell either….

    …shall tell you more soon… December 30, 2005 at 6:35am Reply

  • Anya: V, I believe you will be enchanted with the offerings of Enfleurage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you purchase, because, darn, those pesky natural aromatics are so complex, so daunting to work with, lol! (well, for some people!)

    I have to give a big thumbs down on EB’s Co2-extracted Oud. I find most of the EB products glorious, but the Oud they have is flat, one-dimensional. It’s not like it’s the poor quality aloeswood that would smell like vomit, it probably came from good quality aloeswood, but something is really missing in the CO2 process. Pass.

    BTW, all aloeswood is not Kyara, but all Kyara is aloeswood, just a superior grade, prized and respected. I have much aloeswood incense and wood bits, but only two Kyara, gifted and still hoarded, waiting for the “right” time to smoulder them. With Kyara, you only use a piece the size of a grain of rice. December 30, 2005 at 9:26am Reply

  • Anya: Dear Co
    Glad to hear you have expanded your olfactory experiences to the wonders the offerings of an incense shop in HK. I’m sure they have lovely stuff, but always be aware of the possibility of adulteration or cons with the very pricey stuff. Sandalwood has all grades of wood, so ask lots of questions and sample as many as possible. I have no idea if it’s adulterated with oil, real or synthetic, so buyer beware.

    Oud is the name for the distilled oil. It is also a Middle Eastern name, so no surprise she didn’t know it. Aloeswood is commonly called jinko in your part of the world. If that doesn’t work, just tell her it’s the wood used in Buddhist monasteries, and is much more expensive than sandalwood. It is the wood that has a fungus attack it, producing the fragrant resin, and is often harvested years after the tree is dead (ideal circumstances.) Nowadays, living trees are often felled, but that is not the traditional way.

    Mention the Kyara grade, which comes in yellow, black, green and iron. Hope that helps. December 30, 2005 at 9:32am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Co, thanks for sharing! Sounds very interesting. Crushed pine must be a wonderful scent. Looks like your oud search still continues.

    I am trying to imagine burning herbs. There are some varieties that smell great when burned, and others are not so. Your trip to the store sounds fascinating! December 30, 2005 at 6:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, thanks for explaining the difference and for telling about your experience with EB CO2 extracted oud. I know that enfleurage carries lots of interesting and high quality oils, therefore I shall definitely let you know what I think after I visit again. December 30, 2005 at 6:46pm Reply

  • co: Dear Anya,

    thank you so much for giving me the right hints of names to use during my “hunt”. This is very helpfull..
    I’ve emailed my meditation teacher now and am very curious what she has to say about it’s usage here in HK.

    Dear Victoria,
    so far my pineneedle smouldering has been an attempt in a kind of “scout at campfire” mood and result 😉
    note: dried herbs on ash will not continue smouldering, one little piece lit will burn to its end without spreading the “fire” to surrounding pieces
    sidenote: forget tealeaves, it stinks!
    next step: got sandalwood powder and made a base on top of ash, put dried herbs on top. Better result…but still lots of room for improvement here! 🙂
    the little buddhist shop is still closed, must inquire with the owner for the right method!!
    The scent of the pineneedles is delicious! calming and energizing and just to burn incense sticks seems so deja-vu now …. January 4, 2006 at 2:21am Reply

  • co: Dear Victoria,

    one more question….now being totally into smoky and woody scents, can you pl give me recommendations for scents I might like.
    The CDG incense series is nice to my nose, but there may be others with more woody accents…(and for some reason they all smell like CDG in the end, all their perfumes do that..signature of the house?)
    Tabac Blond sounds almost right but I do NOT like vanilla or anything pleasing, round in the basenotes, sounds weird I know and that cuts out many choices.
    …maybe you got an idea?

    High on my agenda is a visit to Caron during my next Paris trip, must explore the men’s scents as you mentioned they come without the typical gender basenotes, they may not be smoky though…

    thanks in advance! January 4, 2006 at 2:40am Reply

  • co: update:
    tried a better method last night:
    make a little mountain with the base incense powder. Light this and have the heat cover a good surface.
    Then sprinkle the herbs on top, not too many, just add more when needed.
    beautifull process and the scent is terrific!
    yepee! January 4, 2006 at 10:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Co, sounds wonderful! I can imagine that pineneedles might smell great, as I have always loved the smell of burning pine branches and cones.

    As for smoky and woody scents, I would recommend Paul & Joe Bleu, which contains oud, and the effect is warm and enveloping, with a lovely smoky touch. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque is a wonderful smoky fragrance. Moreover, you can find a number of options in the incense category:
    http://boisdejasmin.com/2005/05/fragrance_revie_2.html
    (scroll down to Incense)

    Annick Goutal Eau de Fier is a leather based fragrance, but it has a nice woody smoky touch, which might appeal to you. I have been wearing it often lately.

    Tabac Blond has a touch of sweetness, however it is still a dry fragrance, therefore if you have not tried it, I would still highly recommend it. January 4, 2006 at 10:35pm Reply

  • co: Dear V,

    great, thank you for your tips, will have to find these now. Fumerie Turque has been on my to-try list since an eternity.
    And after scrolling through your incense link with 2 more Caron’s mentioned I really need to go to their shop now! well, get to Paris first…
    thanks again coming in smoke signs from HK…. January 4, 2006 at 11:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear Co, my pleasure to help! I cannot wait to hear what your discoveries from the list might be. What are the main places for perfume shopping in Hong Kong? January 5, 2006 at 2:37am Reply

  • Anya: And now, Dear V, that you have sampled the Ouds at Enfleurage, please post your new observations 😉 Perhaps it could be a completely new thread on real Ouds, not synth ones.

    And while you’re posting, please tell me how to get notifications of new posts to threads. I click on Permalink but nothing happens. January 11, 2006 at 9:11am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, I am not sure typepad has that feature. I will research it further.

    As for a real oud, I have sniffed it before, which is why I started this post with a reflection on what real oud smells like. I must say though that the ouds from Enfleurage are the best quality oils I have encountered thus far. They are very beautiful and nuanced. January 12, 2006 at 3:11pm Reply

  • PaulK: I love black oud. It definitely makes my senses swim, especially when it dries down to that creamy base. I have the EB oud at home, was going to try mixing it with some essential oils but this discussion discouraged me a little. July 24, 2006 at 10:25pm Reply

  • James: I recently visited the trailer office of a small company in the middle of nowhere. There had been a fire there a while back, but everything had been restored. The furniture had been replaced with some leather recliners, and there was fake wood paneling everywhere. I walked in and was blasted by a burned out smell, the smell of smouldering old sofas hauled to the curbside by volunteer firefighters. The smell of fresh leather. The smell of sweat. I wracked my brain to figure out why it was so familiar. Then it hit me: It was Oud Cuir d’Arabie.

    I love this scent, but it is decidedly strange. The smokey note provided by birch tar or cade is used abundantly, and it takes a few minutes for this top note to evaporate to expose a rich leathery underpinning. Still, the smoke persists and if anyone has smelled merchandise sold at a department store fire sale, there are elements here. It would be commercially unfeasible to base a fragrance on real oud, in the same way that no major house includes E. Indian sandalwood in any appreciable amount. I love and own Montale Cuir d’Arabie, but please realize that the Firmenich company in Europe sells liters of its “Oud Base” every day. Despite the hype and backstory of “Oud” and its preciousness, I detected no real oud here. It is an an interpretation. I don’t see this as a downside, I just resent the hyperbole. November 8, 2006 at 1:24am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: James, yes, I agree. What you say corresponds with my impressions in the review. I have smelled real oud, and I can say that there is none in these scents. If it is real oud, then it must be the rather low quality, farmed one. Montale insists that they are using the real oud, but I remain skeptical. November 8, 2006 at 1:55am Reply

  • BridgetAnjellla: Ano Novo Feliz January 11, 2008 at 2:30pm Reply

What do you think?

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