Armani Prive Oud Royal : Perfume Review

33333
Odalisque Matisse

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

If Ambre d’Orient explored amber in the opulent and gilded interpretation, Oud Royal wraps it in leather and dry woods. While the boldness of oud, a natural raw material of striking richness and complexity, is the axis, around which Oud Royal revolves, the strength and persistence of amber makes it more of an animalic amber-leather composition. The surprises do not end here. As the fragrance develops, instead of a brash and animalic, it becomes smooth and seductive.

Created by Symrise perfumer Evelyne Boulanger, Oud Royal is a fragrance from Armani Privé La Collection des Mille et une Nuits, which also includes Ambre d’Orient and Rose d’Arabie. It opens up on a delightful note reminiscent of rum and dried raisins, which given a subtle touch of saffron gives the opening accord an abstract gourmand quality. That dried fruit compote and pistachio candy sensation is fleeting, but it helps to soften the impact of oud, myrrh, labdanum and leather, which are quite heavy and opaque by nature. The crisp, dry amber and vanilla underpinning the composition infuse it with an appealing radiance. Like Ambre d’Orient, Oud Royal is a classical Middle Easter oud theme reinterpreted to fit the contemporary Western tastes.

As I previously reviewed Ambre d’Orient, the fragrances from this collection are in fact quite opulent, well-crafted, made with high-quality materials. Yet, as I am trying to get over the sticker shock of £170 per bottle (according to Harrod’s pricing,) I have to ask myself whether this price is warranted. I really enjoy the decadent sensuality that Oud Royal conveys as well as its prêt-a-porter interpretation of the leather-oud notes that sometimes are quite difficult to wear (such as by Kilian Pure Oud, beautiful though it is.) Yet, it does not strike me as particularly new or original. Or perhaps, something of this Arabian Tale was lost in translation.

Armani Privé Oud Royal (fragrance family: oriental) includes notes of davana, saffron, licorice, myrrh, guaiacwood, labdanum, incense, oud, amber, musk, vanilla. Armani Privé fragrances are available from Saks5thAvenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York.

Painting: L’Odalisque à la culotte rouge, Henri Matisse.

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18 Comments

  • Olfactoria: Good morning!
    You make this perfume sound wonderful, but I think you are right, that one can probably find similar fragrances at a more appropriate price point. December 9, 2010 at 9:47am Reply

  • Marina: I love dried raisins/dried fruit note anywhere, always. I wish there was a scent that smelled like that from start to finish. Funnily enough, the closest to that, imo, is Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums. December 9, 2010 at 10:07am Reply

  • Kitty: Now I have to try both the Armani & Marquis de Sade! December 9, 2010 at 10:33am Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: Wonderful review! I think I will skip this one, in general, I’m not a huge fan of the more refined and well balanced oud scents I’ve tried. I enjoy layering the brutish ones with something softer, or just wearing them on their own. December 9, 2010 at 3:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: @Olfactoria
    It is a nice fragrance, but for the price, it does not offer enough that I would rush and purchased it myself. On the other hand, if someone from my family gave it to me as a surprise gift, I would have been delighted. Granted, by Killian Pure Oud is even more expensive at $350. December 9, 2010 at 5:44pm Reply

  • Victoria: @Marina
    Marina, I do love that rum soaked raisin note of davana. I have not tried Marquis de Sade yet, but I know that I have a sample someplace. I suppose that it is time to dig it out and finally try it. You have mentioned it to me previously. December 9, 2010 at 5:51pm Reply

  • Victoria: @Kitty
    Me too on Marquis de Sade! It will be something new for me as well. 🙂 December 9, 2010 at 5:52pm Reply

  • Victoria: @Carrie Meredith
    I also like my ouds darker and richer. I have a few traditional Middle Eastern ones that I turn to, when I need something truly dramatic.
    Which are your favorite brutish ouds? December 9, 2010 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: I really love By Kilian Pure Oud and Montale Bois de Aoud, but I am looking for more! A more refined version that I love is Tom Ford Oud Wood. I would love to try some of the authentic Arabian oud scents, I’m just not really sure where to start. What do you suggest? Is there anyplace that you know of that does sample vials? December 10, 2010 at 12:02am Reply

  • Judith: This has many of my favorite notes, but the price and your final comments made me put my wallet away (for which I thank you). But now it sounds as if I should seek out Marquis de Sade (which has been in the back of my mind for some time). Great review, as always, V. December 10, 2010 at 6:41am Reply

  • Victoria: @Carrie Meredith
    Sounds like we have similar tastes in ouds. By Killian Pure Oud and Rose Oud are my favorite out of Westernized ouds. Anya’s Garden Temple has a pure oud note, which is dramatic.
    For true Arabic-style ouds, I would recommend Arabian Oud. I got a sampler from the Perfumed Court, and there were several that I liked. The Arabian Oud collection is huge and is constantly changing, so if you are going to pick a few to try, go for the ones described as oud with amber, woods, saffron. I find their more floral blends to be bland.

    P.S. Oh, I recall the one I liked from Arabian Oud–Oud Al Ameerat. December 10, 2010 at 10:10am Reply

  • Victoria: @Judith
    So nice to see you here!! I think that it is definitely time to try Marquis de Sade.
    As much as I like the 1001 Nights Collection in isolation, when I compare the fragrances to what has already been done, my enthusiasm wanes. In general, that is my feeling on the entire Armani Prive line, which I find overpriced for what it is. The only fragrance I keep returning to is Bois d’Encens. December 10, 2010 at 10:15am Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: I was going to mention that I am not fond of amber, or that it’s not fond of me, one or the other. I will check out TPC and the Anya’s Garden, and just all the read the notes carefully. Thank you very much! December 10, 2010 at 10:53am Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! I also should mention that the Middle Eastern ouds are extremely strong, even when used in small quantities. They are oil based as a rule, given the Islamic proscriptions against the use of alcohols. I like to dab a tiny bit on my scarves for a really nice, but not overwhelming sillage. December 10, 2010 at 12:25pm Reply

  • aotearoa: Victoria, I will try this – your reviews are seductive! Thank you for your Oud reviews.I would love to try some “real” oud’s but the selection is overwhelming.I did try some Arabian Ouds but I want more Oud!
    I must confess I love ambre soie and am wearing it in my summer. I also would like a decant of bois d’encens. So the prive’s are interesting to me, if pricey…
    I look forward to your writing as always
    Fiona December 12, 2010 at 3:23am Reply

  • Victoria: Fiona, have you tried by Killian Pure Oud? It is a very true oud, even those it is a recreation. Anya’s Garden Temple is another very true oud, sweeter and more resinous than by Killian’s.
    I also enjoy Ambre Soie, although I have not worn it in some time. I like it chocolate facet, which is very seductive. December 12, 2010 at 9:07pm Reply

  • aotearoa: Thank you Victoria – I have tried a small sample and at first thought it’s lasting power too short – now it is gone I want more – a pity it is so costly…! I will order some Temple after your review.
    Your kind consideration in replying is so appreciated. December 14, 2010 at 4:18am Reply

  • Victoria: Fiona, you are welcome! I know, the price of Pure Oud is the only reason I have not purchased it yet. Otherwise, it is one of the most perfect Western takes on this idea. December 14, 2010 at 9:19am Reply

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