Oud 27 EDP by Le Labo

Year: 2009
Nose: Vincent Schaller

One of the few oud-based scents I like. I admit this is not one of my favourite notes, so among the thousands of scents I've never tried yet, oud scents are not exactly on my "top" list. But this one was quite a surprise. A friend of mine brilliantly defined this "an imaginative oud" and in fact, I think she was perfectly right. The opening is pleasant, a peculiar balance between an oud base, with its signature indolic/animalic personality, and a velvety, delicate, dusty rose breeze. The overall smell is much ethereal and spacious, but sharp and clear. The notes are linear and thin, the ambiance is rarefied and silent, vast and wide but calm and "void" in a way. All it's there, but all is transparent. Initially the oud note is much refined and civilised, and also quite subtle. It's more of a linear, woody accord, quite clean and a bit rubbery, with just a slight but palpable and ambiguous "oud" heart. The same for the rose note, it's talcum-powdery but restrained and positively plain. This makes me think of "sheets", one on another, on a perfectly white glass desk, if that makes sense. The vibe is open-air, but industrial too, or more precisely, a "lab" vibe, with that specific medicinal/suspended mood, rarified but oppressing too. I also think of waiting lounges and that kind of post-modern "non-places". After a while a balsamic refreshing breeze arises, still with a powdery feel, and I like this passage a lot – often notes vanish or tone down, this instead just "comes in" like if someone opened a window. The "key" adjective here are "clean", "sophisticated", "subtle", "aerial". The oud base is there and it's shady, but is also delicate and fairly inoffensive (which is perhaps one of the reasons why I like this scent, I like oud either like this, or just raw and unleashed, like is the darkest Montale's). After one hour or so, a nice twist again, some unexpected accords come in shape; a woody/incense nuance, a dry white musks accord, a slightly salty breeze. Luminous, in a totally contemporary, artificial meaning. Moreover, some of those notes fades away, and all that aerial lightness gently "vanishes". The drydown turns almost into a delicate and essential chypre, a nostalgic, dark and somehow sensual thin accord, still clean but a bit more dense, gloomy and sweaty. A great evolution for a really good scent, not my cup of tea but brilliantly executed and worth a try.


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