As soon as I adopt a policy of never using the word 'oud' again, along comes an agar perfume which deserves a mention.The Côte d'Azur-based brand Reminiscence may seem like an unlikely source for a half-decent example of this most depressingly ubiquitous of fragrance genres, but their Oud is far from shoddy. The main problem with all these oud scents is that very few of them contain significant (if any!) quantities of the substance itself, partly because it's expensive and partly because there isn't actually that much of it around. The 'solution' is to use gallons of synthetic woods, leathers and musks as substitutes. Needless to say, most of the results turn out to be an embarrassing, unconvincing mess, as mono-dimensional as they are crude. Reminiscence's version almost certainly uses a great deal of these synthetics too, but it does so with a lighter touch, lifting the heart of the construction with an exuberant dose of bergamot and adding an unexpected, fibrous edge with what comes across as carrot seed oil. Okay, the very final stage of the drydown can't quite get away from Franken-wood territory, but most of what comes before is laudable. A relatively transparent, sweet oud, it presents a fantastical, fairy-tale-like take on Arabia, in keeping with the golden stars decorating the bottle. Try to find it, if you can.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained in 2013.]