Memo Shams: The Last Word On Oud Has Not Been Uttered Yet (2011) {New Fragrance}



With its latest release Shams meaning "Sun" in Arabic, Parisian niche perfumery Memo seems to be stressing the point that oud or agarwood is not to be viewed anymore as a material signalling an effort at originality but rather as a new classic note almost on a par with rose in its new-found iconicity. Oud has become one of the indispensable and expected olfactory notes every self-respecting perfumery ought to offer in their catalog, it seems. It's not a trend anymore, it's a new cultural motif.

Guerlain, one muses, probably ought to have done an Idylle Duet with rose and oud instead of rose and patchouli to show they are going with the flow of society...


Oud, it is interesting to note, came at a time when the dusky and dark tonalities of chypre fragrances were being expurgated into neo-chypres. It came to us at the same time that light patchoulis and white patchoulis became the norm. A dark sun was needed from a different material not under the attacks of legislation.

Guerlain were one of the first to turn to oud and more literal Arabian inspiration with Oud Sensuel in 2007. But then, this vein of inspiration was left more fallow by the house while a veritable oud wave (see Oud Timeline up to 2009 ; update for 2010-2011 needed) has swept over European and American perfumeries.

Shams is Nemo's oud and is described as a solar composition inspired by the legend of the Persian god Mithra.

Notes include pepper essence, ginger, saffron, vetiver, Russian pepper, tonka bean, birch essence, tolu absolute, styrax absolute, oud, labdanum resinoid.

Available at Harvey Nichol's, Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marché.

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