Since 2009 - when we first proposed to gauge the new, emerging fashion and even admittedly craze for oud perfumes - the trend has not abated but on the contrary taken on the proportions of a small olfactory tsunami. One by one, it seems, perfume houses have each and everyone of them added an oud fragrance to their catalogs. Hermès' Hermessence collection has yet to follow suit, as does Les Exclusifs de Chanel or Serge Lutens, but most of the major and reference perfume houses that you can think of, now have an oud perfume to offer...
Comparable in this respect to patchouli which was first introduced in Europe from India in the mid-19th century, oud has made an entrance into the olfactive culture of Europe which is comparable in its long-term cultural significance, it seems. The drive is justifed in part by commercial considerations. Perhaps even by ego considerations: who can put out the best oud out there? But when the oud note appears as a subtler perfumery effect in a fragrance, you know that it has become part of the established vocabulary of the perfumer.
Like patchouli, it is also metaphorically, classified as a wood note, although it can be argued that agarwood has more of an animalic scent profile and behavior in its capacity to bloom with unsuspecting power at times. In its natural state as an odorant material - which has had to be replaced by synthetic blends most of the time - oud is both wood and animal as in the process of decay of the wood, which gives the much sought-after resin, not only fungus but insect larvae and bacteria are involved in the transformative decomposition process.
Here are some of the references in oud-driven and oud-inspired perfumery since 2009
Byredo Accord Oud
Byredo Oud Immortel
Illuminum Rose Oud
Illuminum Wild Tobacco
Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud
SoOud Al Jana
Thierry Mugler Miroir des Voluptés
Brent Leonesio Untitled #8
Creed Royal Oud
Illuminum Arabian Amber
Illuminum Scarlet Oud
Mona di Orio Oud
Susanne Lang Untitled #6
Trish McEvoy Black Rose Oud