Oud Perfume Politics {The 5th Sense in the News}


The advent of the popularity of oud perfumes in Euro-American cultures is leading an Arab Emirates columnist to propose to put back the Middle East on the map as one of the institutional centers of contemporary perfumery...

"Oud's ethereal appeal has not just maintained its popularity in the $30 billion (Dh110bn) global perfume industry but is increasing its share, being included in more than one in 10 of new fragrances." [...]

"The perfume industry can trace its roots to Arabia. The expertise and appreciation exists here to make it one of the centres once more."

Read more at Singing the Praises of Oud-Based Perfumes

The popularity of oud fragrances in the Middle East can be directly measured against that of celebrity fragrances. This gives us insight into what "popular" concretely means. Oud becomes comparable to a Beatles mania, except where it can apply today to pop singers Katy Perry or J-Lo.

"Perfumes from luxury brands such as Gucci and Chanel, and scents endorsed by celebrities including Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez are now competing with a greater number of Oud-inspired fragrances, according to retailers in the region."

Expect to see more oud-based celebrity perfumes in the future as the best of both worlds can be had.

Jo Malone present in the region since 2009 have managed to convince the regional clientèle. Their oud and bergamot pairing composed by perfumer Christine Nagel in 2010 is a top-seller.

"Oud and Bergamot is our No 1 seller," said a sales assistant at Jo Malone's outlet in Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. "It is not only our GCC customers that buy the fragrance, but people from the Orient and Russia love the strong smoky fragrance."

According to Xavier Renard of IFF, "The Middle East is the fastest-growing market in the world right now when it comes to fine fragrances,"

Oud then becomes not just the obvious sign of an Oriental influence on Western perfumery aesthetics. It is also a Trojan olfactory horse of sorts to help influence the Middle East in their taste and appreciation of the codes of Western perfumery. In other words, this cultural exchange may encourage Middle-Easterners to adopt fragrances that were once perhaps kept boxed after they were offered as luxury gifts.

Oud has become a magic ingredient if seldom a secret one although in some cases it can appear disguised for effect rather than for show as it's become more internalized by non-native speakers of the language of oud perfumes.

Read more at Luxury western perfume brands launch Oud-inspired fragrances to target Gulf consumers

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