Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud brings out my full “monkey, Neanderthal, man” perfume hoarding...uh...binging...uh...collecting tendencies. As long as the Perfume Wizards keep delighting the populace with incremental variations on my favorite perfume themes (rose + stuff and incense + stuff), I'm going to justify acquiring these variations as “supporting advancements in evolutionary science”.
Since you asked, yes, I do already own People of the Labyrinths A*Maze (jammy saffron rose oud), which I've been wearing a lot this blessedly cool LA summer, as well as Montale White Aoud (powdery saffron rose oud). And even minus any saffron, my Amouage Homage Attar surpasses “man” and ascends to...what? E.T.? George Clooney?
So -- back on planet Earth, it would seem that when it comes to rose ouds, I'm fully evolved. Yes, yes I am. Yes I...NO I'M NOT! Who slipped Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud into the “rose + stuff” pile when I wasn't looking?
Truthfully, I had noticed Midnight Oud around at the perfume sock hops for the last year. But I'd been too busy dancing with Frédéric Malle Une Rose and By Kilian Pure Oud to pay much attention to Midnight Oud's special slant on the rose-oud shuffle.
Quick oud sidebar: this resin is a fragrantly fungal byproduct of the agarwood tree, and adds a complex savoriness to any composition. When asked, “animal, vegetable, or mineral?” oud will eagerly shout out, “All three!”, because depending on its origin and how it's produced, the odor ranges from leathery to earthy to oceanic. Not to mention cheesy, oily, and Band-Aid-y.
In Midnight Oud, the oud smells leathery. Like brand-new leather, along with saffron and crisp, bright rose. Even with the rose, Midnight Oud isn't particularly “floral”. It's the kind of rose that's more fruit and wine than actual flower. A fruit and wine rose in a box, because there's an appealing sweet cardboard dryness to this perfume.
Midnight Oud's main players are supported by geranium, a “crisp rose” shape-shifter if ever there was, and a woody-amber accord that pipes up in the drydown. It's the drydown that's the letdown. The warm woody amber seems so...expected, so...so.
It's the same problem I have with the otherwise mind-meltingly beautiful By Kilian Rose Oud. The rose-oud tango in both perfumes starts out simultaneously deluxe and kinky, and then trails out in a hum of okayness. Don't launch me into outer space and then tell me you've run out of rocket fuel, mister!
But this is really just a woody amber quibble, because I'm a sucker for Midnight Oud's sophisticated boho stroll. This saffron-tanged leather rose is a triumph of evolutionary science!
Incidentally, Midnight Oud is a limited edition because originally, Juliette Has a Gun director Romano Ricci had only intended to create five fragrances for the line. The distributor tells me that Ricci didn't want Midnight Oud to be his final fragrance (after Citizen Queen, Lady Vengeance, Miss Charming and Calamity J), so he dubbed it a "limited edition". There will be another limited edition fragrance coming out this holiday season called Not a Perfume.
Those self-imposed rules seem a tad arbitrary, but Ro knows best, I suppose.
Top photo: Joni Mitchell and Cher at a party on the Queen Mary held by Paul and Linda McCartney, 1975