Perfume Pen Pals: By Kilian Incense Oud


So this evening, I put on a sample of Incense Oud, which is not one of the Calice Becker By Kilians, but instead one of the Sidonie Lancesseur By Kilians, the perfumer behind the less memorable perfumes in the line.

Have you tried it? Do you remember it? It's okay, more incense than oud, and more sweet woodsy warmth than either of those things (but you can't exactly call a perfume Sweet Woodsy Warmth and expect not to get laughed at.)

One slice of sweet woodsy warmth coming right up!

The incense is on the transparent side and the whole creation is rather inconsequential. And yet if I had a bottle, I'd occasionally wear it. Of course if I had a bottle, you should revoke my perfume license and have me committed because it's $400.

I need a nap.



I told you three weeks ago that I'd tried it, but you were probably in the middle of your 10th pneumonia relapse and it didn't sink in. I'd done an in-store whore's bath at Saks, and have since been scrounging samples every time I'm near a By Kilian cask.

I find Incense Oud very peppery at the start, and a bit sparkling, like frankincense and aldehydes vibrating against each other. There's something of the dry airiness of Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady to it, and they do share the Lady's incense/rose/patchouli/sandalwood/musk. Oh! And the geranium, too.

Given the relative force of Pure Oud and Rose Oud, Incense Oud is more subtle. All three are what I consider "woofer" perfumes, revealing their beauty almost subsonically, as opposed to tweeter standout By Kilian Love and Tears. (Love and Tears' jasmine is shrill and sharp and sibilant. And Amouage Epic Man is the ultimate woofer perfume.)

Kicking back with some mellow oud jams.

Incense Oud is nowhere near the monolithic incense brick of Comme des Garçons Avignon. It's more like an incense pillow. A pillow filled with crumbled monolithic incense brick.

I've just reapplied my sample now, and I'd say it comes off like a more masculine version of the Lady, because of the pepperiness. But there's a real similarity in the feel. I like it!

Jeez, my "monkey, Neanderthal, man" scale is becoming ever more incremental with all these rose ouds there are suddenly in the world. Because like you and your collection of black V-neck sweaters, I feel I need to possess every new iteration of the genre.

Rose and oud! Oud and incense! Rose and oud and incense! It's turning into Monty Python's "Spam Song." But I love them all. Even the ones I haven't smelled yet.


"The Spam Song"
Katie, I need another nap after reading your enthusiastic response. You and Charlie Sheen would be a blast together at a barbecue. Charlie Sheen's more of a "kitchen guest" at barbecues. Incense Oud is a little sweet for me, it's too pillowy. If I'm gonna spend $400 on a bottle of perfume, I want to feel some discomfort. Aside from the discomfort I'll feel from spending $400 on a bottle of perfume. Dan
Dan, I'm calling Incense Oud a woofer perfume, you're calling it inconsequential. We could both be wrong. But all I know is that I enjoy the animalic savoriness of the oud putting some heft into the pillowy-ness. But maybe not $400 enjoy. Katie
Katie, Incense Oud has no actual oud listed among its notes. Which makes sense to me because five hours later, I get all pillow and no animal. Dan
Dan, In that case, I'm probably smelling stuffed animal. Katie
Pastry Nook via Madonna Inn Easy Listening via Retro Vintage Modern Hi-Fi Charlie Sheen via


  1. I, um...there's so much here, uh, I, what? Hands on knees, man, hands on knees - remember your training.

    Where to begin? First of all, hella weird to see the Madonna Inn featured in a Katie column (I grew up in San Luis Obispo area.)

    Second of all, the phrase, "I'm getting all animal and no pillow." This is brilliant and will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day, if not the entire cosmic enchilada.

    Thirdly, if'n we're on the Oud Baby Oud Say Oud train, you must acknowledge the "All Animal, All The Time and Worth Way More on the Street than 400 Bucks" sheer seismic power of Byredo's Accord Oud. This is the hottest sex of your life in a bottle.

  2. I have one of those oud burning thingies that men use to scent their thobes. One lets the smoke waft up and around the thobe. So to me oud is a dewds fragrance. But don't tell Charlie Sheen about this practice as he's likely to put it in his pipe and smoke it.

  3. Kate - what is a thobe? I know from a thingie, but not from a thobe. (all apologies to Dr. Seuss, who celebrated a birthday earlier this week.)

  4. Thobe--

  5. Haven't tried Incense Oud yet, but I'm on the Oud Train. In fact, this morning, yes, first thing, 6:45 am, I had the insane urge to do a side-by-side comparisan of BK Pure Oud and Dior Leather Oud. It started with a post on Perfume Posse about Leather Oud, and ended with me in the shower, realizing that this combination might not be suitable for the workplace.

    So then, I turned to this blog and realized that oud is indeed everywhere! So I stopped worrying about the traces on my arms. Because neither the Dior nor the BK would succumb to a mere shower! And I should have oud with my eggs and Spam!

  6. Kate,

    Thanks for the thobe link. Most clarifying! Following on from your "thingy" and "dewd" lexicon, I was sure "thobe" was a soon-to-be-Urban-Dictionaried slang term for...err..."royal turtle head" or "man root" or...err...forget it.

    Anyway, I relieved to hear that only thobes are smoked, and not sausages.

  7. Katie,

    All this talk about a thobe reminded me of a show Joanne Lumley did last year for ITV. She was traveling the Nile for ITV. Here is a portion of an interview she did on about a local beauty treament. See girls its just not for the guys!

    Did you enjoy trying the local beauty treatments where you sat over a burning fire?
    This was a treatment for brides to be. You tie a huge black sack around your neck and you’re naked underneath. You make a little sandalwood scented, charcoal fire and you sit on a stool over the fire with your sack for up to 2 hours. They say this shrinks your nethermost regions thereby giving men greater pleasure, so brides do it. So I had a go at it but I was a bit anxious about it. I thought, ‘Will this make my bum like a flame thrower?’ But it didn’t and after being in the Sudanese desert it was fairly mild compared with that heat.

    As for the Oud Train been on it for awhile now. Katie it is a wooofer!


  8. Stefush,

    If you know the Madonna Inn, then you'll know the fab drive-in movie theater across the street from it. I love San Luis Obispo! Oh yeah, and those sulphuric hot springs just south of the Madonna Inn, Sycamore Mineral Springs.

    I check my notes on Byredo Accord Oud, and here's what I'd written:
    "Accord is a fruity woody scent. S'okay."

    I'm thinking "S'okay" is not code for "hottest sex of my life in a bottle". I must have been distracted by Byredo M/Mink, which is dazzlingly weird/knife edge nauseating. I keep meaning to write something up on that.

  9. m61,

    Between your Dior Leather Oud and BK Pure Oud, you could have powered the whole damn Oud Train just by your smell alone!

    Dan wrote to me recently that Dior Leather Oud was too much for him. And his cats.


    "Smoke-shrunk nether regions" sounds like a cross between flame-dried golden raisins and hickory-smoked almonds.

  10. KP Duty -

    Of course I know that drive-in and the springs! I grew up there, woman! I went to Morro Bay High School and San Luis Obispo was like the Big City, especially on Thursday nights when the Farmers Market is held.

    Of course, now SLOTown is like Santa Barbara North, which is a horrible thing.

    As to your "s'okaying" Byredo, I can't help you. That fragrance puts me into a very singular state, just like the music of Jane's Addiction does. I think we should have a "Sex In A Bottle" thread sometime - I'd be interested in what the Smelliverse considers it's all time favorite sexy scents.

  11. What is something I can smell to identify oud? I get headaches from incense, so this is not the right choice.

    Random sidenote: When I was in Switzerland this past year, I noticed all women wearing perfume seemed to smell like incense or patchouli, or maybe some combo of both. Do Europeans scent makers tend to put more of those notes in than the scents that seem to sell here? Maybe Americans just love a fruity, flowery scent palette more...

  12. Maggie,

    2nd question first: there isn't such a thing as "Euro remixes" of fragrances released worldwide, but I love the idea of that. You've hit on it with "Americans just love a fruity, flowery scent palette more" - I'm sure that accounts for the perception that Europeans smell more "deep and exotic." I also notice that Europeans have access to better technology and cooler shoes.

    As for a perfume to smell to handily identify incense-free oud, By Kilian Pure Oud is a lovely one. By Kilian are pretty good about offering samples at their in-store locations, and there's also the usual online suspects offering samples.

  13. Katie, I would like to comment on the oud subject that I'm an arabic women & I've been raised & grow up where oud is used in at least in a weekly basis for going to mosque for friday pryers,for weddings and celebrations. I don't know how to describe oud in words cos English is my second language But since the oud phenomena started I didn't like most of the department store brands, I still buy my oud from Arabic perfume shops. As I told you,since we had Harvy Nichols, I tried BK pure oud & I can say it has a good oud smell. There is another brand attracted me Sospiro the perfume name is Afgano puro Katie you have to try it, the sales man said it has oud and musc I love this combo. Hessa

    1. Hi Hessa, I'm glad you weighed in on the oud topic given your cultural background. I'm glad to hear By Kilian Pure Oud smells authentic, and in fact, I've had that feedback from others familiar with real oud.

    2. I read the other comments & as funny as they are, it is an eye opening reading. If I'll try to describe oud I wouldn't say sexy I know men mostly consider it sexy but to me its up-lifting I would reach my oud wen I'm sad or stressed out, its cousy and spiritual in the same time cos we use it in our religous occasions and it is luxurious as it is really expensive. Hessa

  14. Hi--

    Are any of your Arabic perfume shops online?

    1. Hi, I'm afraid most of them don't have on line shopping but tow of the most famous ones do have sites if like to check them. located in Saudi Arabia the second one from Dubai.