At the first squirt of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud, I'm reminded of how Ormonde Jayne's Linda Pilkington described to me the smell of oud encountered during her trips to the Arab market in Bangkok: “like locomotive oil dripping on smelly cheese.”
MFK Oud starts with hints of that train oil-dunked cheese, along with a nostril-flaring twang of bleach. It's a little uncomfortably weird, and I'm wondering if this means the perfume contains real oud rather than an aromachemical. After all, it doesn't have that latex Band-Aid smell of most “oud” fragrances. (Kurkdjian's blurb accompanying his new perfume states: “My oud comes from Laos, where it grows the purest, the rarest and the most expensive.” So let's take it from him.)
Because I admire Francis K's perfumes and trust his talent, I stick with the weirdness. And what do you know -- by the fifteen-minute mark, Oud sorts itself out, the discordance resolving into harmony.
|Obligatory shot of Kurkdjian looking soulful.|
Oud is a "fresh" rendition of the fumie's favorite fungus. This is a full-but-sheer oud perfume. It's not blockily bludgeoning like a Montale, nor is it the savory leather of By Kilian Pure Oud. MFK Oud is soft, with a fruity veil. Listed notes include saffron and elemi gum, present in a subsonic way. As it subtly brews on the skin, faded curlicues of smoked cedar tease the nose.
This is an oud that does unexpected things, strobing lightly across the spectrum from animal and vegetable to mineral. MFK Oud very much a “table for one” scent, hovering close to the wearer -- and perhaps also involving the lucky person sitting on the wearer's lap.