Summary: Creed's newest fragrance offers an ode to oud, the resin of agarwood, and does so with inimitable success. With fresh topnotes that give the fragrance a crisp lift, Royal Oud is a sweet and spicy composition that is truly all about wood.
Pros: A peerless composition in the bewildering array of mainstream flankers, Royal Oud is sure to please lovers of woody orientals and may even convert those who are generally offput by oud's sometimes more astringent qualities. Creed donates a portion of the sales of Royal Oud to benefit children's health in India, where the composition's oud is sourced from.
Cons: None I can think of in terms of the actual composition. Although the quality of the ingredients sourced for Royal Oud is outstanding, the resulting price tag places this one in the luxe category.
Notes: From http://www.creedboutique.com
- Top Notes: A crown of Calabrian lemon, pink berry and Sicilian bergamot.
- Middle Notes: Cedar, galbanum and angelic root.
- Base Notes: Regal Indian oud, sandalwood and Tonkin musk.
Reminds me of: My first reactions were to think of L'Artisan's Tea for Two, Creed's Bois du Portugal, Cartier's Must pour Homme and Chanel Egoiste. There is something almost smoky and yet sweet and gingery about the overall feel of Royal Oud.
Designer's Description: "'Wood, leather, marble and gold,' elements of a royal Persian palace, inspire Olivier CREED, sixth-generation master perfumer of France, an architect of fragrance, to create new Royal-Oud for men and women. Rare, hypnotic, sumptuous oud, an ingredient coaxed from Agarwood trees of India –- and more costly per ounce than palladium –- lends its power to this blend. CREED Royal-Oud gives the contemporary American man and woman a touch of the splendor of palace life, Persian and Parisian™. Yet CREED offers mindful and responsible luxury; part of proceeds from U.S. sales of Royal-Oud benefits child health in India via the nonprofit organization Global Giving (www.globalgiving.org). Royal-Oud is worn by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to The Wall Street Journal. It is also worn by members of six U.S. presidential families." http://www.creedboutique.com
Number of times tested: 10+ over 6 weeks from a bottle sent to me by Creed.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 1.
Fragrance Strength: Creed's "Millesime" fragrances are equivalent to an Eau de Parfum concentration.
Development: ( Linear / Average / Complex) A smooth, well-blended potion that while not exactly complex still offers glimmers of warm golden hues – at times a little bit smoky, at times a bit ambery. As such, the fragrance is similar at its opening to its drydown.
Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) Lasted about 10 hours on my skin and slightly longer in its final stages.
Sillage: (A little / Average / A Lot) Unlike its subtle predecessor, last year's delicious Aventus with its striking pineapple and leather accord, Royal Oud created a trail of scent that lingered for hours. A friend who had been walking behind me in a theater noticed and complimented me about three hours after I had originally applied 3 or 4 sprays.
Where Can I Buy It? $300 US, 75ml Millesime spray, http://www.creedboutique.com
Note About the Packaging: Royal Oud is housed in the standard white paper boxes embossed with the Creed logo and the glass bottle sports a black and gold cap along with a black and gold label.
The Bottom Line: As usual, I am loving where Olivier Creed keeps taking the company. In previous reviews I've alluded to his clever and adventurous uses of food-inspired perfume materials such as pineapple (Aventus), rice steam (Love in White), rum (Virgin Island Water), and plum (Acqua Fiorentina), to name a few, and congratulate Creed for continuing to take such risks with Royal Oud.
For years, I found that Chanel Egoiste, with its rich, woody basenotes and sweet, honeyed nuances had no equal. Little by little I began to notice that I drfited towards similarly inspired compositions as noted in the "reminds me of" section above. Royal Oud easily joins that group and I'm happy to also be reminded of Creed's earlier success, Bois du Portugal (also bergamot, cedar and sandalwood). But if Bois du Portugal was Creed's answer to the spicy orientals of the mid-80's, perhaps closest to rather heavy scents like Obsession and Santos due to its substantial lavender notes, Royal Oud re-attempts the genre and does so with a lighter touch that keeps the composition from being too overbearing or dated.
At first spray, I admit I was surprised. Having tested several oud fragrances over the years, I was ready for a certain type of attitude from Royal Oud – agarwood resin often emits a petrol-like bitterness. But instead of another Montale variation or a Middle Eastern perfume oil, this newest Creed smells more like a Sheldrake/Lutens creation and almost has a gourmand edge. At times during the wearing I kept wondering where the honey, tea, ginger and cinnamon were coming from. Though galbanum and angelica are listed in the notes, I don't imemdiately perceive them in the way I would with scents like Chanel #19 or Angelique Encens, respectively.
Overall, the effect of Royal Oud is indeed regal, and 'Wood, leather, marble and gold" is a perfect description of the olfactory images conjured by the aroma…well perhaps not leather as much as chai tea.
Read more about Royal Oud at CreedBoutique.com
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