I've taken months to try and put together a post describing Creed's newest fragrance, Royal Oud. Being a fresh, floral scent sort of girl, this has been quite a departure into much headier territory, and unravelling the spicy layers has taken me some long afternoons with my wrist pressed up against my nose, often in public, which is not helping my rather eccentric reputation any. But with the Orient Express as this week's getaway, and all the talk of the meeting of east and west, this felt like the perfect fragrance for that journey. This is the scent for the sunburnt Foreign Service agent across from you in the dining car.
Blending the viscous resin of the Agarwood tree of India with cedar and citrus, the first whiff of Royal Oud is that of clean, fine wood, with an almost soapy, luxurious texture. Cinnamon, angelica and sandalwood add to the exotic spiciness, but never stray from the tasteful sophistication. This is the east of Delacroix's Orientalism, a beautiful mix of British diplomat and Eastern mystic, and brings to mind the world of T.E. Lawrence, the restrained English sophistication gradually sinking into an altogether more sumptuous and exotic territory.
Were you to only sample this straight from the bottle, that's where your journey would end - a beautiful scent in itself, well crafted but nothing terribly special. Only weeks after reaching this conclusion did I discover the real magic of Royal Oud - after a short period on the skin, all the spices and sophistication dry down into a completely unexpected and mysterious soft smoke - slightly sweet fumes of dry, aromatic wood burning hot and clean, like a phoenix emerging from the flames. It's beautiful and strange, and seems to only occur when the fragrance settles into the skin.
Oud is a very trendy ingredient in fragrances at the moment, but most of them tend to play up the aggressive atringent quality of it, which can sometimes be bitter and strong. If you like that punchy, clear hit of the aromatic sap, you may be disappointed here, but I far prefer the subtle alchemy of Royal Oud. It's quite possibly my favorite scent for men, helped by the fact that any man wearing this would have to be quite well-heeled to afford it. Don't leave it all to the men though - this is feminine and mysterious enough to suit Freya Stark-type characters and adventuresome sophisticates spot on.
(Creed kindly sent me a sample for consideration)
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