Byredo Goes Into the Mystic
Oud is many things to many people. To the musically minded, it’s an almond-shaped, intricately embellished stringed musical instrument from the Middle East; to those who imbibe, it’s a style of medium-bodied brown Belgian beer; and for the linguists out there, it’s simply the Dutch word for “old,” or “archaic.” For the perfume community, oud is an exotic and incredibly rare oil made from the wildly fragrant resin of the Aquilaria tree, also known as Agarwood. Originally from the Assam region of India and now found throughout Southeast Asia, the fragrant elixir has been prized for thousands of years for its purported spiritual, mystical, and aphrodisiacal powers. A bevy of noteworthy perfume companies have given the magical extract a starring role in their eaux; there’s Pure Oud from By Kilian, Oud Wood by Tom Ford, and Midnight Oud by Juliette Has a Gun. This week, Ben Gorham, the brains behind Byredo, adds his own pair of oud-centric blends to the pot. Accord Oud is a heady blend of smoky and sweet with notes of blackberry, saffron, clary sage, patchouli, and powdery musks to round out the composition, while Oud Immortel feels like an ode to the ingredient’s exotic origins with potent notes of incense, cardamom, papyrus, Brazilian rosewood, tobacco leaves, and moss. Is it an aphrodisiac? As far as we’re concerned, totally. From the second we spritzed each onto our skin, it was love at first smell.
Byredo Accord Oud and Oud Immortel, $195 each, www.barneys.com.