In the final part of this series, I will be going over a real treat - the rich and alluring, Oud Wood by Tom Ford. But first, let us go over the note of Oud.
Oud is another one of those notes, like vetiver, that many designer and niche houses have developed one or two fragrances in an attempt to showcase the note and bring out its natural appeal. Niche houses tend to do better in this regard since oud oil itself is more pricey to produce when compared to other ingredients, similar to Ambergris and Jasmine. Often times when oud is a note in designer fragrances, it is generally a more synthetic knockoff mimicking oud or the oud note is very subdued.
Oud oil is derived from agarwood, which is a fragrant dark resinous wood formed in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a type of mold. The resin taken from the trees is called "agar" which is produced when the tree is damaged. The reason it is so expensive is due to the depletion of the aquilaria tree. Various species of the aquilaria are found all throughout south-east Asia and India.
There is really is no comparison to the scent of oud. It might be described as a woody, soft, fruity, dark, animalistic, and resinous amber. Some people claim it smells like a fragrant damp wood, but yet others claim that it really depends on how the oud was cultivated from the agarwood as to what aspect it takes on, whether woody, fruity, or musky.
So without further ado, let us check out the notes in Oud Wood.
The notes here are well balanced, and although it is no doubt a "Woody Oriental", it has some gourmand qualities as well due to the base notes.
As with the other Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances, Oud Wood comes in three main sizes:
50ml (1.7oz) ~$230USD
100ml (3.4oz) ~$312USD
250ml (8.5oz) ~$595USD
Grey market sites like fragrancenet.com actually do have this for about 50 or so US dollars cheaper than the Tom Ford website (as of this writing).
This fragrance was first released in 2007 and the lead perfumer behind this fragrance is Richard Herpin.
This is one of the unisex fragrances in the Private Blend Collection. David Letterman, in 2010 while hosting his show, commented that Taylor Swift smelled like "expensive wood". This is referring to the fact that Talyor likes to wear Oud Wood and for a time it was said to be her signature scent. Many reviewers found this odd because this sort of woody type of fragrance has an unmistakenly masculine quality despite its soft and smooth nature.
The presentation is typical as I went over in the last two parts of this series, however, Oud Wood comes in a grey bottle rather than a dark brown. Very classy and refined design and one that sets the Tom Ford Private Collection apart from other niche lines, just as Creed is known for their flask style bottles with the crowning cap.
This scent reminds me of a hunky lumberjack who is wearing a clean flannel, despite hanging out in a damp forest all day contemplating the meaning of life. From the top there is a spicy and sweet aroma that is just so delightful, reminding me of a rich antique store, full of heartwarming stories of the past. The cardamom and pepper work together to create this spicy wood accord. If you aren't familiar with the way cardamom smells, it is nutty, woody, with a hint of fennel or anise. The pepper isn't overpowering here; it isn't sharp and it compliments the other accords nicely.
As this starts to dry down, that is when the damp woody resins of the oud, the soft sandalwood, and the earthy vetiver work their magic. It is like the lumberjack decided to come down from the forest, set up camp, and relay his manly wisdom upon a group of visitors spellbound by his genuinely warm demeanor. It smells of fresh soil and exposed roots, and sweet wood smoke, and resiny bark -- the kind of stuff that men are made of.
The tonka bean, vanilla, and amber combination is typical to a gourmand fragrance. It provides the warmth and the sweetness and ties everything together once that initial spiciness winds down. While those woody accords stay strong throughout and define the character of this fragrance, the sweetness is like a slice of honey spice bread that just begs to be eaten with a hot cup of fresh black tea. In fact, it does have a slightly floral tea-like essence.
Due to the dark, sweet, spicy, woody type of aura this provides, it is a colder season scent -- fall through winter. This one is a bit more on the mature side, so I wouldn't recommend high schoolers wearing this, but then again, the price would more than likely be a bar of entry for that sort of crowd anyway.
As far as it being unisex, I could imagine an outdoorsy type of woman wearing this. Maybe the type of woman who likes to go camping, hiking, and doesn't mind getting her hands dirty when the time calls for it. I could also picture a man in a sharp business suit wearing this, as it is very classy. I would say this is versatile enough to wear to the office in business casual attire, or even during the holidays with your loved ones. It has casual appeal, but also formal appeal. Due to the price, I would save this for special occasions though, ones where you want to make a good impression as it is most definitely a compliment getter and a very sensual, sexy, scent for being so mellow.
For an EDP, the longevity is slightly below average, about 7 to 8 hours before it fades away to a barely noticeable skin scent. The sillage is about average as it leaves a decent scent trail that hangs around. It does have the power to cut through the cold winter air, so the strength of the projection is good, but after a few hours, it will gradually fade. Perhaps this is for the best -- it is a personality and a mood type of fragrance, so letting someone discover it on you as they get closer is what you should be going for here.
FragBoy Stewie Review
The reviewers here are right; this is more of a "laid back" and mellow fragrance. I wouldn't recommend it for active wear or when you are doing something overly physical unless it has to do with being in the great outdoors, a hiking, picnic, or bonfire type of a date.
All that said, this is my type of fragrance. Woody, manly, hints of spice, down-to-earth, warm, it really embodies how I want to come off to others. It is also very classy too. If it wasn't for the price, I'd make this a signature scent.
I easily give this a 9.5/10. The only reason I don't give it a 10 is that it does suffer from some performance issues and the price. You get what you pay for though, and I rank this right up there with some of my other favorite niche frags like Creed's Aventus and Green Irish Tweed.
I always do an Owen Wilson when I get whiffs of this coming from myself...
NOTE: Part 1 in this series hasn't been promoted yet as of this writing, but Part 2 is available. Also, there are many other remarkable fragrances in the Tom Ford Private Blend collection, it is just that these three are the most popular and the ones I have in my own collection. If you are interested in some of the other Private Blends, check out Redoessence's Top 10: