Areej Le Doré Oud Picante

Rich spices, tobacco, coffee, dark amber, smoke, dark musks, and soft animalics dress up a spicy Borneo oud in Oud Picante, the third new release from Areej Le Doré. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser for men who love both ouds and spicy orientals, and it was the fragrance that I enjoyed the most out of the new quartet.

Oud Picante via Areej Le Doré.

Oud Picante is an extrait de parfum. According to its description on Areej Le Doré’s website, its two central characteristics are “the spice of life” and wild Borneo oud, which Russian Adam custom-distilled to bring out its spicy, resinous traits. The fragrance note list is:

Top notes: cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg
Heart notes: wild Borneo oud oil distilled by Russian Adam, carrot seed, spikenard, tobacco and coffee
Base notes: opoponax, Bengal sandalwood, Muhuhu [African sandalwood], costus, fossil amber and labdanum.

Oud Picante was one of those compositions where the amount of fragrance that I applied impacted which notes were highlighted, resulting in significant and noticeable differences during the opening and drydown phases. When I applied several spritzes amounting to 2 sprays from a bottle, the fragrance was more nuanced, complex, and enjoyable in its opening than when I applied a smaller amount, while the drydown was more animalic, centered on a Kouros-style costus musk. In contrast, when I applied the equivalent of one spray, or when I dabbed on a small amount instead of spraying, the opening was rawer, more smoldering, smokier, and more animalic, while the drydown was cozy ambered spiciness. I’ll describe both versions below.

Photo: Nasim Mansurov at his site, Photography Life. (Direct website link embedded within.)

With a 2-spray equivalent, Oud Picante opens on my skin with a sea of red, gold, brown, and dark visuals created by waves of spices followed by waves of oud, then a slew of dark oriental notes. The very first note to appear is cumin which smells earthy, ripe, and just a shade skanky in the sexual, crotch-like way of vintage Femme and Salome, although, I hasten to add, never to the latter’s powerful degree. The naughtiness here is merely a subtle, delicate touch.

A parade of notes follow the cumin: oud that is chocolate-y, resinous, smoky, spicy, and musky; warm cinnamon; peppery cloves; chili-like cardamom; dry, warm, gingerbread-spiced tobacco; boozy and balsamic labdanum amber; a wonderfully bitter, espresso-like coffee; honeyed opoponax (sweet myrrh); sweet-dry, softly smoked, spicy woods; and, finally, costus root. The latter has a skin-like muskiness to it, pepperiness, a quiet civet-like, urinous undertone, and an oddly buzzing quality about it. Oud Picante then takes this entire complex kaleidoscope and envelops it within a smoky, smoldering, and deeply resinous cocoon.

Mole sauce and spices. Photo: Kevin Lynch at Closet Cooking (Direct link to website and recipe embedded within.)

It’s a delightful mix of spicy, sweet, dry, smoky, earthy, and warm notes, each nicely balanced and complementing the others. The cumin adds a hint of sexual naughtiness, the costus parallels it with its subtle animalics, and both of them accentuate the muskiness of the oud. Similarly, the espresso coffee, toffee’d labdanum, and spices complement the Borneo oud’s dark chocolate and spiciness, resulting in something that reminds me of a rich Mexican chocolate molé sauce. Soft sinews of spiced, honeyed opoponax incense smoke tie everything together. They work particularly well with the toffee’d labdanum and the tobacco.

Air-cured tobacco leaves. Photographer unknown. Perhaps Eric Piras. Source:

Everything is integrated seamlessly, the notes taking turns to dance with the Borneo oud that is the centerpiece and beating heart of the composition. Like supporting players in a large onstage production, each element appears, caresses the oud, then retreats to let the next one have its moment in the spotlight. One minute, it’s the coffee; the next, it’s the tobacco, boozy labdanum, smoke, sandalwood, animalic costus, or muskiness. The tobacco and spices are the biggest supporting players in the first hour; the coffee and animalic musk the smallest.


Out of the spices, the earthy cumin is the most evident on my skin, then a rather fiery, chili-like note that I assume stems from the cardamom combined with the cloves. What’s so great about the spices here, both individually and cumulatively, is that they’re rich, hot, fragrant, exotic, and… well, “spicy,” but they’re never dusty, musty, grainular, powdery, or overtly and excessively foodie/culinary in nature. Nor are they bitingly raw, aggressively pungent, evocative of a dentist’s office, or sharply medicinal. They may be rich and bold, but they also have nicely rounded edges and smoothness, the quantities are balanced, and they work harmoniously with the other notes.


Oud Picante had a different debut when I applied a small amount roughly equal to one spray from an actual bottle. There were fewer notes and it was a much simpler fragrance, perhaps because the Borneo oud was so much stronger, overshadowing everything. On top of that, the character of the oud was different: it was smokier, rawer, faintly greener, significantly muskier, more animalic, and more ferocious in feel. The spice mix was largely an amorphous, indeterminate haze with little to no individual note delineation. The tobacco was a major presence, but there was no chocolate or coffee whatsoever.

Instead, this time, the costus was a central element, amplifying the oud’s muskiness while also adding a civet-like, urinous aroma that reminded me of the costus root in vintage Kouros. It’s hardly to the same degree, but it’s the same smell. I really like vintage Kouros, but I wasn’t crazy about the odd buzzing feel to the note every time it appeared in Oud Picante, its faint pepperiness, or the scratchy feeling that it left at the back of my throat. I don’t recall experiencing any of those things in past fragrances with costus, so perhaps the root cause is something different, although that buzzing, rasping thing in Oud Picante only occurred when the urinous musk materialized. If it is the costus, the plus side is that none of its challenging olfactory characteristics appear here: its aromas of dirty unwashed scalp, greasy hair, animal fat, smelly fur, or wet dog. Not one whiff at all.

The net effect of these changes impacts both the balance of the notes and the character of the fragrance as a whole. With the smaller fragrance application, Oud Picante was a simpler fragrance that was more of an oud soliflore during its first 40-50 minutes in terms of the balance of notes, as opposed to being an oud-based oriental with a wide array of accompanying notes and nuances. The fragrance felt more butch, more masculine, and more smoldering, thanks to the significantly greater smoke, oud rawness, and quietly growling animalics. The increased smoke levels also made Oud Picante a drier, darker fragrance, perhaps because the smoke seemed to cut through the labdanum’s boozy and sweet facets.

In contrast, the version which appeared during the first 40-50 minutes with a larger scent application was more complex and less heavily or purely dominated by the oud. There were more notes to round it out, and the strength of their presence mellowed out the oud’s smolder, taming some of its bite. I’m not an “Oud Head” who loves agarwood in hardcore solo form; I’m a bit of a wuss who prefers it blended with other materials, so, to me, this version was more enjoyable. I also found it to be more interesting, due to the increased number of nuances, like the chocolate, coffee, cumin, booze, or sweet myrrh.

Photo: my own.

Ultimately, however, regardless of quantity, both versions end up in the same place. Basically, the more complex 2-spray version simplifies. It turns into a haze of smokiness, spiciness, muskiness, earthiness, resins, and tobacco, all swirling around an increasingly smoldering oud centerpiece. The process starts roughly 50 minutes in when the spices turn into a blur, wafting a simple fiery earthiness with only an occasional glimmer of something suggestive of cumin peeking out. At the same time, the coffee, labdanum, chocolate, and sweet myrrh turn into a broad umbrella of sweet-dry darkness. The oud’s muskiness and the animalic costus fuse together in similar fashion to form a generalized muskiness with only a passing undercurrent of the costus’ urinous aroma to indicate its presence. The oud’s smoke and the smoky sandalwoods do the same thing to form a wide ribbon of smokiness that circulates around everything. The tobacco is the one note that remains individually clear and distinct on my skin, but even that ends up being subsumed within the oud at the 90-minute mark.

The cumulative effect is an oud lacquered with broad, impressionistic brush strokes of spiciness, smokiness, resinous amber sweetness, muskiness, and woodiness, and by quieter, subtler, smaller strokes of tobacco, animalics, and earthiness. It’s a heavily spiced, smoldering scent that bears a soft, small growl, but it’s never truly animalic like MAAI, Salome, or Montecristo. By the same token, it’s not fecal, furry, skanky, or redolent of the barnyard. Each of the broad accords are integrated harmoniously and are well balanced vis-à-vis each other. The individual components that make them up are either quite subtle or heavily muted. For example, the spice mix continues to emit a chili-like fieriness, but it’s a heavily muffled undertone that runs deep under everything else. The costus’ urinous facet runs even deeper, manifesting itself as a sort of musky, sotto voce buzzing that one senses, semi-consciously, but can’t pinpoint. The sweet myrrh incense, cumin, sandalwood, and labdanum operate in a similar fashion. While the tobacco is, comparatively speaking, the only strong secondary note, it feels more like an aura and it’s clearest when I smell Oud Picante from a distance, not up close.


The fragrance’s main parameters are set roughly 75 minutes into its evolution, and the changes which occur over the next few hours are only to the prominence or nuance of individual accords. The spices are always the oud’s main partner during this time. It’s the other accords which take turns appearing in relatively more prominent fashion: sometimes, there is more smokiness; sometimes, more muskiness, labdanum resinous sweetness, the tobacco aura, or woodiness. In the middle of the second hour, a sort of oud-ish, sandalwood-ish, sweet powderiness joins the rotation. Around the same time, tarry, smoky leatheriness and oud mushroomy funk pop up in the background, but both are minor, abstract, and amorphous.

Photo: my own.

Things change at the start of the 3rd hour. The oud’s smoke and tarry leather take over, cutting through much of the labdanum’s sweetness, in addition to turning the scent drier and darker. The spiciness becomes the gentlest, thinnest, and smallest layer underneath, while the tobacco turns into a fleeting wisp in the distant background. There is no oud funk, oud musk, costus musk, or animalics. By the start of the 4th hour, I’d estimate that roughly 85% of Oud Picante is smoky, tarry leather on my skin, with the remainder consisting of an ambered spiciness which is mostly evident if I sniff my arm up close.

The spices make a small comeback in the middle of the 5th hour. Gradually, slowly, inch by inch, they grow in strength over the course of the next few hours until they finally return as the oud’s partner. The amber follows closely behind.

Photo: my own.

Together, 6.5 hours in, they push aside the smoky leather to usher in a new phase and a bouquet that is centered primarily on spicy, smoky, sweet, and highly resinous labdanum amber. Flecks of dark musk and dry, spicy, smoky woodiness run through it. The latter smells only quietly oud-ish and is often more like a resinous, red, African sandalwood heartwood, similar to the sort in Ensar Oud‘s fantastic Santal Sultan. From afar, Oud Picante is a red-bronzed-brown blur of sweet-dry, smoky, spicy amber, although sometimes the emphasis is more on the spices than on the labdanum.

Ambre Loup. Source: Rania J. website.

In all cases, whether up close or from afar, the fragrance always strikes me as a sultry and wonderfully inviting “cozy comfort” scent. I’m also struck by the similarities to my beloved Ambre Loup. Oud Picante at this stage is basically its oud-ish, woodier brother except there is no tobacco and Ambre Loup is slightly sweeter. Even so, they smell similar and definitely share the same cozy, heavily spiced, smoky ambered allure. Given how much I love Ambre Loup, it’s a big compliment.

With a 1-spray fragrance application, this is Oud Picante’s drydown, and the fragrance doesn’t change beyond this point. It simply gets hazier, softer, and quieter. In its final hours, all that’s left is a dry-sweet spiciness.

It’s a different story with a 2-spray application. There is a subsequent, additional stage which ensues, a completely dissimilar drydown which is centered heavily on the costus root on my skin. The spiced, smoky amber stage gradually begins to change in the middle of the 9th hour when the costus asserts itself, adding muskiness, a small whiff of Kouros-like urinous skank, and a skin-like textural quality. The latter is nice, and I’m guessing the costus was used to provide a variation on the musky, velvety resinous drydowns of Siberian Musk and Ottoman Empire, but I’m not crazy about what I can only describe as a buzzing quality to the note. Or its subtle scratchy pepperiness. To be fair, even without those qualities, I would have preferred the other version because I enjoy rich spices and I’m a complete amber junkie.


The drydown for this version of Oud Picante kicks into high gear around the 11th hour. The costus takes over on my skin, engulfing the resinous, spiced, sweet-dry, quietly smoky amber accord within a cloud of quietly urinous musk. The spice, smoke, and amber peek out from time to time, but they’re a heavily muffled, minor subtext. They basically fade away at  the end of the 13th hour, leaving only a dark, slightly urinous, velvety muskiness on my skin. Oud Picante remains that way until its very end.

Regardless of quantity, Oud Picante had low projection, good-to-fair sillage, and very good longevity on my skin. With a 2-spray amount, the fragrance opened with about 2.5 inches of projection and about 4-5 inches of sillage. It was a strong cloud of scent with a paradoxical rich airiness or potent weightlessness. The projection dropped after 2 hours to about one inch, perhaps 1.5 inches at the very best. The sillage remained the same until the 4th hour when it shrank to about 2 inches, although there was a small scent trail when I moved my arm. Oud Picante became a skin scent about 8.75 hours in, but I could detect it easily until the 13th hour if I put my nose right on my arm. In total, Oud Picante lasted just short of 21 hours on me.

The numbers were lower when I applied a few spritzes roughly equaling 1 spray from a bottle or when I dabbed the fragrance instead of spraying it. The opening projection was 1.5 to 2 inches and the sillage was about 3-4 inches. Both numbers dropped after 1.75 hours; the sillage was closer to the body at the end of the 4th hour; and the fragrance turned into a skin scent after 6 hours. In total, Oud Picante lasted about 14.75 hours.

On Fragrantica, there is one review for Oud Picante at the time of this post, and it’s extremely positive. (It’s also humourous, and made me laugh out loud at one point.) “RogerM72” writes, in part:

 I received my samples and I was forced to try this first as it spilled a bit from the vial and traces were all over the plastic envelope.. as soon as I opened it I have been bombarded by Oudy sweet and sour and peppery spices that really made me say “WOW”.
This is the cousin of Oud Zen. The smart ass cousin, as it immediately shows you the dirty face without you even know it.
Dirty is the most suitable adjective that comes to my mind.
Dirty and playful, it kind of gives you the finger. It kind of shouts all its power straight in the face. It is a concert of lazy prostitute spices (the maidservants) that play hide and seek with their master (the Oud)… and the end of it all, the master possesses all of them and they like this.

Not for everyone, everyday wearing.
Sexy as hell
Soon in my collection [.]


In the Basenotes Official Areej Le Doré Discussion thread, there are a series of scent descriptions from “Rynegne” starting on page 15. In comment #442, he wrote:

The opening is a very deep and brooding combination of oud and forest notes. There’s a blast of oud that’s accompanied by this incense-piney-forest floor, bringing you to the Neora Valley of Bengal. Rather quickly this deep, dark opening fades into a duet of oud and honeyed amber with undertones of incense.

Source: shutterstock

**Two hours in and this has turned into an amber fragrance with loads of dry oud which is not of the barn yard variety. It’s very dry and very woody with gobs of creamy-spicy waves from the cardamom-amber combination.

**After about 9 hours, Oud Picante has lost the oud, the spices and woods and still lies a powdery myrrh base. Sort of a wild ride of a fragrance that is to be much enjoyed by fragrance lovers looking for a different take on an oud fragrance. Hats off to Russian Adam here. I think this one will be quite popular.

Oud Zen. Source: Areej Le Doré.

He provides additional details in several subsequent comments which I’ll let you read on your own if you’re interested because I want to move on to how Oud Picante compares to its brother, Oud Zen. Both “Rynegne” and I found them to be different fragrances. He wrote:

Oud Zen was more about the dustier, funkier Indian Oud and gorgeous aged saffron…very straight forward fragrance but stunning as each of the precious materials presents itself in the most stunning manor. Oud Picante shifts a lot transitioning from a deep and dark coniferous oud to a spiced-amber-and-oud to a creamy-amber-woody-powdery myrrh and spice. Oud Zen for the true oud lovers out there…Oud Picante for someone looking for a different take on oud that IMO hasn’t been seen much in perfumery in a “gourmand-ISH oud.”

I didn’t experience any coniferous or foresty notes with Oud Picante, but I agree that it’s a very different scent than its brother. There are a number of reasons why:

  1. Oud Picante doesn’t include Hindi oud, so it doesn’t have any cheesy, barnyard, rawhide, or fecal aromas, which is how Oud Zen opened on my skin. The Borneo agarwood has a smoldering quality, and its olfactory emphasis is on spiciness, chocolate, smoke, and/or resin.
  2. Oud Picante really emphasizes the spices to a far, far greater degree than Oud Zen did on my skin. In addition, the character of those spices is quite different here: it’s a more complex blend that goes beyond mere saffron; the cumin gives it an earthy, occasionally naughty, skanky quality; there is a chili-like fieriness that didn’t appear in Oud Zen; and the spice mix occasionally takes on a culinary quality.
  3. Oud Picante wasn’t heavily, strongly boozy on my skin the way that Oud Zen was.
  4. Although the ouds in both fragrances turned into smoky leather, it happened pretty quickly with Oud Zen and the leather was accompanied by booze, saffron, and tobacco. That was not the case when the leather appeared on my skin with Oud Picante.
  5. The sandalwood never turned creamy and buttery on me the way that it did with Oud Zen.
  6. What little animalics appeared in Oud Zen consisted of the oud’s musky, barnyard tonalities, not urinous, civet-y costus.
  7. Oud Zen didn’t have different versions which ended up, in one case, with a musk drydown on my skin.

Journey Man. Source; Amouage Facebook page.

For me, Oud Zen’s feel and focus put it in the general universe of Sultan Pasha’s Tabac Grande and Pure Incense attars. Oud Picante’s feel and focus put it more in the world of Amouage‘s Journey Man, in addition to feeling like the Borneo oud relative of the musky-spiced-tobacco-opium-amber Ambre Loup. These aren’t exact matches by any means, merely a general ballpark spectrum which is meant to give you a rough idea of the different feel of the two Areej fragrances. The two ouds are clearly related, there is no question about that, but they aren’t redundant, overlapping scents.

I liked Oud Picante and I think it will be a big hit with fans of spicy ouds, tobacco ouds, or spiced amber orientals. Since the sample sets are no longer available, I suggest keeping an eye out for Basenotes splits by “Strifeknot” or, if you want a smaller amount, seeing if STC eventually gets a bottle. [Update 10/19: Surrender to Chance now has Oud Picante and is selling individual samples starting at $6.99 for a 1/4 ml vial. They ship to most places worldwide.] If you love both spices and oud, this is definitely one to try.

Disclosure: My sample was provided courtesy of Areej Le Doré. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

Shopping Details/Additional Links: Oud Picante costs $250 for 50 ml of extrait de parfum. It’s limited-edition; only 100 bottles have been made. Sample sets are sold out. Full bottles are available exclusively at Areej Le Doré. Additional reviews can be found at Basenotes starting on page 15, and on Fragrantica.

23 thoughts on “Areej Le Doré Oud Picante

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  2. Very nice coverage of Oud Picante. Kafkaesque. I greatly enjoy Ambre Loup too. Now I’ve got both and I couldn’t be happier. It wasn’t till I went outside and went back into the room I first applied Oud Picante that I noticed the smoke. I only put a little bit on,for I was worried about the clove. I love clove, I have some clove buds sitting in a bowl in my room,but sometimes clove can go very wrong on me in a fragrance . So all and all I am pleased with Oud Picante.Thank you for all you do for the fragrance community.

    • You’re very welcome, Eddie. And I’m delighted to hear there is another Ambre Loup fan in the house.

  3. Enjoyed reading this. I have tried Ottoman and Siberian musk. This is on a must try list now. I found Ottoman Empire like an ultra niche version of Amouage Gold Man. Am I the only one to get this similarity?

  4. Hi Kafkaesque . Just letting your readers know that (strifeknot) of Basenotes just got in a third bottle of Oud Zen .
    A 5 ml of it goes for $45.50 , and
    a 10 ml is listed for $82.50
    Seeing this review is about Oud Picante , he also is on a second bottle of it.
    A 5 ml of it goes for $35.00 , and
    a 10 ml is listed for $60.00
    This is strifeknot’s link on his Basenotes page.

    Just letting anyone that doesn’t know, which I am sure most do,
    that Oud Zen is sold out on Areej le Dore’s webpage.

    I have a 10 ml from strifeknot’s first bottle of Oud Zen. It came in a glass bottle,
    with a very nice label . You can chose the color of your cap .
    I thought I would comment here again,
    mainly because of the whole Oud Zen and Oud Picante availability .

    I hope that doing this is OK Kafkaesque .
    Wishing you the very best of day.

    • It’s fine, Eddie, and thoughtful of you. You’re helping other readers, especially those who may have missed out on the earlier Oud Zen and want to try it. 🙂

  5. Great review, as always!

    When i read the first words
    “Rich spices, tobacco, coffee, dark amber, smoke, dark musks…”,
    It made me think:

    Perfect timing with autumn knocking on my door.
    Its time to dig out my Ambre Loup sample (“tobacco, amber, smoke” right?). (This one is on my FB wishlist actually…)

    So tempting, all the Areej le Dorés sound so interesting, but i have to make choices…and given the limited availability and prices, I feel like skipping this sample set. I already sold half a kidney to pay for the Siberian musk sample. 😉

    So, maybe its wiser to safe up for something thats more within my reach…(a bottle of Ambre loup for example hahaha)
    By the way, I still adore Siberian musk after more test runs. I probably will sell my other kidney to obtain more of it. 😉

    • Ambre Loup…. <3 <3

      Have you found any Basenotes splitters who still have Siberian Musk? If not, it may be cheaper for your poor kidney if you wait until the Siberian Musk version 2.0 arrives. I've read that the Perfumed Court (a US decanting service like STC) is selling their small decants of the original SB at something like a 700% mark-up. 🙁

      • I think i’ll wait for version 2.0.
        I have a 1 ml sample and fortunately I dont need very much of it to smell amazing 🙂

        And i am also aware its not the last great fragrance on earth, so if it turns out unattainable, oh well so much great stuff out there to discover. I have acquired a pile of samples that still need ‘studying’.
        I just enjoy trying lots of these fragrances even when they are not really my style or full-bottle-worthy. And even when i sometimes run into reall scrubbers. Haha.

        I just love the journey and learning all about styles, notes, my likes and dislikes and reading about the whole perfume world (noses, brands, trends, vintages, the myths and heroes and the bad guys)!

  6. Oud Picante is a surprising winner for me among this new quartet. This is the one that interested me the least when I first became aware of the notes and the name. I thought it would be a barnyard oud + sharp fiery spices, but it turned out to be a very nuanced cozy scent. Aha, I might have finally found an amber cozy scent that steals my heart! 😛

    My experience seems to share some similarities with yours 1-spray application. I get a clear tobacco with an underlying amber and nebulous spices, but not much animalic such as costus. The amber tobacco reminds me the tobacco note in a few cacao-patchouli-amber fragrances Bond-T, Horizon, etc. which I totally dig! <3

    What puzzles me the most, is that I didn't get much oud, either. Granted, I was looking for some leathery, barnyard notes to be associated with oud, and I've never smelt Borneo oud in isolation. After reading your review, I'm thinking that I probably smelt the Borneo oud, but attributed its characteristics to as different aspects of other ingredients.

    • How great that you’ve possibly found an amber that you love! But do you think that it’s really the tobacco to which you’re responding so favourably? In other words, “amber” will still never be your ideal genre of “cozy comfort” scent but tobacco may be? Because, from what you’re describing, that seems to be the clear note and the focal point on your skin, while the amber and spices are layered underneath. Have you tried Ambre Loup? For me, that is always a cozy tobacco fragrance more than an amber one and it operates much like what you’ve described here. It might be up your (new) alley! 😉 🙂

      • I tried Ambre Loup and enjoyed its smoky resins for the most part, until I get a boozy plum note in the dry down, which is sadly a note I often struggle with in certain amber perfumes. When thinking about my favourite amber fragrances, names such as Farmacia SS Annunciata Ambra Nera, LM Amber Muscadin, Pierre Guillaume L’Oiseau de Nuit and L’Ombre Fauve pop in my head. Expecially the PG ones are fairly simplistic in structure. I guess that my ideal amber cozy scent will need to skew a bit animalic or musky, to be at once comfortable and interesting (to me). 😀

        The same goes with tobacco, I’m still figuring out what kind of tobacco works for me. Oud Picante is great, the powdery type in Chergui is also very enjoyable to me, but in Diptyque Volutes and Tauer Vanilla Flash, they turn out to be too heavy for me. 🙁

  7. I ordered Oud Picante today. So Im curious as to how it fairs on my skin.
    Im still kicking myself for missing the Ottoman Empire train. Is it possible he will make another batch? Is there a way to find out? And by that Im hoping you might have an inside tract to ask him lol. Thanks again K for the wonderful reviews.


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  9. Hey Kafkaesque, love the blog and find it is a huge resource for me. Okay I will admit I am very new to the fragrance obsession and perhaps there in lies the answer for what I’m experiencing. But I received a sample of this from lucky scent and have tried it the last two days. I do get the chilis and spices and warmth and I love that. I get a very deep richness underneath it all as well. But the richness is in the form of an almost medicinal, old lady perfuminess. I do find the more I apply the less of that seems to be at the forefront for me. I have the sample in a tiny 1/2ml vial so it’s hard to simulate a spray or large swipe like may come from the bottle. Is anyone else getting those sorts of scents from this? Is the secret in applying more to let the fullness of the fragrance come out? Thanks!

    • Hello Matt and welcome to the blog. Can you define and describe in more detail the aromas that you’re struggling with? If it is a purely medicinal sort of aroma like camphor, that could be one of the by-products of the ouds. However, if your issue is “old lady perfuminess,” then I would need more specifics. Is it mere heaviness of scent? Something else?

      A number of the other Areej fragrances — not this one but the others releases earlier — skew very vintage in aesthetic and feel. Some people who are used only to the modern, fresh and clean style of perfumery tend to interpret the old-school or vintage style as “old lady,” sometimes in part due to the heaviness, sometimes due to specific olfactory qualities. But Oud Picante isn’t one of the vintage-style compositions.

      However, many of the Areej fragrances have an attar-like heaviness and density, and Attars are richer than even extraits. Perhaps that’s what you’re struggling with? Or is it that the fragrance isn’t projecting enough for you? I would need more information from you on what you’re smelling or what the problem is before I could figure out the exact source.

  10. It’s a deep, powdery, rubbery, plastic like note that brings to mind an “old lady” sort of perfume. The medicinal qualities have wained some as I’ve had it on for a couple hours, but originally it was more like a cough syrupy sort of thick medicinal rather than a camphor note. I have an order of Ensar Oud Aroha Kyaku and a sample of Oud Yusuf on its way to me, perhaps I’m smelling a combo of the chili spices and the real Oud. I have never smelled real Oud, only the multitude of Oud perfumes that so many houses seem to have released over the past few years. Wonderoud, Creed Royal Oud, Atelier Cologne Oud Saphir, etc. so I don’t really know what real Oud oil smells like. Maybe after I get my Ensar Oud stuff I’ll be able to more accurately describe what I’m smelling. Just to give you an idea of what I like, right now I’m in love with Tauer stuff- L’Air du Desert Marocain, Au Couer du Desert, PHI une rose de Kandahar, and also Frederic Malle French Lover. As far as vintage- I’m on the hunt for vintage Shalimar so I can start to educate myself on what perfumes used to smell like, as I have read they can be on a whole other level.

    • Matt, it sounds to me as though the various ouds in the fragrance — the Hindi variety, if I recall correctly — are interacting on your skin in a way that comes across as medicinal cough syrup. The labdanum may have accentuated the sticky heaviness further, but it sounds to me as if the type of Oud is the source of the issue.

      Agarwood can give off a multitude of different olfactory facets and aromas, and not all are the same. It depends on the type of wood variety. Having said that, certain regional varieties have some traits as a signature. Like, for example, the Indian sort. But, even without that, even separately, fragrances and attars which brim with rich naturals are very, VERY dependent on skin chemistry. So, the specifics of how they smell and their development can vary from one person to the next.

      Quite apart from all that, there is an added wrinkle here: it doesn’t seem as though you’ve encountered real agarwood before. I don’t know about French Lover, but none of the other fragrances you’ve mentioned have actual, genuine agarwood in them in my opinion. Western presentations of “oud” are quite different in scent and they are typically, almost always synthetic in nature. It takes some adjustment to deal with the real thing. It did for me, and for others I know. If you read Part I of my series on Feel Oud (and Russian Adam who also makes the Areej fragrances), you’ll see that it was an adjustment for him as well, and that he actually hated his very first exposure to real Oud. So, there is a bit of a learning curve — for each and everyone of us. 🙂

      One thing I wanted to suggest is to apply less in the future. With attars or attar-like fragrances, one needs just a single drop. There’s an attar company out there who who even recommends using the end of a paper clip to ensure you don’t apply too much! Just a few wipes of the wetted end of a paper clip is enough, and anything more sends the balance into disarray. In addition, it creates a dense olfactory wall whose nuances and details are flattened like a bulldozer. That’s for Attars, but I think the same reasoning applies here as well. Applying too much is probably one reason why you’ve gotten the scent you have, a bouquet which seems unbalanced from my reading of your words.

      You know, it’s not easy, initially, to wrap one’s head around the absolutely *miniscule* quantities needed with this style of perfumery, because it’s certainly so far from the norm. With Western scents or eau de parfums, one sprays away. I typically use 8 sprays minimum for my own personal use when applying modern Western fragrances or eau de parfums. Much less is needed with the richest Western vintages, but with attars? Just a single drop is usually enough, perhaps two of one is going to spread it out in more than one place. These sorts of fragrances are not meant to be applied in the Western way, but that’s as much of an adjustment and learning curve as everything else involved with them.

      My advice to you is to try again, later or another day, and to use a paperclip this time in applying the scent. Unfurl the paperclip, dip the tip into the liquid, and swipe that wetted tip across a small 1 or 2 inch patch of skin. Do a few swipes to get the equivalent of one big drop, and then see how you fare. At the end of the day, you will probably need some time to habituate your nose to real Oud and it’s variety of scents, but the proper application amount and method should hopefully facilitate things a little in the meantime.

      I hope some of that helps. Give yourself a chance to adjust. I think it’s absolutely fantastic that you want to learn about both vintage fragrances and real oud!

  11. Alrighty. Circling back, been reading way too much over the past 2 weeks and also received more samples of perfumes, with more on the way and a bottle of Slumberhouse Norne headed my way, which I absolutely adore. I have been using your blog as an incredibly helpful guide, thank you very much. Next on my list to buy is Papillon Anubis, sampled it and it is beautiful. As for Oud Picante, Areej Le Dore, and Oud in general here’s where I am now-

    A couple days after I posted above I received an order from Ensar Oud- containing a 2.5 gram bottle of Aroha Kyaku, a .3gr sample of Oud Yusuf, and very small complimentary samples of Santal Royale and Jeng Shin Lu. Wow what an education! Aroha Kyaku is to me the most intense, literal, and accurate depiction of the romantic image of a cowboy after a long day of riding the range. The richest leather, tobacco, and smoke imaginable. Unbelievably masculine as you said in your review. The opening to me is straight up BBQ smoke, I do get the peat as you mentioned, but to me it’s more of a rich BBQ spicy/sweetness, and I am a scotch drinker. My favorite of the samples is Santal Royal, it is fantastic and, if price wasn’t a concern, really makes me want to get some samples of his other Santal oils and eventually a bottle. Oud Yusuf is so fruity and sweet on top of the unique fragrance that is real agarwood, as I’ve experienced it so far.

    Areej Le Dore- what made me want to sit down and get back to you about Oud Picante is that right now I’m sampling Oud Zen for the first time. And I love it, to the point that I am going to soon get samples of his other 2017 fragrances. It is challenging, but there’s so much of that amazing buzzing, creamy, warm sandalwood under it all with the animatic wisps of civet and castoreum. I keep going back to Oud Picante and seeing if I interpret it differently. If something was wrong with my nose on a particular day or something else. And every time it’s the same thing. I do get more of the spicy warmth of the chilies at the top now. But there’s this deep sort of accord that reminds me of something I’ve smelled in the past, and the best way I can describe it is an old ladies makeup or perfume, almost like stage makeup that is old and has turned. My wife noticed it too. I’ve decided that it’s just something to do with my skin and the notes it brings out in this particular fragrance. I do get a light sense of the note in the background of Oud Zen, maybe its some aspect of Russian Adam’s agarwood that is incredibly strong to me in Oud Picante. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. In the meantime I am enjoying the heck out of exploring perfume and finding things I can call my own. It’s all so romantic, dreamy, and creative isn’t it?

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