You’ve probably noticed an increasing number of fragrances displaying the word ‘oud’ at the beauty counter. Arabic for wood, oud technically refers to the resin produced by microbes that invade the trunks of Aquilaria trees. The catch? Less than 2% of Aquilaria trees actually produce resin. That’s why the opulent scents above boast equally opulent price tags. Though typically considered masculine, an increasing number of ouds and colognes are popping up on even the girliest vanities. After all, nothing grounds a sparkling party dress like a heady scent.
YSL’s M7 Oud Absolu ($105), launched by Tom Ford in 2002, is widely credited with starting the oud resurgence. The warm, patchouli-like scent is the most masculine on our list.
There’s a sweet, balsamic element to Armani’s Prive Oud Royal Intense Fragrance ($275)—and it might be the most beautiful bottle we’ve ever seen.
Oud Fleur ($210) is Tom Ford’s latest foray into oud. The middle eastern-smelling perfume mixes spicy wood with heady rose for an incredibly rich scent.
The most feminine oud on our list, Van Cleef & Arpels Preccious Oud Eau de Parfum ($185) has peppery top notes but a heart of jasmine and tuberose. The oud lies in the base notes, with sandalwood and vetiver.
Top notes of orange blossom and cardamom give way to Bulgarian rose and leather in Valentino's Limited Edition Assoluto Oud ($150). You’ll find agarwood, mixed with saffron and vanilla at the base, making it one of the softest ouds.
A spicy, leathery, unisex scent, Byredo’s Accord Oud ($220) includes fruity notes like plum accord and blackberry. Its top note? Rum!
OK, so we’ve already waxed poetic about this one, but after another month of being stopped on the street and asked, “What are you wearing?” we just wanted to make double sure that Dolce & Gabbana’s Velvet Desert Oud ($270), which smells like a sexy campfire, is on your radar.
An expensive, statement-making oud isn’t for everyone. But if you’re curious about the scent, or think it’d be better suited to your home, there’s Jo Malone’s Oud & Bergamot Home Candle ($75). The smoky fumes will transport you to the Middle East in seconds.