Oud — the olfactory equivalent of truffles in the perfume world — has been on the ascent in recent years. It’s one of the most expensive ingredients to be bottled, costing as much as US$30,000 (S$40,500) per kilo for the purest form. The resinous product has a dark and woody profile that lends a brooding quality to whatever formula it touches.
“It has a very particular scent and there is nothing like it on the market,” says Chandler Burr, author of The Emperor of Scent tells business magazine Fortune. “It’s dark, rich and opaque.”
These are all qualities that make oud perfumes for men some of the most alluring on the shelves, and one that brands as massive as Ermenegildo Zegna to niche perfume houses like Byredo are quick to catch on.
Much of this sudden popularity is thanks to an increase in oud oil’s availability. While it was once a rare ingredient, research and forestry firms have figured out a way to cultivate the product: by drilling holes into aquilaria trees and injecting it with a type of mould. Once infected, the tree begins to produce a dark resin as a means to fight off the infection. This is the resin that perfumers covet.
As a perfume ingredient though, oud performs as a strong base from which middle and top notes are introduced. No matter the concoction, such combinations often project confidence, authority and a mystical woodiness not seen elsewhere. It’s perfect for occasions where you mean business, or evening events where its mystical allure blends with the night. Either way, here’s our selection of oud perfumes for men to get you started.