New Fragrance Review: CREED Royal Oud
By Mark David Boberick
September 10, 2011

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With the release of their latest creation, CREED finally puts their stamp on the hottest raw material to hit the fragrance industry in the last decade. The breathtaking Royal Oud, a shared fragrance, is a sumptuous feast for the nose that is sure to stop a passerby right in their tracks.

Oud, an ingredient from the Indian Agarwood tree is more costly per ounce than palladium, and is featured in Royal Oud in a new and interesting way. This ingredient is a chameleon, of sorts, often times harsh and medicinal, but CREED’s offering smooths the facets of oud into a marvelous, voluptuous concoction. Inspired by the wood, leather, marble, and gold featured in a Persian Palace, Royal Oud has a striking modernity with a clear and distinct nod to centuries, past.

I am immediately reminded of the Medieval wing of the Philadelphia Art Museum, where one can walk on floors and through recovered arches of Middle Eastern structures long since destroyed. The smell in the air is a striking mix of old and new that is seemingly captured in perfect harmony in the sophisticated Royal Oud.

The fragrance opens with the Gold - an unexpected contemporary freshness of Sicilian bergamot and Calabrian lemon that shines gloriously for the first 2 hours before softening into the heart of Royal Oud – the angelica root, a key ingredient in the production of Absinthe. Itself an incredibly costly and precious ingredient, the angelica root only furthers the feeling of luxury and refinement in CREED’S latest installment.

I am most fascinated by the accord struck by the sandalwood and the Tonkin musk in the base. It envelops the wearer in a comfortable and casual elegance for many hours. Paired alongside the oud, these ingredients form a perfect base that is accessible to multiple cultures – American, European, and Middle Eastern. The difficulty of creating oud fragrances lies in the acceptance of the smell of oud by outside cultures. For the people of the Middle East and Southern Asia, oud has long been a familiar ingredient in luxury perfume. In a handful of tribal cultures in these areas, the chips of the agarwood tree are burned for the smoke that they produce, which the people surround and envelop themselves in as a way to perfume their bodies and in particular – their hair. But for Americans who have a distinct idea of how a person should smell, oud can be very tricky. Fortunately, CREED has found a way to not only solve the trick, but to do so in a fashionable and incredibly beautiful way.

Royal Oud is a fragrance of high quality ingredients working in tandem, no single ingredient competes for attention, not even the oud, and it is because of this that Royal Oud is a welcomed entry into the very nearly saturated market of oud fragrances. Olivier Creed took his time in releasing Royal Oud at what might be the end of the trend, but he also made sure to deliver to CREED devotees a fragrance of true character.

Royal Oud is available now in a 2.5 ounce flacon for USD$300 and can be purchased online directly from Creed or Neiman Marcus

Mark David Boberick

Managing Editor
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul