Back in January, a Friday afternoon after finishing my day’s activities, I took the opportunity to go to a local perfume store before arriving home for dinner. I frequently visit perfume shops and try as many fragrances as within my reach. Many times I leave empty-handed and, if something catches my attention, I come back several times to try it and decide if I want to buy it or not. I rarely purchase anything without careful thinking, so buying a perfume based on the first impression is, for me, an extraordinary occurrence.
That day I arrived at the shop and, as usual, I stared at what was available looking for something to try on. I sniffed a couple of fragrances but that day it seemed impossible for me to be amused. Thirty minutes later, I gravitated towards two scents that I already have but feel like I should restock soon, one by Tom Ford and the other one by Chanel. Still, it was hard for me to decide which one to take home. In retrospective, it should have been quite unnerving for the sales associate that was there, who quickly realized that maybe I was not undecided, but uninterested. Then, she suggested that I should try a new brand that they were selling.
She brought three boxes: one brown, one black, and one turquoise. She explained to me that those were from a Middle Eastern brand called Emor and that they released a collection of fragrances named London Oud, each one identified with a number (and unrelated to Fragrance Du Bois’ London Oud). To avoid falling into an extensive dissertation about the rest of my experience in the perfume store, I prefer to simply say that I came home with a bottle of London Oud No.7.
What I found interesting about No.7 is its use of saffron. Saffron is derived from the dried stigmas of the pistil of the Crocus sativus flower. It is the most expensive spice in the world, since it is harvested by hand and each flower produces three strands of saffron only. It is also a spice like no other. It is free of phenolic or camphorated elements and does not impart a pungent flavor either. However, its bitter taste, red color and smell are unmistakable.
Its main aromatic component is a chemical known as safranal. Saffron has a very peculiar smell, slightly sweet, with woody, honeyed, hay-like and even almondy accents, and a characteristic leathery nuance. The note lends itself tremendously well in a variety of compositions, but especially great in oriental concoctions.
London Oud No.7 starts with a remarkable dose of saffron surrounded by honey and a dim fig inflection. The middle notes are comprised of white tobacco and orange blossom, both acting as transitional elements between the top and the base notes. The bed where the composition rests is comprised of sandalwood, coumarin and musk, with a touch of oud. The whole symphony has as main players the saffron and the sandalwood (a traditional combination used in attars).
I find the way the fragrance is built extremely clever. The honey helps to emphasize certain sweetness, linking the saffron to the coumarin in the base with its hay-like characteristics. The fig is faint but plays an important role imparting a lactonic nuance at the beginning which fits like a jigsaw puzzle with the creamy sandalwood on the base.
The white tobacco, which is a refined version of the common brown variety, plays along the top and base notes rather gracefully. Oud, while instantly recognizable with its barnyard-like qualities, was skillfully strummed. Finally, the musk extends the saffron-sandalwood accord adding a plushy texture to it all.
At times, it seems like there is not an olfactory pyramid but instead a network of accords and notes which sit at the same level, interacting with each other in delectable cohesion, as ballet dancers from the best of French companies. This is a woody oriental composition which wears mellow, becoming a skin scent after some time but with an admirable tenacity. The effect is like smelling and savoring an exotic and refined tea brewed for moments of intense intellectual and emotional intimacy.
I understand that Emor it is a Middle Eastern company based in England. Emor in Hebrew means speak. Actually, the 31st weekly Torah portion (known as parashat) is called Emor because it is the word it starts with. I doubt there is any relation between the name of the company and this little fact, but I think it is a lovely curiosity. What I know is that I enjoyed London Oud No.7, I’m glad that I had the chance to add it to my collection and that I would like to explore their other offerings.
Name: London Oud No.7
Concentration: Eau de parfum
Nose: No information available
Release Year: 2019
Category: Woody oriental
Reviewed Batch: circa 2019
From personal colletion.