Reviews En Bref – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Mood Collection: Velvet, Silk & Cashmere

The following will be a brief assessment of the trio of new Oud fragrances from Maison Francis Kurkdjian (“MFK”) called the OUD Mood Collection. As always, my Reviews En Bref are for perfumes that — for whatever reason — didn’t seem to warrant one of my full, exhaustive, detailed reviews. In this case, it is because I think these perfumes are best suited to men who are hardcore, passionate, obsessed Oud aficionados who worship the very purest, most concentrated essence of the note. After some recent experiences, I’ve realised that I most definitely do not fall into that category.

THE OUD MOOD COLLECTION:

francis-kurkdjian-oud-mood-fragrances

In early 2013, Francis Kurkdjian released three new interpretations of Oud. All featured Laotian oud, the rarest of all agarwood ingredients, and all were the most concentrated type of fragrance: pure parfum (or extrait de parfum). On the MFK website, Mr. Kurkdjian explains as follows:

The OUD mood collection

Francis Kurkdjian imagined the OUD mood collection as feelings, sensations, rather like those one would have when wrapped in a fragrant stole. The play on shimmer, comfort and warmth. They are precious, intense and concentrated.

OUD VELVET MOOD:

velvet-mood-masion-francis-kurkdjianMFK describes Oud Velvet as follows:

Cinamon from Ceylan – Saffron- Oud du Laos – Copahu balm [a resin] from Brazil

A majestic, enveloping fragrance that gives the sensation of density and fluidity.

Oud Velvet opened on my skin with heavily buttered saffron, sharply medicinal oud, and leathery, animalic, black resin. The saffron-leather smelled goaty, almost rancid and raw, and was tinged by an unpleasant burnt note as if singed by smoke. The combination turns the oud note almost fecal. The whole thing is underpinned by an oddly buttered note, almost like dirty buttered caramel, but there is also the feel of bitter, wet, black coffee grinds. It was a terribly rough, difficult opening.

Thankfully, about fifteen minutes in, the extremely unpleasant concoction softens into something smoother and gentler. And it continues to do so with every passing moment. Oud Velvet actually does feel like a darkly velvety take on oud with rich saffron, sweet cinnamon and dark resins. The latter is no longer so raw and animalic; all hints of anything goaty, rancid or fecal have vanished. Instead, it’s been replaced by a strongly stony, steely, cold note that replicates a little the oud in By Kilian‘s Pure Oud. The Candy Perfume Boy called the note “industrial,” and that is actually genius. Oud Velvet really does evoke the feel and scent of a large, empty, echoing, stony, industrial warehouse. And, yet, underneath, there lurks something that feels like meaty chocolate, adding some warmth to the scent. As time passes, Oud Velvet turns into a chocolate-cinnamon oud with flickers of nutty saffron, stony-cold industrial elements, and thick, darkly ambered resin. By the end, 9 hours later, it was simply oud with some lightly ambered tones.

OUD CASHMERE MOOD:

MFK Cashmere OudMFK describes Oud Cashmere as follows:

Labdanum from Morocco – Benzoin – Oud from Laos – Vanilla

This oriental fragrance is woven with all the gentleness of a ‘‘second skin’’, soft and balmy.

Like Oud Velvet, Oud Cashmere also has a difficult opening. On my skin, it began with blasts of rancid, sharp, medicinal, metallic notes underpinned by the feel of rubbing alcohol. There is a definite smell of cheese. To be specific, a creamy chèvre-blue cheese hybrid that is infused with vanillic elements. This is not like the purely Gorgonzola blue cheese in Xerjoff’s Zafar (which also has extremely aged, rare Laotian agarwood), but something slightly different. Here, the note is creamier, less pungent, more artificial, and sweetened by a sort of candy-floss vanilla.The overall combination almost seems worse, especially when you consider the medicinal undertones with its notes of pink, rubber bandages. 

Pink candy floss or cotton candy. Source: Favim.com.

Pink candy floss or cotton candy. Source: Favim.com.

Oud Cashmere does not improve with time. With each passing moment, the goat-Gorgonzola starts to fade, and the perfume becomes more and more medicinal, antiseptic, vanilla. It smells sweet and unnatural: pink candy floss and pink, rubber bandages underlying astringent. Clearly, I am not one to handle the pure essence of oud, especially when it is from this sort of aged, Laotian agarwood. Perhaps a man with edgier tastes and a fanatical love for true, potent oud would love it. I tried Oud Cashmere three times and, all three times, I ended up scrubbing it off after a few hours. There is only so much a person can take for the sake of a review.

OUD SILK MOOD:

MFK Silk OudMFK describes Oud Silk as follows:

Bulgarian rose – Camomille from Marocco- Oud from Laos – Papyrus

A light, airy fragrance reminiscent of the rustle of silk or the soft touch of a rose petal.

Oud Silk is not a particularly inventive, original take on the conventional rose-oud combination, but it is the best of the trio in the Oud Mood Collection. It opens on my skin with the loveliest of super concentrated, rich, heady rose notes. It’s opulent, ripe and highly sweetened. The oud lingers in the back, soft and subtle, with absolutely no medicinal, astringent, antiseptic or fecal notes. Subtle chamomile wafts in and out, adding to the floral nature of the perfume. Underneath, quiet whispers of dry papyrus grass rustle. I think a commentator on Basenotes, “Buzzlepuff“, put it well when he said that the papyrus note acts like a bridge between the floral elements and the more woody oud. In fact, his assessment of the perfume mirrored much of my own:

This is a big floral rose with a very strong oud backdrop. If you have ever wondered why rose makes such a great partner with animalic medicinally zingy rotting vegetation sap – oud – specifically Laotian Oud, then you must smell this fragrance. The papyrus note enhances and magnifies the cool dry wood side of the oud in here. Bulgarian Rose is that very big red perfume rose scent and here is amplified by blue chamomile bridges to the slight floral aspect of Laotian Oud. There is a seamless flowing aspect to this. Nothing is left hanging out there from beginning to end – smooth as silk. I have tried to match this up with anything else similar in my history of sniffing things and I am at a loss. It is a little like Rose Oud By Killian but bolder and rosier and there is no saffron in this mix. […] It does read feminine to me but I could see a man wearing it too.

On my skin, the agarwood was not such a bold, strong backdrop as it was on him, but something far more subtle. Frankly, it was an enormous relief, since I may be too plebeian for true Laotian agarwood. The subtlety of it in Oud Silk is probably the reason why I liked the fragrance the most out of the trio. It was the least brutal, the least masculine, and the least traumatic manifestation of agarwood. I suspect, however, that hardcore oud fanatics may find it to be too much of a boring, conventional take on the note.

All in all, I wasn’t a fan of the Oud Mood collection. Silk Oud was very nice, but not particularly interesting. The others were definitely…. er… interesting — in the worst way possible. I honestly can’t decide what was more of an ordeal: the abrasive opening of Velvet Oud with that rancid, animalic, raw leather note singed by smoke and almost fecal undertones; or the goat-blue cheese and vanilla, pink candy floss with pink rubber, medicinal bandages of Cashmere Oud. Given the significantly improved nature of Velvet Oud, the Cashmere has the dubious honour of winning.

The odd thing is that I love the aged Laotian oud in Neela Vermeire‘s Trayee, but these more medicinal, abrasive and, frankly, painful versions are just too much for me. For a narrow, limited (and very masculine) segment of the population, some of them may be fabulous. But even men who postulate themselves at the altar of super-powerful agarwood may hesitate at spending $375 for a 2.4 oz/70 ml bottle. Yes, the Oud Mood Collection is the most potent concentration of fragrance around — pure parfum — and the bottles are especially large in light of that fact, but…

Well, to put it charitably, better you than me, my friend, better you than me.

 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: All three Oud Mood fragrances are Pure Parfum/Extrait de Parfum concentration and come in a 2.4 oz/70 ml bottle that costs $375, €275 or £275. You can find them on the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website which also sells samples of the perfume. In the US, you can purchase all three fragrances from Luckyscent or Neiman Marcus. I don’t see either collection listed on the Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman websites. In the UK, I’ve read that you can find the collection at Selfridges, Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Les Senteurs priced at £275 each. However, I couldn’t find the collection listed on any of those store’s websites thus far except for Les Senteurs. For the rest of Europe, you can buy from First in Fragrance which has all three perfumes in the collection for €285 (which is €10 more than on the MFK website). Elsewhere, you can turn to MFK’s Points of Sale for a retailer near you, whether you are in Asia, Australia, or the Middle East. In terms of samples, the collection is available at The Perfumed Court starting at $14.00 for three 1/4 ml vials. You can buy samples of each individual fragrance starting at $4.95 for a 1/4 ml vial. The OUD Mood Collection is not yet available at Surrender to Chance (which I personally think is cheaper and better than The Perfumed Court), but will be by the first of May, I think.
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30 thoughts on “Reviews En Bref – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Mood Collection: Velvet, Silk & Cashmere

    • Jordan, are you perhaps confusing this with the regular Oud from MFK? This trio are brand-new, and were just released last month. I don’t think I promised to do a review for them, but for the regular one. 🙂 I will try to get to it soon, I swear! 🙂

      • Aha, yes taken by surprise here as I have MFK Oud. It all moves so quickly in The Fragrant Stratosphere. MFK is The One Oud to Rule them all. Who are these young upstarts? Lol’s.

  1. Not interested either. I smelled all four of these last weekend (or maybe 2 weeks ago?) and didn’t hate any of them, but certainly didn’t love or really even like any of them. Glad to see you weren’t particularly inspired by them either. The most wearable one in my opinion was Oud Silk. Trying these four was continued evidence in the “oud is not for me” column. On one hand, it’s just as well because it reduces the amount of temptation by new releases greatly, as oud seems to be in just about everything. On the other hand, I wish I liked it because I haven’t had many “knock me over with a feather” perfumes in a while in terms of falling in love at first sniff (although MFK Absolue pour Soir came very, very close).

    • The original MFK Oud is much loved and is supposed to be one of the best, spicy agarwood fragrances around. I’ve had a sample for ages, so one day, I will see for myself when I get to testing it. Nonetheless, I know oud isn’t your thing so I am not surprised you didn’t enjoy any of them. Honestly, I knew you wouldn’t. LOL. Absolue Pour Le Soir is so much more your cup of tea.

      • I realize my sloppy wording, which you (knowing me and my sloppy wording so well) understood – but for clarity of other readers, I tried these three new releases, in addition to the original MFK Oud. But yeah, as I said, none did a thing for me. Again, these were paper tests, but I wouldn’t be tempted to pay for samples of any of them. But Absolue Pour le Soir? I would be likely to bathe in it if I could!

        • I actually had paper samples of the perfumes alongside my vials of the new collection from Neiman Marcus. And, trust me, how they smell on paper isn’t one tenth of what happened on my skin. On paper, there was simply the medicinal, antiseptic, rubbing alcohol scent of oud with either rose, vanilla or chocolate-y dark amber. On my skin is when the full notes came out, including that goat-cheese Gorgonzola aspect to Laotian oud that often pops up and which you experienced with the Xerjoff.

    • Hahaha, thank you. (I think.) 😉 That’s truly funny. I’d love to see what you would think of some of these oud fragrances. They’re not something you’ve tried, are they? If so, let me know if you ever smell the pink, plastic bandages. Or the cheese! 🙂

        • No, no worries, I knew you meant it with much love! And that’s why I thought it was so funny. As for Oud, I would give anything to see your face if you tried something like the Montale Aouds or the Xerjoff. I would pay to see that…. 😉

          • If you want to smell the full… er… glory…. of a Montale, I suggest you start with Aoud Lime. It is the perfect summation of what a Montale oud fragrance is like, in my opinion.

            You just have to promise not to kill me afterwards.

          • Sigh, I think I still have some more Montales to try. But Aoud Lime made me *so* apprehensive. So I’ve been trying other things and cowering in fear. LOL.

  2. Oh dear, not the dreaded plastic bandage and cheese effect! I’ve always loved the smell of the raw natural material of Oud that I’ve smelled and so I was shocked when I sniffed my first Montale Aoud and got instantly nauseous. I can totally handle musk, civet, honey, indoles, and a number of other sometimes scary notes, but not that bandaid oud. They’re right up there on my fear meter with soapy florals for me.

    On the other hand, yay for expensive perfumes that I definitely don’t need!

      • I think I tried Moon Aoud, Aoud Ambre, and some other Aoud one I’m forgetting. Also Boise Vanille. I really thought, in my Montale naiveté, that I’d like Aoud Ambre, and was therefore shocked to be so revolted by it. Supposedly there’s no Aoud in Boise Vanille, but I’m not sure I believe them, it still smells all rubbery and wrong to me. The only Montale that has not caused my gag reflex to kick into overdrive is Blue Amber. Even that one’s hard to forgive the hairspray can though…. and I hear that the Jasmine Full is good, I might get a sample of that at some point.

        I have an MFK Oud (along with Cologne pour le Soir) sample coming soon, and I hope that it doesn’t contribute to my Montale PTSD…. maybe I should wait until you review it before attempting, hm.

        Every time I even THINK of Aoud Ambre, I go and sniff my little decant of vintage Opium and remind myself that not all perfume is evil 😉

        • You poor woman. So many Montale Aouds. I’m in awe of your courage and tenacity…. 😉 YAY though for you getting the MFK cologne version of the Absolue. You’ll have to let me know if some of the others are right when they say it shows a bit more nuance. I know how you and I like our stuff opaque and resinous, so it will be interesting to see what you think of it.

          P.S. — Vintage Opium is the answer to most of life’s olfactory miseries. LOL.

  3. So you got to trem them! I tried them soon after the release, when I was at the perfume workshop for woodsy notes they brought the three Oud Moods to the meeting and we sniffed it. Silk Mood was the best for me, but they’re not my kind of thing. Im not oud lover.

    • They weren’t my kind of thing either, Lucas, and I don’t mind oud. I don’t adore it, but I don’t mind it. But not THIS sort of oud. Most definitely not for me either.

  4. I tried the new 3 Oud Mood fragrances recently, and all of them were way to potent for me. I liked Oud Silk quite a bit and could see myself wearing on the occasion, but not sure I wanna get a bottle of it yet. I still prefer MFK OUD the most for its very unique scent.

  5. Since I can barely take agarwood in more feminine (or at least unisex) perfumes, I won’t probably try it even if I come across them at a store. But strangely I feel some kind of a satisfaction from knowing that you didn’t like them either 🙂

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