By Chere Di Boscio
Oud has literally been rooted in Middle Eastern culture for centuries. Derived from the resin at the heart of Agar wood, oud’s sensual, woody aroma has been always been prized by Arabs for its medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities. Fascinatingly, it was used by ancient Egyptians in religious rituals and the mummification process, and is still used today for its many medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties. In the West, oud has been used as a minor note in some European perfumes along with other woody notes, as the strength of its natural oil makes it an excellent fixative.
The first mainstream fragrance in the West to feature oud was Yves St. Laurent’s M7 in 2002, the first YSL perfume released under Tom Ford’s direction. It was a resounding failure at the time, because the Western market simply wasn’t accustomed to the strength of the scent and found it too ‘exotic’. Since then, however, more contact with the Gulf states has familiarised European and American noses to the smoky deliciousness of oud, and Ford has gone on to create his own line of oud based perfumes, with smashing success.
Another successful and popular brand that features the naturally seductive notes of oud in its perfume is Tiziana Terenzi. This Italian based perfume house has created a varied line of fragrances based on steam-extracted oud. The entire range uses various other natural oils to compliment the oud, and is completely free of harmful chemicals.
Available at Fortum & Mason, London, Tiziana Terenzi is a family owned company that has been offering customers a journey into the firey aroma of oud for decades, but the history of the family business spans centuries.
With ancient origins dating back to the Roman days of the tales of Horace, and traces of the Terenzi family in 15th century Rimini, it was Guglielmo Terenzi a true lover of perfumes, especially colognes, who embodied the spirit of the inventor and the artist, following his ‘nose’ to create exquisite fragrances in a small artisan laboratory in the family home.
Guglielmo’s grandchildren have now taken over the legacy and have vowed to further explore these uniquely incomparable scents, offering them for the very first time to those outside of their close circle of family and friends.
Eluxe was lucky enough to sample a few of Terenzi’s unique perfumes.
We tried Ecstasy, which is described as an encompassing, mystical fragrance; original and with a strong personality.
With top notes of pine, spruce and stone powder, fading into incense, rose and violet, the finish is a light Sandalwood, with Amber and Tonka bean. Altogether, this is a light, feminine version of oud that delighted us.
We also sampled Lillipur, one of the newest perfumes in the range. Inspired by the culture of Nepal and bottled in a luxurious gold and black spray bottle, this subtle, pretty perfume has an exotic personality. Spicy star anise and Oman frankincense give way to cinnamon and carnation notes, peppered with Lebanese cedar, white musk, amber and a touch of tobacco. Oriental and opulent, this was our favourite– a perfect scent for seduction.
Finally, we tried Gold Rose Oudh, which sounds more floral than it is. Rich, golden honey seemed to be one of the key notes here, along with patchouli, and of course, oud. Tiziana Terenzi describe this perfume as evoking a fire in a desert camp, but for us, the subtle sweetness of the honey and rose prompted memories of taking tea in a Moroccan rose garden. While oud can often be quite masculine, the honey/rose touches in Gold Rose Oudh ensure this is a perfume made for a woman.
Even after sampling a few of the Ternezi perfumes, we could fully understand why oud oil has been so prized over history in Arabia, and why Western perfumiers like Tom Ford are now so keen to sing praises of oud’s heady, mystical secrets; secrets that the Ternezi family has always known.
For more information about this range, please click here.