As we approach the end of October in the US we look forward to celebrating Halloween on the 31st. It is also a time stamp for me which ends the shoulder season between summer and fall. After Halloween it seems we are fully in fall with the snap of cold in the air. When American children go out on Halloween and knock on neighbor’s doors when it is answered they say “Trick or Treat?” The implication being you can choose to see a trick or hand out a treat. In all my years of cruising my neighborhood nobody picked “trick”. When I was wearing the new Diptyque Oud Palao I came to realize this was a perfume which wanted to have it both ways.
When it has come to the crush of oud fragrances over the last few years it has been the dirty little trick underneath most of them that there isn’t any real oud in there. The great majority of the oud fragrances you find are an oud accord consisting of cypriol as the core. Each perfumer will use a different running mate to twist it into a facsimile of oud. Particularly in the last year perfumers have embraced using an oud accord. I have enjoyed the control using an accord gives a perfumer as it has allowed for a given fragrance using it a little more room to breathe around the oud. If a real source of oud had been used it would have been more difficult. It also allows for an oud perfume to have a lighter touch. Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has accomplished all of that with Oud Palao.
Oud Palao opens on a rich Bulgarian rose. Oud and rose go together like peas and carrots as Forest Gump would say. If M. Pellegrin was using real oud it would have forcefully bullied its way onto the scene. The flexibility of using the accord is really evident as it reaches out and cradles the rose as it floats on top of the accord. The final piece of the heart is a very gentle wafting of sandalwood as if a breeze is bringing it to your nose from a distance. This is a beautifully delicate composition at this point. The base gets sturdier as patchouli, labdanum, and vanilla exercise their power a bit. Even with a little more volume it doesn’t ever drown out the rose/oud/sandalwood heart notes. The final little grace note is a small dollop of camphor. It mimics that chilly nose clearing feeling when you breathe deep on a cold night.
Oud Palao has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
In my mind’s eye I have knocked on M. Pellegrin’s door and said “Trick or Treat?” His answer is both in the form of Oud Palao.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Diptyque.