One of the things which most interests me about perfumery is watching its evolution. Probably my favorite perch is observing the continuing expansion within the gourmand genre. It is the newest genre of perfumery which means it is the least bound by tradition and history, which makes it fertile ground for those who want to think outside of the box. The easy gourmand is to take vanilla give it a sugary boost to make a fragrant sugar cookie then add a topping of fruit or nuts. Even though this has now become a standard I find I haven’t become bored with it, yet. If the genre is truly going to take its place with the other historical types it is going to need to become broader then just the bakery or the candy shop. Alternatively, it can think about exporting those experiences into previously unimagined places as Sarah Baker Loudo does.
Sarah Baker the London-based artist is the creative director behind her eponymous brand. What I have admired ever since she arrived in 2016 is the immersiveness of the style of fragrance which represent her. She is happy to move to the other end of the spectrum of the current transparency trend. It makes receiving a sample a reminder there is still beauty in weightier fragrance subjects. Because I have become so interested in the gourmand genre, I spend a lot of time talking to perfumers about it. One of the things I ask is why isn’t oud used more as an evolution from the way patchouli was employed in the earliest ones. Some of it is expense. Some of it is the difficulty of sourcing one which will behave the way a creative team wants it to. If patchouli is the perfect house guest, oud is the one you call a cab to the airport for. Ms. Baker had to select a perfumer well-versed in disciplining the delinquent. Her choice for Loudo is perfumer Chris Maurice.
The source of oud comes from two places. My favorite native version from Laos is one. The other is an agarwood tincture hand-made by Mr. Maurice. My understanding of tincturing is it allows a specific scent profile to be dialed in. What I experience in Loudo is a complex oud full of nuance without many of the off-putting aspects it has become known for. This carries a chewy resinous energy he uses to build the rest of the fragrance around.
The oud is present right from the start. Early on it is given a floral contrast through neroli. It is used to pick up the similar piece of the scent profile of Laotian oud. What happens next is a chocolate cordial accord is built in parallel to the oud. Using cherry, chocolate, vanilla, and orange blossom to construct it. Once it forms besides the oud a fabulously different type of gourmand comes forth. Some amber adds warmth to the final stages.
Loudo has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage which is impressive for an extrait concentration.
Loudo expands the gourmand genre by taking a cherry cordial out for a walk in a Laotian forest. For those looking for a new type of gourmand you should take a trek with Loudo.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sarah Baker.