Friday, September 16, 2016

Berdoues Collection Cologne Grand Cru, Part Five - Oud Al Sahraa

Berdoues Oud Al Sahraa -  This Beredoues Grand Cru cologne tranforms two traditionally heavy ingredients, myrrh and oud, into a sheer but opulent veil of scent. The cologne is classified as an Oriental woody fragrance consisting of these three notes: oud, myrrh, and mandarin.

Oud Al Sahraa translates to Oud of the Desert, and wearing this scent definitely put me in the mindset of tents under a midnight blue star-studded night sky, camel trains moving slowly across the wind swept sand dunes, and midnight at the oasis. Enjoy this blast from the past which sprang to my mind the minute I smelled this cologne!

I was so pleased to find this fragrance. I love orientals, but I spend more than half the year living in Singapore due to my husband's work arrangements. The reason that lightly scented perfumes are popular in Asia is not just a cultural preference. It is perpetual summer here, balancing atop the equator, and we never get the cold weather that helps muffle the power of a true oriental powerhouse perfume. I remember years ago being at a party here and I was determined to wear my old favorite, Aromatics Elixir. As my body heat started rising in the outdoor setting I radiated an atomic level of scent, and a (rude!) man in my vicinity kept repeating loudly, "Someone's wearing WAY to much perfume." If you've ever tried to wash Aromatics Elixir off your wrists, you know it's not happening. So now when I head east my orientals and chypres remain in the cupboard at home, patiently awaiting my return. While I love wearing florals and lighter scents here, I do sometimes long for the comfort that ancient resins  and balsams provide.

"Oud wood resin has become perfumers' holy grail." says Oud Al Sahraa perfumer Christian Vermorel. "It is an extremely rare material and we are privileged to be able to exalt it." Oud in its heaviest, darkest form is a note I struggle to appreciate on my skin, but as I noted in my recent review of Josh Lee Oud here, Malaysian oud is a lighter, brighter oud altogether, and it is Malaysian oud which is used in this cologne. Malaysian oud can have woody, leather, and animal aspects, and it is characterized by a thread of sweetness. The oud mixes with the resinous and balsamic notes of Namibian myrrh to give a sensual mood to the scent.

This sensuous aura has historical references.  The Old Testament of the Bible mentions myrrh several times, including this verse in Song of Solomen 1:13, "My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts." Myrrh was used by the Egyptians as an ingredient in the embalming process.  The burning of myrrh and frankincense tears in religious ceremonies has occurred for thousands of years, and the fragrance is supposed to help the mind go to a contemplative transcendent state. Smelling this cologne I do breathe in a calming essence and I'm curious if it could help ease anxiety issues.

I never get a distinct scent from the mandarin; it doesn't have a strong citrus presence. Mandarin has a sweetly fragrant flesh and low acidity so it mixes with the other notes but doesn't stand out. The combination of this note with the myrrh gives a luminous glow to the scent. Imagine that you have a small oriental carpet with a beautiful pattern. Now imagine someone copies it, but instead of heavy wool the colorful images are on whisper thin silk. That is what this cologne feels like to me. It is an oriental with all the depth and richness that entails, but at the same time is is floaty and radiant. I am happy that I have found an oriental perfume that I can comfortably wear in Asia.

Despite the lightness this is tenacious and I still have a trace of it on my skin ten hours later at the end of the day. I would classify this as more of an eau de toilet, even though it is a cologne.

If it is not obvious by now, this is my favorite from the Berdoues Collection Grand Cru Colognes. For reviews of the other colognes in the line see Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.

Top photo is from website. Next photo from 


Undina said...

Though I'm not a big agarwood fan (to say the least), Oud Al Sahara sounds less intimidating than many other perfumes featuring this ingredient.

On more than one occasion I heard those "somebody wears too much perfume" remarks (though not all of them were caused by my perfumes ;) ). I wonder why I never hear the same about offensive BO? Somehow it's not acceptable to comment on somebody's not washing themselves/their clothes but it's OK to do that when it comes to the scent of perfumes.

I mean, I do not think anybody should suffocate others with their perfumes (and I try not to do it myself) but if a perfume accident happens - it's not the worse of what we all have to tolerate from time to time - just step a couple of inches away and you'll survive! :)

Cynthia said...

Hi Undina, I agree about your BO comment. That would be considered a rude criticism but the same rules don't seem to apply for perfume.
If you like oriental perfumes this would be worth a try. I love it! I'm certainly not an oud expert because the heavy ouds don't agree with me, but this one seems very light. After some unsuccessful attempts at the heavy ME type ouds, I tend to avoid those.