The oud/flowers pairing works in the same fashion that the classic leather/flowers combination does. They amplify each other’s most ambitious attributes. Floral notes take a whip to leather and leather notes give flowers a cold flame. Look at Germaine Cellier’s Miss Balmain or Parfumerie Générale’s Cuir d’Iris. Oudh Infini has a similar dynamic. Oud’s sweet rot brings out the decadence of the floral notes and an overt animalism underlines the whole sweaty scene. A lush sandalwood note gives Oudh Infini a charismatic drawl that suits the growling animalism perfectly.
The perfume industry has been performing back-bends to get back the prohibited materials that built the business. Guerlain have stripped oakmoss of a single toxic molecule to keep Mitsouko alive as s/he approaches 100. Caches of 80 year old deer musk pods are being unearthed for guilt-free use. Beavers are rufied rather than killed to collect castoreum. Sandalwood has been resurrected. You feel safe that nothing was tortured and the environment wasn’t wounded for your pleasure.
But there still room for a little ‘I wanna be evil’ role-play. Who cares if some civet cats were culled or that using Mysore sandalwood is right up there with wearing sealskin. I deserve the real deal. I Want The Authenticity. Usually we have to follow a vintage fetish to scratch this particular itch but Oudh Infini gives us that good-old, bad-old vibe of the 1920s animalic perfumes in a more modern setting. It resists nostalgia by using the contemporary vernacular of oud. The animalism and the luscious sandalwood provide the subliminal touch that brings the fantasy to life.
The fact is that I have no idea what materials perfumer Pissara Umavijani has used to make Oudh Infini. Real oud, ‘genuine’ animalics? Mysore sandalwood? I don’t actually care. Fantasy has long been a selling point in perfumery. Mostly it’s a schlocky story used to sell you a perfume: cheap orientalism, Town-and-Country aspiration, sex. Oudh Infini doesn’t sell you a back-story. It creates a perfume packed with references to the materials of the golden era of perfumery. It smells lush and decadent. It feels predatory. It creates the set for the drama and invites you to enact it yourself.
(Eartha Kitt, image source unknown.)