As many mentions as I’ve given Byredo’s small but noteworthy collection of fragrances, I realized that I’ve never devoted a full review to any specific one other than a brief mention. It’s time to correct that.
Byredo is a relative newcomer to the niche perfume market, its fragrances being available only in the high-end retail and boutique markets. Originated in Sweden in 2008, they’ve since released seventeen fragrances to market in the three years hence. They’ve concentrated their collection of “Oud-based fragrances” to two: Oud Immortel and Accord Oud. It’s the latter that I’ve chosen to review here and slightly more noteworthy.
Byredo Accord Oud (2010): My reason for selecting Accord Oud over its sibling Oud Immortel was simple: This is more a gourmand fragrance with intrigue and depth, whereas Oud Immortel is a lighter fragrance that more utilizes Limoncello and Patchouli to provide a somewhat breezier feel to the fragrance, taking the focus in my view away from the our wood base. Neither are bad fragrances, and if you’re seeking a more unisex, lighter and fresher take on oud, I’d still encourage sampling Oud Immortel. That said, let’s talk for a moment about composition.
Accord Oud begins with notes of saffron, rum, and blackberry, then transforms into its heart notes of oud, leather accords, and clary sage. The base notes are powdery musk and patchouli, while blonde woods, cinnamon and spices round out the fragrance. Immediately, you can imagine this is a scent that begins with depth and sets the tone for what will follow. While it transforms, it does so in a manner that is very even, very rich, and yet intriguing enough to maintain interest throughout.
Despite the seemingly diverse ingredients, this is not an oud masquerading as something capitalizing on the newfound popularity of the element; rather, the composition and ingredients befit and properly augment the core ingredients. Having said that, it balances depth with softness to produce something intriguing and enduring. Longevity is day-long — apply in the morning and you’ll be very likely to continue smelling it into the next day. Projection is mild, yet not cloying.
Yes, this seems to be very positive. If it can be considered a negative, this is not a fragrance I would consider as a unisex scent. It’s also more a 3-season scent, meaning summer is definitely not a season easily associated to Accord Oud. Oud Immortel is more a fragrance that would be easily classified as unisex. Over the duration from top-note to dry-down, the Oud’s resinous heart continues as a central core of the fragrance with great potency. A more “unisex Oud” would be Bond No. 9′s New York Oud. Despite seeing blackberries in this mix, don’t confuse that with a lack of masculinity.
Rating: 4.5/5. Highly recommended.
Bottom-line: This is a well-executed fragrance, its augmenting elements mated well to the core elements without detracting from the mystique and depth of Oud. Byredo has gained its own detractors, and I’ll admit that there are some scents in the line-up that are not my own cup of tea. That could be said for every perfumer from Creed to Cartier, Bond No. 9 to Byredo, That isn’t something for which I’d fault any perfumer, much less Byredo. A good fragrance evokes the right feelings for the wearer and Accord Oud contains the substance and endurance of a very well-composed and complete oud experience.
Aficionados are very opinionated about what makes a “good Oud”. I’ll simply say that this is a fantastic fragrance that captures the essence of Oud without overpowering it with other elements. While opinions may vary, this for me still has all the elements of a truly great scent. Whether it is a great Oud will depend on your view of how Oud should be implemented.