This is one time when my experience of wearing a perfume was exactly like the note pyramid. I'm always looking for a beautiful rose/oud fragrance and thought perhaps this was the one. But no, the absolutely gorgeous rose makes a brief appearance and then the oud...continues on for ages.
This Attar starts out with a sharp Sandalwood and a green-oud scent. The rose plays a background role. The oud is of the "sharp/clean" variety not at all animalic. The rose begins to show, still muted by the sharp green accord. I I believe that Amouage Attars have some of the best rose essence of any fragrance. Like all of Amouage Attars, the projection, Sillage, and Longevity is second-to-none.
After 30 minutes, the sharpness softens, and the rose shows through. Peppery rose lingers for the next several hours.
Badr al Badour is a heavy, opulent attar based on a mixture of real oud oils (one from Cambodia, the other from Myanmar), rosa damascena oil, ambergris, and a touch of sandalwood. I could have used one drop to scent my entire body, hair, wardrobe (and God knows, my home) for a whole day, that's how rich this attar is, but like the big idiot I am, I went and squandered my entire sample in one go.
The opening is a rather classic rose-oud combination, with a rather dark, medicinal oud note and a citrusy, geranium-tinted Bulgarian rose. So far, so traditional. But slowly, as the oil warms up on the skin, the Burmese oud oil comes to the fore and it is then that you begin to notice the lightly sour, almost fetid breath of real oud wood. It is peppery and dry with nary a hint of sweetness to soften it. I would best describe the smell as the dusty, pleasantly stale woodiness you get when you lift the lid on an old wooden trunk that has been sitting at the back of a house, abandoned for a long time. It is the smell of decay and of ancient wood breaking down. There is, for the average Westerner, a moment of repulsion fight it. After the repulsion comes attraction and fascination. There is a reason aficionados describe the smell of real oud as a compelling type of smell.
The salty funk of ambergris breathes life into the sour, dry oud mélange from beneath, bequeathing a round sort of warmth that has nothing to do with sweetness. I would describe the base of this attar as opulently rich and golden, and the oud heart as silver or grey, if that makes any sense.
The citrusy, light rose of the start seems to gain in richness and creaminess as the day wears on this is perhaps the softening effect of the sandalwood. I have seen the rose in this described as a Bulgarian rose in one place, and a Taifi rose in another I don't know which source is accurate. Either way, the rose starts out as sharply green and citrusy as the pure Taifi rose attar I once tested from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi called Al Ta'if Rose Nakhb Al Arous. This is the type of rose I smell at the start of Badr Al Badour. It softens as the day goes on, though, becoming more rosy' and sweeter/creamier. More recognizable as a rose, let's say, than as a citron.
Overall, this is an unusually prismatic scent for an oil attar different notes seem to come forward and then recede over the course of a wearing, allowing others to take their place. At times, the scent was purely a dry oud one, at times the rose came forward to cast a sweet, rosy netting over the oud, and at other times, everything but the salty warmth of the ambergris dropped back. This made for an endlessly rich and varied wearing experience throughout the day. I savored every minute that Badr al Badour was on my skin.