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Latest Reviews of Essence No. 4 : Oud

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Credit where credit's due: it's hard to imagine a better "luxe-niche oud" soliflore. The aromachem-ness of it all threatens to get scratchy, but Kurkdjian really knows how to handle modern materials.
12th February 2023
I'm glad I finally got the chance to try this, as it seems to have disappeared from all the discounters and the price has shot up to near-retail levels on ebay.

If you're after a literal, modern "oud", you'll be happy with this. I guess I was expecting something a bit more abstract coming from Kurkdjian. Alas, no, to my nose, and from the western oud fragrances I've smelled, it resembles another creation from his own line, Oud Cashmere, as well as Gao from Xerjoff. That is, a fairly straight-up rendition without much adornment.

The opening possibly has some ionones, which give the illusion of being a softer scent than it really is (which shows in the drydown). It also has one of those terrible "woody ambers" that pierce the nose, although they've done a decent job of trying to hide it. These factors make me enjoy the topnote experience much more than the heart and drydown.

From testing and loving much of the other scents in this collection, and from the initial retail pricing, I expected more...something in the lines of Armani's Oud Royale, which is a brilliant take on oud, without actually trying to smell like the real thing.

Not bad, but not for me.
13th January 2020

It smells like a Kurkdjian creation, with an expression of laotion oud. That would read as medicinal, almost floral but not, astringent, almost antiseptic. Its an interesting scent. Reminds me of the oud from the MFK oud line, but a bit lighter.
28th August 2019
Stunning fragrance, signed by Francis Kurkdjian.

This fragrance is completely oud-focused. One can spot several expression of oud, typical of the multi-faceted laotian oud that has been used here. (considered by many as the most interesting oud, the reason why F. Kurkdjian exclusively uses it for his creations at MFK, as well as Guerlain in their higher-end fragrances)

It starts with a very medicinal/balsamic oud scent, very vegetal and minty. It is nearly astringent (probably the benzoin), and to be honest, I was worried about my blind-buy at this point.

I have been reassured shortly after, when the green freshness and the mint both disappear, and the oud morphs into an asphalt/rubbery oud, and black pepper starts to show up, (only as a supporting note, not in-your-face).

Then, the oud becomes pure heaven: it tames in terms of scent, but not in presence. It becomes (and will stay from now on) a beautiful dry woody but round oud, with hints of smoke (but not burnt). Hard to describe at this point, this is the smell of laotian oud, pure luxury-smelling bliss. I may suspect the presence of a very light rose, and a hint of saffron, but very subtle.

The notes in this fragrance help the oud to develop, but only as supporting actors. The oud is the main and only star here.
Interms of performance, it's not a beast, but has a great projection in the first hour, then keeps having a moderate/good projection for the follwoing 6 hours (I kept sometimes smelling whiffs several hours on, without placing my nose on the skin).

As of today, THIS is my best oud fragrance, my best blind-buy and my favorite fragrance in my 50+ bottles collection.

In the past, you would have gotten what you payed for ($250). Except nowadays: you get much more than what you pay for, because at currently $55 for 3.4 oz at discounters, it's just the best steal ever!!
31st December 2018