Nice peeyoo oud you know the kind, all brash tannery leather and unidentified faecal matter by the roadside. Bukhoor performs well the transformation trick such rugged ouds usually pull in order to make the wearer stay the course, morphing into something much mellower and furry, an animalic muskiness coupled with the rotting wood core that makes the cowshed look quite appealing as a place of habitation. Almost fruity, sweeter tones dance around in the mix, a touch of roses but nothing like the standard issue rose-oud pairing, and, as the wear progresses, a lovely, peppery and ashen smokiness acting as a sacral filter to the whole composition. I was enjoying how after its rowdy start, it kept getting smoother by degree, until a fatal twist a few hours in that's when a sweet and gooey woody amber in the I'm-not-going-anywhere-until-tomorrow mode elbowed out everything else, and what was once compelling became yawnsome.
Tauer's Desert Marocain presents airy, dry, spice in desert. Maison's By The Fireplace presents smoke, ash and dense spice. From these view points Thomas's Bukhoor does not smell like burned woodchips rather the dried woods before burning (for releasing its fragrance).
If I summarize Bukhoor, this perfume is an oud twist to Baccarat Rouge 540. How does BR 540 suddenly come into picture? Bukhoor's heart note took me by surprise when it turned sweet. It has a woodier/smokier take on BR 540 sweetness. Let's leave out the Oud for Greatness comparison. There are similarities but not redundant.
Whether authentic Oud or synthetic, Bukhoor's opening is realistic olfactory snapshot of normal quality Oud oil (as opposed to Artisan quality), which opening note is naturally sour/barnyard. Where pure Oud oil is warm, woody, and slight rotting, Thomas tempers that note with slight creaminess achieving a 'polite' state of Oud skank. Polite means it is no longer an offense except to those who deem that being polite is the offense. In that case, may I recommend to wear Oud oil neat.
Perhaps dishing out $100 more than other same range perfumes is not acceptable, I politely remind myself Bakhoor is bottle of Elixir De Parfum concentration and the rest 01 to 08 are Eau De Parfum. That might account for the bulk of their price differences.
Admiring quality of perfumery ingredients is important and creative composition is another. If you are new to niche or hunting for popular smelling niche, Bakhoor is probably not in the pop niche genre. May I send you instead in another direction to look for Initio's Oud For Greatness.
The reward for partaking in Bakhoor's polite Oud skank is sailing its smooth dry down and discover the delicious manifestation of sweet, amber, incense, wood heart note.
You look back and say, Wow from ease and grace of dry down I find its divine synchronicity. I am going to wear this again.
Fun to try: Layer Frederic's Carnal Flower 1 spritz immediately on top of Bakhoor 1 spritz they morph into a 'banana' note opening
Note: I purchased this from fragrance discounter my views are from < $200 price point
I'm sensing a theme here - Thomas Kosmala seems to like pairing one natural-smelling material with a fake or aromachemical one (a simplified way of making a perfume). In No. 9 Bukhoor, I give Kosmala full credit for using an authentic-smelling oud note, which doesn't mean that he used real oud, just that he ponied up the dosh for a superior-smelling oud synthetic from Firmenich or Symrise (don't worry, though, because he's passed the cost of that decision down to us poor schmucks - this costs $100 more than Tonic No. 1). I like the way the oud note smells in this composition - it is authentically rugged, sheepy, and full of those matted straw and deep leather notes you get in a real-deal oud oil, but skips the honeyed piss and shit notes you sometimes get with the more feral ones. Whether it's worth it to you to pay $100 more for a polite, nipped and tucked facsimile of a real oud oil is really up to you. It comes cloaked in a sticky, gloppy fruit-amber and lots of that scratchy, radiant woodchip note Kosmala likes so much. So much meh for so much money.
By the way, real bukhoor, which is basically woodchips (not oud chips) soaked in rose, myrrh, frankincense and other oils, and either smoked loose over a burner (mabkhara) or pressed into a gummy soft brick to break off into single-burn 'nubbins' of incense (kind of like softish incense cones but in a pressed wodge the size of a peppermint patty), does not smell at all like this scent. No. 9 Bukhoor winds up smelling like cheap bro-wood with a vaguely exotic tint, the oud note departing the scene with indecent haste for all $275 you're shelling out for it. Real bukhoor is sweet, incensy, ambery, and yes, usually mega cheap-smelling, but it smells a hundred times better and more honest than this trash. Neutral rating purely for the very good oud material front-loaded into the first 30 minutes.
The notes are Cambodian oud wood chips freshly cut with no burning smokiness - just fresh cut wood. That is my impression of the wood smell. These are freshly carved wood chips that retain the extreme woody freshness from the heart of the wood. There is a slight musky barnyard quality that you would expect to find in well aged oud wood, especially wood that comes from dense overgrowth forests, but nothing is off-putting about this smell. No fecal aromas as you might find in Assam Oud or some of the Chinese Oud, just aged wood that is warm but cleansing. In fact I find Bukhoor invigorating - even inspiring - with a core of aged wood resin quality that has a "wisdom won through crystalized pain" type of vintage aura. It smells of wisdom soaked in the woods. I have no doubt that some modern synthetic floralizers are fueling this otherwise ancient wood composition. This is not a complicated or evolving aroma, but is one pure and excellent note of wood chips from a bukhoor.