Perris Monte Carlo is an interesting mid-tier niche house out of Monaco, themed around every fragrance having some relation to the substance of gold, the color of which adorns every bottle. The collection straddles both Western and Middle Eastern styles, but veers slightly towards the former with ingredients usage and exectution, so it's of no surprise that Oud Imperial (2012) does the same. For starters, this is mostly a Western-themed oud fragrance that is, for better or worse, a child of Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002) with its medicinal sythetic oud note. Unlike most designers toying with this note, Perris Monte Carlo by way of perfumer Luca Maffei tries to dress it up with a bit of Middle Eastern barnyard muskiness, then pads the rest out with good old-fashioned 1980's powerhouse masculinity. I feel the last part makes Oud Imperial a veritable shoe-in for vintage masculine connoisseurs, the kind of whom usually hang out in Basenotes Vintage Forum or in various Facebook groups dedicated to the decade, and could almost be an entry point into the oud phenomenon for guys of this taste persuasion. For everyone else, Oud Imperial may be a bit of a hard sell in the face of popular "Comet cleanser" Tom Ford ouds (also the children of M7), or the really dyed-in-the-wool oud addict stuff like Areej le Dore, Bortnikoff, Parfums Dusita, or any host of Arabian attar makers produce.
The opening of Oud Imperial is a blast of petrol-like aldehydes, jasmine indole, caraway seed, and that rubbery, medicinal oud note that is made a bit more animalic by the former. At first glance, one might suspect this of being something truly "barnyard" in scope, but these opening touches die away rather quickly to let the oud note play around with more aromatic tones of camphorous patchouli, spicy saffron, and a bit of olibanum. Smokey 80's-style vetiver makes Oud Imperial sit somewhere between Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) and Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984), but graced with that ever-present oud molecule. The base has labdaum and a high-quality sandalwood note (probably polysantal) that adds to the oriental muskiness of the compositon, with a few other woody notes zinging about to underpin the "oud" theme. Wear time is pretty much all day and sillage is appreciable but not suffocating. However, if you want a warmer and closer-to-skin version of this scent, the extrait de parfum is available too, which smooths, extends, and enriches the scent at the usual cost of projection. I'd say use this in formal or evening situations during cooler weather when you want something that isn't an amber or leather fragrance. Oud Imperial is almost a modern Antaeus by Chanel (1981), if not for that glaring lack of castoreum-fueled leather.
Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial is sold as unisex, but unless you're a stone-cold fan of this powerhouse brute style, it is likely not to wear well on people who prefer fragrance that reads feminine according to conventional wisdom. Also, while the price tag of $190USD is far from the most expensive of niche oud perfumes out there (although the extrait is much higher), Oud Imperiale barely does more than your average designer oud take outside being a bit more daring with animalic notes or anachronistic style. Also, there's the fact that Jacques Bogart more or less copied this scent with their One Man Show Oud Edition (2014), which sells for a fraction of the price for those less-willing to risk a blind buy and unable to sample. To be fair, the Bogart is much more synthetic and less smooth than the Perris Monte Carlo, but offers the same aesthetic and even better performance (which may in fact be too much performance) per dollar spent. One could almost use the Bogart scent as a test bed to see if they'd like a more-refined and rounded version of the same concept, then upgrade to Oud Imperial afterword. All in all this is a good, punchy, masculine Western take on oud, offering a nice middle ground between the department store, and the souk. Thumbs up.
Whoah!! Perris Monte Carlo's Oud Imperial EdP starts with a very boozy blast of typical old-school men's fougere scent elements, led by caraway, jasmine, and patchouli. Vetiver is quite noticeable, softened by the rock rose and sandalwood.
The oud element in this one, IMO, seems to be overshadowed by the sweet-spicy-woody elements that linger with FEROCITY in this EdP. Overall, Oud Imperial comes across as a beastly 1980's cologne that I've long-since moved on from (cf. Ralph Lauren's Monogram, which Oud Imperial smells SO MUCH like!) versus a classy, restrained oud scent.
Personally, I wouldn't wear this fragrance if I wanted to project anything resembling the ouds I'd experienced in other brands (i.e. Tom Ford, Gucci, Armani, Versace).
Nor would I wear it simply because its characteristic loud yester-decade personality is just not what I wear anymore.
One of the permanent of my small collection: something I will never give up. Perfectly made, with a tremendous presence that does not nullify the attractiveness of its calibrated character. The opening of a stroke of dry and exaggerated verdure turns your head to fainting. It is beautiful to see how the wood appears in its conspiracy seated on a pure oud, simply clad in a leather accord and dark spices, in turn firmly entwined in a carpet of grass and dry moss. I love the terrible alcoholic enigma that sharpens, with serious decision, the maintenance of this forceful mixture. Eventually everything settles down, and the oud that begins to flourish in all its black character reminds me of other wild compositions of the market, which, however, have not excited me as much as the present here.
This is wood with more wood. Dark and brown, resinous and polished. It is superlative and balanced, and, somehow, pure in its bizarre unity. I like the conceptualization of the perfume worked by this house, and I would present this creation as the most finished emblem of its art.
An earthy and slightly rooty vetiver. This one is for the serious wood lovers. Nice, but not something I would see myself wearing often. Cooler weather fragrance. Sort of reminded me of an Amouage fragrance (due to the incense). Worth a try for sure!
An incredibly beautiful and intense Oud. Much like Killian Pure Oud. This is a gladiator of a fragrance that will always win. And I love it. This again is not for the meek, nor for those who like a sweet fragrance. It is a very assertive scent. Very distinctive and much to my liking. Next to Derby this scent gets more comments from friends who either love it or are frightened by its power and shy away from it.
Oud Imperial, OUD IMPERIAL, the name suggests a big honking, stonking, bombastic, in your face OUD. But it's not. It's really not. I have been surprised to discover that it is a beautifully elegant fragrance with Fougere references.
I've been spending a lot of time with Oud Imperial. I seem to agree, and disagree, with what others are saying about it. I would like to be able to say that I'm smart enough to detect the published notes, but I can't actually. I don't smell jasmine, or caraway, or sandalwood, or vetiver for that matter. I do smell other notes that may or may not be there. What does that matter? I can only tell you how I find it, whether real or imagined.
First off, every time I smell the topnotes I think that I smell a boozy rose in there. No one else seems to note that. An accord of boozy rose, geranium and pronounced woody resinous notes that I can only describe as smelling like pine and perhaps fir balsam to me. It's a gorgeous accord. It's deep and woody with the slightest aromatic aspect. I smelll a little aromatic accord in other Perris Monte Carlo fragrances, a little geranium, like a signature accord?
The heart of Oud Imperial reveals a terrific blend of frankincense and oud, and more woody notes. Then a fascinating burnt wood note, like wood blackened on a camp fire. There is a suggestion of something dark, green and herbal too, and patchouli. There are wonderful Fougere references , and I see that I'm not on my own there, as others have found this too.
Now, those of you who know me, will know that I am mostly gender blind when it comes to fragrance, but there are exceptions, and Oud Imperial is one of them. Oud Imperial is a mans fragrance in my view. It's not butch though. It is a beautiful mans fragrance. A fragrance for a beautiful man. It is simply the most elegant Oud fragrance that I have ever smelled. It has notes with such strong profiles, strong characters, and yet the whole fragrance is so skillfully balanced, so refined. It is timeless, very stylish, urbane even. I am smelling it right now and oh it is lovely. If a man wearing this were to sit down next to me I think that I would fall in love.
With no intention of being rude to Perris Monte Carlo, this elegant Oud would be better named Saville Row Oud in my view.