Reviews of Pure Oud by By Kilian

Dark woods, oiled leather, hot tar, and a bed of incense. No florals or brightness to speak of. This is the abyss gazing back at you.
24th May 2022
I cannot add a thing to the excellent description provided by ClaireV. I will just say I adore this creation and am very glad to have it in my collection.
14th June 2018

Pure Oud is the racehorse of the Western oud-based fragrances; all sinew and nerve, and not an inch of fat to spare. Kilian could have easily named this Oud Noir or Dark Oud, because Pure Oud really does convey the inky, matte darkness of a moonless night sky.

It smells like a black leather jacket tinctured into a pool of black tar and then vaporized into a mist of gasoline.

Pure Oud draws a line around itself and stays within it. Real oud oil has a smell that spills messily out over every line you've drawn for yourself; the brazenly-named Pure Oud (it is purely synthetic) is self-contained. But they do share a common denominator – both smell other-worldly and somewhat stark.

For me, it is the Western-based oud fragrance that comes closest to mimicking the smell of real oud oil. Not a sour, fermented-smelling Hindi or Assam oud oil, but one of those aged, dry oud oils where you can pick out hints of leather, dried fruit, melting plastic lunch boxes, and smoke.

Caveat: Pure Oud is a minimalist take on a maximalist smell, i.e., it does not approach the complexity or range of aromas of real oud oil. Nothing this obviously synthetic can come close to copying something so rudely natural.

But the experience of using oud oils and attars is not interchangeable with or comparable to using traditional fragrance; one is a quiet, more private experience geared toward internal contemplation; the other is a projection of oneself to the wider world. We shouldn't keep holding up one against the other in a race for authenticity. Prefer instead that benchmark of Guy Robert's: Does it smell good? And yes, Pure Oud does smell good – very good indeed.

I find Pure Oud to be very quiet, but long-lasting. Sometimes, to turn up the volume a bit, I re-spray during the day, twice, or even three times. This way, it builds up on the skin in layers of translucent ink – leather upon rubber upon gasoline, until it finally pushes off the skin in a sulky swirl of woodsmoke.
5th May 2016
a rather simple oud accord with low duration!
20th September 2015
Genre: Woods

While most certainly not what its label would lead one to believe, Pure Oud does enter on a rather enjoyable oudh reconstruction. In its general style the opening parallels Francis Kurkdjian's fine Oud Cashmere Mood and Oud Velvet Mood, with which Pure Oud shares several listed notes. The oudh accord here is initially complex – both medicinal and animalic. Saffron and cypriol emphasize the smoky, medicinal aspect of the oudh, while myrrh adds depth and roundness.

Where Pure Oud falls down is in what I tend to think of as the “mechanics”: sillage and projection are both limited, and lasting power is only moderate. I can see the resentment at having to reapply a scent in this one's price range after only a few hours. The drydown, I must admit, is also something of a disappointment: the oudh accord unravels into a relatively bare ensemble of woody notes.

To its credit, and unlike so many current oudh-themed fragrances, Pure Oud does not lean heavily on rose, and thus has a more individual profile than a number of its niche competitors. Still, at these prices, one has the right to expect more - and can get it, too, from Kurkdjian's aforementioned Oud Cashmere Mood and Oud Velvet Mood, both of which trump Pure Oud in terms of projection, tenacity, and sustained compositional depth.
30th July 2014
A pure "representation" of oud, where "pure" means the fact this oud-like main accord is linear and straigthtforward. Of course there is no literal purity as regards of the materials – this stands to pure oud oils like PU leather stands to cows. Anyway, a dry and solitary oud note, a material I do not love that much especially when used in a "prominent" way, mostly because it smells a bit boring to me. The smell here is that canonical burnt-tires rubbery feel of agar wood, rounded by vanilla and amber and softened by a subtle yet detectable floral accord, with a slight earthy/balsamic base and a leathery feel. A crowdpleaser for me, as it smells quite pleasant and refined, no obscure decadence, rotting notes or other "pure oud" notes. This does not mean Pure Oud is a bad scent, just perhaps a bit dull and trendy: it is austere, soft, elegant, and delivers just a hint of "fashion magazines-inspired" oud mysticism and darkness without smelling unpleasant or challenging - that sort of glossy, trendy, safe "elegance" that links together most of Kilian scents in my opinion. Mellow drydown. A bit light and pretentious as all other Kilian scents, which to me lack quite much in depth, taste, projection and persistence. One of those scents which may be a nice purchase in case of hard bargains/last-chance sales.

24th May 2014
Horrible. Smelled like a tar oud combo. Made me gag.
11th December 2013
Sawdust and oud, this is warmer than some ouds, and not medicinal. There is a peppery note that helps, but this is rather forgettable among a large assortment of ouds.
27th January 2013
It's like someone sat down with a pad and pencil, wrote down that they wanted 25% of this and 25% of that and 25% of something else, got somehow distracted elsewhere, mailed away the formula, and never realized that the numbers didn't all add up to 100!

Even though this is called "Pure Oud," don't let that deceive you into expecting Oud. Although you're expected to pay through the nose, your friend in the middle of your face will never be particularly exhilarated by this pleasant but painless fragrance...

At the end of the day, I just can't get over the name. It's deceiving. I will repeat, it's deceptive. Manipulating and disappointing. All because of the name. It is neither Pure nor Oud. There is no purity. There is no Oud. There is, however, attention spent toward placing a focus on Oud, but it is not prominent, and it doesn't justify the hefty expense.

If you're a salesperson and someone who has never smelt Oud (but has read lots of reviews) approaches you asking for a recommendation -- I can imagine endorsing this if you work on commission, but I would never suggest this to a friend, and I would never pay full-price on a bottle for myself, and even if I received it as a gift, I would never wear it often enough to justify keeping it amongst my few preferred possessions.
6th January 2013
The best among the four oud samples I have from Kilian.
3rd January 2013
Killian Pure Oud.
Designed by Calice Becker as part of the Arabian Nights Collection for By Killian and launched in 2009; Pure Oud smells woody, leathery, smokey and offers a realistic interpretation of the aroma of burning oud wood chips/incense, as this oud incense smoke might smell if it were bottled as a fragrance. I have been very impressed with the artistic quality of most everything Ms. Becker has created and Pure Oud is no exception. Pure Oud is a standard fragrance by which many other oud scents that have been created since will be measured against.

The smell of Pure Oud on the skin is a cool, dry scent of mossy, oudish and smokey woods that have an inviting nut like warmth to the aroma staying warm through to the base. There are no florals or fruit in the mix keeping this oud recreation solidly in the "leather oud" department, as a type of oud fragrance. Some of the major notes are: oud (probably synthetic) cypriol oil, gaiac wood oil, copahu balm and saffron oil. The smell of this fragrance is not immediately pleasing but it is very pleasing nonetheless, probably more provocative than pleasing. The appeal of a darker fragrance of this type is the recollection of hard won qualities that leave their tracks in time through woods and the natural world. This is a classic fragrance aroma - one of the best of its type in my opinion. Pure Oud lasts several hours before receding into the background, so it is not nearly as long lasting as some and this could be a negative for some, but I peronally like the gentle nature of this otherwise very roughly cut scent. rating 4. / 5.
5th December 2012
Oud pierced by a sharp carpenter shop's offcuts kind of wood note. This smells like one of the cheaper offerings from a bog-standard attar merchant. It has the Middle Eastern vibe alright, but you couldn't possibly get commoner within this denominator. Points of interest: dry and not sweet.
30th July 2012
I was in Saks killing time (cuz it's killin' me) and a very handsome and knowledgeable SA was spraying some By Kilian fragrances for the worshippers. I'd come specifically to try Back to Black and when the SA sprayed some on a card all the babies in the store squirmed approvingly. He also sprayed (with great flourish) a lovely smelling cloud of Pure Oud which immediatedly impressed me more than anything else I had smelled and I decided to get my own sample. I have to admit to having a great deal of trouble getting a consistent read on this fragrance. One day it will smell just heavenly to me, a pretty little bandaid of an oud that seems to go on forever. The next testing might find the oud seeming to fade all too quickly and everything becoming a little too vegetal for my liking. I'll find myself hunting around for the oud with my nose until I give up. Then sometime later the oud seems to have returned. The next day I'll think there's too much saffron. The next day something different, maybe good maybe not so good. I wouldn't care if I didn't like the basic accord as much as I do. The quiet subtlety. The hint of ambery sweetness. The touch of astringent saffron. It's just that I'm always holding my breath waiting for the oud to pack up and leave me. When I compare Pure Oud with Montale Dark Aoud, which I really love, Pure Oud never seems to put up much of a fight. The oud note in Dark Aoud is so front and center, so well defined and so fresh you can't help but be immediately impressed and all your attention is directed towards it at the expense of the competition. But I think there's a cautionary tale here which touches on the theme of comparing apples to oranges. The two fragrances shouldn't really be judged in this manner. Different compositions, different styles, different ouds. They're both quite wonderful in their own way. A big thumbs up for Pure Oud from me at least for today with fingers crossed.
1st April 2012
By Kilian's Pure Oud is packaged in a gold emblazoned bottle, but its true identifying color is black. If humans could smell in the salty depths of the ocean, Pure Oud would be the odor of the blue-black ink ejected from the central gland of a languorous giant squid.

But we cannot breathe underwater, much less with our heads pressed close to the mother squid by her grasping tentacles. Pure Oud is a scent that you smell with your mouth and tongue instead of breathing it in through your nose. It tastes of skin and rubber and the proximity of hair.

This is a loveless, beautiful, sexual ink for a woman to stain her body with. Trace it behind your ear and along the line of your neck. Spill it under your arms and down your legs. Then you can smother us men in your tentacles. Please.
12th February 2012
"Blending oud oil with other essential oils such as papyrus oil, gaiac wood oil and saffron oil, Pure Oud is composed as a contemporary interpretation of oud."

This one starts oud as a smoky, burnt woody aroma, much like if I was working in a woodsmith factory and after the day of work this was the smell that would be attached to me adding some saffron. The Oud note here is so pleasent and easy to wear compared to Montale Black Oud, YSL M7 (original formula) with their medicinal vibe!

11th January 2012
I cannot add more than has already been said from the previous reviewers - the top notes smell JUST like real oud oil that i've smelled (animalic, turpentine, woody, thick) but the it's leanness, synthetic/chemical middle and top notes start to show their true side and leave one feeling underwhelmed, bored and sort of hoodwinked at By Kilian's prices.
8th January 2012
I'm getting to the conclusion that comparing western ouds to the real thing is turning a bit pointless. Anyone interested in real oud should probably stop looking for it in western compositions and order a small vial from any oud farmer selling his products on the internet.

That being said, there are western ouds that still smell terrific and Pure Oud is, in my opinion, surely among them. The fragrance is like a dark and monolitic sphere that hits your nostrils with a pungent leathery/spicy aroma. The woods and balms break in right away and start to interact with other elements creating a sort of kaleidoscopic effect that is based on countless micro-nouances ranging from black to yellow via brown. Oily, viscous and appearantly minimalistic yet incredibly complex. In this context Pure Oud may somehow resemble the real thing as the scent is so unlike anything we are familiar with in our daily lives, that our brain fail to classify it through the usual associative parameters.

Pure Oud is surely dark, gothic and somehow dreadful but never claustrophobic or overpowering. Its monolitic but not heavy. Extremely addictive and so pleasant to wear.

Downside: average lasting power.

27th December 2011
A relatively positive recommendation on Pure Oud from me. It has a rubbery, slightly medicinal Gaiac heart mixed with real Oud that I find intriguing and is keeping me interested in smelling it throughout its development. Amber, and maybe a hint of musk join the Oud to form the base of the scent. I have to give By Kilian some points for using real oud in its composition, and keeping to the scent's name in spirit. Projection is above average here, but longevity is only average. This is not the easiest scent to wear, but still nice on the whole. I would say 3.5/5.

If this more straight Presentation of oud scent is too much for you, then the other By Kilian Arabian Nights oud scents may be more appealing to you... Rose Oud for a Rose dominant oud, and Incense Oud for a reference incense scent that may not contain much or even any real oud, but smells incredible nonetheless.
29th November 2011
I'm sorry – this one just screams of “hey let's take advantage of the current oud frenzy, slap a name on a bottle, throw some synthetic garbage in there reminiscent of oud and charge $400 for it”. Really, this one is a disappointment. There is a slight medicinal and animalistic wood opening, but this vanishes quicker than ever leaving behind a wood and saffron base, which also vanishes quickly. At least with Rose Oud they combined the ingredients to closely resemble an Arabian attar of the like, but this one I'm afraid is pure marketing gimmick.
8th November 2011

If you've NEVER smelled real oud, or only know Montale's ouds or Oud 27, let me chime in here.

VS. OUD 27

First of all, I can't imagine why anyone would compare this to Oud 27, as this is a completely different animal. Would you say Pinot Grigio is a terrible wine because Pinot Noir is so great? The comparison makes no sense. Oud 27 is sharp, primal, spicy, and to me vinegary and slightly rancid. It's a cool smell.

Kilian's Pure Oud is impossibly deep, woody, soothing, with only pleasant band-aidy smell that, to me, reminds me of actual oud.


Montale's "Original Aouds" comes closest to Pure Oud, btw, but with less depth. I love Black Aoud, but that has little in common with Pure Oud, obviously, because of the rose.


As I type this I have Oud 27 on 1 wrist and Ensar Oud / Oriscent's "Cambodi Caramel" on the other wrist, which is $110 / ml, and I only happen to have because I am writing a story for Model News dot com, and a number of companies were kind enough to send me a bunch of samples I could normally in NO WAY afford.

Although Cambodi Caramel is only one type of oud, it has quite a lot in common with the Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian and Burmese ouds the companies sent me to review. Let's just say ALL of those oud oils have more in common with EACH OTHER than with Oud 27 OR Pure Oud.

What does REAL oud smell like, to me? Take mud, mix it with coffee and a little peanut butter, add a pinch of menthol, raspberry and strain it though a band aid. That's real oud, to me, with variations.


When all is said and done, Kilian's Pure Oud is my favorite. It's ungodly expensive, has crappy sillage and doesn't last all that long. I spray it on my shirt now, so I can smell it longer. I also bought the travel spray (vs. the bottle), so I can spritz it on when I need it. (Say, a date.)

But I love it. Yes yes yes.

Just writing this review because this is the kind of information I was I'd had before I smelled real oud and all the oud perfumes, and I hope it helps someone.
3rd July 2011
Vintage, claustrophobic aoud that smells about boot polish, leatherwears and furs which have been stored in a trunk placed inside an old dusty attic for many many years. This is the smell of stale air, dust, retro potpourri vintage scents, the whiff exhaling from an old and dusty trunk full of old clothes, obsolete objects from the far youth and childhood, pulverulent lamps, ancient dusty books and parchments. I agree with Diamondflame since the fragrance, despite its name, is not a single note exploration and the word "Pure" means kind of "polished" and is basically related to a subtleness and refinement of the main resinous note as combined with different elements and deprived in part of its medicinal vibe (the pure dark/inky oudh's oil I've tested in Istanbul was smelling quite close to this By Kilian's). The first whiff is a sort of very smoky "aoud/frankicense/seasoned woods/rubber/damascene rose/dried berrie's smell". Along this initial phase the scent conjures me vaguely Parfum d'Empire Wazamba (and the La Via del Profumo's Castoreum) for its woodsy-fruity and creamy beat. Animalic notes and the cistus labdanum start to play in a while a key role on the side of saffron in the exhalation of this "ancient leatherwares sort of piquant scent". The note of aoud is prominent but a concert of elements, as amber for instance, contribute to soothen it, eliciting nuances of stuffs, buffs, old deodorant, ceils, old lodgement and conservings. Some balsams and resinous burned myrrh provide a tad of smoothness civilizing the elements and ideally rising up the mystery of objects and rooms in the ancient sinister nobiliar house of the english farm in which you imagine to be surrounded by this ghostly perfume. One of these elements is Copahu Balm, a resinous aromatic oil with woodsy-balsamic background due to imprint strength to the woody-oriental accords. Multifaceted, oily, constantly smoky and gothic this fragrance, across ages, misfortunes and revolutions, embraces the senses in a congeries of otherworldy, multicolored and decadent whirls in a way to turn finally out as an eccentric choice for mysterious lovers of cozy vintage ambients, misanthropy and retro shelters.
4th June 2011
Pure Oud – black, plasticky, and thin… like a bin bag – lacks the thrills and spills of Le Labo's Oud 27. While not terrible, it can be safely ignored.
3rd June 2011
A fragrance that captures all the expense of oud while avoiding the hassle of using the substance. The promising opening blast of frenzied medicinal and animalic notes disappears like a genie back into the bottle, leaving behind a weirdly sour-sweaty wood of what may be saffron and immortelle but the combination is reminiscent of Australian Sandalwood with artificial enhanced sharpness (perhaps whatever molecule is in Samsara). Not very pleasant and a disappointment from Becker.
30th March 2011
After one has been collecting fragrances for a while, hearing a lot of different takes, opinions or even insight from those working in the industry regarding the actual cost of the raw materials to make a fragrance...One can only begin to ask Philosophical questions of why am I paying this much for a composition of much cheaper raw materials? Well, surely fragrance making is an art, and you're paying for the idea, No? But you also got to keep in mind that a huge portion goes to the brand name, "exclusivity", advertisement, testers/samples (many times you don't get any of), the useless sales assistants and so on...

But're just paying for straight-up bullcrap. This is the case of By Kilian Pure Oud. I've seen people criticize M7 for not being an Oud fragrance...even some criticized Montale, and surely those are at the low-end compared to middle eastern creations. But What is exactly going on with Pure Oud? I smell Rubbery, dusty, musky wood with a touch of Saffron, to give a delusion of a synthetic oud? Even disregarding the oud reference I don't see how one might find this pleasant. It makes me think of a cheap version of Serge Noir.

Hey woodsy Rubber with a touch of Saffron on top might be your thing, but its' straight up misleading to name this "Pure Oud". And to price it at $400 for 50ml? "Oh yes Sir, Oud is the most expensive scent in the world, And By Kilian has acquired the highest quality natural stuff for the reasonable price of $400."

And to add more insult to injury, this perfume has pathetic longevity and projection. I don't mean to insult the other reviewers, maybe I've got a bad sample after all. But honestly, how many ouds have you tried? Do you know the difference between synthetic and natural oud? What about non-existent oud?

Over-priced, synthetic mess that gives an illusion of the wateriest cheap smelling oud I have tried in my entire life. Do yourself a favor and get a montale, YSL M7, or perhaps some middle eastern ouds.

This perfume is exactly why I sometimes feel like an idiot for dishing out money in the Niche Perfume Market and supporting the occasional bullcrap that goes around. By Kilian is a decent house, but their Oud line is a huge insult to anyone with the slightest experience in ouds and middle eastern blends.


Presentation: 9/10
Uniqueness: 3/10
Value: 1/10
Longevity: 3/10
Projection: 2/10
Smell: 3/10

Overall: 2/10
2nd March 2011