Varanis Ridari's Review of Triad by Bortnikoff

There is no doubt in my mind that Triad by Bortnikoff (2020) is an excellent fragrance; but at this point in the "game" of making rose oud fragrances seemingly palatable to Westerners that wrinkle their noses to fecal or urinous animalic notes, the big niche or luxury prestige designer lines have already beaten the artisanal maker to the punch, and have done so offering "more" for "less" by using synthetics which the layman nose will not find discernibly different enough to justify the price. That said, if you're looking for a dry and medicinal/refined oud paired with rose, and do not wish to compromise by using mere traces of real oud mixed with powerful and accurate replacers from chemical firms like Firmenich, Triad by Bortnikoff is your holy grail. This is the perfume that answers the questions of "What if Montale Black Aoud (2006) had real oud in it?" or "What if the oud in Parfums Dusita Oudh Infini (2016) wasn't fecal?", and does so by using a custom oud distillation by Dmitri Bortnikoff himself that uses everything but Laotian or Indian ouds, which tend to be the most cheesy or fecal in tone. Of note, this is an extrait de parfum, so a little goes a really long way, which may help to alleviate cost concerns some since one bottle may be a lifetime supply for people with larger collections. I really like this stuff even though I typically opt for the porterhouse over the filet mignon, and getting to taste the latter now and then even if by sample is fun.

The opening here seems to forego any traditional sense of top notes, and immediately you are bonked in the noggin with an Acme Inc. hammer made of ROSE AND OUD. In a similar move to powerful synth rose ouds like the aforementioned Montale creation, medicinal oud and sharp green rose greet the nostrils all at once, although the official brand notes also list magnolia in the heart. Sri Lankan oud, Indonesian Bouya oud, and Chinese oud (hay-nan) are all blended into the top and heart according to Bortnikoff, so a swirl of medicinal oud it is until the base appears to soften things just a tad. The rose settles in behind the oud rather than in front of it like it does in many designer or niche synth ouds, so this is more accurately described as oud and rose rather than rose and oud. The medicinal woody facets of the agar are then mulled with some tonka and benzoin to smooth them oud into something I imagine Westerners used to Mancera and Tiziana Terenzi can stomach, then only the slightest and most judicious amount of hyraceum is used to give just enough animalic musk to give Triad virile bite. Hyraceum is used here how civet used to be used in rose chypres in the 80's, so most noses will not wrinkle to it. Wear time is all day, but sillage is surprisingly not nuclear, and will stay at arm's length until you scrub. Best use is anyone's guess, as this is still a statement maker at heart. Winter time feels best for Triad, but you expected me to say as much, as something like this would reek in humidity.

The price of $350 for 50ml of extrait is not out of bounds for people who are used to paying retail prices for classic Guerlain extraits like Shalimar (1925), Mitsouko (1919), or Jicky (1889); but the usual $350 for 100 to 125ml of eau de parfum from brands like Parfums de Marly, or even the folks used to getting Montale and Mancera ouds for under $200 are going to turn up their noses. Remember, this isn't aimed at the "oud freaks" who buy stuff like Parfums Dusita Oudh Infini and call it their easy reach, then bust out Ensar Oud or Areej le Dore attars as their show pieces, or even just wear raw oud oils that cost in the thousands then chase everyone out of a restaurant they walk into while wearing them. This is aimed at the MFK lovers, the kind of people that think L'Artisan Al Oudh (2009) was challenging, or even have insecurity about wearing deep vintage Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981) out in public. This was made for the haute bourgeois that discovered oud through Tom Ford or and has slowly sunk deeper only in small layers by tasting ouds from Louis Vuitton, and definitely value shop whenever Gucci or Versace release an oud that usually sells for a slice above designer retail then drops off production in a few years. They have no taste for gym socks, at least not yet, and this is a hard sell to them. Still, Triad is an all-natural Western-style rose oud, and that's pretty neat. Kudos for Bortikoff for once again merging styles and practices from all over the globe. Thumbs up

  1. Varanis Ridari

    The Scented Devil From Seattle/Bellevue WA
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Recent Reviews of Triad by Bortnikoff

“There is no beating around the olfactory bush here - The opening hits me with an oud storm: rich, de…” Read More
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