Therapeutic Fragrance with Ensar Oud Talks Real Oud vs Synthetic

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
Ensar is free to defend what he and his brand stands for, and he's personally invested in it. He clearly sees himself as an outsider (and he is), and he has dedicated his livelihood to agarwood.

But I think this is much to-do about nothing, personally. But I am not an oud cultist, so I am also an outsider to this subculture. I've smelled some real oud in my time but it did not inspire religious devotion in me.

It is my general stance that I am less concerned about what materials perfumers use than I am about how they use them. Many "notes" are, in reality, created accords that evoke something without directly recreating it. This is true of perfumery across the ages. Most tobacco accords contain no actual tobacco absolute. Leather is a kind of fantasy note. I'm not offended by "oud" being replicated synthetically. There are good and bad synthouds.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
I am not a fan, but a supporter. That’s why I feel free to criticize him (and others) from time to time. And these are my thoughts after his words:

1. I can’t imagine Antonio Gardoni, neither Ropion nor Josh Lobb, talking about the lack of true skills of new artesanal perfumers and the fairy tale of all-natural ingredients in perfumery as the old and now lost path or tradition. Perfumery, as we know it, started with suporting sinthetics and Jacques Guerlain, or maybe even earlier, with Aimé.
2. From tooth paste to any single vegetable or even simple shampoo, we all are covered by toxic synthetics in different forms. And he uses and eats them as we all do.
3. I’d like to see Ensar creating, at least once, a perfume with some (or just one) transition/s intentionally made by him, and not by the natural development of the materials he use, which is nice to experience but reiterative after so many similar aand circular releases.
4. The day Ensar understands that perfumery is not about the ingredients, he will turn to even himself with a smile.
5. He should visit/own some vintage/antique Carons, Chanels and Guerlains, as Sultan Pasha and Russian Adam did and do, and I am sure that his blends will improve to the detriment of his (I am sorry to say this) rants. And some modern houses and perfumers, like the above mentioned and others.
6. Those houses that only deliver packagings also deliver top notes, mid notes and transitions, vibrant compositions (as well as many fails) and finished products/blends, and also have some of the best and most iconic fragrances in their respective ranges, like vintage Sahara Noir for or even Tuscan Leather to name one house mentined by him. Do I like them? No. Are they crucial in perfumery history? Absolutely.
7. He has the ego of a titan; the skills of an ephebo. Should be the contrary.
8. Words should always walk two steps behind the work.
9. And i would like to smell someday what I read in his grand and beautiful descriptions.

No fights, please. Just an opinion.
 

Castingshadows

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 14, 2020
I am not a fan, but a supporter. That’s why I feel free to criticize him (and others) from time to time. And these are my thoughts after his words:

1. I can’t imagine Antonio Gardoni, neither Ropion nor Josh Lobb, talking about the lack of true skills of new artesanal perfumers and the fairy tale of all-natural ingredients in perfumery as the old and now lost path or tradition. Perfumery, as we know it, started with suporting sinthetics and Jacques Guerlain, or maybe even earlier, with Aimé.
2. From tooth paste to any single vegetable or even simple shampoo, we all are covered by toxic synthetics in different forms. And he uses and eats them as we all do.
3. I’d like to see Ensar creating, at least once, a perfume with some (or just one) transition/s intentionally made by him, and not by the natural development of the materials he use, which is nice to experience but reiterative after so many similar aand circular releases.
4. The day Ensar understands that perfumery is not about the ingredients, he will turn to even himself with a smile.
5. He should visit/own some vintage/antique Carons, Chanels and Guerlains, as Sultan Pasha and Russian Adam did and do, and I am sure that his blends will improve to the detriment of his (I am sorry to say this) rants. And some modern houses and perfumers, like the above mentioned and others.
6. Those houses that only deliver packagings also deliver top notes, mid notes and transitions, vibrant compositions (as well as many fails) and finished products/blends, and also have some of the best and most iconic fragrances in their respective ranges, like vintage Sahara Noir for or even Tuscan Leather to name one house mentined by him. Do I like them? No. Are they crucial in perfumery history? Absolutely.
7. He has the ego of a titan; the skills of an ephebo. Should be the contrary.
8. Words should always walk two steps behind the work.
9. And i would like to smell someday what I read in his grand and beautiful descriptions.

No fights, please. Just an opinion.


If you watched the video , Ensar actually states that it’s not the use of synthetics that bothers him and then listed several well known perfumers he respects and admires that use synthetics and he applaud them. What he clarified is that his stance is against the use of synthetic Oud to mislead the public into thinking they’re getting the real thing when they are not. He goes on to explain it would be like selling someone a 14k gold chain that is actually just cheap anodized coating but charging them money as if it was the real thing or selling a cubic zirconium but listing it as a diamond. With this stance in my mind I completely agree with his sentiments. You should watch the video if you haven’t!

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I think it’s a fair position. Synthetically created Oud profiles can be great in perfume but it would be nice if it was more regulated as a commodity.

I thought the part where Tom Ford’s brand tried renting a log of Oud wood for a photo shoot was hilarious. “So you’re selling a perfume called Oud wood and you don’t happen to have any?”

I feel like this was a huge step forward in Ensar’s maturity as a perfumer and lover of Oud as something more than just an accord or material. You can tell he legitimately is in love with Agarwood and it shows by the passion in his eyes. I think this is one of the few “real” moments for him in the public eye. No fancy wordsmithing. No put downs or insults. Just straight up honest truth. I was actually really impressed.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
If you watched the video , Ensar actually states that it’s not the use of synthetics that bothers him and then listed several well known perfumers he respects and admires that use synthetics and he applaud them. What he clarified is that his stance is against the use of synthetic Oud to mislead the public into thinking they’re getting the real thing when they are not. He goes on to explain it would be like selling someone a 14k gold chain that is actually just cheap anodized coating but charging them money as if it was the real thing or selling a cubic zirconium but listing it as a diamond. With this stance in my mind I completely agree with his sentiments. You should watch the video if you haven’t!

He talks about synthetic oud, synthetic western oud. Perfumery is not oud. Oud is a new ingredient in perfumery. Western ouds are oud interpretations and everybody knows that. Brands don't lie unless they say that they put real oud. Customers are not scamed then. Youtubers talking about all kinds of perfumery are not liars. The world is not just white and black.

The Tom Ford story is not new. Do you see something wrong in showing a piece of oud with a synth oud release? The real problem, and you know it, is that they did not wanted to buy it. That's the problem: money. And why all western brands don't use him as their supplier and guru. In my opinion, of course.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
Sinkingrade, I agree with much of what you’re saying about his composition acumen... it seems like it has come to a limit that he hasn’t been able to push through quite yet(but I have hope that he will).

But I didn’t hear him criticizing any artisan perfumers on that video.

And, though modern perfumery started with synthetics, there is a tradition going back to ancient Egypt with naturals. I don’t think it’s wrong for anyone to want to carry that torch.

Then there are modern artists able to contribute using only naturals. TRNP and Hiram Green both are pushing boundaries in totally natural compositions.

This video made me like Ensar more than some of his earlier rants and positions. I’m all for passion and he clearly believes in his work.

Just a couple small points to offer after your eloquent comment.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
Sinkingrade, I agree with much of what you’re saying about his composition acumen... it seems like it has come to a limit that he hasn’t been able to push through quite yet(but I have hope that he will).

But I didn’t hear him criticizing any artisan perfumers on that video.

And, though modern perfumery started with synthetics, there is a tradition going back to ancient Egypt with naturals. I don’t think it’s wrong for anyone to want to carry that torch.

Then there are modern artists able to contribute using only naturals. TRNP and Hiram Green both are pushing boundaries in totally natural compositions.

This video made me like Ensar more than some of his earlier rants and positions. I’m all for passion and he clearly believes in his work.

Just a couple small points to offer after your eloquent comment.


I subscribe to all your words. What I have written is not incompatible with yours; au contraire, I think that both comments complete each other.

But i have never heard Teone, Hiram, Zakir or Nitish, to name a few, to talk that way and so frecuently about western brands, perfumers, lies, synths, youtubers and/or the use of synthetics. And there is a reason why.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
I subscribe to all your words. What I have written is not incompatible with yours; au contraire, I think that both comments complete each other.

But i have never heard Teone, Hiram, Zakir or Nitish, to name a few, to talk that way and so frecuently about western brands, perfumers, lies, synths, youtubers and/or the use of synthetics. And there is a reason why.

:thumbsup:
 

Sultan al Hindi

Basenotes Junkie
Feb 5, 2020
He talks about synthetic oud, synthetic western oud. Perfumery is not oud. Oud is a new ingredient in perfumery.

Really Señor?

You may want to change that to 'Western Perfumery'.In the East, we have Sanskrit texts as early as 1400 BC showing the use of agarwood as a fragrance product, so it is far from new.

Also Oud is very much perfume.Just look up the etymology of the word and you will soon see the error of your ways.
 

Castingshadows

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 14, 2020
Really Señor?

You may want to change that to 'Western Perfumery'.In the East, we have Sanskrit texts as early as 1400 BC showing the use of agarwood as a fragrance product, so it is far from new.

Also Oud is very much perfume.Just look up the etymology of the word and you will soon see the error of your ways.


There were literal trade routes established throughout Asian for the sole purpose of trading perfume materials like Oud and musk. It blows my mind that people completely disregard 2 thousand years of perfume culture in Southeast Asia and the Middle East simply because it doesn’t fall in line with French perfumery.

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He talks about synthetic oud, synthetic western oud. Perfumery is not oud. Oud is a new ingredient in perfumery. Western ouds are oud interpretations and everybody knows that. Brands don't lie unless they say that they put real oud. Customers are not scamed then. Youtubers talking about all kinds of perfumery are not liars. The world is not just white and black.

The Tom Ford story is not new. Do you see something wrong in showing a piece of oud with a synth oud release? The real problem, and you know it, is that they did not wanted to buy it. That's the problem: money. And why all western brands don't use him as their supplier and guru. In my opinion, of course.

I’m not sure if I follow your sentiment here mainly because Ensar himself is not a western French style perfumer nor does he pretend to be. He was raised in a Sufi family and focuses solely on oriental/eastern style Attars and perfumes which is a totally different style of perfumery in general. If you watched the video you’d see that issue isn’t money. He genuinely cares and respects Oud for what it is.

If you’d like to bring up issues of things he’s said in the past maybe we can make a post about that or jump into the All things Ensar post and discuss those issues. Im discussing what was said in this video which is apparent that you didn’t watch. Maybe watch it and see for yourself what he said and then assess that because we’re having two different conversations if not.

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Also from Tom Ford’s description of Oud Wood


“RARE. EXOTIC. DISTINCTIVE.

ONE OF THE MOST RARE, PRECIOUS, AND EXPENSIVE INGREDIENTS IN A PERFUMER'S ARSENAL, OUD WOOD IS OFTEN BURNED IN THE INCENSE-FILLED TEMPLES OF BHUTAN. EXOTIC ROSE WOOD AND CARDAMOM GIVE WAY TO A SMOKY BLEND OF RARE OUD WOOD, SANDALWOOD AND VETIVER. TONKA BEAN AND AMBER ADD WARMTH AND SENSUALITY.“


To say something has rare and precious ingredients like “rare Oud wood” is exactly the marketing that Ensar speaks about being misleading. Say what you want about his own pricing and tactics but at least he’s selling the real and not misleading the public.
 

oudaddict

Basenotes Dependent
Feb 2, 2017
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Also from Tom Ford’s description of Oud Wood


“RARE. EXOTIC. DISTINCTIVE.

ONE OF THE MOST RARE, PRECIOUS, AND EXPENSIVE INGREDIENTS IN A PERFUMER'S ARSENAL, OUD WOOD IS OFTEN BURNED IN THE INCENSE-FILLED TEMPLES OF BHUTAN. EXOTIC ROSE WOOD AND CARDAMOM GIVE WAY TO A SMOKY BLEND OF RARE OUD WOOD, SANDALWOOD AND VETIVER. TONKA BEAN AND AMBER ADD WARMTH AND SENSUALITY.“


To say something has rare and precious ingredients like “rare Oud wood” is exactly the marketing that Ensar speaks about being misleading. Say what you want about his own pricing and tactics but at least he’s selling the real and not misleading the public.

Exactly, it's quite deceptive marketing, to say the least.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
There were literal trade routes established throughout Asian for the sole purpose of trading perfume materials like Oud and musk. It blows my mind that people completely disregard 2 thousand years of perfume culture in Southeast Asia and the Middle East simply because it doesn’t fall in line with French perfumery.

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I’m not sure if I follow your sentiment here mainly because Ensar himself is not a western French style perfumer nor does he pretend to be. He was raised in a Sufi family and focuses solely on oriental/eastern style Attars and perfumes which is a totally different style of perfumery in general. If you watched the video you’d see that issue isn’t money. He genuinely cares and respects Oud for what it is.

If you’d like to bring up issues of things he’s said in the past maybe we can make a post about that or jump into the All things Ensar post and discuss those issues. Im discussing what was said in this video which is apparent that you didn’t watch. Maybe watch it and see for yourself what he said and then assess that because we’re having two different conversations if not.

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Also from Tom Ford’s description of Oud Wood


“RARE. EXOTIC. DISTINCTIVE.

ONE OF THE MOST RARE, PRECIOUS, AND EXPENSIVE INGREDIENTS IN A PERFUMER'S ARSENAL, OUD WOOD IS OFTEN BURNED IN THE INCENSE-FILLED TEMPLES OF BHUTAN. EXOTIC ROSE WOOD AND CARDAMOM GIVE WAY TO A SMOKY BLEND OF RARE OUD WOOD, SANDALWOOD AND VETIVER. TONKA BEAN AND AMBER ADD WARMTH AND SENSUALITY.“


To say something has rare and precious ingredients like “rare Oud wood” is exactly the marketing that Ensar speaks about being misleading. Say what you want about his own pricing and tactics but at least he’s selling the real and not misleading the public.

It is the second time that you tell me what to understand from Ensar’s words and even what to write and where. Thank you, Castingshadows. I know what I wrote and would write it again after your suggestions.

I could go deeper in the conversation, but it would maybe take us to an endless and non-related confrontation and I prefer to stop here.

Very interesting some of your thoughts, and I can agree about the regulation of a common name for synthetic oud compositions, like, for example, Agar or something similar and well accepted by all; but that is a fantasy by now.

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Really Señor?

You may want to change that to 'Western Perfumery'.In the East, we have Sanskrit texts as early as 1400 BC showing the use of agarwood as a fragrance product, so it is far from new.

Also Oud is very much perfume.Just look up the etymology of the word and you will soon see the error of your ways.

I may want to say what I said if you let me, Sultan Hindi. Proust Madeleine understood what I wrote, because it is not difficult to get it, although you can of course disagree as he partially did, and also add some interesting points to mines. That is a conversation. And I am not against eastern perfumery. But when you try to show someone else's error instead of giving your own opinion, it is because you don't have one.

I like what you wrote i general. History is one of my earler interests. We can discuss about ancient perfumery and traditions if that is your especiallity and you have the willing and a friendly approach, and humility. I am not an eminence and I can, and want to, learn from people with a real criteria. Your first paragraph does not help.

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Exactly, it's quite deceptive marketing, to say the least.

Could you go deeper in your thoughts? You are the host here.
 
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oudaddict

Basenotes Dependent
Feb 2, 2017
I think the average person does not know the nuance involved when a company lists oud as a "note" as compared to a real ingredient. They are not breaking an law legally but they are using extremely manipulative marketing to evoke the sense of exclusivity, rarity, and luxury with the consumer when, in reality, there is none. Even those who claim to use real oud, the question arises "How much per batch and what quality of oud?"
 

firdaous

Super Member
Jul 9, 2009
Fair enough !
Ensar is the reference when it comes to pure oud oils since 15 years no doubt but as a parfumer it's another story same conclusion for Adam and Dimitri...We cannot compete with Ropion, Provenzano or Kurkdjian after only a few months or a year or two...
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
Fair enough !
Ensar is the reference when it comes to pure oud oils since 15 years no doubt but as a parfumer it's another story same conclusion for Adam and Dimitri...We cannot compete with Ropion, Provenzano or Kurkdjian after only a few months or a year or two...

On the other hand, Kurkjian composed Le Male while he was still in perfume school!
 

Castingshadows

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 14, 2020
Sinkinggrade it’s not my intention to tell you what to do or say but rather to suggest to watch the same video that everyone here is discussing. I apologize for coming across as pushy.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
Sinkinggrade it’s not my intention to tell you what to do or say but rather to suggest to watch the same video that everyone here is discussing. I apologize for coming across as pushy.

You didn't and no need to apologize. I watched the same video; maybe i didn't say what you wanted to hear, but his speech is long, not new and diverse. All my words are related to Ensar's, even those points of my post which are suggestions and conclusions about his rant part.

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I think the average person does not know the nuance involved when a company lists oud as a "note" as compared to a real ingredient. They are not breaking an law legally but they are using extremely manipulative marketing to evoke the sense of exclusivity, rarity, and luxury with the consumer when, in reality, there is none. Even those who claim to use real oud, the question arises "How much per batch and what quality of oud?"

A note is not an ingredient, but an idea created by some of them. I can agree about the average person part. On the other hand, I don't see a manipulative (much less, an extremely manipulative) marketing, maybe because I understand what marketing, market and consumer is all about.

Also, If we want to regulate even the amount of real oud that a fragrance has to have in order to be named 'Oud whatever' or 'Whatever Oud', then we are maybe becoming too victorians and crossing just too many lines.

Anyway, thank you.
 

Sultan al Hindi

Basenotes Junkie
Feb 5, 2020
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I may want to say what I said if you let me, Sultan Hindi. Proust Madeleine understood what I wrote, because it is not difficult to get it, although you can of course disagree as he partially did, and also add some interesting points to mines. That is a conversation. And I am not against eastern perfumery. But when you try to show someone else's error instead of giving your own opinion, it is because you don't have one.

I like what you wrote i general. History is one of my earler interests. We can discuss about ancient perfumery and traditions if that is your especiallity and you have the willing and a friendly approach, and humility. I am not an eminence and I can, and want to, learn from people with a real criteria. Your first paragraph does not help.

First of all, you had plenty of time to write what you did, so not sure what you're getting by saying i'm not letting you.

Secondly, when you make such bold statements without any qualifiers (like you did above), its only right for someone to correct you if they're wrong (which they clearly were as another member also pointed out).Maybe take some of your own advice and with a little humility either delete the statements or correct them.

There is no room for opinion when we are dealing with facts!
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
First of all, you had plenty of time to write what you did, so not sure what you're getting by saying i'm not letting you.

Secondly, when you make such bold statements without any qualifiers (like you did above), its only right for someone to correct you if they're wrong (which they clearly were as another member also pointed out).Maybe take some of your own advice and with a little humility either delete the statements or correct them.

There is no room for opinion when we are dealing with facts!


Let's start by the basic, guru:

1. Perfumery as we know it, which is what I initially wrote = Modern perfumery. I can help you a bit more if you need it.
2. No. Modern perfumery is not just french perfumery, my deah friend.
3. A fragrance product is not a fragrance, but a product used in a fragrance, a material. You should understand the concepts that you use before you try to attack or even talk.
4. So yes, oud is new in modern perfumery, that is: Perfumery as we know it. In fact, it is used as a (pretty much) oakmoss substitute after IFRA by western perfumers.
5. No, oud is not 'very much perfume'. Oud is an ingredient that can be used in a perfume, that is: an artistic composition intentionally made by a person with a vision and/or and intention, not a natural distillation, here in France and also in Hindustan. I do insist: it's basic.
6. What you call facts I call it innocent ignorance, because i still think that you are not a bad person, but a new enthusiast pissed off by my words in the past. Not sure if those I placed for Ensar or for Nikhil.

What if we talk about perfumery as adults, can you? Figths on Twitter, tiger.
 

PEARL

Basenotes Junkie
Jun 30, 2011
5. No, oud is not 'very much perfume'. Oud is an ingredient that can be used in a perfume, that is: an artistic composition intentionally made by a person with a vision and/or and intention, not a natural distillation, here in France and also in Hindustan. I do insist: it's basic.

Oud, agarwood is very much perfume, regardless of how you use the term. Perfume is derived from the Latin perfumare, which simply means "by fire" or "to smoke", by that meaning it is one of only a few "perfume" ingredients along with frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, etc. that have been historically used "by fire" and for the smoke. For modern definition it is one of a few essential oils that are worn singularly neat, in composition, and one of a very few essential oils that when worn singularly neat can have progression from "top to bottom" as it dries down and can display an immensely wide range/variation of scent profiles unlike most singular essential oils.

Much of modern perfumery (mainstream, niche, western, and eastern) uses synthetic scent "flavors" from companies like Givaudan and Firmenich. Many of the bottles you find in your local or high end department store or boutique contain no to very little real oud, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ambergris, musk, tonka bean, vanilla, lotus, pink pepper, leather, tobacco, bergamot, cedar wood, etc. The majority of those are petroleum based, synthetic scent notes rather than actual essential oils that used in modern perfumery. The perfume and food industry that use those synthetic flavors are synonymous, my fruit flavored fizzy bubblech contains no fruit and the majority of perfumes contain no pure essential oils. No robbery, those industries simply are not regulated that way with the use of terminology.

Part of his argument is about the effect of putting those synthetics in and on the body. The reality is that many essential oils are carcinogenic, cause phototoxicity or photosensitivity, and cannot be tolerated, hence why IFRA have banned or limited many of them used in perfumery, which he does not mention. I know several people that cannot tolerate agarwood essential oil neat on the skin.

Furthermore, he serves a niche of the niche, very small market of consumers and in no way can be compared to the larger companies that do use synthetics. A benefit of synthetics is that for that market they provide consistency of fragrance, they have been chemically manipulated to do so, which means they can produce hundreds of thousands of bottle of the same smelling perfume until there is an actual reformulation; once he uses all of a particular oud oil used in composition and is forced to use another to recreate, the composition may be similar but it will not be the same. Many variables such as terroir, climate, harvest concerns, quality, species, age of infection, etc. confound the consistency of smell of pure agarwood essential oils from batch to batch. Put simply and simply put, if you smell two agarwood essential oils that smell the same throughout the scent evolution, they are same oil. IMO, there is absolutely no perfume, perfume ingredient, or essential oil that is as marvelous as that from agarwood. With that said, it has its place and the market construct of mainstream, niche, modern, large scale perfumery is not the place from a consistency of fragrance standpoint and from a conservation standpoint, better they use a consistent and renewable synthetic product.
 
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SOB111

Super Member
Feb 9, 2019
I dont think this was one of Ensar's "rants". I thought he articulated the issue very well. The crux of his argument though is purely a legal issue. Do these other perfume houses naming and advertising their products as "Oud x" or containing oud notes, constitute misleading / unfair advertising / labelling in that particular jurisdiction?
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
I dont think this was one of Ensar's "rants". I thought he articulated the issue very well. The crux of his argument though is purely a legal issue. Do these other perfume houses naming and advertising their products as "Oud x" or containing oud notes, constitute misleading / unfair advertising / labelling in that particular jurisdiction?

Well said.
 

FCM415

Super Member
Jan 25, 2018
Oud is perfume on its own and has been so even before France was a country. Many varietals, methods from very different cultures. Shocking but even the New and Old Testaments mention oud. Heck, Jesus was anointed with frankincense and aloeswood at his burial. Diminish oud's significance in France, yet the bible inside Notre Dame's lectern mentions it FIVE times! Guerlain's vanillin sadly is not :(

As far as naming, it may be a bridge too far. A chypre doesnt have to have oil from Cypress or a cypress tree. A fougere (fern like) is so conceptual because ferns doesnt even have a smell. The recent Rose n Cuir by Malle is said to not have rose at all. It's art, it's conceptual. It's marketing, and oud is not trademarked. Artisans with foresight should have nipped it in the bud when Tom Ford dropped Oud Wood and got the ball really rolling on commercial success. Now, the cat's out of the bag and it's a moot point now to fight the man.

I do feel similar sentiments because I love naturals and have a costly artisan oud habit. But there is room for everyone. Oud is scarce. Let the laymen enjoy their chemicals. Heck some smell really good anyway. I can proudly wear TF Oud Wood a day after wearing Ensar Sultan Leather.

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Boss Bottled Oud is an example where it's not only in the name, but the marketing jargon claims that it uses real oud. I mean, put a drop in a vat and they ain't lying! Quite misleading though... And it smells like apple dipped in paint, eck! At least dont directly claim it has real oud. This is worse and is also common.
 

Sinkinggrade

Super Member
Jun 5, 2019
Oud, agarwood is very much perfume, regardless of how you use the term. Perfume is derived from the Latin perfumare, which simply means "by fire" or "to smoke", by that meaning it is one of only a few "perfume" ingredients along with frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, etc. that have been historically used "by fire" and for the smoke. For modern definition it is one of a few essential oils that are worn singularly neat, in composition, and one of a very few essential oils that when worn singularly neat can have progression from "top to bottom" as it dries down and can display an immensely wide range/variation of scent profiles unlike most singular essential oils.

Much of modern perfumery (mainstream, niche, western, and eastern) uses synthetic scent "flavors" from companies like Givaudan and Firmenich. Many of the bottles you find in your local or high end department store or boutique contain no to very little real oud, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ambergris, musk, tonka bean, vanilla, lotus, pink pepper, leather, tobacco, bergamot, cedar wood, etc. The majority of those are petroleum based, synthetic scent notes rather than actual essential oils that used in modern perfumery. The perfume and food industry that use those synthetic flavors are synonymous, my fruit flavored fizzy bubblech contains no fruit and the majority of perfumes contain no pure essential oils. No robbery, those industries simply are not regulated that way with the use of terminology.

Part of his argument is about the effect of putting those synthetics in and on the body. The reality is that many essential oils are carcinogenic, cause phototoxicity or photosensitivity, and cannot be tolerated, hence why IFRA have banned or limited many of them used in perfumery, which he does not mention. I know several people that cannot tolerate agarwood essential oil neat on the skin.

Furthermore, he serves a niche of the niche, very small market of consumers and in no way can be compared to the larger companies that do use synthetics. A benefit of synthetics is that for that market they provide consistency of fragrance, they have been chemically manipulated to do so, which means they can produce hundreds of thousands of bottle of the same smelling perfume until there is an actual reformulation; once he uses all of a particular oud oil used in composition and is forced to use another to recreate, the composition may be similar but it will not be the same. Many variables such as terroir, climate, harvest concerns, quality, species, age of infection, etc. confound the consistency of smell of pure agarwood essential oils from batch to batch. Put simply and simply put, if you smell two agarwood essential oils that smell the same throughout the scent evolution, they are same oil. IMO, there is absolutely no perfume, perfume ingredient, or essential oil that is as marvelous as that from agarwood. With that said, it has its place and the market construct of mainstream, niche, modern, large scale perfumery is not the place from a consistency of fragrance standpoint and from a conservation standpoint, better they use a consistent and renewable synthetic product.

I agree with several of your statements.

With that said, and regarding the etymology of the word perfume, I could give you dozens of words whose etymology is different that its current meaning, and maybe hundreds with a slightly different direction. Etymology is a good approach to any word, since you can see its roots, and the original intention —you can even understand a society or civilitation by following the etymology of its first core words or archaic forms of language—, but every single thing in this world is in constant evolution.

I still think the same way: A perfume is a human and artistic creation with an intention and in expresion of, which is the opposite of what an oud distillation is or ever will be, even if it can be tweeked by the man during the process. But, of course, oud is so complex that could pass as a perfume, but it is not.

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I dont think this was one of Ensar's "rants". I thought he articulated the issue very well. The crux of his argument though is purely a legal issue. Do these other perfume houses naming and advertising their products as "Oud x" or containing oud notes, constitute misleading / unfair advertising / labelling in that particular jurisdiction?

He talks about Roja, By Kilian and Tom Ford in a non-polite way, and why —he asks — customers can support those brands (and, by extensión, not him) if those houses only offer packagings with cheap and synth juices inside. He also talks in the same way about some youtubers as if he was a type of referee, which is not the case, maybe sadly (at least in occident). And i perceive a sense of slightly envy and intransigence all around when he does not even play in the same league of those brands, neither in terms of blends nor in production, business size or direction, hence my first post. Blends is what customers primarly ask for in a perfume, not just materials, blends. That’s why, Ensar.

Of course, there are parts of the video that i agree with.

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Oud is perfume on its own and has been so even before France was a country. Many varietals, methods from very different cultures. Shocking but even the New and Old Testaments mention oud. Heck, Jesus was anointed with frankincense and aloeswood at his burial. Diminish oud's significance in France, yet the bible inside Notre Dame's lectern mentions it FIVE times! Guerlain's vanillin sadly is not :(

As far as naming, it may be a bridge too far. A chypre doesnt have to have oil from Cypress or a cypress tree. A fougere (fern like) is so conceptual because ferns doesnt even have a smell. The recent Rose n Cuir by Malle is said to not have rose at all. It's art, it's conceptual. It's marketing, and oud is not trademarked. Artisans with foresight should have nipped it in the bud when Tom Ford dropped Oud Wood and got the ball really rolling on commercial success. Now, the cat's out of the bag and it's a moot point now to fight the man.

I do feel similar sentiments because I love naturals and have a costly artisan oud habit. But there is room for everyone. Oud is scarce. Let the laymen enjoy their chemicals. Heck some smell really good anyway. I can proudly wear TF Oud Wood a day after wearing Ensar Sultan Leather.

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Boss Bottled Oud is an example where it's not only in the name, but the marketing jargon claims that it uses real oud. I mean, put a drop in a vat and they ain't lying! Quite misleading though... And it smells like apple dipped in paint, eck! At least dont directly claim it has real oud. This is worse and is also common.

I can't believe this.Lol.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
Makes sense, Sinkingrade. We all have different levels of this stuff that sits with us well or rubs us wrong. I’ve certainly had a few Ensar phases where I respected his work but just wished he’d chill with the big talk and several other phases where I thought his work was either falling off, quality wise, or showing a lack of depth. Other people have felt totally differently from me on both the “talk” and some of the compositions that I thought were a borderline joke, others find their favorite!

I’m glad we can all have our views heard here.
 

FCM415

Super Member
Jan 25, 2018
Welp, maybe it isn't perfume as defined but very few essential oils can be worn on skin at full concentration or are even worth doing so. Even fewer are actually complex enough to have a pyramid that transitions into so many forms based on varietal and distillation processes. The raw wood has been used as incense and to fumigate clothes and the body for millennia as documented in ancient texts and scriptures.... in effect, it passed as perfume for a long time. Like Luca Turin said; true new scents are rarely discovered and they come from nature- they have to exist in nature. Good on Paris and our modern perfumery to discover this mysterious wood that the Japanese and Arabs alike would pay 30 times the amount of gold for its smell.
 

FCM415

Super Member
Jan 25, 2018
I asked the same in a couple of threads a few months ago and the responses I got seemed like they were almost offended by my asking: "Why, he can't take a break?", "Why do people ask?".

Was just asking if anyone knew anything since it was so abrupt. Didn't mean to offend those "in the know".
 

Mudassir

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 17, 2007
Oh the irony. The king of exaggeration griping about supposedly deceitful marketing, because no good corporate suited marketing gurus aren't carrying the ingredients of what they are about to hype up, in their pockets.
 

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