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11 Best Oud Perfumes (That Aren’t Overwhelming)

Often referred to as liquid gold, oud is one of the world’s most coveted scents. Once worn by sultans and pharaohs, the oud is renowned for its rich, woody notes that hint of honey and cool woods.

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Its intoxicating muskiness can be quite potent, and it’s been used for centuries in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. If you haven’t discovered oud yet or are looking to explore it further, these are our picks for the best oud perfumes.

Our Best Oud Perfumes Picks

Versace Oud Noir

Best Intro to Oud

Versace Oud Noir is a modern, masculine oud that smells like the more affordable cousin of Tom Ford’s Oud Wood. It’s an elegant dark scent with a spicy peppery opening, that turns sweetly exotic with heart notes of cardamom and saffron leading neatly to the base of oud, patchouli, and leatherwood. It’s an easy-to-wear fragrance that would work equally well in the daytime at the office as going out for drinks in the evening.

Elegantly blended, Versace Oud Noir is a good intro to the beauty of agarwood as it is a mellower and less aggressive version of oud that you often find. Performance varies a lot from person to person but in general, it has moderate sillage and longevity compared to your average oud.

Pros: Easy to wear, not overpowering, affordable
Cons: Longevity issues, wears off after 3-5 hours

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

For: Men
Seasons: Fall / Winter
Wear it: Day time or evening
Launched: 2013

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Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud

Best for Wearing Year Round

Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud is great if you’re looking for versatility you can wear year-round. It’s more of a well-balanced cologne with oud in it rather than dominated by it. With bright citrus top notes and warm agarwood, Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud is a lighter take on oud.

Feel the richness of the Aquilaria tree along with Russian coriander and Haitian Amyris. Long lasting with a sillage that is strong but not overwhelming. Scent-wise it’s similar to Dior’s Oud Ispahan if you replace the citrus with rose.

For: Men
Seasons: Year-Round
Wear it: Office to evening
Perfumer: Francois Demachy
Launched: 2012


Ralph Lauren Polo Supreme Oud

Best Classic Oud

Confident and proud, the lavish Ralph Lauren Polo Supreme Oud makes its mark as a classic gentlemen’s scent. Bursting with luxury, every drop evokes sophistication — you’ll want to wear this in a suit, sipping cognac.

Spicy, dense, and woody, this fragrance balances the oud so it’s noticeable but not dominant. It might feel too “safe” to oud enthusiasts but a great place to start if you’re new to wearing ouds.

Pros: Very elegant and formal oud.
Cons: Ralph Lauren discontinued its oud line and it is increasingly difficult to find.

Perfumer: Carlos Benaim
Launched: 2015


Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud

Best for a Night Out

Whether you’re ramping it up or winding it down, Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud adds a perfect touch of luxury. Damask rose offers up a dark and captivating vibe, while smoky wood balances out the oud. 

There’s a suggestion of clove entwined with praline. Deep, enigmatic and unforgettable. So glamorous, you’ll be reaching for this fragrance next time you’re invited to a red carpet ball or the Oscars. A wonderful choice for a sultry night out – or in!

Pros: Creamy rose and sweet gourmand praline scents round out the sharp edges of oud.
Cons: There are quite a few rose/oud pairings out there so it doesn’t feel entirely unique but is well done.

For: Unisex
Seasons: Fall / Winter
Wear it: Evening
Perfumer: Fabrice Pellegrin
Launched: 2012

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Boss Bottled Oud

Best for Day to Night

A limited-edition of Boss Bottled Oud from 1998, this oud is rich in masculine character – and comes in a sexy embossed bottle! Simultaneously intense and refined, it opens with citrusy, apple notes.

A heart of saffron, cinnamon, clove, and labdanum follows, surrounded by the woody features of a true oud. Sandalwood and cypriola come into play as the scent deepens. A classy fragrance that lives up to its name. Strong, pleasant, and elegant. If you’re a fan of the original, this is a fantastic addition to your collection. 

Pros: A relatively gentle and “safe” oud.
Cons: Some synthetic scents in the top notes but the dry down is worth the wait.

For: Men
Seasons: Fall / Winter
Wear it: Evening
Launched: 2015

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Al Oudh Oud

Most Sensual Oud

If you’re not a fan of rose, this could be the oud for you. It’s an older take on oud, before it became popular with western perfumes. And that’s part of its charm — it’s more playful and rough around the edges than many of the more modern designer takes on oud.

With plenty of wood and spice, it’s a perfectly traditional fragrance. With hints of pink pepper, orange blossom, and saffron, Al Oudh will take you back to a time of kings and sultans. An underlying smokiness rich in old balsamic wood finishes this beautiful perfume. It dries down slightly powdery with fiery spices. The cumin notes are wonderfully animalistic and greatly enhance the sensual properties of the fragrance.

Pros: Raw and unapologetic. Animalistic and spicy.
Cons: Dirty and sweaty, not for everyone.

Seasons: Fall / Winter
Wear it: Evening
Launched: 2009
Perfumer: Bertrand Duchaufour

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Gucci Intense Oud

Best Cozy Oud

Gucci Intense Oud powerful western-style oud fragrance showcases woody notes over a rich, leathery base while hinting of sweet amber and olibanum. The rich, balsamic character of this fragrance makes it perfect for both men and women, particularly in fall.

The heavy sillage will linger for hours, leaving a dry, smokey oud that harbors notes of cumin. Divine in the air: a little goes a long way. A smooth contributor to a blissful blend of incense and oud. Presented in a stunning square black bottle with a door-knocker cap. If you like these fragrance notes, also check out Cuirs by Carner Barcelona by Sonia Constant.

Fernweh Editions Candles

Pros: Good value for money, pleasantly smooth and elegant.
Cons: It’s a bold, love it or hate it type scent.

Seasons: Fall / Winter or Summer evening
Wear it: Office or evening wear
Perfumer: Aurelien Guichard
Launched: 2016

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Hayari New Oud

Best for Fall Nights

Hayari New Oud is a unisex French-style Oud that is warm and spicy. Designed by Cécile Zarokian, Hayari is earthy and warm like a chilly fall evening. Hayari is woody and floral in the opening notes, turning to vanilla and amber.

This lovely aromatic perfume combines bitter orange, petitgrain, and orange blossom for the top notes, agarwood and saffron for the middle notes, and patchouli, vetiver, and juniper for the base notes.

The scent will last for eternity, but it is slightly overpowering and more challenging to wear than most Ouds. Knowing when to wear Oud fragrance can be difficult, but Hayari has a distinct spice and warmth suited for fall and winter nights. 

Pros: Lasts a long time, works for men and women

Cons: A little overpowering, pricey, and hard to wear

For: Unisex
Seasons: Fall/winter
Wear it: Night
Launched: 2016

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Ambroisie Oud by Lancome

Best Oud Perfume for Women

Designers created Ambroisie to honor Lancome’s founder, Armand Petitjean, who made his life mission to make women happy. Just like women, this Oud is a balance of sweet and spicy.

The nose behind this lovely scent is Ilias Ermenidis, a renowned Greek perfumer specializing in multi-cultural fragrances. Ambroisie is the best Arabian Oud fragrance for her.

This sweet, woody perfume introduces honey and Damask rose, giving way to spicy patchouli. The syrupy honey-dipped rose smells almost of champagne when on your skin. It’s a great starter Oud, as it’s very inoffensive.

The smell will last for a long time and has excellent sillage. It’s also easy to wear during the colder months, whether at work or going out for drinks in the evening.

Pros: Long-lasting, not overpowering, easy to wear

Cons: Expensive


For: Women
Seasons: Fall/winter
Wear it: Day/night
Launched: 2016


Oud Immortel Byredo

Best Earthy Scent

Byredo, a Swedish luxury brand, created Oud Immortel to showcase earthy tones and all things nature. Like the best Arabian Oud fragrance, Byredo is woody and spicy. The wood, lemon, and spice will make you feel like enjoying the outdoors even when stuck inside.

This fresh and spicy fragrance has top notes of limoncello and cardamom, middle notes of patchouli and Brazilian rosewood, and base notes of tobacco and oakmoss. The scent leans more male but stands out as a unique smell on a woman.

Immortel is perfect for nature lovers or women who want an edge in the workplace. Like with most Ouds, it lasts a long time and is slightly overpowering, changing its fragrance somewhat from day to night and from season to season. 

Pros: Easy to wear, long-lasting

Cons: Slightly overpowering, expensive

For: Unisex, leaning more male
Seasons: All season
Wear it: Day/night
Launched: 2010

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Montale Original Aoud

Best Oud Deep-Dive

Montale’s Original Aoud is a unisex fragrance perfect for both women and men. Created by Pierre Montale, best known as the first French perfumer to base a line on Aouds, this fragrance is a soliflore deep dive into oud.

If you’re looking for a pure, uninterrupted oud experience this is as austere and authentic as you’ll find. It starts off light and ethereal but drys down into a creamy, spicy woody scent.


Oud Wood

About Oud and Agarwood

What Is Oud?

Oud is made from the wood of the tropical Agar tree, which grows in India and much of Southeast Asia. Although it sounds bizarre, it’s actually parasitic mold that causes the tree to produce a dark, fragrant resin. This is the oud.

Agar Trees for Oud

Why is Oud So Expensive?

Because the tree has to be infected by the parasite to create the resin, it’s very rare: only about two percent of trees produce it. This makes Agarwood among the most expensive on the market. Not surprisingly, the rarity of the oud and the difficulty of harvesting it means oud oil is thought to be the most expensive in the world. 

Oud Perfumes

Why is Oud So Popular?

Many perfumers in the West are now using it as a base to create incredible fragrances for men and women. The base notes of oud tend to linger on the skin long after the others dissipate. In fact, a perfume with an oud base will likely last for hours after application. Oud is also widely considered a unisex scent and most oud perfumes can be worn by men or women however, you can also check out these top ouds for men.

Is Oud a Feminine Scent?

Does oud wave the “Hey Ladies” flag? Well, here’s the scoop from my own sniffing adventures.

Oud’s like an enigmatic character. It’s got depth, like an ocean of stories in a single drop. But hold your horses, it’s not playing the gender game. Oud doesn’t have a him or her tag.

Picture this: a mix of woody, spicy, and even a dash of sweetness. Oud’s like that versatile friend who fits into any group. You can find it with the florals or kicking it with the musks.

There are people of all walks of life embracing oud. From fierce femmes to guys sporting the lumberjack beard, they’re all in on the oud scene. Anyway, it’s not about whether it’s for gals or guys – it’s about what makes you strut your stuff.

Final Thoughts

As we come to the end of this fragrant journey, let’s wrap up the essence of what we’ve explored together. The world of oud, often referred to as “liquid gold,” has unfolded, each scent telling a story of its own. Having walked in those scented footsteps, I can’t help but feel the enchantment of this aromatic adventure.

One burning question that has echoed through our exploration is the gender identity of oud. Can we tag it as feminine or masculine? Well, let me tell you from my firsthand olfactory experience – oud transcends these labels. It’s an enigma, a fragrance that dances on its terms, embracing anyone who resonates with its rich, woody allure.

So, what’s the key takeaway? It’s about discovering the scent that sings to your soul. Oud, with its notes of history and mystery, isn’t confined to traditional norms. It’s about finding your signature in a bottle, whether you’re a rose-loving femme or a rugged gent.

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Oud scents
Writer

Annie is a self-motivated, ambitious, enthusiastic individual and a self-proclaimed "people person." Her passion for communication and problem-solving is evident in a variety of media. She currently lives with her family in Washington DC.

11 Best Oud Perfumes (That Aren’t Overwhelming)