Le Labo’s Modern Masterpiece: Oud 27

Le Labo Oud 27

Oud 27 is notorious. On perfume forums, not a single thread about animalics goes without mentioning Oud 27. It is one of the most debated and polarizing modern fragrances.

Oud 27 is deceptive. Reading about it, you will find little truth. Half the people will say that it is repulsive, and another half will tell you that is is gorgeous. What is even more deceptive is that there is no oud, synthetic or natural, in this perfume. You have to experience it for yourself.

Perfumes promise to delight. When one first smells a fragrance, they expect to be pleased, not challenged, and definitely not offended. For a common person, Oud 27 is a sucker punch straight to the nose. First breath, and it feels like you had the air knocked out of you. The civet reeks. It is stale, unsettling, pissy, and dirty. It overpowers everything and leaves you shocked. However, you notice something strange behind the civet, and instead of recoiling in horror, you sniff on and find a strange, sweet, synthetic berry accord drawing you to inhale deeper. Here you find that pleasure which you expect to get out of a perfume. Here lies the art of Oud 27.

I can’t say that it is well blended yet. As it develops, the dusty, dirty, earthy, pissy animalic accord does not go anywhere. It stays there like Quasimodo, in an old suit, holding a bouquet of stale flowers and a box of dried fruit candy. Oud 27 is a juxtaposition of tenderness and repulsion.

Oud 27 is triumphant in the drydown. The dust settles down. The dirt grows on you, flowers bloom, and you learn to love it.

Oud 27 is an antihero. The audience is presented with something unmistakably flawed and human. At first, there is more to dislike about Oud 27 than there is to like. However, something about it is promising. There is a glimpse of beauty within the character, and the audience is gripped by an inner conflict of the ugly and the good. In the end, you learn to, if not love, then at least respect Oud 27 for the complexity of its nature.

Rating: 10/10

First experience: I received a broken sample from the perfumed court, and the envelope was permeated with Oud 27’s dry down. I knew it was bottle worthy there and then.

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