In the words of Mandy Aftel, on Oud Luban:
This perfume takes its inspiration from Theophile Gautier’s Clarimonde, a story of extremes: austerity and opulence; sin and holiness; carnality and abstinence. Luban, the Urdu word for frankincense, means “the milk” which refers to the color of the finest quality frankincense – the milky tree sap that exudes from the cut bark. Oud, the dark, resinous and infected Aquilaria heartwood, is the most expensive essence in the world. To create the oud notes I wanted, I blended eight different varieties.
Oud Luban is a perfume of great highs and lows, with no middle notes. It opens with the fresh citrus top notes of the finest hojari frankincense, coupled with sweet incense and resinous notes of elemi and luban. This evolves onto the sweet balsamic notes of the faintly vanilla benzoin, the spicy balsamic opopanax, and the fine cognac-like notes of aged patchouli. Threading through the drydown, and softened by the resin, are the smoky choya ral and precious oud, which is intimate and softly animal like a lover’s body. This perfume is perfect for layering with florals — the oud brings an earthy richness that allows the florals to bloom on the skin.
Top: elemi, orange terpenes, blood orange, frankincense CO2
Base Notes: oud, opopanax, choya ral, benzoin, aged patchouli
Oud Luban is dirty and I mean that in the very best way because it grounds and relaxes me. It’s a scent to wear when you’re completely naked because it loves sweat and skin much like a perfect caramel tastes even better with a bit of sea salt and chocolate. It layers beautifully with florals and gives them an unworldly depth. I think that Oud Luban is fascinating because It’s a little bit conflicted, yet very complete which makes it all the more delicious and provocative to a girl like me. The yearning…the torment…..the inappropriateness of it all…..bring it on…..I love it!
The intimate quality of Oud Luban acts like a personal memory that is yet tied to all the sacred things the ingredients are associated with. I imagine the young Romauld intoxicated by the traditional incense that uses frankincense and myrrh, and the lit beeswax candles and masses of flowers used on holidays. I believe the seductive visual and sensual aspects of the ceremonies entered into the soul of our narrator Romauld at a young age, as they did mine, as they are meant to do, and related back to all the old stories of saints and miracles, which is why he was so in love with the church and wanted to marry into it. Also why he was prepared to personally engage with the miraculous.
The Alembicated Genie described Mandy’s precious Oud Louban, depicting the affinity between the sacred and profane forms of worship:
Blended from eight varieties of oud, it glows its unearthly, animal aura through a decadent velvet patchouli dream that lingers with the smoky burnt aroma of choya ral, opoponax and benzoin and conjures visions of Clarimonde, blonde hair embers of gold over her pearly white shoulders and in another wisp of smoke, she is gone, a haunting dream that never left him or a reality that negated all Romauld’s other life into nothing more than a dream.
On Scent Hive:
My sadness for Romauld has also been assuaged by a gloriously comforting oud and frankincense based perfume by Mandy Aftel. Mandy’s Clarimonde-inspired Oud Luban smells of wooden pews and altars suffused with incense that has burned for centuries and centuries. Oud Luban is a solid perfume that holds eight different types of oud in its midst. Surprisingly, it is a subtle and supple oud that caresses with suede, etherial smoke and a smoothly aged patchouli. It is both sensual and reverential, and I hope Romauld found comfort in such an aroma in the wake of Clarimonde’s departure from his life.