Illuminum – Vetiver Oud

An initial citrus note goes earthy, like a an American IPA. Spicy dry down, with a hint of dirty hippies and spice chest, without the full on medicinal feeling of some oudh based perfumes.

As a fragrance aimed at both men and women, I think it tends towards masculine, dressed up for a night out in expensive casual wear. I’m picturing someone with smartly groomed stubble, rather than clean cut. I’m not sure if it steps into sleazy, as I’m not sure if I’m describing Robin Thicke.


BEX London – SW1X

Fresh citrus, spicy pepper. A brief flash of straightforwards rose and suddenly you are in an place with leather and woods with exotic dry smelling spices like frankincense. Despite the frankincense and woods it’s not a churchy smell, it has a much more decadent edge to it. How I imagine the white slaver’s auction at the end of Taken smelled. Rich men, antique furniture, exotic spices.

Does this remind me of SW1? Being a poor provincial I don’t have much experience of Knightsbridge but I do imagine it being a place full of exotic, wealthy people. The quick smell of a middle eastern billionaire wearing traditional attars as he crosses the pavement between a luxury goods shop and his chauffeur driven car.

Miller Harris – Cassis en Feuille

Initial burst of sweet and tart woodland fruits, like a berry smoothie. It becomes a sour leafy green and then finishes as with a powdery muskiness. This is a walk from a managed orchard and on to the wilder woods beyond at a National Trust property.

The zingy, fruity start is enlivening, but as it dries down to the comforting musks it becomes a lovely companion for the day.

Van Cleef and Arpels – Precious Oud

Spice, citrus and tuberose.  Vanilla and wood.

Almost completely lacking in Oud, dries into a gentle white floral.

A very gentle sillage, almost vanishing after a couple of hours.

If it was a piece of music, the name implies it’s going to be


but what you actually get is


Feels quite sensual and sophisticated, but don’t buy it if you expect any Oud!