This is one third of the parts of the Lush perfume ‘Scent of Freedom’ which is one of my all time favourites from Lush as it has so many interesting elements and the story about the perfumes creation is so lovely too.
This Oudh is sold in a small brown glass screw top plain bottle that is similar to those you buy essential oils in with the same sort of plastic inner lid to allow the oil to come out in small drops. The lid screws on well and never leaks which is useful.
WHAT IS OUDH?
Oudh, which means wood in Arabic and comes from trees from forests of South East Asia. Oudh is actually a resin which is found in certain species of Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees. The resin is produced by the tree as an immune response to a fungus that invades the tree. It is said that it can take as long as 300 years for this fungus to spread through the bark of the tree. Once infected the parts of the tree become dark and heavy. The Chinese and Japanese words for Oudh translate into English as ‘the wood that sinks in water’.
This means that the best grade of Oudh is hard, nearly black and very heavy while inferior Oudh is lighter as it has less of the aromatic resin in it. So the darker the better for Oudh quality.
OUDH AND ITS PLACE IN CULTURES
Oudh always reminds me of the Middle East and North Africa because often in an Arab house Oudh is burned to sweeten the air just as Sandalwood reminds me of India. On our recent trip to the Gulf countries I smelled Oudh everywhere and in Bahrain, Oudh is burned as a mark of respect and and is a traditional gesture to welcome guests.
Oudh is cut, sliced into chips and burned over coal in traditional incense burners called mabakhir. Oudh burned in these burners is wafted under the Arab Djellaba to scent the clothes and make the owner smell sweet especially before going to the mosque.
Oudh sales shoot up at Ramadan and both Eid festivals as it is considered a big part of festivals. It is also burned at weddings and if it is a quality Oudh the scent will last well over 24 hours even after washing.
During such occasions the mabkharah of burning Oudh at social gatherings is always passed counter clockwise and each individual wafts the smoke into himself to perfume his clothes. The Oudh is burned over smoldering bits of charcoal but these days Oudh is sometimes burned in an electric mabkharah.
OUDH IN PERFUMERY
Oudh based fragrances are just as treasured as Oudh chips and Oudh is often a base iscent in perfumes across the world.
Oudh comes from different countries and each has its own fragrance and strength. Oudh is valuable and the Oudh oil very expensive so it is often diluted hence the more you spend the better the quality usually.
When we were in the Gulf countries I had the best time in the souks in the perfume kiosks trying all the perfumes and different incenses and I did spend a fair bit while there. I came back with several resins , a burner and a pack of charcoal. Luckily I have found you can buy the charcoal here on Amazon so have been able to keep enjoying my incense resins at home.
We also visited a museum in Muscat where I tried the most expensive perfume in the world and Oudh played a big role in that too.
WHAT DOES OUDH SMELL LIKE?
Oudh is hard to describe mainly because it is not one fragrance as Oudhs vary amazingly depending of the quality, where they are from and how they have been prepared and distilled . Non aged Oudh smells of strong real wood and can be described as having a hint of a "medicinal" note, or "band aid" because it is a bit like the smell of old style band aids with a hint of sweetness. Others have a more fruit or honey sweetness or sometimes even a touch of tar or minerals.
Some more aged Oudhs are intensely woody a bit like rotting logs in a wood or the damp cellar with barrels of wine or whisky.
So all in all a bit woody, sweet and atmospheric.
WHAT ABOUT LUSH’S OUDH?
This is part three of The Smell of freedom and this part is inspired by when Simon Constantine from Lush met a man who had been held in Guantanamo Bay and then freed and from this experience Simon added this Oudh, frankincense and sandalwood which gives the depth and woodiness.
So Lush’s Oudh is not pure Oudh it is a lovely exotic combination of Oudh, sandalwood and frankincense so all the Middle Eastern aromas combining together to give the warm woody yet sweet and exotic smell in this small bottle of perfume oil.
Being an oil this scent lasts a really good long time, all day in fact and even longer on my clothes. You could also add it to your own creams and bath bombs or even mix it with carrier oil and put it on a burner if you felt rich enough. You could add a few drops to carrier oil for a deeply sensual massage or even drop a few in the bath. Perfume oils have so much more flexibility so experiment with these.
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