Van Cleef & Arpels Precious Oud ~ fragrance review

Van Cleef & Arpels Precious Oud

Van Cleef & Arpels launched Precious Oud last year; it’s part of the Collection Extraordinaire and was created to honor the “legendary ingredient, oud wood.” If I had been advising Van Cleef & Arpels on this fragrance, I would have suggested two alternate names for the perfume. Alternate Name No. 1: “Semi-Precious Oud.” Alternate Name No. 2: “Precious Little Oud.” My thought progression as I sniffed Precious Oud was: ‘So this is Precious Oud…Really?…No way!’

Though it bears the name “oud,” I don’t detect any oud in Precious Oud. Has the oud perfume trend degenerated to the point of simply including the word “oud” in a fragrance name and no longer worrying about having oud in the perfume? That’s pretty amusing, if it weren’t pathetic, too.

Perfumer Amandine Marie developed Precious Oud, and its listed notes include bergamot, pink pepper, incense, jasmine, tuberose, patchouli, sandalwood, oud, vetiver and ambergris.

Precious Oud goes on smelling sugary and creamy, like the scent of caramels (and not expensive caramels either, but the type you get in plastic bags from the drugstore). As Precious Oud develops, “flavorings” appear: vanillin liqueur, persistent/syrupy/too-sweet jasmine, patchouli-lite, and coconut (to approximate sandalwood?) As for “oud,” the only oud-ish scent in this concoction smells like a “fresh” fragrance note riding piggyback on white musk. Having just completed a rigorous spell of oud-perfume testing, Precious Oud fails the oud test.

With or without oud, Precious Oud smells bland, and it doesn’t fit in with the Collection Extraordinaire idea of exclusivity and luxury. To me, selling Precious Oud for $185 is outrageous.

Van Cleef & Arpels Precious Oud does not smell “unisex” (it’s a very feminine fragrance); it has very good lasting power and decent sillage. Precous Oud is available in 75 ml Eau de Parfum, $185.

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  1. ladymurasaki says:

    Thanks for the review Kevin. They sound like a no-no for me. I suppose some people will like them considering the fact that they were given the green-flad in focus group trials, etc.

    • Kevin says:

      Lady M: I’m trying to imagine a Paris focus group! HA!

  2. Omega says:

    Haven’t tried any from VC&A…would like to though.

    • Kevin says:

      Omega: so far, none of them have blown me away.

  3. Jared says:

    I felt the same way about Creed’s oud offering. Having smelled a sample and mistaking it for Chanel’s Allure Homme, I cannot help but think of the outrages price tag for such a travesty. Well said, too – the idea of the oud trend degenerating into it’s presence on the label and nowhere else.

    • Kevin says:

      Jared: agree on the Creed!

  4. Tama says:

    This seems to be popular with folks who don’t like or are scared of oud. Sounds like they needed to jump on the bandwagon, but didn’t know what they were doing.

    • Kevin says:

      Tama — thus: Oud on the label suffices!

    • nozknoz says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, Tama!

  5. mals86 says:

    “Precious Little Oud”! I love it.

    I think someone told me that this one was a good substitute for the lovely & discontinued Tom Ford BLack Orchid Voile de Fleur. I said, are you SURE? and she said Yep, big white floral. Huh.

    • Kevin says:

      Mals: sorry I can’t help…never smelled that Tom Ford fragrance!

  6. mitsouko says:

    Got a sample but haven’t bothered to try it yet…..
    EVERYONE is doing Oud .

  7. Rappleyea says:

    None of the VCA fragrances have worked for me, so I won’t be trying this one. It sounds like more of the dumbing down and sweetening up of perfumes. No thanks!

    But thanks for the review and taking one for the team. :-)

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