The perfumista chorus constantly chants “Enough Oud!” “Stop Oud!”** and all of a sudden I’m beginning to feel protective of oud perfumes. True, the market is flooded with oud fragrances but it’s also flooded with sport and gourmand and jasmine colognes. The perennial pet of the perfume world, orange blossom, gets to star in fragrance after fragrance without complaints from the “perfume gallery.” Oud is like any other ingredient; it can be placed in an unimaginative setting, or showcased with ingenuity.
Recently I’ve come across several oud fragrances that deserve respect; Humiecki & Graef Blask is one of them. You can read the convoluted “backstory” of Blask here. I’ll just say it was created by the perfume team of Christoph Hornetz and Christophe Laudamiel and has fragrance notes of bay laurel, “red wine,” walnut wood, floral notes and agarwood/oud.
Blask opens with a warm, rich bay leaf aroma and a touch of “simmering” wine; it then segues to a brighter “minty”/clove-carnation accord. The floral accord is high pitched for a few minutes then lowers its register as flickers of musk-oud appear. Blask is a strange perfume creature, as much an “old-fashioned” spicy floral (with a sheen of powdery aldehydes and a tropical plumeria-like note in the base) as it is a modern woody oud (the “walnut wood” in the base is “nutty” and slightly sweet).
Blask is one of my favorite oud perfumes; it’s a subtle, natural-smelling, interesting oud (and unlike some other oud fragrances I’ve tried in the last six months, Blask’s oud is NOT “flat” or “monochromatic” or “missing in action”).
Blask has good lasting power and sillage; it’s unisex (but the noticeable plumeria aroma in the dry-down might scare off some he-men). To me, Blask is a perfect sultry perfume for summer wear.
Humiecki & Graef Blask Eau de Toilette Concentrée is €150 for 100 ml; for buying information see the listing for Humiecki & Graef under Perfume Houses.
**You may have heard the powerful mezzo soprano voice of NST’s own Robin in that chorus!