Oud is often thought of as dark, brooding and mysterious. Even the way it comes into the world has a whiff of drama about it: When the Aquilaria tree is infected by a mold, it secretes a protective resin which eventually becomes the precious, fragrant oud wood note.
But Byredo’s Oud Immortel bucks the trend and puts a smoky, earthy oud accord in the background, even though its name has top billing. It opens with a gourmand vanillic lemon accord, which contrasts with an earthy, herbaceous base of tobacco leaves, moss, patchouli and papyrus. This base cuts the sweetness with a mysterious dryness, making the scent edgier than sweet scents usually are. And, although it’s not listed, it would make sense if the immortel flower, both savory and syrupy sweet, were romping around in Oud Immortel.