Hidden Gems Vol. 9: Armaf Niche Oud A True Gem to Behold
A friend of mine once asked me how I could pay this amount of money for merely a perfume. He was not even talking about the unrealistically expensive juice. My answer to him, and to myself really, was that perfumery is just like art. It cannot be measured in monetary terms. Having said that, I cannot deny the fact that, sometimes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Some copies can really stand head-to-head with the original creations. For instance, Armaf is one of the houses that I can confidently reference when talking about copies that accurately captures the essence of the original creations.
Armaf is a company of Middle Eastern origin, United Arab Emirates to be specific, that produces what you might call indie perfumes or perfumes that imitate the world’s best sellers. You are probably aware of their most renowned release and probably all its flankers. I am speaking of Club de Nuit Intense Man. The indie perfumes business or clones production is catered for thanks to many companies, but in my humble point of view, I think Armaf does it better than anyone else. Most of their products might be a little bit synthetic, but for the price they are sold for, I think their products are a great value for money.
Our subject of matter today is one of their higher quality collection, the Niche collection – Armaf Niche Oud. I bought my first bottle after a friend of mine recommended it as a replacement for my beloved M7. I preordered it and waited around three weeks to get my hands on it, and Voila! The perfume, to my nose, was an avant-garde clone, but not for M7, rather for Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan. Armaf Niche Oud comes in an outstanding presentation and packaging, making it a nice gift and a true collectible item. The perfume is branded ‘for women’ but I personally think that all genders can easily pull it off.
The fragrance starts with some dark spices, caraway and sage. The opening is quite harsh and would have almost been green if it was not for the elegant spicy notes. The heart is quite woody with the manly black pepper and the cedar. The dry down is a perfect mix between Ambre, which is the true essence here, sophisticated leather, earthy Patchouli and sweet vanilla.
Bear in mind that the perfume is a masterpiece in terms of degradation. Moreover, what you smell in the opening has almost nothing to do with the dry down. I actually have the perfect anecdote concerning this. I bought this perfume back in 2019, wore it on a winter coat and left it in the closet. Each time I opened the closet, I smelt Armaf Niche Oud and could not really recognize it.
The following winter, one year later, I took out the coat in question, and to my amazement, the smell was still there. I was bedazzled and kept trying to distinguish the perfume but just couldn’t. It was only later on that I used the fragrance again and realized how much it changed with time.
The fragrance has superb longevity. I am not exaggerating when I say it lasts for months. The sillage is great as well if I may add, and the perfume induces very warm and cozy vibes. I believe it is best used on colder nights.
Tell us your experience with house Armaf if any. Do you regard it as a real hidden gem? Or just another clone? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.