Rania J Oud Assam Review: A Return to the House of Rania J
Many fragrance connoisseurs are undoubtedly familiar with and in love with amber based perfumes, whether it be Grand Soir, Ambre Nuit, and countless others. Another amber fragrance that has been well received and loved by the fragrance community is Ambre Loup from the niche house of Rania J. based in Paris. This fiery concoction is a delight to wear, especially in the cooler months. I have previously expressed my thoughts here regarding it. But Rania J. also offers other amazing perfumes that are worth mentioning.
One of these is Oud Assam. As evidenced by the name, Indian oud is the primary axis around which the fragrance opens and develops. The oud used here is very pungent, robust, and animalic; lively would also be another apt descriptor.
When reading the remarks of others who have experienced this fragrant creation some people mention that the opening smells like blue cheese, which to me is quite unjustified, although I do agree that it can be a challenging scent to those unaccustomed to such profiles. So upon application, the powerful, robust Indian oud immediately basks in the sparkling majesty of citrus fruits – bergamot, bitter orange, and sweet orange. Thanks to the sweet orange, the sharpness of the agarwood is somewhat muted, but I also detect a bit of creaminess emanating from tonka bean to provide some contrast.
Gradually I sense a resinous quality underneath the oud which subtly morphs to exhibit a bit of smokiness as well, expressed using frankincense. Over time the oud profile mellows to a smooth, polished, yet dark woody note enhanced through cedar and earthy vetiver. The presence of the citrus in the opening is cleverly evoked by the hesperidic tones inherent to frankincense, but a sprinkling of black pepper also contributes to this perception, the spiciness of which provides an echo of the radiant bergamot. There are times when I also sense something of an earl gray tea accord.
Into the dry down, the oud, now much more balanced, stately, and regal, is surrounded by the reassuring presence of smoky frankincense and warmed through sensuous musk, vetiver, and slightly sweet, yet creamy tonka bean.
Oud Assam has fantastic longevity, easily lasting all day or more. It would make for a commanding statement at a formal function yet is even perfect for casual wear at home or out with friends. Due to the citric qualities displayed by this fragrance, I can also see it working during warmer weather, albeit with a lighter application. A word of caution though: don’t blind buy this fragrance unless you are an individual who appreciates genuine oud, it is not for the uninitiated. But if you do indeed revel in these kinds of fragrances, I highly recommend seeking out a sample to experience another masterful, beautiful gem from the nose of Rania Jouaneh.