Two Minutes After the Kiss, image courtesy of Azman Perfumes
Oud has been flavour of the decade in niche perfumery for so long now that it is sometimes hard to muster enthusiasm for a new fragrance featuring that medicinal, woodsy oil. But when a brand mixes high-end ingredients with French flair from a wildly talented perfumer, even jaded palates like mine must perk up and take note. Azman Perfumes Two Minutes After the Kiss, created by Argeville perfumer Cristiano Canali, takes dusky Laos oud and turns it into a languid odalisque draped on thick, deep cushions of rose and incense. With its sensual heart, crackle of smoky leather and earthy base, this is one of the darkest, sexiest oud fragrances to saunter my way for a while.
Cristiano Canali, image courtesy of Cristiano Canali, via Azman_perfumes Instagram
Dubai-based Azman Perfumes focuses on oud-centric fragrances that focus on quality and wearability. Founder Husen Khan’s fragrances marry traditional and rare ingredients from around the world with French composition expertise. Cristiano Canali – who I must divulge is a friend of mine — understands how to tease unusual qualities from traditional materials to give them a very individual spin. His extraordinary Romanza from Masque Milano, one of modern perfumery’s great narcissus scents, makes a poem of the decay of the flower just past its prime. His expertise in layering complex ingredients is a hallmark of Fundamental for Rubini, which puts a hyper-realistic white wine grape front and center in a composition that fascinatingly teeters just on the brink of excess without ever tipping over.
Kiss, Bordighera Helmut Newton via artnet©
With Azman Perfumes Two Minutes after the Kiss, whose name suggests those intimate moments when the embrace ends, Canali plays with the tension between lush, satiny Turkish rose and rich incense on one side and brusque leather, dense woods and opaque oud on the other. As the lovers pull away, time briefly suspends: do they seduce or part? Was their embrace come-hither or farewell? Canali’s composition doesn’t tell you straightway. Peeling notes slowly away like Salome’s veils, he allows the perfume to shift between languorously rosy to woodsy and assertive and back again. First spray brings a thick rush of velvety fuchsia rose. This is a big, voluptuous, flower – I can almost smell its colour – sheeny, saturated pink – as it seeps across the top notes like wine stain. The rose gives off facets of berryish, plummy fruit and sweet spice which are emphasized by a hefty pinch of cardamom and the furry smell of myrrh.
Allegory of Love by Gustav Klimt, image via Creative Commons
If the opening is all about mistress rose, the middle is the master, oud. Oily, rooty vetiver and earthy patchouli stand in attendance. Then begins a slow dance. If I step away from the scent for a few minutes and revisit it, the rose has retreated to her boudoir and oud is orchestrating the composition. But if I take a moment and then raise my other wrist to my nose, I see that the rose was simply teasing; she is right there, flirting lazily with some pepper, draped in incense. Rose and oud tangle and part then tangle again until, after some moments, they stay intertwined like vines.
With so many artificial ouds out there that register as one-dimensional, Azman Perfumes Two Minutes After the Kiss reminds you of how multifaceted the real thing can be. The Laos oud Canali uses here generously is deeply woody, almost cedary, with less of oud’s characteristic wet band-aid quality and more of its affinity with ancient trees, smoked pipes and old leather. As it edges towards dry-down, the fragrance reveals gauzy layers of sweet spice, labdanum, earth and forest, tying them up with a black leather bow. Curling tendrils of frankincense weave in and out like hookah smoke as they rose and oud meld. The momentary stasis ends and the lovers embrace, their scent lingering long into the night.
Notes: Turkish rose, Jamaican pepper, Omani frankincense, Guatemala cardamom, Turkish rose absolute, Laos oud, Indonesian patchouli, Somalian myrrh, French beeswax, selectone, Indian sandalwood, Haitian vetiver, dark leather accord, Spanish labdanum, musk, ambrocenide.
Disclaimer: sample of Azman Perfumes Two Minutes After the Kiss kindly provided by Azman Perfumes. My opinions, as always, are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
Bottle of Two Minutes After the Kiss, image courtesy of Azman Perfumes
Thanks to the generosity of Azman Perfumes we have a 55 ml bottle of Azman Perfumes Two Minutes After the Kiss for one registered reader in the EU, UK, U.S. or UAE. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what appeals to you about Azman Perfumes Two Minutes After the Kiss based on Lauryn’s review, where you live and what unusual notes you would like to see mixed with oud in a perfume. Let us know. Draw closes 7/14/2021.
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