eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eternal Autumn: Aftelier Oud Luban solid perfume

Autumn is my favorite season, and in Chicago, it never seems to last for more than a couple of weeks before it starts to get bitterly cold. When Mandy Aftel recently launched her new Oud Luban solid perfume, I knew at first sniff that I would be able to enjoy the spoils of my favorite season anytime, anyplace. It's like a gift from Mother Earth herself.

Oud Luban puts Mandy's talent for blending on full display- there are many strong essences dancing with one another, but the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Besides the eight varieties of oud that are used in Oud Luban, there are also notes of elemi, orange terpenes, blood orange, frankincense CO2, opoponax, benzoin, choya ral, and aged patchouli. The overall impression is one that isn't as literal as I was expecting; instead of visualizing incense, I see a bonfire that is trailing smoke far up into the sky. Instead of simply sensing the presence of the precious Noble Rot, I am immersed in the forest itself with mushrooms growing all around. I also detect the sweetly animalic essence of beeswax, proving that life is teeming. 

photo: "Tempura- Autumn" by SLnnItaly

I love that there are no heart notes in Oud Luban, it has citrus top notes that sing out clearly high up in the register, then a few of the more volatile elements of incense, and its soul rests in the rich and complex base notes. The longevity of Oud Luban on the skin is quite impressive for a solid perfume, topping off at about 5 hours. It's such an intimate and intoxicating scent that on days that I wear it, I need to keep it with me at all times for touch-ups. I just can't bear to have the magic fade out on me for a second.

I feel strongly that Oud Luban is one of Mandy Aftel's greatest triumphs, and it represents a broadening scope in her body of work. I am so excited to experience what she does next, and every other perfume after that. Her attention to every detail and insistence on the highest quality materials means that I can indulge my obsession with scent in the unique way that her fragrances allow me to. Lucky, lucky me!

Oud Luban is available at Aftelier.com for $210. It comes in a beautiful silver compact designed by Mandy and holds 1/4 oz. Samples are also available for $6.

[sample was provided by the perfumer for my consideration]


  1. Thank you so much Carrie, I am moved, even awed, by your wonderful review! I’m gratified and grateful that you like Oud Luban so much. Your writing leaves quite an impression on me – you are so good at putting a mood into words.
    - Mandy

  2. Thanks Mandy! Oud Luban certainly left an indelible impression on me. I'll add it to the list of 'Afteliers I cannot live without'.

  3. I also thought of bonfires when trying Oud Luban. Or to be out on a chilly autumn day and then get in and warm myself up in front of a fireplace... Such a great scent :)