A Rolls Royce in a sea of Volkswagens, Roja Dove’s Amber Aoud sets out to best every other rose-oud out there by sheer dint of superior raw materials and blending. Expensive this may be, but Roja Dove puts his money where his mouth is. Taking a regally sour, spicy Indian oud, he buries it deep within the folds of a jammy rose, and then tucks the whole thing into the pulpy insides of a Moroccan fig. Almost obscenely rich and opulent at first, it wears like the inside of a red velvet cloak lined in ermine.
But look closely and you will see the artful balance between sweet and sour, dusty and moist, sharp and smooth. There is structure and discipline within the avalanche of richness. Birch tar and incense resins and gums provide a smoky fade-out that proves to be excellent ballast for the jammy sweetness up top. No wonder that many oud aficionados cite this as the best example of Western oud perfumery- a point we’d find hard to dispute.