Initio was doing quite nicely, thank you, with releases such as Absolute Aphrodisiac (2015), Side Effect (2016), and Psychedelic Love (2017). And then in 2018 – boom! – the French brand launched Oud for Greatness.
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We’re not exaggerating when we say this EDP has become hugely popular, joining the ranks of Creed Aventus, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540, and Parfums de Marly Herod as exemplars of niche excellence to its many fans.
At the same time, this law of perfumery – What Goes Up Must Be Pulled Down (that is, the more successful a fragrance becomes, the more it’s trashed online) – came into effect.
So we’re cutting through the OTT hype and nasty negativity to bring you what really matters: the Dapper Confidential review of Initio Oud for Greatness.
Scent Notes (according to the brand)
Saffron, nutmeg, lavender (top); natural oud wood, agar wood oil (middle); patchouli, musk (base).
Despite repeated attempts to get this info from the brand and online research, nada. We expect niche companies to be more transparent with this stuff, but moving on…
Initio Oud For Greatness Inspiration
“Oud for Greatness breathes out a force of nature, the wake of Greatness.
The natural essence of Oud Wood has been perfected to this pitch, handled with majesty (and brutality) in this bold formula, scarcely highlighted by Patchouli and Musk.
Superbly textured, strikingly natural, Oud has been handled by the creator in a register that is astonishingly fresh (Lavender) and spicy (Nutmeg, Saffron). An enchanting, thrilling perfume that makes all our dreams of greatness possible.” – brand website.
Who Would Like It
Anyone looking for a potent but accessible, statement-making oud will find their joy in this release.
Where To Wear It
Not in small, confined spaces! Initio Oud For Greatness is powerful stuff, remember. Seriously, you could wear it to the office and expect to dazzle them with your trail.
A lot of people find it seriously sexy, seductive, and sensual (the triple-S trifecta), so perfect date material.
Initio Oud For Greatness performs well across seasons but performs best with a little heat.
Packaging & Presentation
Black and gold, from the box to the bottle, with an all-seeing eye (conspiracy theorists, what does it mean?) delivering the dramatic and luxurious goods.
This release from the brand’s Black Gold Project Collection gets going in bold style with a big dose of saffron. Its leathery qualities are supported by the clean aromatics of lavender and earthiness of nutmeg. The effect is fresh ’n spicy, with an emphasis on the latter.
It doesn’t take long for the oud to come through. Any oud fragrance, especially a relatively pricey niche one, inevitably leads to the question: but is it real oud? The brand claims to use both natural oud wood and agar wood oil in this composition.
Depending on a number of factors (for example, the quality, where it’s from, how it’s treated, what it’s combined with), the precious ingredient can range from the overpoweringly skanky and barnyard (not for beginners) to the smoother and more refined, à la Initio Oud for Greatness.
Even though it’s not as “brutal” as the brand claims it to be, it’s still rich, resinous and very much a front-and-centre interpretation which lasts through to the drydown.
Patchouli and musk feature here, albeit in minor assistant roles to accentuate the overall deep mood. It’s unusual for an Initio fragrance to not be musk heavy, but nothing wrong with a change in tone.
It’s easy to understand why Initio Oud for Happiness is so popular. Yes, it’s not particularly complex but it’s beautifully blended in a friendly Western style.
Oh, and did we mention its impressive sillage and longevity? Definitely a big part of its appeal.
Similar Fragrances To Consider
How much time and money do you have?
Roja’s range of ouds – Aoud, Amber Aoud, Musk Aoud and Sweetie Aoud – show the British perfumer’s time in the Middle East was time well spent. And your hard-earned cash will be too on these expensive options.
You can’t go wrong with the superb releases from Maison Francis Kurkdjian: Oud, Oud Silk Mood and Oud Satin Mood (available in EDP and extrait de parfum concentrations).
Less costly but just as good on the designer side, there’s Chopard Oud Malaki EDP, Gucci Intense Oud EDP and Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir EDP to sniff out. For the record, none of these contain real oud but they still capture its beauty using synthetic and natural materials.
Want more Initio? You could try the house’s recent addition (2021) to the Black Gold Project Collection, Oud for Happiness EDP. The oud is not as prominent in this one but give it a go if you want something fresher and greener than the original.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.