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As a beauty editor, I’m embarrassed to admit that I know next to nothing about fragrance. I’m a devout essential oil and scented candle user, so you would think I’d have some semblance of a collection of perfumes to complement my skincare and makeup stashes but until my recent visit to The Oud Lounge, I didn’t own a single fragrance or have any knowledge or wisdom to share.

The Oud Lounge is a bespoke atelier and the home of celebrity-endorsed perfumier Black Oud. Some of the brand’s biggest fans include Burna Boy, Serena Williams, Giggs and Fat Joe. Over tea and biscuits, Black Oud’s knowledgeable and charismatic brand founder Walid Anan took our editor-in-chief Maisie Jane Daniels and I through his 30 custom scents, explaining that Oud, known as ‘the five thousand dollar per pound scent’, is extracted by distillation or melting from the agar tree, most commonly found in South Asia. He even had a small piece of wood from the tree which we were able to smell in its purest form. The highly regarded ingredient lays the foundation for several of the brand’s fragrances.

Whether you prefer to spritz or roll-on your perfume, Walid has an option for everyone. The male, female and unisex fragrances cater to all genders and cover the sweet, spicy, floral, and earthy spectrums. With fairly different taste, Maisie and I tested our way through every single scent, talking in detail with Walid about what we liked and didn’t care for. Walid let us know from the beginning that he wouldn’t be offended by any of our opinions and he assured us that we would find our favourite scents. His demeanour and expertise made for a fun, fragrant and educational experience. We left The Oud Lounge with three scents each that we both love, Maisie’s more floral and classic, and mine more earthy and spicy.

You can visit The Oud Lounge as a perfume expert looking to add to your collection or as a newbie, like me, if you’re interested in dipping your toe into the world of Oud. Either way, you’ll learn something new and walk away with at least one scent carefully selected just for you.


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