Do you like to make your presence known and leave a lasting impression? Then, it’s high time you bagged a bottle of the best oud cologne.
Oud is a signature scent of Asia and the Middle East, actually meaning wood in Arabic. It’s irresistible, bittersweet, woody, earthy, and undeniably sensual. Hailing from the wood of the Southeast Asian Aquilaria tree, it’s the world’s most expensive raw scent ingredient.
While oud can be a middle note for some fragrances, it is all about the base. It adds depth to sweeter top notes. Often, it’s the final ingredient to deliver its scent to the skin.
What does oud smell like? The secret to this scent is how it combines with other notes such as leather, musk, patchouli, and rose. Yet, one thing is sure; the best oud cologne will be complex, dark, and powerful. Be warned; a little goes a long way. Oud cologne can remain on your clothes or fill the air for a long time.
I first came across oud cologne on a trip to Marrakech. From that moment on, I was well and truly hooked as an oud aficionado, sampling countless oud colognes around the world. Even now, when I get a waft of warmly spiced oud cologne, I’m immediately transported to the heady incense-filled aroma of the souk.
Check out my ode to oud, where I reveal my favorite and best oud colognes.
From the seductive and heady aroma of Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir to the mysterious, sweet accords of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood, take a magic carpet ride to discover your olfactory identity. If you want to delve into the darker side of sensual scents, it’s time to open Pandora’s box and release the intense and elegant world of the best oud colognes.
Any oud cologne lover will tell you that it’s not always an easy scent to wear. But that’s about to change. Versace Oud Noir deserves its top spot on the best oud cologne podium, scoring tens across the board for wearability.
Versace Oud Noir opens with bitter orange and spices, then blends to sweet florals before landing on warm, earthy oud. The result is a fresh and modern way to enjoy this traditionally heavy Middle Eastern note.
The insane staying power of traditional oud cologne often divides the lovers from the haters. Some enjoy a scent that sticks around until the following day, while others prefer something less cloying. Versace Oud Noir strikes a happy medium. Offering 6-8 hours of wear, it won’t outstay its welcome. It’s set to be one of the best fragrances for men.
Top Notes: Orange, black pepper, neroli | Middle Notes: Saffron, cardamom, olibanum | Base notes: Oud, patchouli, leatherwood | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
Costing less than 30$ for a 3.4oz bottle and lasting all day, Oud for Glory is the best oud cologne for those ballin’ on a budget.
Rumor has it, Oud for Glory was designed to be a dupe of Parfums Prive Oud for Greatness (an uber-luxe cologne that costs $500+). I’ve never been lucky enough to own the OG, but I have doused myself in a sample. Oud for Glory is a 70% match in terms of scent profile. Naturally, it lacks the same luxuriousness, but come on; it’s a sixteenth of the price.
Oud for Glory is a warm spicy mix of heady patchouli, musk, lavender, and nutmeg. The blend is dark, smoky, and exotic; it’s hands-down a winter fragrance best suited for nighttime.
Top Notes: Saffron, nutmeg, lavender | Middle Notes: Patchouli | Base notes: Oud, musk| Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
Don’t know where to start with this intimidating note? Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot is the perfect “beginner oud”. It’s also the best oud cologne for younger guys who understand that less can often be more.
The citrus element in the blend is green and sparkling, bringing a fresh element to smooth cedar and resinous oud. The oud is paired back, though, and the overall woody scent is bright, spicy, and incredibly wearable.
Staying power on the skin is a fair 4-6 hours. But, thanks to this lighter formulation, Oud & Bergamot is one of the few oud colognes that’s spring and summer friendly. So, straight up, I can’t think of a season for which it wouldn’t work well. So, if you’re looking for an oud cologne to carry you through the year, this is the one.
Top Notes: Bergamot | Middle Notes: Cedarwood | Base notes: Oud | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring, summer, fall, winter
Ready to have your socks blown off? Hailing from their Colonia Intensa line, this oud-musk fragrance is an “eau de cologne concentrée”. You don’t need high school French to understand it’s extra concentrated.
Acqua di Parma Oud goes beyond a long-lasting fragrance and straight to the beast mode category when it comes to staying power. Make sure you’re head over heels before spritzing; it’ll be with you for 10-12+ hours. But what does it smell like? Bright citrus, spices, warm amyris, musk, leather, and refined oud.
Acqua di Parma’s Oud cologne is rich, elegant, and best suited to mature, confident alpha males. It may seem like a heavy blend, but the musk and citrus notes make for a great spring and fall fragrance.
Top Notes: Citrus | Middle Notes: Oud, coriander, amyris | Base notes: Leather, musk | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Cologne Concentrée | Season: Spring, fall, winter
Oud is much more than simply a cologne in the Middle East; it’s an inherent part of Arabic culture. So if you want the best oud cologne that’s both intoxicating and authentic, opt for an Arabic brand.
Founded in 1974, Swiss Arabian was the first perfume manufacturer in the United Arab Emirates. Their scents are a nod to traditional oud cologne but with modern twists. At its heart, Shaghaf Oud is a true oud but has supporting notes that deliver something unexpected.
Shaghaf Oud has an irresistible vanilla-praline note that brings a sweet and nutty gourmand element that works perfectly with the rose and saffron. Intoxicating and unapologetically loud, this is a masterclass in Middle Eastern fragrance. The best part? It costs less than $30 for 3.4oz. Affordable cologne doesn’t get much better than that.
Top Notes: Saffron | Middle Notes: Rose | Base notes: Oud, praline, vanilla | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
Each perfumer tries to add their unique magic touch to classic notes to create something unique. Few do this as well as D.S. & Durga.
If you haven’t already heard of this uber-cool NYC brand, you can thank me later. They’re modern, experimental, and a little tongue-in-cheek. The nose behind the brand is David Seth Moltz, a self-taught perfumer who makes all their fragrances in-house.
D.S.& Durga take Indonesian oud and blend it with African papyrus, Bulgarian rose, French lavender, and Afghani saffron for a scent that has more air miles than us all put together. The result is complex yet wearable, thanks to the delicate florals.
If you’re looking for a new niche brand to fall in love with and the best oud cologne to impress your friends, look no further.
Top Notes: Saffron, camphor, galbanum | Middle Notes: Oud, rose, lavender | Base notes: Papyrus, civet, cetalox | Size: 1.7oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
Montale Oudmazing opens with an amazing Malaysian oud, bursting with Italian citrus and sweetened with fig and pear. It’s juicy but not gourmand. At the heart of the fragrance are patchouli, orris, and jasmine.
Oudmazing finishes strong with a heady concoction of leather, grapes, vanilla, and musk with something a little creamy that reminds me of sandalwood. Fruity and sweet, yet rich and primal; it’s a head-turner. Plus, longevity is a crazy 10+ hours. It performs well on the dance floor and is a great go-to cologne for night’s out.
Reviewers often say that the metal bottle feels half-empty. The aluminum flacon is lightweight, and when you slosh it around, it seems like there isn’t enough liquid in the vial. I checked this out and asked a consultant at the Montale Boutique in Milan. It turns out the 50ml bottle has a 75ml capacity. Problem solved.
Top Notes: Oud, orange, bergamot, fig, pear | Middle Notes: Patchouli, orris, jasmine| Base notes: Grapes, vanilla, leather, white musk | Size: 3.5oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood is a powdery, floral oud cologne that pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a “masculine” scent. It’s the best oud cologne for men who want something elevated and elegant.
Oud Satin Mood is a luxurious concoction of creamy vanilla, violet, rose, benzoin, and oud. Despite its delicate notes, it has insane staying power. That’s because Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of the few luxury perfume houses that use real oud rather than a synthetic compound. As a result, a few spritzes have the power to hang around for 11-12+ hours.
It’s one of those colognes that women seem to love and compliment, likely because it steps away from male cologne stereotypes. Oud Satin Mood is the perfect long-lasting fragrance for sultry winter date nights.
Top Notes: Rose, violet | Middle Notes: Benzoin| Base notes: Oud, vanilla| Size: 2.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall, winter
What to Look for in the Best Oud Colognes
Do the best oud colognes use synthetic or natural oud? Oud is the most expensive perfume ingredient in the world. Needless to say, many oud colognes use substitutes rather than the real deal. As Frank Voelkl, Firmenich perfumer, explains, “what we do to replicate the smell of natural oud in our fragrances is create substitutes that are compositions using a combination of other natural ingredients and some synthetic molecules.” He says the benefit of doing this is that they’re, “generally ‘softer’ and less animalic-smelling compared to that of natural oud extract.”
If you’re happy to splash out, though, check out oud colognes from premium perfume brands such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Montale. Both houses use natural oud oil in their blends, like MFK’s Oud Satin Mood and Montale Oudmazing.
Is it seasonal?
Oud is the ultimate winter fragrance, thanks to its rich and earthy elements. Nothing says cozying up in fall or winter to me quite like the woody, spicy oud blends of Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir and D.S. & Durga Notorious Oud. Although, strike the right balance of fresher, lighter notes like bergamot and lemon, and you have a spring-friendly staple on your hands. Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot and Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa Oud are testament to this.
Is it long-lasting?
Due to the note’s intensity, the best oud colognes are on the long-lasting side of the scale. Yet, the time an oud cologne lasts depends heavily on the wearer’s skin chemistry. In general, though, oud lingers on the skin long after most other notes.
If you want an oud cologne with insane staying power, check out Acqua di Parma Oud, Montale Oudmazing, and Maison Francis Krukdjian Oud Satin Mood, which all offer 10-12 hours. For something a little less intense and more daytime-friendly with around 6 hours of wear, opt for Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir or Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot.
There’s a lot of buzz about oud cologne this year. This notorious note can be hard to pull off, but not if it’s done the right way. Take the guesswork out of choosing the best oud cologne with my curated collection of sultry oud scents. Taking the top spot on my list is Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir; it’s a real winner when it comes to wearability, affordability, and sex appeal.
Most of the best oud colognes are potent and not created for everyday use. Depending on the occasion and blend, you can wear it during the day. Yet, where it truly shines is as an impactful evening or dramatic nighttime fragrance. Plus, if you wear the same fragrance every day, you can become desensitized to the fragrance, which would be a shame in the case of oud cologne.
Pure oud can cost more than gold. Due to its rarity, agarwood costs around $100,000 per kilo. As a result, it’s one of the most expensive ingredients in modern perfumery. Premium fragrance houses, like Maison Francis Kurkdjian, use the purest oud from Laos. Other designers use mainly synthetic aroma chemicals produced by fragrance manufacturers such as Firmenich and Givaudan.
Natural oud ranges from smelling earthy and smoky to sweet, spicy, and sensual. It is the climate, age, and species of tree that produce the resin and the extraction method that determines its scent. On its own, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of smell. But combined with other top and middle notes, it adds warmth and depth to create the best oud colognes that are complex and mysterious.
Personal preference goes a long way to answering this million-dollar question. Guys may find it overpowering, while others like me are addicted to its intoxicating smell. If you’re unsure how to find the best oud cologne, read reviews and check out buyer feedback. Look for oud colognes featuring your favorite top and middle notes. If you are a lover of leather, opt for Oudamazing by Montale. Or if you’re raving about roses, try DS & Durga Notorious Oud.