JHAG’s take on the popular rose/oud combo is nicely done—I’d say it’s probably one of, if not the most, approachable oud’s I’ve met, keeping good company with Montale’s Aoud Queen Roses, Montale’s White Aoud, and L’Artisan’s Al Oudh.
Despite the parallels to Montale’s Aouds, I smell a distinct familial resemblance with Lady Vengeance; I’m not sure if it’s the handling of the rose itself, or just a common supporting cast. Midnight Oud is softer than her oud sisters, and a little quieter than her vengeful cousin. Where the rose in AQR is dark and majestic, this rose still has pointe shoes hanging from her closet door. Al Oudh is a seasoned courtesan; Midnight Oud is her yet-to-be-initiated protégé.
This fragrance is an excellent example of what it is Romano Ricci does (and does well) with Juliette Has a Gun: straddling the line between mass market and niche fragrances. What all of his fragrances smell like, to me, is just a little too good for the Macy’s counter, but not quite like something from L’Artisan Parfumeur. I’ve read some complaints—might have even made some myself—that the line doesn’t quite make the cut as a new niche perfume house. I don’t totally disagree, but I think that there is a place for this stuff. It has mass appeal, unlike many niche houses; when was the last time you saw a hip ad from Annick Goutal? What I see in JHAG is an intermediary layer between perfumista and perfume-as-routine people. The brand is fun, pretty, savvy but not book-smart. I like it.
Midnight Oud Notes
Moroccan rose, geranium, saffron, oud note, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, animalic musks
Olympia by Édouard Manet, 1863