I have been following Kereosene’s channel for a long time because I enjoy the way he reviews perfume. Laid back, décontracté and usually with a hilarious quirk. He is one of us. Hearing that he is launching his own perfume made my heart race from excitement and admiring envy. The man obviously puts his heart and money where his mouth is and he obviously relies on word of mouth for spreading his message. It was my turn to put my money where my mouth is and order a bottle of R’oud Elements, so this review is not based on a free sample sent by Kerosene.
The bottle is very elegant as you can see. The paint job is amazing and I like the fact that it brings a bit of automotive sleekness to the world of perfume. The aesthetics of car design is another passion I have. The quality is top-notch. But how does it smell? The opening has the hallmark of oud. It is not a sweet oriental oud. It has a slight medicinal vibe but this is not a problem for me, it is something I like in oud. What is extremely interesting in the topnote sequence is that alongside oud there is a liqueur vibe. A fruity, citrusy note coupled with the glassy sweetness of unflavored cotton candy. Sadly plain, white cotton candy is not very popular these days but the smell of sugar warmed to the exact point where it forms the delicate threads is amazing. All these notes together create the strange illusion of “seeing” oud through an aquarium. A watery vibe dominates the opening and this is something extremely original. I never would have expected such an opening.
The second thing that I was not expecting is how developing this perfume is. The medicinal vibe is very fleeting. It turns into something very close to petrol or paint. I think this is a beautiful echo of both the name “Kerosene” and of the car paint job on the bottle. The composition develops a woodier facet with a glow of green orange. I love the way the composition calms down and becomes “rounder” at this point. I particularly enjoy strange openings and I believe they add great charm to a fragrance. They feel like an initiation ceremony, like a caterpillar transforming. And this butterfly starts unfolding magnificently from here. Incense is the key note that emerges from the heart. In fact, looking back incense runs through the entire development. The fruity, citrusy opening coupled with the medicinal oud vibe smells like incense tear and as the development progresses incense starts warming up and burning. In the base of the composition warm burning incense dominates. Strangely the base feels more volatile than the opening, mirroring the process of burning incense: from solidified resin incense tears in the opening to incense fumes in the drydown. Some spices add warmth but I cannot pin down specific spice notes. I can detect a vanilla note but not the sweet aspects of it. I get more of the maple aspect of natural vanilla extract. Overall sweet is not an adjective I would use to describe R’oud Elements.
Choosing oud as the front note for Kerosene’s first creation (and I do hope that many more will follow) is a hit or miss decision. Oud is hot at the moment so it is going to attract a lot of attention. But at the same time it is going to attract a lot of snobbery. Is it real oud? Is it “cheap” synthetic? I am afraid I am not going to enter this territory. First of all because I don’t have the background to talk about this. But most importantly because I do not care. What I do know is that R’oud Elements is an extremely interesting perfume. Its development lasts for more than two hours and what I have enjoyed doing is spraying one wrist first and the other one after a couple of hours. Smelling both stages at the same time is mind-blowing. I have tried some new oud fragrances this years, fragrances I had read rave reviews of but they have failed to impress me. I approached R’oud Elements with no real expectations, just a lot of hope, and it was a most surprising discovery. The cool, bright, techno opening is such a contradiction to the warm vanilla incense base and all the in between stages are such a joy to experience. I can feel all the love and energy of a true perfume lover put into this. The only thing that worries me is how can Kerosene top this.
Notes from Kerosene: oud, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, lavender, iris, and orange bitters
Notes from my nose: oud, green orange, cotton candy, incense tears, incense fumes, vanilla extract
Kerosene Perfumes available from House of Kerosene
I’d never heard of Kerosene before, so thanks for the YouTube link. You’re right: he has a laid-back but personally engaging style that makes listening to him a pleasure.
I have to say that the petrol/paint facet of the fragrance is not something that appeals to me (that kind of smell makes me queasy in certain fragrances; Knize Ten, for example), but I can understand how it fits with the theme of the fragrance. Enjoyed reading your review of it, and what you said about weird top notes and your love of them (“They feel like an initiation ceremony, like a caterpillar transforming”) made me smile.
Wow! Sounds really interesting!
Thank you for pointing us in this direction. 🙂
I keep wondering about the oud through the aquarium part….
It;s a remarkable effort. The “oud through the aquarium” description is something I cannot completely understand myself. It could just be the type of sandalwood used. I have come across a similar water/ paint vibe in MP&G Santal noble. It uses a sandalwood which has nothing to do with creamy, Mysore, red sandalwood. It is a blond, cold and with a (here I go, I am going to use the dreaded word) “chemical” vibe. In both Santal Noble and R’oud Elements this appears in the topnotes and disappears quickly. Suzanne, it’s not petrol as in Knize Ten. I admit I was a bit conscious of using the word chemical to describe this but I hope I have explained a little better now.
Thanks for reviewing this.
I wasnt aware of it.
How does it compare to Nostalgia by SMN?
Nothing to do with Nostalgia. Nostalgia is a leather patchouli. R’oud Elements to me is a woody incense, very warm and moderately sweet. Nostalgia has a very beautiful opening that lasts about 20 minutes on me and then turns to soft patchouli. R’oud Elements has a 2 hour long development and lasts several hours with noticeable projection throughout.
I enjoyed this fragrance very much. To me it has some elements of Black cashmere by Donna Karan, and some elements of Wonderwood by CDG.
It is the fancy lumberjack perfume 😉
I have interviewed him and I found him a very pleasant guy.
I think he has a future in perfumery if he pull the strings right 😉
Loved your review darling, very nice to read you as always.
I have to look for my little vial of Black Cashmere… Yes there are similarities with Wonderwood. Last night I wore Gucci pour Homme (the 2003 release in the square bottle) and towards the drydown it reminded me a lot of R’oud Elements. Only R’oud Elements is a lot softer and rounder and smells more… “rich”. Great idea to interview John!
I can’t wait to try this. Might leave out the sample and just blind buy, it sounds completely likeable and wearable. And I’d love to support his first fragrance. I’ve heard many great things about this now, orange oud and incense, sounds really great 😀
Pingback: Kerosene Copper Skies and Creature: on a winning streak « Memory of Scent
Pingback: Kerosene Whips and Roses and Santalum Slivers: the perfumer’s hallmark « Memory Of Scent
Pingback: The Spirit of Kerosene: Being John Pegg « Memory Of Scent
Pingback: Kerosene Fields of Rubus and Wood Heaven: whips and kisses « Memory Of Scent
Pingback: New Divine Release: L’Homme Infini « Memory Of Scent
Pingback: New year revolutions, 2015 | Memory Of Scent