One of the current trends in independent perfumery is that of the artisanal distiller as nose. An interesting group of these came to the forefront about three or four years ago. Like many I was enchanted by discovering the new materials they were bringing out. These were small-batch completely unique ingredients. I am susceptible to falling under the spell of a new ingredient. It took me about a year but because of the amount that was being released I began to form a hypothesis. That while they were gifted distillers, they weren’t necessarily perfumers. Over the past few years I’ve still been impressed at the ingredients they produce but they don’t rise to what I would categorize as perfume.
That’s very broad. What I have noticed is when they overstuff things with too many ingredients it becomes like static. It adds an olfactory hiss which is distracting. The simpler they keep things the closer they get to being a perfume. Bortnikoff Oud Loukoum is one which manages to do this.
Dmitry Bortnikov is the man behind the brand. He has been producing fragrance from his base in Thailand since 2018. In just two years he has released 25 limited editions. All of them have at their heart something unique. Which is the appeal. For Oud Loukoum he is inspired by the Turkish confection of the same name.
Loukoum is also known as Turkish Delight. It is a chewy sweet exotic candy. I prefer the ones which have nuts as their main flavoring but there are many varieties. Oud Loukoum is a full-on gourmand style of fragrance which captures this.
It opens with a stewed fruits accord which is very appealing, especially in the cooler weather. Ylang-ylang acts as the floral contrast. The flower has an oiliness which adds a richer depth to the fruits. It is here where a selection of ouds forms the gourmand accord. If they were left to themselves it wouldn’t have come together. A slightly fruity tobacco pulls the fruit and oud together into a perfume version of loukoum. It remains in its candied form for hours with only some balsam sliding in later.
Oud Loukoum has 24-hour longevity and average sillage.
This is not an indicator of a change in aesthetic. The other nine perfumes from 2020 all have the same things which keep me from embracing them fully. I still would love to bring these distillers and their materials into partnership with my favorite perfumers. I believe there would be something amazing which could come of that. Until then when they do make something like Oud Loukoum I can appreciate it for what it is.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.