Memo Luxor Oud: Not How The Ancient Egyptians Would Have Smelled
by Martin Green
I generally don’t really care much for oud, also known as agarwood, in scents. It feels heavy to me; I imagine an opulent old Parisian apartment with heavy velvet drapes on a burning-hot summer day.
However, even if I dislike a specific scent or ingredient, that doesn’t stop from trying new variations. It’s all about adding experiences to my mental library, enabling me to enlargen my references to any scent I smell afterward.
This also results in discovering exceptions, and a recent oud exception is Luxor Oud from Memo.
Memo Luxor Oud: passion, tradition, and deep knowledge of olfaction
Memo is a relatively new fragrance house founded in 2007 by John and Clara Molloy. They bring interesting backgrounds to the collaboration as Clara, though French, grew up in Andalusia, while John spent his childhood in the Irish countryside.
The way they approach scents is somewhat different from other brands. For them, it is also about the knowledge and history behind the craft, a subject in which Clara, who has already written three books, is quite expert.
The result is that the couple’s scents often take on a different approach, as is very clear from Luxor Oud.
In most ouds the agarwood dominates. This is a very traditional way of making such scents, but Memo has achieved making it much lighter, using the agarwood as the base for the “scent note pyramid.”
The nose behind this scent is Aliénor Massenet. Trained by Monique Schlinger of Cinquième Sens, she spent the majority of her career at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF Inc.). There Massenet worked on her very first major scent: Intuition for Men by Estée Lauder.
Throughout her career, Massenet has created a remarkable amount of scents aimed mainly at the mainstream market. She did several for Diesel but also designed perfumes for Armani, Joop! and Lancôme. She was the nose behind Happy Spirit Forever, developed in 2016 for Chopard.
The fact that she can also create scents like Luxor Oud is a testimony to her skills going far beyond the mainstream.
Oud but different
The name Luxor Oud didn’t sit well with me at first. Perhaps because the word conjures up first impressions involving sarcophagi and mummies – not a great start to a scent that is not my favorite to begin with.
However, Memo chose this name from a different perspective, aiming at the ability of the pharaohs to create luscious gardens full of fruit and flowers in their desert kingdoms. That is also what you smell.
Agarwood is at the base, skillfuly mixed with patchouli. This is quite powerful, but not overpowering as it forms a robust foundation made much lighter by using desert rose and fruits.
At first the scent might smell a touch too sweet for men, but after a few minutes it develops into a perfect unisex scent set to entice men and women equally. The desert rose subsides a bit and merges with the more earthy tones of the agarwood and the patchouli, mellowing their sometimes distinct edges.
The fruit goes more in a mandarin direction, adding a refreshing and light touch to the composition. This not only makes it a perfect scent for the colder months of the year but also smells wonderful during warm summer days.
Memo has achieved the unimaginable, creating an oud-based scent that is both truly unisex and redefines this ingredient, making it more accessible. And it is one that can be worn in all seasons.
Memo’s Luxor Oud is a benchmark in its category and it is the first oud scent I would be pleased to wear.
For more information please visit www.memoparis.com/en/luxor-oud.