A ‘day in the life of a desert’ is the theme for this fragrance. But will it make our senses desert us, or be the cherry on top of the dessert? (We’ll stop now. Promise.)
Nutmeg, cinnamon, sandalwood, guaiac wood, Virginia cedar wood, musk, labdanum, vanilla, coumarin, tobacco blossom, Burma oud.
First thing first, Golden Powder by The House of Oud is a very gentle fragrance. It’s easy to think of the desert as a hard, arid place – especially if you’re only drawing from imagination – but the exact opposite is true of this fragrance. It’s gentle, soft, embracing, and cozy. It feels rather like the finest pashmina draped about bare shoulders, that slide of fine textile over skin.
Golden Powder opens with a sour, milky note. It isn’t the wrongness of sour milk, this is something which is sour AND milky and really compelling. There’s a brief waft of a really dark woody accord which wanders off after the opening moments, giving way to a flowing, milky sandalwood.
Then there are the spices: nutmeg and cinnamon. They add a baked warmth to the overall tone of the scent; it feels like something the sun has beaten down upon for long days and short nights. The spices combined with the milky sandalwood are a classical pairing and here they work just as well as you imagine they might. Although this is a desert inspired scent, what came to mind for us colder climate individuals was something akin to the Swedish tradition of fika: spiced, bready confections eaten alongside a warm milky beverage. Soothing, warm, blissful.
Imagine if wood was edible to us humans, edible and candied. Now imagine the way that would taste and smell and that’s the vibe you get in the heart of Golden Powder. Yes, it is woody, but the wood is so soft, so pretty and powdery that it’s almost unrecognisable as wood at first. There is very much the sense of a texture here, like it’s wood that has been turned into icing sugar and dusted all over your skin. The sweet vanilla in the fragrance really helps to strengthen this impression.
Golden Powder is the sort of scent that surrounds you with a halo of fragrance when you wear it. It seems to migrate from the pulse points to hang around the whole body; a fragrant shadow-self. We really enjoyed this characteristic, it felt luxurious and protective.
Oud is a peculiar note in fragrance. It can be completely overpowering, farmyard-like and animalic. At the other end of the spectrum, there are some fantastic fragrances which include oud (real or replicated) but which are soft and floaty. Golden Powder is the latter of these two camps. If you don’t like oud in fragrances, don’t be put off by its inclusion in Golden Powder, you won’t really notice oud here. If, however, you do like oud, expect only the gentle kind in this fragrance. There are other perfumes out there to better satisfy ‘dirty’ oud cravings.
What the oud does do in Golden Powder is add this fullness to the rest of the composition, and this comes out beautifully in the base. Upon inhaling this fragrance, the first thing you notice is the spicy milk, then there’s a sweet wood which itself almost smells edible, finally there’s this tang of straw and the warmth of animals; like the idea of a horse in a freshly mucked-out stable. Despite saying that this fragrance isn’t really farmyard-like, a hint of that does remain and it makes the overall scent so much more wearable and beautiful, really giving all the floaty edible notes some backbone and substance, but without being challenging or obtrusive. There’s a slight leathery tone here too, and a very gentle smokiness as well, like a cigar that was briefly lit and has now gone out is sitting a little way away.
Golden Powder wears so easily and is such a relaxing scent that it might be easy to write off as not ballsy enough, but that would be a crying shame because there is something here, something that is radiant which we absolutely loved and was very easy to feel cocooned by.
The other stuff
The longevity of Golden Powder is great, it lasts way longer than you would expect it to given the gentleness of the fragrance. It stays put for a full day’s wear no problem, and by full day we are talking 10+ hours.
We felt that Golden Powder was really quite unisex, sitting close to the centre of the spectrum. Perhaps slightly over towards the feminine side, but only just, and it could easily suit male skin very well too.
The sillage of the scent was moderate, to somewhere between handshake and hugging distance. It got bigger, and projected further, in warmer weather though, which is very appropriate given the desert inspiration behind this line of scents.
The presentation of House of Oud fragrances is stunning, and must account for a significant proportion of the cost of bottle. Each one is a handcrafted work of art. A flattened egg shaped bottle forms the main body, but unusually this sits upside down in a heavy, solid cap which acts as the base. Each bottle is adorned with either a paint-splattered or crackle-glazed effect and they’re so attractive – easily one of the best looking and most unique bottles I own.
The House of Oud are an Italian brand but with a very international series of collaborators including pastry chefs from Canada and oud hunters from Saudi Arabia. Their work is an interesting mix of wearable, luxury (with a decent price tag attached), artistic (see the bottles) and mismatched (in a good way) from all the different influences that the line tries to incorporate. Golden Powder is the first scent from the brand that we have been able to try, and we look forward to trying more in the future to see if this collaborative mash up is sustainable or not. Here’s hoping it is, because we believe that the best things come when there is cross-pollination of ideas across people and disciplines.
Golden Powder is one of a series of fragrances released by the house which aim to encapsulate a full day spent in the desert. Unsurprisingly titled ‘Desert Day’ this series includes the fragrances Breath of the Infinite (musky floral), Wind Heat (spicy wood), Blessing Silence (balsamic wood), and Wonderly (oriental).
We received a no-strings-attached sample of Golden Powder from Jovoy, and were then lucky enough to win a full bottle in an Instagram giveaway, again with no strings attached.