Calling this perfume something as simple as ‘Chocolate, Rose and Oud’ is akin to calling Turner’s painting of the Fighting Temeraire ‘a picture of a ship’ or a 1915, Harley Davidson 11F a simple ‘bike’. Yes, it’s factually correct, but those simplistic descriptions fail to convey the romance or excitement that a really quality product can command. The morale here is don’t be put off by the basic name, there’s something lovely hiding behind it.
Turkish rose, tonka bean, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, Burmese oud.
Chocolate, Rose and Oud opens with a fragrant lift of softness. It’s sweet, pillowy and feels like you’ve been enveloped in a big snuggly blanket spun from the down of some mythological creature made of nothing but the softest of fluff.
Seriously though, putting this fragrance on is like spraying on a hug from a bottle. It’s so comforting, and embracing. If you’re feeling a bit down, immediately go out and try this scent and you will see what we mean. At the beginning there’s enough of the sweet to make it feel satisfying, and enough of the oud to make it sophisticated. Everything tumbles out all at once: vanilla, chocolate, oud and milky sandalwood. The different facets are all together, mixed like you’ve raided Woolworth’s pic-n-mix and have poured the whole bag out at once on to the table top.
None of the notes in this fragrance are unfamiliar and so the scent overall feels really un-challenging in a lovely way. It’s nice to see oud used like this, to definitely be present but to give structure to the other notes and keep everything in balance. Oud can be a really difficult note for some people to enjoy (us included), sometimes because it’s too dirty-smelling, and sometimes because it can be really overpowering. It’s neither of those things here. Instead it’s given space to breathe in its structured and opulent majesty.
Once the fragrance has really settled and opened up the distinct facets separate and become a little more discernible in their own right. The whole fragrance takes on the consistency of melted chocolate and gently oozes between woody, milky, piquant from the oud or really leathery.
When the leather is to the fore, you feel like you’ve been wrapped in the most protective of hide jackets. The leather is really sweet and soft and it smells as if it would be buttery and yielding if you could touch it.
The chocolate fraction of the scent is really interesting. It does smell like chocolate for sure, but somehow Aaron Terence Hughes have made it sophisticated. It could be the composition or the quality of the notes that elevates it, but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is it IS elevated. This is the finest Belgian chocolate savoured slowly as opposed to a Mars bar eaten furtively. It’s the sort of chocolate one can imagine royalty eating, before it was available to us commoners.
We don’t get a lot of rose from Chocolate, Rose and Oud. It’s there, fleshy petals with the texture of peach skin mirroring the texture of melted chocolate, but its role is in marrying the other ingredients together, stopping them being too sickly sweet, and also lending that quiet sophistication that this fragrance exudes. At times when wearing this, the nose will definitely catch a sense of rose, but it’s a kind of ghostly whisper of the flower rather than a full in-your-face rose. This ephemeral quality makes the scent even more lovely and beautifully nuanced.
There isn’t too much change between the middle of the scent and the end of it. The fragrance doesn’t feel so much linear as a gently oscillating wave. If anything, the oud is slightly more noticeable in the base of the fragrance where it lends a gentle, animalic purr to the overall composition. Indeed, the oud does give a touch of the animal to the scent, but it isn’t a dirty, manure type nuance (as it sometimes can be with oud). Here it’s like burying your face in the fur of a warm house cat whilst it rumbles its approval. It has a hint of something ‘other’ but manages to retain a sense of soothing familiarity whilst it does so. This is the animalic as a friend, rather than something to be conquered or feared.
Wafts of gentle smoke occasionally wander across the landscape of Chocolate, Rose and Oud as it wears. The smoke is soft and sweet. It gives a sense that the leather jacket has been worn in a smoky bar at some point in its life, or that someone has lit a bonfire two streets away on a still evening.
We almost missed Chocolate, Rose and Oud because – if being completely honest – the name didn’t really appeal. It didn’t sound like the sort of thing we would want to wear, when in fact it is very much the sort of thing that we want to wear! If it hadn’t been for the recommendation of a trusted fragrance connoisseur friend, we would have passed it by, and that would have been a huge shame because Chocolate, Rose and Oud is full of wonderful things which make us happy. Chocolates, roses, milky notes, sweetness, leather and under it all the grumble of oud acting as scaffolding and counterpoint. The quality of the materials used here really shine out and they have been selected and placed with care and a light touch. Don’t let the name dissuade you from trying this. If you like milky, comforting fragrances, or chocolate, then it’s definitely worth your time.
The other stuff
The longevity of Chocolate, Rose and Oud is fantastic. It lasts all day from a morning application. We got around 10 hours of good wear out of it before it started to diminish significantly and even then, others could still smell it fairly strongly when sniffed close to the skin.
The projection of the scent is also very pleasing. We estimate this to be to around handshake distance or maybe even a bit further. It’s not the sort of fragrance which will stink out a room, but it does have a lovely intensity about it which allows it to travel some way from the skin.
Chocolate, Rose and Oud does feel like the type of scent which could be worn by all genders. Go out and enjoy it whoever you are. Certainly, the notes of chocolate and rose aren’t overly (and stereotypically) feminine here.
The Aaron Terence Hughes brand has been fully certified by the Vegan Society. The perfumes are all at 20% concentrate and do not contain any animal raw materials or animal byproducts. This means there is no ambergris, civet or musks in any of the fragrances.
Aaron Terence Hughes will not sell their perfumes in countries which require animal testing, nor do they pay secondary companies to do their animal testing for them. We’d like to applaud the brand for stating this so openly on their page – this isn’t always easy information to find out from a company.
You can find out more about this British perfume brand and its ethical standpoints on the about us page.
Aaron Terence Hughes perfumes are available from Bloom Perfumery London. Chocolate, Rose and Oud is priced at £145 for 50ml EdP. Bloom very kindly provided us with a no-strings-attached sample of this scent. Thank you to them for their kindness.
You can also buy Chocolate, Rose and Oud direct from the Aaron Terence Hughes web boutique.