Loudo by Sarah Baker

“Life is more fun if you play games”
~Roald Dahl

If playing games is your thing then playtime inspired Loudo (a pun on “oud” and the Latin word for “play” or “game”) might be just what you are looking for. Best roll the dice, move the counters, and keep reading on to find out more.

Listed notes

Bergamot, neroli, petitgrain, black cherry, cypriol, orange blossom, white chocolate, Laos oud, Suyufi agarwood, musk, amber, vanilla.

Top notes

Loudo by Sarah Baker is one of those scents which is full of puzzlement. It constantly teeters on the edge of being “too much” (too oudy, too animalic, too sweet) and always just holds back enough to be thrilling, managing to stay on the right side of the balance and delivering a scent which keeps the wearer on their toes.

Loudo opens bright and razor sharp. The bergamot and neroli giving a sour knife-edge which is quickly backed by an oudy animalic body. If you aren’t a fan of oud, you will quickly think “too much, too much” but wait a heartbeat longer and the scent resolves itself, pulling away from that sharp, sour edge and growing rounder, kinder and more comely with every moment that passes. There’s also something here which is a little damp, a little orris-like, it lurks around the edges and gives a certain freshness to the start of the scent, stopping it becoming too woody or too sweet early on.

There is no denying that oud is a strong presence here, but once the scent has settled it becomes satisfying and addictive, showing this ingredient in a splendid and attractive way which doesn’t rely on the specific taste for oud to appreciate. If there is such a thing as a friendly oud, then Loudo would be it. The oud here is a little animalic at times, and can give that sense of tart sourness, but it never becomes too much. Every time I wear Loudo that surprises me because every time feels like the time it will tip over into being skanky, but every time it just holds back. This playful use of oud is one of the most exciting aspects of Loudo and it twists and turns like an olfactive dance, coming forward, shying away, progressing, retreating. It’s a lovely thing to behold and makes for interesting and fun perfumery.

Heart notes

Once Loudo has fully settled on skin, it becomes a much less tempestuous wearing experience, and the excitement from the latter phases of a wear comes from the gentle ebb and flow of the different facets. Here the sweeter elements start to take their places, and the scent develops a smooth rhythm of sour, sweet, woody, sharp, smoky. It allows the multifarious elements of oud to shine without pushing it too far in any one direction.

The black cherry aspect of Loudo comes as almost an aftertaste (after smell?). Inhale the scent in this mid-phase of a wear and you get the sharp smokiness and then as you pause, a whisper of black cherry hits the sinuses. This particular facet adds a lusciousness to the scent and stops it being too dry; yet another dimension where the perfumer feels as if he is playing within the fragrance.

There’s a definite smokiness to Loudo too, and in warm ambient temperatures it gives the impression of that struck-match type of smoke. It is addictive, moreish and tempting, pulling you in for just another sniff.

The white chocolate element of Loudo is, as we may well expect by now, not overdone either. It is a gentle rounding, a milky sweetness which polishes the rough woody edges off the oud in a really pleasant manner. Weird as it sounds to say it, the white chocolate facet also works gorgeously with the smokier elements. Two different things which don’t feel like they should sit together that well, but which work beautifully. The result is that Loudo becomes friendly, playful and really addictive in this middle phase of its evolution.

Base notes

In the final phase of wearing Loudo, the scent reduces in volume and becomes a woody, spicy purr against the skin. The thread of sweetness continues as vanilla picks up the trail alongside an ambery hum and the whole composition shifts a little more towards a resinous tone, but that movement is a gentle sway rather than a lurch.

If you came to Loudo expecting a full on gourmand fragrance, you might be surprised that it isn’t as gourmand as you may imagine. Although there are decidedly gourmand facets to the scent, it doesn’t really wear like many gourmands do – it isn’t overly sweet, airy, or stodgy. Instead what we find in Loudo is almost an olfactive imagining of the still life of an old master but instead of abundant baskets of fruit, the still life conjured here is one where chocolate, cherries and vanilla sit atop the old, dark wood of a centuries old table. The beauty is in the balance, and Loudo manages to both achieve that, and add a few surprises along the way.

The other stuff

The perfumer for Loudo is Chris Maurice.

Whilst the idea of playing a game might have both positive and negative connotations, and the inclusion of oud being similarly something which could go either way, the actual experience of wearing Loudo is actually one which is friendly and approachable. That doesn’t mean that it is devoid of character, indeed the opposite is true. Loudo pushes me to enjoy facets of oud which I normally find challenging, and it pairs this intense material with semi-gourmand facets, sweetness and smokiness to balance and highlight the material without allowing it to overpower everything else.

A spritz or two of Loudo will take you from early morning to early afternoon, lasting four to six hours or so following application. It lingers on a little longer as a skin-scent with a reduced volume.

The projection of Loudo is, at first, around handshake distance or perhaps a little further. After an hour or so of wear, this reduces to being about hugging distance or thereabouts.

We’ve previously reviewed Flame and Fortune, and Lace by the brand.

The brand

The Sarah Baker brand is kitsch and edgy. It encompasses a couple of different collections. The Sarah Baker collection is comprised of perfumes of extrait strength with Loudo being the ninth to compliment the collection. These are the real heavy hitters of the brand’s line up, delightful scents but not for the faint of heart.

The S. Baker collection is a slightly lighter bunch, designed to be spritzed at any time of day. These scents are EdP concentration, and there are currently five in this group (Bascule, Flame and Fortune, G Clef, Far From The Madding Crowd and Symmetry). Don’t mistake this idea that they are lighter for thinking that they are less accomplished – that is most definitely note the case.

In addition to these two collections there is also the Sarah Baker – Motif collection which features the four original scents in their original bottles (the scents being Leopard, Greek Keys, Lace and Tartan). To complete the brand, there are the Sarah Baker Artists Editions which are scents in limited, numbered bottles. You can find a page on Sarah Baker’s website explaining the different collections.

Buy it

Loudo will be available from the Sarah Baker web boutique from 23 September 2021, if you are based in the UK, and from the 27 September for the rest of the world. Loudo will be priced at £120 for 50ml of extrait.

You can also purchase samples from the Sarah Baker website.

We were very kindly gifted a no-strings-attached sample of Loudo by the brand, and we thank them for the generosity.

Photo by Joel Abraham on Unsplash.

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