F rom childhood holidays in Egypt, which conjured up exotic ideals of oud to creating the ultimate Ramadan perfume for the house of Guerlain, Thierry Wasser is obssessed with the ingredient. Here the nose talks about oud, which he describes as "unusual, unique, respectful, inspirational and energetic"...

Could you please describe Oud Essentiel by Guerlain? 

There are a lot of ouds which are rather heavy but our oud has a good balance between cold and warm. This great energy between the cold dark notes and the dry makes Guerlain Oud Essential unusual and unique.

What is Oud?

Oud is a raw material, which comes from the resinous heartwood of Aquillaria trees, which are found mainly in Asia. It's formed when the tree is damaged and attacked by fungus. Oud is an aromatic, rich, powerful, dense and dark resin.

What is your first memory of oud?

As a teenager I was in Egypt with my mother and I discovered oud in its pure oil form in a tiny bottle in a Cairo bazaar. It was at the beginning of our trip and then, while we were cruising on the Nile, I started to become obsessed with that scent, so I dedicated it to pharaohs in my imagination. 

What inspired you to create a new oud perfume?

It's about paying tribute to this memory and thinking about those ancient kings of Egypt and the modern Emirs of Arabia. 

Oud Essentiel by Guerlain

As a nose, what makes oud so unique and charismatic today?

First of all it is a very rare, exotic and extravagant scent. It is also a warm and sensual note, which evokes your wildest fantasy.

Which oud oil is the nicest? 

Our oud oil is a blend of several from manufacturers in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, which gives our oil its uniqueness.

What is the history of oud? 

Oud was used in Asia for medicinal and spiritual purposes centuries ago. The ingredient also appears in the oldest texts of humanity and since the 9th Century, oud has been considered one of the most essential ingredients of perfumery. 

Now, discover more about Oud in an exclusive interview with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian.