Oud Wood (Tom Ford)

I don't know
about you, but the 2000s were disturbing to me. Y2K. 9/11. Another George Bush. The Patriot Act. Abu Ghraib. Torture-porn horror movies. BIG sunglasses. It was the decade when dial-up gave way to broadband, and the useless but irresistibly charming "early internet" transitioned to something far closer to what we have now. Gone were the carefree nineties, the Friends-fueled ambiance of coffee on cafe sofas wearing oversized clothes and super-sweet fragrances. In with the weird seventies revivalist brown-study woody masculines, which were driven by an unfortunate cultural renaissance of a material from the Middle and Far East called agarwood, gaharu, oud. 

This movement was ostensibly sparked in 2002 by YSL's M7, authored by Jacques Cavalier and Alberto Morillas under the supervision of then-creative director for the Gucci Group, Tom Ford. M7 was a little too serious for the milquetoast-but-collectively-disturbed sensibilities of post-9/11 America, and it failed to connect with buyers. It was flanked by M7 Fresh, then pulled, then rereleased in 2010, flanked again by M7 Oud Absolu, and ultimately all M7s were binned. I suspect Ford had a few mods of the original when he retired from Gucci, and one of them found its way into his own line in the form of Oud Wood (2007). Richard Herpin was on tap, and I find him to be the only interesting thing about Oud Wood, aside from my mod theory. Herpin is unusually fond of a sweet and powdery-fresh laundry musk, which was in his formula for New York Gentlemen by Brooks Brothers, a fresh-citrus cologne that lasted ages because of it. Well, it's also in the base of Ford's scent, but here it causes dissonance; creamy sandalwood, rosewood, and "clean" synthetic oud (mostly Givaudan's Kephalis) clash with the musk in the far drydown. 

I say the oud movement was "ostensibly" started with M7 because I have my own theory as to how and why oud became so prominent in the mid-to-late 2000s. I believe that oud in perfumery is all part of a CIA Op. After 9/11, a tragedy mainly caused by Saudi terrorists, America was outraged. The problem for the White House was that it couldn't afford to have the country openly turn against the Saudis, not if it wanted to keep them as an oil partner. The solution? Start by diverting everyone's attention with a pointless war in Iraq, and finesse the diversion by hooking America's "influential" upper class on what Saudis themselves love and use regularly, oud. Too crazy for you? Think about it.