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Thirty-three – The perfume gods are speaking - October 28, 2013 New Fragrance Listing.

Photo: Matthew Zhuk, courtesy Ex Idolo perfumes

The perfume gods often have their own ways of speaking to us. Sometimes it’s through a whiff of something in the air, sometimes it’s through the recommendation of a friend and sometimes it’s through writing.

In April I read this on the 1000 Fragrances website:

"One of the most spectacular compositions of the year comes from an unexpected place. There comes a time in the life of perfumes when all that has been said or done in a certain perspective is reunited in a beautiful conclusion. Forget Tom Ford, Armani, Kilian or Fréderic Malle. The new oud so chic comes from London and is a fabulous perfume. Ex Idolo - Thirty Three. A pure marvel of style."

Wow! I made a note to myself to track it down but life got in the way and I didn’t think about it again until August when I read what Dariush Alavi said about Thirty-three on his Persolaise website:

"If you wish to have an authentically Arabian oud-y experience, Thirty Three is as close to the real deal as we're likely to get (which is curious, considering it comes from a UK brand.) So seek it out, hunt it down, procure a small sample for your collection, smell it, wear it, ingest it, if you must. Indulge yourself to your heart's content."

Hmm. Two glowing reviews from highly regarded bloggers – well, that moved Thirty-three to the front burner. But it wasn’t until I was talking to Lynn at Andrew’s here in Toronto a couple of days later that I really got the message.

For those of you who don’t know, Andrew’s has a fantastic perfume department – they carry great niche lines L’Artisan, Serge Lutens, Amouage, Ades de Venustas, Rancé and Shiloh among others. Oh, and they do ship.

At some point in our conversation, Lynn mentioned Thirty-three and how Andrew’s would be carrying it. Now, that got my full attention. And when Lynn told be that the creator, Matthew Zhuk is a Canadian living in London, I finally heard the perfume gods and I knew I had to connect with Matthew.

And am I ever glad I did! We tried to meet up a few weeks ago when he as in Canada, but the timing wasn’t right. But over the course of our correspondence I’ve gotten to know Matthew quite well. He is engaging, likeable, really, really smart and totally committed to making great perfumes. And since I smelled Thirty-three I’d say that he is on the path to a successful career in perfumery.

The name Thirty-three refers to number of years that the oud, which forms the backbone of the fragrance, was aged before being used in Thirty three. In fact, Thirty-three is the very first perfume on the market to use a vintage oud.

A fan of oud fragrances, Mathew has been collecting, experimenting and studying oud fragrances for years. He says that: The concept for Thirty-three was not one thing in particular but rather my whole experience with oud over the years.

Some people feel that oud is overrated, that its day has passed, that the world doesn’t need another oud fragrance. Well, they’re just wrong. There is always a place for top-notch, five-star fragrances like Thirty-three.

It opens with soft, spicy black pepper balanced with candied mandarin and a fetid note from caoutchouc, which is natural rubber. If the top notes sound strong, well, they don’t smell that way. They are handled in such a way that they create a gorgeous velvet opening that leads to a heart of Chinese rose and Taif rose, full, lush and cooled by orris. Then, there’s a slight metallic note, very subtle from Damascus steel, which Matthew says is a “reference the blades that are used by those who carve the fragrant oud out of the fallen Aquilaria timber”. It’s at the base that the vintage oud and patchouli show up and when they do you’ll understand what all the excitement is about. The oud and rose are perfectly paired bringing out and highlighting the best in each other so that it isn’t too oud-y or too rosy and creating the best new, if not the best oud fragrance I’ve smelled in years.

The drydown is soft, dark, dry, cool and deliriously gorgeous. It smells great on a woman or a man and would probably smell great on house pets too, but I wouldn’t want to waste a drop of this precious juice - I want it all for myself.

I could go on about it, but really Persolaise said it best:"The agar wood is inky and animalic, the florals are torrid and nocturnal, the woods glisten with haughty elegance and the musks complement the wearer's skin rather than dominating it."

The perfumes gods are speaking to you – pay attention!

Today, we’re adding Thirty-three to our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00.