Monday 27 February 2023

GLADIATOR OUD by Electimuss London

A bottle of Gladiator Oud perfume from Electimuss created by Julien Rasquinet
When companies give perfumers the brief for a new release, there’s always the possibility that it will go in an unexpected direction. We all interpret things differently, whether that’s music or words, and the joy is often discovering how those descriptions have been translated into scent. Some perfumers will accentuate animalic notes, others revel in the piercing aromatics, but a creation will ultimately be born. When Electimuss London began work on their new release, they wanted to realise a fragrance that celebrated the Roman Gladiator in all his glory. Gladiator Oud is the result, and it’s the perfect example of excess within control.

Electimuss was founded in 2015 by Luke Granger and Jason Collison, with Claire Sokell Thompson joining in 2020. It was under her creative direction that the brand was elevated from an already well received niche level to the luxury category it now occupies. The name translates as “to choose the best”, and that easily applies to its five Roman-inspired collections. Eternal, Nero, Consort, Lustrous and Emperor each focus on a different aspect of perfumery, from indulgent ingredients through to signature scents, and the variety of fragrances is staggering. However, we’re heading to the Emperor category for Gladiator Oud.

Claire told me, “I had this idea of a bottle of our perfume siting inside the Roman Colosseum, and I thought, wouldn’t that make a great brief for a perfumer.” Well, this may have been playful at the beginning, but the final fragrance was decidedly more nuanced. The expansive Colosseum remained, the sun scorched sand over the wooden floor is tangible, and a noble leather-clad realisation of the famous gladiators are waiting to start their combats. However, rather than this becoming an overbearing “archive” fragrance that sits forgotten in a cupboard, Gladiator Oud is a sensuous hit that simply begs to be worn.

The box for the Gladiator Oud perfume from Electimuss created by Julien Rasquinet
Electimuss turned to Julien Rasquinet to create the fragrance, who was also behind Vici Leather. His task was to reinvigorate the oud ingredient, which in recent years has been overdosed to breaking point, and make a distinctly wearable fragrance that was rich rather than raw. He achieved this by championing an oud that’s responsibly sourced by LMR Naturals in Grasse, as well as their patchouli, geranium and hay absolute. Using these ingredients in both the flesh and skeleton of the fragrance has resulted in a living scent that feels like a vivid snapshot in time. So, are you ready to experience oud as it should be experienced?

The fragrance opens with the resinous oud but, this is the clever part, the immediate honey accord seems to temper its animalic aspect while still conjuring the bronzed, semi leather-clad gladiator. The cumin then adds a sensual skin quality to the scent before a sun-scorched salty sand aroma, partly driven by the vetiver and saffron, also adds a dry warmth to keep the oud in check. The fragrance broadens as it develops, thanks to the rose and geranium pairing with a touch of sword-edged clove, before the tobacco-like hay note reintroduces you to the skin-warming heat. With a rich patchouli and cedarwood combining to realise the wooden floor under the Colosseum sand, which led to the more Machiavellian areas, Gladiator Oud triumphantly demonstrates that “excess within control” is still possible in perfume.

Gladiator Oud is available from the Electimuss website at priced at £395 for 100ml, and also from Jovoy in London. [Sample provided by Electimuss]

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