We Tried Zara’s New Oud Perfume Collection — & It Smells Expensive

Photographed by Kristine Romano.
It's fair to say that the hype for Zara's perfume collection is just as buzzy as that around Byredo, Diptyque and Maison Francis Kurkdjian (the brand behind internet-famous Baccarat Rouge). Head to TikTok and you'll spot influencers confessing their love for a handful of fragrances in the affordable range, from Applejuice (said to be a dupe for Chance by Chanel) to the Cities collection (dreamed up by perfume legend Jo Malone).
You might already have a favourite but Zara has just unveiled yet another perfume collection set to take social media by storm. This time, it's oud.

What is oud in perfume?


Often referred to as 'liquid gold', oud is one of the most expensive and sought-after ingredients in the fragrance industry. Derived from the resin in the agarwood tree (usually found in India and southeast Asia), oud is an oil with a rich history.
Mona Kattan, founder of fragrance brand Kayali, mentions that there are references in Chinese history of oud being extracted for incense in the third century. She says it is especially popular in Middle Eastern countries such as Dubai, where you might spot dedicated oud fragrance shops. Brands like Tom Ford, Elie Saab and Christian Dior among others have all unveiled perfumes infused with oud.

What is Zara's oud perfume collection like?


Zara's new four-strong collection takes inspiration from this opulent ingredient. You'll find Bohemian Oud (black pepper, leather and oud), Hipster Oud (orange blossom, red roses and oud), Endless Oud (bergamot, floral notes and oud) and lastly Perpetual Oud (pear, musk and oud). Everything sounds delectable and at £19.99 for 80ml, the price tag is much lower than most luxury oud fragrances.
So how do Zara's oud perfumes compare to the affordable fragrances that everyone already knows and loves? And is oud something you can wear every day or is it more of an occasion scent?
Ahead, R29 staffers put all four perfumes to the test. Here are their unfiltered thoughts.
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