Blog post by Gwen

Thirty Three – rich and lush and deliriously gorgeous

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."

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."

Two glowing reviews from highly regarded bloggers moved Thirty Three to the front burner, and the hunt was on. All my research led nowhere, until I read that the creator, Matthew Zhuk, is a Canadian living in London. I knew I had to connect with Matthew.

Am I ever glad I did. Over the course of our correspondence, I’ve gotten to know Matthew quite well. He is engaging, likeable, really, smart and fully committed to making great perfumes. And since I had my first sniff of 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 the fragrance. In fact, Thirty Three is the very first perfume on the market to use a vintage oud.

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 rich, dry, woody and deliriously gorgeous.

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!

Check out Thirty Three in our Shop.