Vilhelm Smoke Show & The Oud Affair Perfume Reviews

Today I’ll review two of the oud-y perfumes from niche brand Vilhelm.

Vilhelm Smoke Show


Notes listed include pink pepper, saffron, rose, leather, vetiver, cedar and oud. Launched in 2015. PERFUMER – Jerome Epinette

Firstly, let me display my dorkiness by stating that I can’t even read the name “Smoke Show” without it being Marilyn Manson’s voice in “The Dope Show”¹. So, you should do that too because it’s more fun that way.

The opening of Smoke Show is fruity. It reminds me of red berries, pink pepper and threads of saffron. Because of that saffron, it sort of wears like fruity leather. It then wears a sharp, synth oud with a little bit of rose. Then it lives up to its name. It’s a smoky leather/woods. You know, one of those niche things that says “Hey, I’m niche. I smell like smoke. That’s unexpected, right?”. But, then it’s like all niche things are like this.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONFruity, smoky leather. It’s nice enough. I do like that it’s leathery but still fruity and floral. It’s not overly masculine nor is it overly feminine.

Vilhelm The Oud Affair


Notes listed include honey, ginger, tobacco leaf, oud and vanilla. Launched in 2015. PERFUMER – Jerome Epinette

If you think this is an odd name, it sort of is. This is a perfume inspired by an affair between Ava Gardner and bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín (whom she met through her friend Ernest Hemingway). So, what we have is an oud perfume inspired by a tumultuous relationship. And maybe that’s most of our relationships with oud? I don’t know.

The fragrance opens with a honeyed pipe tobacco and a hint of dry, spicy black pepper. Then it’s like a really sweet, honeyed vanilla pipe tobacco. It wears like this for most of the wear until it dries down to sweet tobacco and woods. It reminds me of a sweet vanilla tobacco inside of a wooden cigar box.

This is one of those to try if you like perfumes like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille or any of those other sweet tobacco scents (i.e. Phaedon Tobac Rouge, Maison Martin Margiela REPLICA Jazz Club, Mugler A*Men Pure Havane). It’s projection and longevity are great.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONVanilla pipe tobacco. Another one that’s nice enough. But, where’s the oud? Did it leave me for someone more attractive?

Ava Gardner

I like both of these perfumes and I don’t regret buying samples of them. However, they aren’t really exceptional. The perfume world has many perfumes in this price point (and above and below) that cover these bases. There’s not really anything convincing me to buy these despite thinking they’re perfectly good examples of perfumes from the “Modern Oud” genre. But, I like them so don’t let me sound like a jerk. I’m just jaded from smelling all the things. Also, I accidentally layered these one day and they layer wonderfully together. It was like The Oud Affair and Smoke Show were meant for that.

The 3.4 oz bottles retail for $245 at Arielle Shoshana. Travel sizes are also available for purchase.

¹Video for those that are feeling nostalgic.

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*Sample purchased by me. Product pic from the brands. Ava and Miguel from

2 thoughts on “Vilhelm Smoke Show & The Oud Affair Perfume Reviews

  1. I tried a bunch of the Vilhelm perfumes and was mostly underwhelmed considering the price point. I get much more excited when I discover something amazing that is actually affordable.

    1. Same.

      I haven’t tried the entire line but *most* of it. For the most part, it’s a pass for me. I do like the jasmine one but the price is too much for me considering “cost per wear” for me. I’m not dissing the line. It’s just there hasn’t been anything making me part with my money that I’ve tried.

      I went out perfume browsing this week. It’s shocking how $200+ is the new “normal”. And in niche/luxury stores, that’s “cheap”. I’m still of the opinion that one doesn’t have to spend that much to smell good.

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