The symbolist artistry of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, with its ornamental detail, the concept of a precious jewel and a melding of Middle Eastern culture with mediterranean associations have all been carefully poured into the creation of Diptique's new fragrance...

And the pair behind the creation of Oud Palao – legendary perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin and Diptyque's own Myriam Badault – are in town for 48 hours to celebrate the launch of this new fragrance. Buro 24/7 Middle East were fortunate enough to sit down with them for an exclusive insight into the two year journey that led to the bottle of fragrance that sits before us, and discover how this gem of a raw material, got a dose of the Diptique treatment. 

"WE CAN'T IGNORE THAT THERE ARE SOME RAW MATERIALS THAT ARE CLEARLY LINKED TO A CERTAIN PART OF THE WORLD." – mariam badault

"It is a project that started many years ago, we have wanted to create something for Dubai and this part of the world for a long time," begin's Badault, but is quick to add that "we don't usually work this way, by geographically creating scents for certain parts of the world. But we can't ignore that there are some raw materials that are clearly linked to a certain part of the world." When asked if Dubai as a destination played a part in the inspiration for the fragrance she replies "of course!"

Diptyque interview

"This combination of rose and oud is not new. But what is new in this signature, and unprecedented, is our addition of incense and iris." – Fabrice Pellegrin

She goes on to explain: "Fabrice took the initiative two years, exploring the companion scents to oud. And our development grew from there. We decided to associate different kinds of raw materials, as combinations with oud, including incense, patchouli and iris. And after that workshop we had this idea of having a fragrance called Oud Pallou, which launched the project initially."

We learn that these pairings are unusual for oud. Diptique's new fragrance uses rose and vanilla as a base, which Pellegrin tells me is actually quite a happy and common pairing. "This combination of rose and oud is not new. But what is new in this signature, and unprecedented, is our addition of incense and iris." He shares with evident enthusiasm. We discussed how many maisons have created oud fragrance offerings recently, and the challenge for Diptique was to create something unique and chic, that is right for their maison and that "felt seductive." 

Diptyque interview

When sampling the new scent it is clear that a Mediterranean "occidental" influence has been gently fused with the powerful and distinctive Middle Eastern oud scent, to bring a floral juxtaposition to the familiar and traditional oud identity. This melding of occidental, western influences, and Middle Eastern signatures, was a key element to finding the balance to this composition. 

"In the Middle East, fragrance is such a huge part of the culture, it's how we differentiate ourselves from others and show off..." – Fabrice Pellegrin

Diptyque interview

When asked why he thinks fragrance is so important in Dubai and the Middle East, Pellegrin offers his personal perspective: "In the Middle East, fragrance is such a huge part of the culture, it's how we differentiate ourselves from others and show off, in the most positive sense of the word." He goes on to say that, "for me there are two ways to do that, the first is perfume and the second is jewellery. In the Middle Eastern culture, perfume is a very powerful element, it adds to your personality." 

A stunning association between perfume and jewellery, and so fitting for our part of the world. He continues: "I don't have a certain jewellery in my head. But we worked on Oud Palao as if we were working on a piece of jewellery. It is as if the Oud Palao is a precarious gem, a diamond, so we worked on making it even more brilliant and shiny. Our approach to how we handled oud. Is very similar to how a jeweller would handle a diamond." 

Naturally, the rarity and high value of oud as a raw material came up, although to a perfumer "all of our raw materials are very precious and valuable." Oud is certainly at the top. The best quality oud if refined from the sap of the wood that is between 80 – 120 years-old and during the refining process the yield is small, making is so valuable, like the precious gems that we were discussing earlier. 

During the course of our conversation it became clear that Fabrice Pellegrin and Myriam Badault are a formidable pair, both taking great pride and pleasure in creating the perfect scent and balancing each other out. Pellegrin with his perfumer lineage, his father was a perfumer in Grasse, south of France where he grew up, and Badault with her analytical, 'big picture' thinking. Fabrice himself describes the relationship as a "love story between myself and Diptyque" that dates back many years. A match made in heaven, one could say, that has created this heavenly scent...

Diptyque interview

Diptyque interview

Oud Palao will enjoy an exclusive preview in Dubai from September 15, before being released worldwide on September 30.