ex idolo white back (1)

I came across another oud fragrance recently, and please, before you switch off, this one is interesting. It’s not from one of the big fragrance houses and has a touch of class to it. It’s from a brand called Ex Idolo and so I’m told is hand crafted in Mayfair. Matthew Zhukis the creative guy behind the concept and so far, I’m liking it.

Thirty-three is a fragrance crafted from quite unique (and rather old) ingredients. It’s an aged fragrance, a bit like wine in some respects – but naturally, you don’t drink it. The soul of the fragrance is built around a vintage oud – distilled in 1980 and aged until its release in 2013. It is also, so the website tells me, the only modern perfume to use a significant amount of wild-harvested Chinese oud oil and natural Chinese rose oil to build the scent profile.

It’s potent from the outset, and initially I thought, no, it’s too strong. But within a few minutes it settles into a softer more velvety fragrance and one I can wear day or night. Previous ouds I have tried are quite powerful and should be reserved for cocktail hour or a dinner date in the evening.

I asked Mathew – the founder a few questions about the fragrance.

What is your back ground?

I am a combination of self taught and some formal education, but mostly self taught. Fragrance has been an interest of mine for over a decade and Ex Idolo is my first time bringing a fragrance to “the world stage”

Why oud?

Thirty-three has been in development for about 5 years, before oud was a mainstream trend – it’s a bit of a coincidence that oud is getting so huge right now – when we launched in April oud was already a hot topic but nowhere near the frenzy thats going on now

How is the oud aged? 

The oud is aged in temperature controlled storage, away from light – in inert canisters much like wines in a cellar.

And where?

The oud is aged at my supplier, who is really one of the best in the world for high end all natural, pure oud oils as well as other exotic ingredients. The oud itself is older than I am so I’ve played no part in ageing it. I keep it under the same controlled conditions as soon as its in my hands.

How do you source it? 

Trade secret! But I’ve really had to work hard to get connections to be able to get my hands on the particular oud used in Thirty-three. For the other ingredients in Thirty-three I try to buy whatever I can from right here in the UK.

Is this just the beginning? What are you working on next?

For now, this is THE fragrance for Ex Idolo – I’m always working on stuff in the background but I’m not in a hurry to release a whole portfolio of scents in a year. I would expect something new from us in about 2 years.. maybe a bit less.


Soft black pepper, Candied mandarin, Caoutchouc


Chinese white tea, Chinese rose, Taif rose, Orris, Damascus steel


Natural vintage ouds, Aged patchouli, Heliotropin

In the UK, Ex Idolo is available at Roullier White in London both in store and online, and has just signed a deal with Luckyscent in the US, so any American readers will finally have an easy time getting their hands on it. It’s also available across Europe.

£90 for 30ml