Petroleum is pretty bizarre indeed being entirely built and conceived on juxtapositions. Resinous and intense but at the same time sort of fresh and "ozonic", deep and obscure but surrounded by aldehydic notes, dark and animalic yet "clear" and somehow light. All the elements are handled in an almost "unseen" way. The oud/rose combo is nowhere similimar or somehow close to any of the previous interpretations of the accord, It's amphasized in its woody freshness avoiding the burnt-sugar and medicinal effect. Rose is detectable but masterfully blended with the rest. Deepness is provided by a consistent dose of resinous notes while civet juxtaposed to aldehydes and ozonic hints gives birth to a destabilizing and pleasantly dissonant accord during the musky/ambery drydown. The base. This is the real point of strength of Petroleum.
Petroleum is not just wearable, is extremely wearable and a true standout. The fragrance has a nice projection but it never become overwhelming or claustrophobic. It has a remarkable presence but, fortunately, is not overpowering as I expected.
Lately I've noticed a mineral quality to it that adds even more complexity. Surely a winner for me and among the best releases of the year but I believe this is going to be a polarizing fragrance because of its ozonic undertones which, together with aldehydes, create a bizarre juxtaposition with the rest. Paradoxically there's no challenging power coming from the supposed petrol note (which is definitely more mineral/natural smelling than the gasoline-like accord of, let's say, Fahrenheit, Nostalgia or even Knize Ten). The ozonic aspect, instead, adds a slightly weird and destabilizing nuance that may result off-putting to someone. IMO it perfectly blends with the rest adding a compelling, sort of off-centre, aspect.
Overall Petroleum has a very distinctive character and, just like many of the HDP compositions, it perfectly achieves an incredible balance between traditional perfumery and modernity. Full bodied but somehow weightless.