Lying in a Bed of Sin and Roses – Christian Dior Oud Ispahan Perfume Review

Oud Ispahan
The Romantic Oud

I think the only thing more frustrating than the constant slew of oud-based fragrances is the fact that each time one is released I have to mention that we’re all a bit fed up with this oud avalanche that we’ve all been facing over the last few years. So, for this review I refuse to mention the frustration (I am aware that I haven’t succeeded in doing so) and instead say that at least Christian Dior appear to have got this whole oud malarky spot on.

In 2010 Dior, following on from the trend started by Chanel with their Les Exclusifs line, created La Collection Privée, a series of exclusive boutique scents. Part of this private collection was Leather Oud, a fantastically pornographic take on oud. Following Leather Oud’s success Dior, who know a good thing when they see it, have decide to launch a second, Oud Ispahan.

Oud Ispahan, which is named after the Iranian city, follows a more traditional route by pairing oud with its beloved partner rose. If the oud trend is considered boring, then the fact that most of its offerings are blends of oud and rose is even more boring, but fear not, Dior has done a good job with Oud Ispahan. Taking its inspiration from Christian Dior’s “fascination with a fantastical orient” along with the “intoxicating scents” and colours of such a place, Oud Ispahan is a very beautiful perfume indeed.

Liying in a bed of sin and roses, as you do…

The Notes

Top: Labdanum
Heart: Indonesian Patchouli
Base: Laotian Oud Essence, Turkish Rose and Sandalwood

How Does it Smell?

The rose which Oud Ispahan opens with is big, bold and bright. It smells deliciously jammy and fruity with hints of turkish delight that waft right up one’s nose causing an internal struggle between hunger and pleasure. There is an underlying hum of something slightly menthol and the rose very much seems to switch back and forth from oriental gigantism and sweet delicateness.

Right from the beginning It’s hard not to notice and mention the oud that Oud Ispahan’s beautiful rose is wrapped around. It’s big, stanky and glorious, in fact it’s the very same style of oud used in Leather Oud. This means that it is on the one hand dry, spicy and arid, and on the other is richly honeyed, bitter and animalic. I’d call it “very good stuff indeed”.

Everything is balanced wonderfully, with the oud, along with patchouli, finally taking over as things progress into the base. The skank levels definitely increase with time but they are stopped from entering unpleasant territory by a soft touch of creamy, warm sandalwood. This ‘creamy skank with a touch of rose’ effect that is left just lasts, and lasts, and lasts forever and if one isn’t careful they could easily become addicted to it.

If Leather Oud is “pornographic” then Oud Ispahan is romantic. It speaks of the romance and wooing that precedes the night of passion. I’d even say that it conveys that morning after feeling without actually going into too much detail of what really happened during the night, after all that job is best left to Leather Oud and its XXX rating.

Oud Ispahan is yet another solid offering for Dior’s La Collection Privée and I have found myself wearing it a lot, especially on those warmer days. Unlike many rose/oud combinations it manages to bring something new to the party and other than it’s leather stable mate you will be hard pressed to find something that smells like it.

Now I just need to decide whether it is good enough to be included in The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Oud. Right now the jury is out and only time will tell!


Oud Ispahan is available in 450ml, 250ml and 125ml Eau de Parfum. Prices start at £125


Notes via Basenotes. Image 1 Image 2 Quotes via Thanks to Andrea for organising my decant!