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!


38 thoughts on “Lying in a Bed of Sin and Roses – Christian Dior Oud Ispahan Perfume Review

  1. I LOVE it! So good. Far better that I thought it would be.
    Don’t worry CPB, oud will go the way of HUGE 80’s florals, 90’s water, naughties fruit-chouli, there’ll be something new very soon, the oud rampage has only a couple of years left, yes/no?
    Portia xx

  2. Great, now I have to go back and try this one again…. 🙂 Rose and oud is definitely being done in a huge way now (just tried the new Jo Malone Velvet Rose and Oud and Armasis Calligraphy to name just two) but, I am not hooked. Maybe I need to give them more time. I am determined to find a great rose scent (oud or not) so, I will add this to my list since you made it sound a lot nicer than my first impression.

  3. Thanks for sharing this review mr.CPB! Too bad that I have no chance to try it. Dior has no boutiques in Poland. Thanks to some good friends I had a chance to sample the Leather Oud you mentioned (A no for me) and Eau Noire (A double no for me)
    I think Oud Ispahan might be much better than these two I tried, but still I have no option to sample… Gotta live wouthout it.

  4. So glad you reviewed this one, your interpretation of it is exactly my sentiments. It is so close to developing into full blown skank but just manages to stay within tolerable levels. My son loves it and insisted I gave him a decant to take away on holiday with him.;-)

  5. I loved this till the skank kicked in but then my tolerance level for skank on a scale of 1 to 10 is about -5. The rose is absolutely beautiful though and it is incredibly striking and well done.

    BTW who buys those 450ml bottles? I’d struggle to even pick one up.

  6. As a rule I do not like rose+agarwood combination so I do not expect to like this one. But, of course, I’ll test it when I get a chance because I like this collection.
    And I agree with Tara – great title and pictures.

  7. I so loved this one – it’s a pity my 1 oz decant got lost on the postal way to me (a post(wo)man somewhere between York and Vienna smells really really well these days…). A huge sigh…

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  12. Before being introduced to this scent my loyalties lay with pure Oud oils that you can pick up from places like Arabian Oud in the UK. Having been recommended this by a friend I absolutely agree that this is a super addictive scent. I prefer the heart and base notes. It seems to stay on the skin for days on end

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