Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
While many recent launches have featured oud in one form or another, I find that like many other complex natural raw materials, the more I explore oud the more it inspires me. After all, with so many beautiful facets encompassing different woods, honey, tobacco, incense, spice, caramel, animal fur, and tanned leather, oud offers a rich palette of ideas. Another reason why I am still not bored by the oud trend is that most of the fragrances promising oud do not smell even remotely like the raw material, with which I am very familiar. Not so with the latest from Dior. Leather Oud from Christian Dior La Collection is interesting in that it sets a very beautiful, rich oud note against a velvety leather accord.
Wrapped in a fresh-herbal layer, the composition is an interesting example of East meets West blends that we have seen lately in niche lines, from by Kilian to L’Artisan. Yet, Leather Oud does not attempt to recreate incense smoke filled harems, or on the other side of the spectrum, to attenuate oud to the point of erasing all of its distinctive facets. Instead, it takes the framework of Dior’s own classical Dune–sandalwood and amber oriental–and creates a modern masculine fragrance with a dark animalic twist.
I described Mitzah, another fragrance from La Collection, as transparent, in that I can see all of the layers of the composition at once. Leather Oud is not different; all of its facets are clearly revealed from the outset: the peppery burst of cardamom, the smoky, incense wrapped woods, the dry crispness of amber and the dark richness of oud. The accents change as the fragrance develops, but the leitmotif remains in place. The bright citrus note lightens the composition considerably, while the aromatic-herbal notes lend it crispness. The classical leather note reminiscent of Miss Dior and Diorling bridges the animalic facets of oud and civet and gives a very elegant finish to the composition.
Among La Collection fragrances, Leather Oud is easily the most memorable and interesting, and while I personally do not see myself wearing it–it is in the category of masculine woods that I find too dry for my tastes, I would love to smell it on the men around me. Of course, those women who love the boldness of fragrances like Yves Saint Laurent M7 will wear Leather Oud with panache.
Leather Oud (fragrance family: dry woods) is a part of Christian Dior La Collection. It includes notes of cardamom, clove, birch, leather, oud, labdanum, cedarwood, vetiver, and civet. Available from the Dior boutiques. For dry woods and leather combinations, here are some other fragrances I find to be worth exploring: Profumo di Firenze Tabacco, Prada Amber pour Homme Intense, Kiton Black, Bond No.9 Brooklyn, Yves Saint Laurent M7 (much darker, more oriental, but with a great smoky woods-leather facet,) by Kilian Pure Oud (another great realistic oud note fragrance; darker, heavier, richer than Leather Oud.)
Sample: my own acquisition