Christian Dior Leather Oud : Fragrance Review

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Christian-Dior-Leather-Oud

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

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15 Comments

  • dee: Wonderful V., this sounds absolutely wonderful. I have yet to meet an oud I don’t like! January 20, 2011 at 1:16am Reply

  • Persolaise: Snap! We’ve both reviewed this on the same day. And I’m glad to see that we both rate it quite highly. I was impressed with it as soon as I tried it. January 20, 2011 at 2:39am Reply

  • Olfactoria: Like you, I think I wouldn´t wear this myself, but on a man, hmm, this sounds very enticing. You describe it so vividly, I can almost smell it, thank you! 🙂 January 20, 2011 at 4:04am Reply

  • Marina: For sure men around should smell like that. 🙂 I also agree that it is the most memorable in the collection. Am looking forward to your thoughts on New Look. January 20, 2011 at 9:49am Reply

  • Victoria: I have plenty of ouds I do not like, but this one is actually reminiscent of real oud with its distinctive facets intact. Have you tried by Kilian Pure Oud? That is a good one too, even though it does not have oud in it, but it is a masterful recreation. January 20, 2011 at 9:54am Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it is the best fragrance out of the collection, really nice structure and interesting composition. I love the transition of accords in this fragrance, which makes it very smooth and elegant, despite the strong animalic notes.
    I am off to read your post, thank you! January 20, 2011 at 9:58am Reply

  • Victoria: I know that Carrie Meredith of eyelineronacat wears it and loves it, so I am sure that there are women out there who can appreciate this kind of fragrance. It is certainly not as hairchested and virile as say, Drakkar Noir or conventionally masculine as Tom Ford for Men, but for my personal tastes, just too dry. January 20, 2011 at 9:59am Reply

  • Victoria: I like the idea behind New Look–tuberose and violet, but it feels too diluted. Maybe, if it were released in the parfum, I would have liked it better. January 20, 2011 at 10:01am Reply

  • violetnoir: Okay, after Mitzah and Vetiver and New Look 1947, I became discouraged and stopped spritzing my samples. By Kilian Pure Oud is wonderful, so I will have to at least sample this one, although it does sound like it may be a tad too masculine for my taste, too.

    Wearing Rose Oud today. Without your recommendation, V, I would not have tried it. It is gorgeous!

    Hugs! January 20, 2011 at 11:18am Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that you also like Rose Oud, which is among my own recent discoveries. I like rose notes in general, but in this fragrance, they are so bright and effervescent, with a hint of gourmand.
    I like Vetiver ok, but it is just such a traditional vetiver treatment that it leaves me craving something edgier. January 20, 2011 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Eric Brandon: I can’t wait to sniff these but I haven’t been in my local Dior in years. I would like to try this, especially if, as you say, most ouds don’t come close to the real thing. I don’t like most ouds so to try the “real deal….” I too have a hard time with super-masculines but if I don’t like it, there are, like, 20 more, right? ;3 January 21, 2011 at 1:04am Reply

  • Victoria: I think that the oud here is also a reconstitution (or else it has a small amount of natural oud,) but it does smell like the real thing, with all facets of oud intact.
    Yes, if you do not like it, you have even more than 20 options! I stopped counting oud fragrances on my Oud Reviews page. 🙂
    The real oud is so rare and expensive that I doubt it is even available in large enough quantities for a niche launch. January 21, 2011 at 8:20am Reply

  • brian: I’m excited by this one. The others have been reviewed by people whose judgment I trust and were found…lacking? Maybe that isn’t the word. But this one still intrigues me, and I’m not even much of an oud fan. I own Ambre Nuit and Eau Noire and have really grown fond of not just the scents but the packaging and the bottles, the way they feel in the hand, the way the caps unscrew, the atomizer’s specific personality (they all have personalities to me! Some speak/spray very eloquently; others, like Etat Libre d’Orange, spit it all out at once), and the Dior colognes hold a weird, compelling attraction for me. I hope this one doesn’t disappoint. January 23, 2011 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am ambivalent about the newest additions to the collection, apart from Leather Oud and Mitzah, because I feel that they are not that original. Or in some cases, the concentration seems to be too low. They just do not leave a strong memory. Yet, I like the quality of materials in some of the fragrances (Vetiver) and the link to Dior heritage as a whole. The latter is what I find missing, for instance, in Cartier Les Heures du Parfum. They seem to be out of place in Cartier line up, while Dior colognes, traditional though they are, make sense to me within the range.
    Leather Oud is the one I find most interesting, due to its creative twist on oud within classical Dior oriental theme. January 23, 2011 at 4:39pm Reply

  • moeed: Is there any one in the world who can gift me this leather oud perfume 🙁 March 31, 2014 at 2:10am Reply

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