This woody, mysterious fragrance is my latest beauty obsession. I wear it constantly. It combines a heady, almost exotic rose (not sweet or English-garden-y in the slightest) with really quite powerful sandalwood and a top note of Labdanum Absolute, which comes from the rubber of the Mediterranean Cistus Shrub. It’s not rubbery in the slightest, just in case that worries you – more a heady, sweet amber. I want to say powdery, but it’s not, because there’s enough wood in this fragrance to build a bonfire!
I’m going to try and give you a sense of why I like Dior’s Oud Ispahan quite so much. Because I’ve been giving it a lot of thought – I quite like to retrace my steps when it comes to perfume, and figure out exactly why I am drawn to certain scents. It’s not very scientific, and the “noses” amongst you might turn them up at my methodology, but here goes. Top Note: Labdanum Absolute. Powdery, ambery. Probably the note that I least like, because I’m not really drawn to powdery scents – they can be a bit old lady! However, the top note is offset absolutely by the Rosa Damascena Essence Accord at the heart of the fragrance and the whole-forest-of-wood that is the Oud and the Sandalwood. It’s telling that two of my favourite perfumes are Tom Ford’s Santal Blush, which is ridiculously sandalwoody, and Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose & Oud which is a dark, exotic twist on a classic rose. Dior’s Oud Ispahan (part of the Collection Privée) is an intense blend of the two; mysterious, heady, woody, exotic. It’s pretty powerful, but it has turned a LOT of heads. More than any other perfume I’ve worn, I think. The sandalwood seems to sing out to people and then the rose gets them when they draw nearer…
That sounds as though I’m a walking people-magnet and that people can’t stop sniffing me. Not true, fortunately, if it were I’d have to carry a cattle prod about with me. But I have had many comments and all complimentary, so this is a winner. It’s very firmly unisex, though many would say masculine, I think, and it costs from £135. You won’t find every man and his horse wearing this, because it’s not at all widely available – in London it’s Harrods or Selfridges or you can find your nearest Dior boutique using their store locator here.
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