Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A barnyard rose; Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior
Photo from
Manouchehri Hotel, Kashan/Iran

The first time I heard about how Oud Ispahan smells, was upon my friend's statement who called it a cloying replica of Mide-Eastern compositions without having seen a Mid-Eastern society. Well I took this without testing cause nowadays this trick is widespread. So many western houses getting involved in eastern styles, naming after a city, a cultural ritual, etc. and this really dishearten me. But My first own impression was in fact in contrary to what I have heard, and you know how objective the first tries are!

Oud Ispahan is a 2012 delivery by Dior's in-house perfumer; François Damachy; under Christian Dior La Collection Privée series which has started since 2010 after Chanel's Les Exclusifs line. The collection until today (at this time Fève Délicieuse is the latest release of the collection) has 17 perfumes, five of which  are discontinued cause this collection should always be twelve perfumes. So be aware, if you adore one from this collection, purchase backups cause by each new release one goes retired!

The house describes the concept behind the fragrance:
"The young Christian Dior was amazed to discover, far from his country, the profusion of shimmering colours and intoxicating scents of the orient. It was an extremely sensorial world, which he remembered, once he had become a couturier-perfumer and enjoyed using richly embroidered fabrics and composing exceptional perfumes..."
Also attached to the house's introduction, the perfumer tells about the perfume:
"The enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of labdanum absolute, tempered by Damascus rose. This fragrance captures the orient. The enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of labdanum absolute, tempered by Damascus rose. This fragrance captures the orient."
Oud Ispahan is named after infamous rose of Ispahan; a local Iranian type of Damak roses usually found in the Persian gardens since 16th century. There's thorough detailed descriptions about Persian gardens and roses of Isfahan during Safavid empire (1501-1736) by Sir John Chardin. Also Donald Newton's research book "Persian Gardens and Pavilions" has very notable details about Persian gardens and their plants.

The opening of Oud Isfahan is the same to many other's of the category: juicy delectable rose, with marginal portion of spicy dimension, and promising hints of semi-barnyard animalic nuances of labdanum and patchouli. The opening is not totally occupied by rose. I'm not sure if I'm getting lemon patch right or it's just an illusion, seems the floral beginning is attributed to juicy fresh lemon.

One thing about rose/oud compositions socks and it's their nigh resemblance to rosewater and rose essences utilized in Islamic rituals; which has a plain and sweet metallic smell and I call it nothing but frustrating and disturbing. And if you say "well, what the hell of this socks" I then invite you to a funeral somewhere in a Middle Eastern country and you'll see why it socks! I don't have any problem with rosewater as a juice, even I like in dessert or confectionery but once it echoes in perfumes it turns to disaster! For the very aspect, some like it, as you can see the passion in other bloggers' reviews and perfume addicts' new purchase posts in Facebook, around rose/oud fragrances.

The rose itself is dry and vibrant but it is zested by something fresh like lemon or so. Right few minutes later Laotian oudwood appears and gives woodsy animalic boosts. The animalic vibe intensifies by sweetness of patchouli and labdanum and it's that big that you might think of use of castoreum or some dark musky accord in the core. From now on, the perfume goes out of zest and get's shades of barnyard.

As it grows, the barnyard animalic nuances develop and the composition goes brutal, yet the sweetness is the fix aspect of the perfume from A to Z.
The oud part of Oud Ispahan is medicinal and mellow, not so punch-in-your-face, nor so weak. It's somewhere in the middle to render rose effects and it is floralized by fresh touch of Iso E Super that says hello later in the base. The bottom of the performance is more to woody and rose, in a simple and plain format, and this is what I do not like about rose/oud slew. They are as plain as Mark Ruthko's canvases to deliver the quickest impression and I don't like such perfumes. This is what a huge part of oud/rose compositions suffer from and it's unseen part of Middle Eastern compositions' character: the introvert part. One neglected factor that collaborates oud in the very dry down, when rose is vaporized, is olibanum. As far as I know, no one indicated to the note, yet I apparently capture hints of smoky spiritual tones of frankincense in the deep dry down beside Iso E Super and oud.

Isfahan and its famous azure domes, Shah Mosque, Isfahan/Iran

For me Oud Ispahan is the same to typical and constant launches of oud/rose-oriented fragrances that you see everywhere from deepest designers to exclusive niches; and I really don't suss out how western markets don't get bored of this all. To be honest, Oud Ispahan is a great composition technically, but comparing to its siblings, it's smell of bourgeois people in a very crowded religious ceremony in which everyone attain. I'm a Middle Eastern guy, and for my nose oud and rose smell so, no matter if it's olfactory parallel to wealth in western point of view. I clearly understand that rose is a cornerstone of perfumery and a key note for many structures, but this comes from originality and believes and I can't do any further.
Corresponding to its massive projection, Oud Ispahan, presents for very long period of time and you get better feedback on skin than on shirt. It is presented in 125ml, 250ml, and 450ml flacons.
My review finished but I still don't understand why the perfume is named after Ispahan and it includes Damask rose?!

Carpe Odor!

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