In The Harem – Review: Dior Collection Privée Oud Ispahan

Woop Woop Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia here today from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

Funny how sometimes you are so enraptured by a scent that you’ve bought in a sample, decant or split that you immediately, or as soon as opportunity presents itself, you go grab yourself a bottle. This is one such fragrance. While I was cleaning up the house in preparation for the move I found my original 10ml decant bought from an AndreaW split on FFF (Facebook Fragrance Friends) back in 2012 when it was first released. There is about 4ml left in it because I went away in January 2013 to Paris and grabbed a bottle (still unopened) at the Galleries Lafayette from the loveliest DIOR rep who remembered me this year when Michael and I were there.

Oud Ispahan was created by Francois Demachy for DIOR: Collection Privée

Oud Ispahan Dior FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Labdanum
Heart: Patchouli
Base: Sandalwood, rose, agarwood (oud)

This note list is so short and really only hints at what I get from wearing this lovely rose/oud production. Back when Christian Dior was alive you could still use the word Orient, which I love, but sadly today it has fallen into disfavour because of its ties to Imperialism and the downtreading of hundreds of thousands of individuals and stealing all their valuables, heritage, culture and religious icons to put into museums and sell to collectors. Interestingly the word is still useable and existing in the fragrance industry in Oriental, my favourite of all the genres and something to be worn lavishly and fearlessly.

Oud Ispahan Dior Chehel_Sotoon WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Oud Ispahan is lavish.

The opening for me wails like a hot dry wind in the desert, full of the promise of heat, rose petals and baklava, oils, animals and resins. It is a magical wonder of a fragrance giving such depth and tonality I really do feel like I’m wearing an oil based fragrance from the middle East but in the cleanest way.

To me the note list is exactly reverse to how I smell the fragrance. Oud and rose in the forefront, the patchouli riding alongside is almost transparent, all the bits I love have been sawn off and truncated but you can still tell it was patchouli, this is a Disney patchouli suitable for even the most exquisitely discerning western noses that don’t really want to smell like a souk, or as if they’ve been up a camels ass, but who do want to hint at far away places and mysterious travels. Oud Ispahan is perfect for exactly this.

Though labdanum has been present all along it has sometimes shouted, others murmered or been completely overlayed by the other notes, but now it gets to have its moment and the dry, amberish, honeyed animal oud plays quite nicely beside a soft caress of sandalwood, or a recreation of it.

Oud Ispahan Dior Kathak WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

From my description you would hardly guess at how much I love Oud Ispahan. When I spritz with abandon and inhale my scent cloud it is a transportive dream. Suddenly I am hiding in the harem of a desert king or the beautiful dancer wife of an Indian Maharajah: bathed, hairless and glorious attars massaged into my skin so I glow and shimmer in the half light. Suddenly I am beautiful, beyond beautiful, and so light I could fly away. They wrap me in a gown of silks and sequins, I am almost completely covered and ready to see my master/husband/king. Shivering with excitement and nerves.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s reviewCandy Perfume Boy and Katie Puckrik

Oud Ispahan can be found at some large department stores and all DIOR stand alone stores.
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

What in your collection sends you on journeys in your mind?
Portia xx


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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21 Responses to In The Harem – Review: Dior Collection Privée Oud Ispahan

  1. Mahesh says:

    Ha I will have to try this again. It’s nice but… I didn’t find this much different to the numerous rose and oud combinations.

    • Fair call Mahesh,
      It is a tried and true set but I think Oud Ispahan’s quality that helps it stand alone is its elegant reserve. Like all the Middle East and Asian brightness and thrilling motion and filled with all the roaring of a rampant lion yet still holding back, by choice.
      Maybe it works particularly well on my skin. Since I wrote this the decant has been completely emptied.
      Portia xx

  2. Tara says:

    Fabulous review Portia. You transported me with you.

    Hope the unpacking is going okay.

    • Hey there Tara,
      The unpacking is going quite well. I was very silly though and we are all off to the USA on Thursday, do you think we can find the clothes we need?
      All very exciting here, as usual.
      I would love to holiday with you, I think it would be seriously fun.
      Portia xx

  3. lucasai says:

    Oud Ispahan is indeed very opulent, rich and oriental fragrance which might be a bit surprising considering the small amount of notes of this perfume. But great perfumers don’t need much materials to create something stunning.
    This is one of my favorite scents in Dior Privee line.

  4. Sandra says:

    Love this review Portia! I steered clear because Oud was in the name but now I need to give it a try. Xo

  5. FeralJasmine says:

    Hi Portia! I like Oud-Rose combinations a lot and have several of them, but I wear this one the most, and I think it goes more places because of the elegance that you mention. It is rich, yes, but also has a quality of restraint compared to many Oud scents, and when I find myself in overly warm or crowded circumstances it doesn’t become too much. It’s a beauty, and will always hold pride of place in my oud-rose collection.
    I read a mention somewhere of an Oud-gardenia scent, and am trying to imagine what that would smell like. So far, I don’t get it. Have you come across anything like that?

    • Hey FeralJasmine,
      I bet you smell gorgeous in Oud Ispahan.
      Are you meaning Wings by Sarah Horowitz or Hindi Oud by Illuminum? I just looked up Fragrantica for Oud and Gardenia and there are a few others but these two look like they might be very nice.
      Portia xx

  6. sunmisun says:

    I have yet to try an oud and have no idea if it’s something I will like or dislike. Your review makes this fragrance sound so enchanting though, perhaps I’ll have to give it a whirl!

    • Hi there sunmisun,
      Like everything it’s in the testing. Oud is the fashion in fragrance currently and is used to create the depth that the industry can’t put in with oakmoss or many other base notes since IFRA regulations.
      Portia xx

  7. You made this sound gorgeous and it sounds right up my alley. I’m yet to try any of the Dior Private Line …. on the list. Have a great time in the US.

  8. You’re so right, Portia! Oud Ispahan is lavish! Even though Oud might not be everyone’s cup of cake, combined with a subtle floral scent it can be wonderful! I love Oud scented perfumes and this was one of my first picks! 🙂 xx

  9. Michael says:

    Your love for Oud Ispahan is infectious! I’m so on the edge of buying this…

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