After last week’s incense discussion veered off into oud territory, I remembered I had samples of the new Dior scents, and went straight for Leather Oud. I’ve always been partial to leather (Chanel Cuir de Russie, Fifi Chachnil, Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman, to name a few), but I wrote that oud tends to overwhelm me. I also mentioned reading that “oud is the new vanilla”; it has definitely become the ingredient “du jour” in perfumery.
I’ve also been borderline obsessed with the house of Dior this week; the tasteless revelations of their creative director, John Galliano, were very upsetting to me. As the child of a Holocaust survivor, it pains me greatly to hear people make ignorant statements like the ones Galliano made, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. His actions started me wondering why such creative individuals are often times so “off kilter”. Granted, I make my living as a writer, but my brain doesn’t tend to misfire in the same way as other creative types. I understand that the pressure one must deal with in the fashion world is incredibly intense, but to blithely make those comments in a Paris café, well, there is no excuse. In my opinion, Mr. Galliano got what he deserved, and the venerable house of Dior is better off without him. Still, I will go on contemplating the the inner workings of the creative brain, and what differentiates it from other brains. It is one of the enduring mysteries of life.
Anyway, back to fragrance.
I had a brief interlude with a decant of Eau Noire several years ago. I’ve always loved lavender scents, and Eau Noire is a lavender that is anything but typical. It was hard to find here in North America, and much as I wanted to acquire a full bottle of it, I never did. Now, it’s been reintroduced as part of “La Collection”, along with eight other scents. Based on looks alone, I love the simple, elegant bottles, and that they are a huge 250 ml size. When you want to make an impression, I say, make it. And these scents definitely make an impression.
When a fragrance is well done, you just know it. It doesn’t matter if you buy it at a department store, a specialty shop, or even if it has a celebrity’s name on it. It can be niche or mainstream, or concocted in someone’s basement; I don’t care. When a scent has the name “Christian Dior” on it, your expectations will tend to be high, as mine were when I first smelled these scents. Coincidentally, I happened to be looking for an oud that wasn’t going to knock me over; I think oud is turning out to be another one of those ingredients that, for me, needs to be tempered with something else. If not, chances are I’ll run screaming from it and never go near it again. So, here we have oud and leather, along with clove, cardamom, leather, Gaiac wood, cedar and sandalwood. It isn’t feminine by any means, but a woman who loves a good leather scent isn’t going to care. Woods can be made frilly, as we know, but in their unadulterated state, mixed with spices and leather, they’re stunning. And that’s the way I like them.
Disclosure: My sample of Leather Oud was obtained from a private party.