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With the dry, tangy undertone of Atlas cedarwood as the eye of its storm, Leather Oud whips up a scorching shockwave of cloves, honey and parched leather to create a trail of heat so palpable, it almost literally leaves you gasping for air the first time you smell it. Needless to say, it contains an oud note as well, but not in the manner of the accords present in the output of, say, Montale. Here, it's very much tied into the overall structure of François Demachy's composition, mingling its indescribable, woody-earthy stink with the contributions of all the other materials to create an effect that is both raw and highly polished. Experience it from a distance, and you'll be impressed by its impeccable grooming. But get up close and you'll learn that what it's really got on its mind is an urgent tryst at a Moroccan tannery. In terms of bravery and divisiveness, this is unquestionably La Collection Privee's equivalent of Sycomore: it pushes the limits of the mainstream and re-energises the house of Dior. My critical reserve has been all but devoured by its seductive insistence and I'm one intoxicated step away from granting it a place on my list of all time favourites.
19th April, 2011