I haven’t entirely worked my way through the entirety of Dior’s La Collection Privée (their ultra-exclusive line limited only to high-end department stores and Dior boutiques) but I know that I’m already in love with it. Out of the five that I have tried so far I would be happy with bottles of three. Not a bad success rate huh?
Two of my latest La Collection Lemmings are courtesy of Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels, who introduced them to myself, and a number of others at her Evening of Amber back in April. I don’t know whether to curse Birgit or kiss her, the kisses would be for allowing me to explore two wonderful fragrances and the curses would be coming straight from my wallet…
The two Dior Ambers that I am falling for are an interesting pair; one doesn’t have amber in the name but definitely is an amber and the other does have amber in the name but isn’t technically an amber. Trust Dior to throw an olfactory curveball (or two) at me. Whether they are true ambers or not, both Mitzah and Ambre Nuit are truly enjoyable fragrances that will make the most die-hard amber-cynic rethink their stance.
Heart: Damask Rose and Cinnamon
Base: Labdanum, Cistus, Vanilla, Honey, Patchouli and Frankincense
How Does it Smell?
Mitzah takes its name from and is inspired by Christian Dior’s muse Mitzah Bricard. It’s a leopard print amber that’s refined, classy and just so beautiful to look at. Birgit describes Mitzah as a “dead centre amber” because it is in perfect proportion, and who am I to argue with the Amber Queen!
It’s no secret that amber fragrances, with their staple blend of labdanum, benzoin and vanilla, aren’t my favourite style of smell. It’s not that I don’t like amber, it’s just that it doesn’t really wow me and Mitzah is the same, it doesn’t blow me away but it does make me think twice about whether I could love, or at least really like a classic style amber.
Mitzah’s opening is quite herbal, in a similar vein to Serge Lutens’ classic Ambre Sultan, but what sets the Dior apart from other herbal ambers is a purple anisic tone, possibly thanks to a healthy dose of liquorice. This anisic tones really bring out the spice in the amber and it adds a real texture over an accord that can be annoyingly similar in a lot of fragrances.
As far as development goes, Mitzah doesn’t move very far from A to B, instead it seems to take an olfactory snapshot that only appears different when you view it from different angles. That said, it is far from linear and it becomes much softer and creamier with time, relying heavily on a beautiful honeyed vanilla that sends ones eyes popping out of their sockets like a looney toon.
I really enjoy Mitzah and I feel that it could quite happily fill the classic amber shaped hole in my collection, I’m just not sure whether I would want a full bottle, or even a large decant. This is the big gripe with La Collection Privée, I never need 125ml of anything (OK I could probably put 125ml of Eau Noire to good use but that is a holy grail scent for me), why oh why can’t they do a 50ml? Please? For the fumeophiles?
Top: Pink Pepper and Bergamot
Heart: Spices and Turkish Rose
Base: Amber, Balsamy Notes, Cedar, Patchouli and Gaiac Wood
How Does it Smell?
Before La Collection Privée was a thing, Ambre Nuit was the fourth addition to the Dior Homme Cologne Collection (which also consisted of Eau Noire, Cologne Blanche and Bois d’Argent), and I can see why, it is very much a variation of the beautiful theme set by Dior’s modern classic masculine – Dior Homme.
First things first, Ambre Nuit isn’t really an amber, it does have a hint of amber in the base which we’ll get back to later, but on the whole it really is nothing like the usual ‘ambres’ we are used to seeing. Instead it is a pretty awesome powdery rose with a warm, spicy base that makes it utterly irresistible.
Ambre Nuit opens loud and proud, the rose is unmistakable, and at first it is accented by crackles of pepper and a splash of bergamot but as those die away it deepens and becomes almost gourmand. This is a deep, rich red rose that is masterfully balanced and whilst certainly dominating the composition (it is big and diffusive) it never takes over or becomes too strong.
What really makes this rose special is the addition of a ton of the smoothest powder known to man. This powder harks back to the oh-so-awesome powdery masculine with just a little feminine touch that is Dior Homme. It may not listed in the notes but there is definitely more than a mere hint of iris lurking somewhere beneath that crimson rose.
After a few hours of Ambre Nuit’s glorious residency on the skin the amber accord decides to show up. I would say that it is fashionably late, and it whispers “amber” rather than hollers it, making for an unusual and interesting take on the genre.
I am in love with Ambre Nuit, it feels like Le Labo’s Rose 31 with all of the roughness smoothed out, an amber that’s not really an amber but more of an oriental rose with little hints of the golden stuff. It is utterly fabulous and I would more than happily add it to my collection along with the two other Dior La Collecton lemmings that I’m lusting after (Eau Noire and Leather Oud FYI), I just need to rob a bank* to fund them…
Both Mitzah and Ambre Nuit are available in in 450ml, 250ml and 125ml Eau de Parfum. Prices start at £125.
Images via Christian Dior. Notes via osmoz.com. * Obviously I’m not going to rob a bank.