The Surrealist’s Perfume – Salvador Dalí Parfum de Toilette Perfume Review

Salvador Dalí – Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite of Cnidos in a Landscape

Parfums Salvador Dalí is an odd brand. They aren’t readily available in the UK but I always see them when scouring the discount stores for interesting things. I often find myself tentatively eyeing up their weird, surrealist bottles and wondering whether the juices they contain are as crazy as the vessels that contain them.

On one such recent trip to the discounters I came across the Salvador Dalí perfumes as usual and decided to refer to  Perfumes: The Guide to see what our Perfume Oracles (Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez) thought of them. Only two Dalí fragrances received a high rating of four stars; Dalí and Laguna, the former of which is evaluated by Turin in the following way:

“[…] a big, handsome, strapping floral chypre somewhere between Amouage [Gold] and Bal à Versailles, though lacking the exquisitely rich texture of the former and the bold, striking structure of the latter.” [1]

Well, as you can imagine I was sold by the word “Amouage” and less than five minutes later I had added a 30ml sized bottle of Dalí Parfum de Toilette to my shopping cart (a steal at £10) and had checked out. A blind buy is a risky thing I know, but I figured that if I didn’t like the scent I could at least display the bottle somewhere and ogle it on a regular basis.

Released in 1983 Dalí, created by none other than the great Alberto Morillas, was Salvador Dalí’s first foray into the perfume market. Dalí’s wife and muse Gala was the inspiration behind the fragrance and it contains notes of rose and jasmine which were her favourite flowers. Parfums Salvador Dalí describe Dalí PdT as “a feminine fragrance, with character, created in the purest of tradition of opulent Chypre perfumes” [2] and I would classify it as a big ole 80s floral made with a soft touch.

Dalí Parfum de Toilette
Dalí Parfum de Toilette

The Notes

Frankincense, Bergamot, Clove, Rose, Jasmine, Mimosa, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Oak Moss and Musk

How Does it Smell?

It would be fair to say that Dalí starts out quite loud with a signature 80s splash of aldehydes, however unlike a lot of 80s florals of the same ilk, Dalí’s aldehydes feels more like a mist of shimmer than an intense hit of sparkle. A touch of bergamot adds a lovely dewy feel to the top notes and gives a hint of the lighter hand used by Morillas for Dalí.

The floral structure of Dalí is relatively classic, relying heavily on rose and jasmine to give it somewhat of an old school feel. The overall impression is of rich, musty and slightly powdery flowers that have perhaps sat in the vase for just a little bit too long, or flowers that are seen from behind a sepia veil, making them feel almost blurred and incredibly soft.

Despite being billed as a Floral Chypre, Dalí really is closer to a Floral Oriental. The base, rather than being about mosses and patchouli, is comprised of a cosy blend of vanilla and sandalwood. It feels completely bronze (as opposed to golden) to my nose and is both creamy and dusty all at once. The sandalwood and vanilla find a perfect equilibrium, cancelling the harsher/drier and spicy/sweet notes of each other out to ensure that everything is nicely proportioned.

At first I was slightly unimpressed by Dalí and very much felt that Turin was spot on in his assessment that it doesn’t capture the “exquisitely rich texture” [3] of Amouage’s Gold. But it’s quite unfair to compare the two, Gold is made with the best materials around (hence why it costs £200) and Dalí simply isn’t in the same league.

Having worn Dalí a good few times now, I find it to be a perfectly comfortable, everyday floral with just the right touch of glam to make you feel as if you’re wearing something special. If Gold is an all-out Diva then Dalí is a Diva in Training, and do you know what? Somedays I am quite happy to ‘dial down the Diva’ and I don’t regret spending my £10 one bit! Now all I need to do is bite the bullet on that £10 bottle of Laguna I’ve been eyeing up…

Dalí Flacon
The Dalí Flacon

The Bottle

How can i review Dalí and not mention the bottle?

Inspired by the nose and lips of Salvador Dalí’s famous painting ‘Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite of Cnidos in a Landscape’ the bottle is what I would describe as being ugly/beautiful, meaning that it is so odd and ugly that you can’t help but be fascinated by it.

It’s obscure beauty at its best.


Dalí is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml Parfum de Toilette. It isn’t readily available in the UK but can be found at online discounters with prices starting as low as £10.


Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Notes via [1] & [3] Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.