Super Scent is back! In case you missed our first instalment a few months back, Super Scent is a list-based series run in conjunction with my fellow perfume nerds, Persolaise and Basenotes. In each instalment we will each be giving a run down of what we consider to be the very best scents available from a particular, well-known brand. The idea is to individually rank our top offerings and marvel at how similar or different they are. We also hope that you will chime in with your top fragrances from each brand in these posts too!
For episode two we are all taking a scented peek into the fragrant back catalogue of one of the world’s most iconic couturiers: Christian Dior. Many great masterpieces of scent have been unleashed by Dior who, for the most part, create bold and iconic fragrances that dare to be more than mainstream. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the Dior edition of Super Scent – a run down of my seven (we simply couldn’t limit it to five on this occasion) favourite Dior scents from seven to one. Oh and click here, to check out Persolaise’s list, and here for Basenotes’.
Rolling in at number seven is Oud Ispahan – proof that, whilst oud fragrances are prolific, they’re not all bad. Oud Ispahan takes the smoky, barnyard-like and leathery oud note Dior famously pushed to the limits of acceptability in Leather Oud, and blends it with a mouthwateringly drinkable rosewater accord. The result is a sinfully delicious Eastern treat that can only be enjoyed whilst fumbling in the hay with one’s harem. Oud Ispahan may verge on the pornographic at times (never a bad thing, let’s face it) but it balances sex with the gourmand (again, never a bad thing) to create a fragrance that is excessive yet divinely beautiful.
Where Oud Ispahan very much represents Dior’s modern style of fragrance, Eau Sauvage is the face of the old guard. Created in 1966 by the great Edmond Roudnitska, this wild water is an interpretation of the classic eau de cologne, with the citrus, florals, herbs and woods all suitably fleshed out to make something a little bit more present. Eau Sauvage sparkles in golden tones. It’s clean without being sanitised and possesses dry and sharp inflections that make it wonderfully masculine, despite its airy whirlwind of jasmine-like hedione. Since 1966, this has been the scent of a million handsome men, and long may it reign.
Back to La Collection Privée for number five, and this time it’s for something a little bit darker, specifically, the brooding liquorice of Francis Kurkdjian’s glorious Eau Noire. Initially launched as part of a trio of masculine fragrances for Dior Homme outlets, Eau Noire (along with its two masculine comrades) was the starting point for Dior’s Private Collection of scent, and it represents a higher level of olfactory experimentation. Eau Noire is a masterful creation that starts with lavender, and pushes each element of the material’s odour profile to the extreme. The burned sugar aspects are intensified by the maple facets of curried immortelle, whilst the liquorice nuances are accented by spicy anise, and the whole thing is underscored by vanilla. It’s masterful, and is easily one of my all-time favourites!
I remember testing Pure Poison before I had any sort of interest in fragrance, many, many moons ago. My sister and I picked up a tester bottle in Boots, both fascinated by the pearlescent iridescence of the glass, and were disappointed. “It smells like vodka. Yuck”, we exclaimed in protest. But what were we to know? We were simply perfume philistines at this point, but now we, or at least I, have seen the error of our ways. Pure Poison is an impeccable white floral that is loud and expansive. It follows on from Hypnotic Poison’s deadly lactones, but brightens them up with citrus and musk (one metric ton, to be precise) to create a fragrance that is the scented equivalent of Kate Moss in a black wonder bra. I bloody love it.
I could keep this short and sweet and simply say that Dior Homme is one of the greatest masculine fragrances of all-time. In fact, I’m quite tempted, but it would be a bit of a cop out if I didn’t at least tell you why. Focusing on the typically feminine note of iris, Dior Homme is a soft and sensitive fragrance that celebrates the more delicate aspects of masculinity. The greyness of iris is warmed up with chocolate and lavender, creating a suede effect coloured in soft beige that is utterly refined and irresistible. Dior Homme is truly one of the greats.
No Dior list would be a list of Dior fragrances if it didn’t include Poison – arguably the brand’s most iconic fragrance. Even the very name of the fragrance is legendary and it marks one of the few occasions where a scent’s name perfectly sums up its character which, in Poison’s case, is a name worn as an emblem of dark glamour. Poison is a rich stew of purple fruits, syrupy sweet tuberose and cold-as-ice incense, that doesn’t tread the line of acceptability, it unashamedly crosses it. Lots of people love it and many people hate it, but nearly everybody recognises it. If there was ever one perfume that summed up the excess of the 1980’s, it would be Poison and it more than deserves its longevity – it has earned its shoulder pads..
You may think its interesting that Hypnotic Poison, out of all of the Dior fragrances takes my top spot here, especially seeing as it is a flanker of the iconic fragrance lounging at number two. The truth is that, Hypnotic Poison is a modern masterpiece that demonstrates what perfume critic, Luca Turin would describe as “top-down” design. Everything from the name, to the red bottle and beguiling fragrance is cohesive and perfect. The smell itself is fascinating, and consists of a balance of bitterness and sweetness, with the former representing the languid hypnosis and the latter championing the deadly poison. Bitter almond, vanilla, heliotrope and sharp jasmine come together to create a milky fragrance that at first, feels delicious, but with time becomes more abstract and evil. HP’s perfumer, Annick Menardo (the Anise Queen of fragrance) is nothing short of a genius.
Join the Discussion!
So, there you have it! The second episode in Super Scent series and a rundown of my favourite fragrances from the legendary house of Dior Don’t forget to head on over to Persolaise and Basenotes to see their lists, and definitely don’t forget to leave your personal top seven Dior fragrances in the comments box below!