Super Scent : The best of Christian Dior

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In July, bloggers Persolaise and Candy Perfume Boy created ‘Super Scent' - a semi-regular series on their blogs where they listed what they considered to be the best fragrances from a particular brand. Neither party knew which fragrances the other had picked before they published.

Now Basenotes are playing the game as well!

Instead of me personally picking which fragrances I consider to be the best from the brand, I'm going to be counting down the favourites of Basenotes members, based on a similar criteria to our recent Top 500 Perfumes list. (However, I did make one editorial decision, which I'll explain when you get to that entry.)

The brand for this instalment is Christian Dior.

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The launch of the House of Dior​


Dior was born in Granville, in Normandy, France in 1905. Prior to opening his own fashion house, Dior designed at both Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong, where he worked alongside Pierre Balmain. In 1946 Dior launched his own fashion house, with the backing of businessman Marcel Boussac. The company very quickly made the leap into perfume, establishing new company Parfums Dior and launching Miss Dior (now Miss Dior ‘Originale') in 1947.

Miss Dior was followed by Diorama in 1949, Eau Fraîche (1953) and Diorissimo (1956)

Christian Dior died in March 1957, just over ten years after establishing his fashion house. Creative direction at the house was initially over seen by a 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent with Marc Bohan taking over in 1960. Bohan would be head designer at the house for nearly thirty years. The sixties saw Parfums Dior launch Diorling (1963) and their first fragrance for men, Eau Sauvage (1966).

The parting of the ways​


In 1968, Parfums Dior was sold off to Moët-Hennessy, and along came Diorella (1972) and Dior Dior (1976).

1978 saw Dior's owners, the Boussac Group, filing for bankruptcy. The assets were acquired by The Willot Group, who also went bankrupt in 1981. This led to the acquisition of the Dior fashion house by businessman, Bernard Arnault in 1984. Arnault slimmed down the company.

Parfum Dior continued separately throughout this time, with the creation of classics such as Jules (1980), Poison (1985) and Fahrenheit (1988).

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Reunited​


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In 1988 Arnualt took a 32% equity stake in LVMH, which was formed the previous year with the merger of Moët-Hennessy and Louis Vuitton. This meant that for the first time in twenty years, the fashion side of Dior was once again part of the same company as Parfums Dior.

The nineties saw Dior adding Dune (1991), Tendre Poison (1994), Dolce Vita (1995), Dune for Men (1997) and Hypnotic Poison (1998).

1998 saw the arrival of Berndt Beetz at Parfums Dior, who had previously been at Procter & Gamble. According to a trade news report at the time, consumers were more interested in the Poison 'brand', than that of Dior. Beetz wanted to create a classic, which would bring back the name of Dior.

In 1999 Parfums Dior launched J'Adore, which did as as it was intended. Created by perfumer Calice Becker, the fragrance has lived at the top of the best-seller lists for many years, and is seen as Parfums Dior's flagship fragrance and have produced countless flankers and additions to the line up.

The 2000s saw the introduction of Higher (2001), Dior Addict (2004), Dior Homme and Miss Dior Cherie (both 2005)

La Collection Privée​


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Since 2006, Parfums Dior has been headed by creator-perfumer François Demachy, who in 2010 oversaw the launch of La Collection Privée following the trend of brands having separate high-end lines. (see Chanel's Les Exclusifs, Hermes' Hermessence and Armani's Privé)

The Collection launched with 11 fragrances, and the range incorporated earlier launches Bois d'Argent, Cologne Blanche and Eau Noire (all 2004), which had been launched under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane; and Ambre Nuit (2009) alongside new fragrances such as Granville (named after Dior's childhood home, Leather Oud and Mitzah.

Dior have come under criticism in recent years for rewriting history somewhat. The Miss Dior, that is on sale today isn't the Miss Dior that was launched in 1947 — that is now called Miss Dior Originale. The Miss Dior on sale today is a reformulated version of what was launched as Miss Dior Cherie in 2005.

Despite the confusions, the company still have some amazing fragrances, so on with…

The Super Scents of Dior​


Out of nearly seventy years of Parfums Dior, which fragrances do Basenotes visitors like best? Let's see… click Next to get started.

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7. Diorissimo


  • Launch : 1956
  • Perfumer : Edmond Roudnitska
  • Comments : The company say “As bright as a spring morning, this romantic floral bouquet blossoms with the freshness of lily-of-the-valley, Christian Dior's lucky flower and the emblem of Dior Couture”

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Review by Fleurine



Dior Diorissimo is my go-to pretty princess scent. From 1956, she is very much a product of her wholesome, innocent era. She goes well with pearls and a sweater set.

Warning, you may be accidentally transformed into any princess you want when you wear her. Princess Diana, Princess Grace, This fragrance is an obvious choice for a spring or summer wedding scent.

Princess Diorissimo is a green lily of the valley soliflore with jasmine, ylang-ylang and frangipani and it is HEADY heady heady, so beware.

I find Diorissimo somewhat perfumier than other great muguets (such as the most recent Guerlain, and CdG Lily), but the perfumey aspect allows Diorissimo to across as slightly more formal and polished. The dry down, however, is entirely muguet.

Now, the more you research this scent, the more you will hear about how Diorissimo has suffered in reformulation, and I would not doubt it. Although I have the modern EdT, and have no trouble wearing it. I would recommend at least sampling the vintage Parfum to anyone interested in exploring the LOTV note. A treasured fragrance to me, in my top 5 always.


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Where to buy Diorissimo​



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6. Diorella


The Details:​


  • Launch : 1972
  • Perfumer : Edmond Roudnitska
  • Comments : Described by the company as “An eternally modern fruity floral with spicy freshness and spontaneous charm. A blend of Sicilian lemon, honeysuckle and vetiver make for a natural, free-spirited fragrance.”

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Review by Way Off Scenter:​



I'm not going to describe Diorella in detail - others here have done it better than I could. What I will say is once it gets past its rather abrasive green-tinged opening, Diorella morphs into a fruity floral fragrance that puts all of today's trite, synthetic, teeny-bopper fruity floral scents to shame. Here the rounded, realistic fruit notes, translucent honeysuckle, and crisp carnation bloom over a brilliantly judged musk and moss base, which through its animals touch makes this a sophisticated, grown-up women's scent.

Perhaps it's the melon note, but something in Diorella reminds me of another Roudnitska masterpiece: the profoundly beautiful and posthumous Le Parfum de Therese. Le Parfum de Therese is at once more suave and suggestive than Diorella, but the two are clearly sisters. While Le Parfum de Therese was formulated for Therese Roudnitska's private use, I can see Diorella as another venture along similar lines, this time “safer” to accommodate public consumption. At any rate, it's another wonderful scent from one of the greatest masters.


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Where to buy Diorella​



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5. Poison


  • Launch : 1985
  • Perfumer : Jean Guichard
  • Comments : Excluding the generically named Eau Fraîche, Poison was the first feminine fragrance not to have a name based around the Dior name.

At the time, the name was pretty controversial. Maurice Roger, the then head of Parfums Dior told WWD, “I didn't sleep for two weeks when we decided to go ahead with the name Poison. ‘Wasn't it too aggressive?' I wondered. Finally, I realised you can afford to be a little controversial as long as your product is noble”

The fragrance went on to become one of Dior's best selling perfumes.

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Review by FruitDiet:​



Proto-Lutensian medicinal purple tuberose apothecary syrup, at once radiantly whorey and ascetically anti-food anti-joy anti-sex antisocial. I have come to prefer the current EDT to the old Esprit de Parfum because it is drier and gets to the resinous-sticky incense musk dry down a little faster. For me, sometimes nothing but Poison will do when I am feeling prickly, edgy, unapproachable. I am young enough not to have formed downmarket associations with Poison because of its popularity in the 80s, so it is more austere, medieval, cruel and anticipatory of Serge Lutens to me than it is shoulder pads and Dynasty. Some facet of the tuberose smells strongly of blood at the opening. A disturbing favourite.

The dry down of the latest reformulation of Poison now smells like L'Air du Desert Marocain, and it's lovely—that same incense/wood/musk. The first few hours it is unmistakably Poison, but the 80s synth-fruit recedes more than it used to. Tania Sanchez noted this as an improvement in one of the updates to The Guide. As for tenacity—when you spray it on, you expect that it will be fleeting as modern reformulations of powerhouses go, but it just keeps coming back and sticks to everything. It can be headache—strong florals all go headache on me—but Poison is one of the best reformulations on the market. I love Poison and used to make myself sick with the Esprit de Parfum, which die-hards must experience for the full story, but I am really liking how this new one fades down.


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Where to buy Poison​



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4. Hypnotic Poison


  • Launch : 1998
  • Perfumer : Annick Menardo
  • Comments : In creating Hypnotic Poison, the beauty team at Dior worked alongside the then creative director of the fashion side of the company, John Galliano. “John Galliano [sees] a woman as the eternal seductress, using all the weapons of seduction,” said Sabina Belli, Dior Parfums Marketing Director. “She's in control of her femininity.”

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Review by anomie et ivoire



Menardo's genius on fullest display, this is a sex grenade: a modernised and de-sane-itized L'Heure Bleue without any of that one's cumbersome class. A brunette bombshell (or a blonde with dark roots?). It may be widely worn and a designer scent, drowning in the most used note around—vanilla—but damned if this isn't pure magic.

The slightest breeze animates Hypnotic Poison as a slinky villainess. Cruel, the Queen of Hearts, The Black Queen from Barbarella… all the great meanies could wear this, but at once a girl's night out cuteness keeps things barely tamed. …Ch-ch-ch-Cherry Bomb! Suburban rebellion in torn fishnets, Cherie Currie as chainsaw artist. Hypnotic Poison's overstated naughty-but-nice angle is high camp gold: the point where saccharine almost rots and is sinister and treading the sex/death divide with the tv trope of cyanide poisoning leaving the smell of bitter almonds on the last breath.

Commonly sexy but weird in a way that is very Twin Peaks. All of this for the older formula edt. The new reformulation lacks some spice and metallic bite and seems censored, but it still bests the rest of the department store pack.


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Where to buy Hypnotic Poison​



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3. Dior Homme / Dior Homme Intense



Dior Homme was launched in 2005, under the creative eye of Hedi Slimane, who was in charge at Dior Homme fashion at the time. Where the company was always using the Dior name in their feminine scents, Dior Homme was the first of there masculine fragrance to do so.

The scent was heavy on iris: not a common note in male perfumery at the time, and was backed with notes of sage, lavender, bergamot, vetiver and patchouli.

Dior Homme Intense is the third fragrances in the Homme series, following Dior Homme and Dior Homme Cologne. The fragrance was originally a limited edition, but is now part of the permanent line up.

The fragrance echoes the lavender, iris and vetiver found in the original fragrance, and increases the strength from Eau de Toilette to Eau de Parfum.

I've made the editorial decision to lump these two as one entry, otherwise Dior Homme scents would have taken over slots 3 and 4. Dior Homme Intense is essentially the Eau de Parfum of Dior Homme.

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Review of Dior Homme by cello



I absolutely adore this fragrance, and truely believe it is class in a bottle - for anyone's use.

The velvet touch of iris powder used to softly blanket the usual masculine lavender, soft spice and leather - genious. This is pale silk in a bottle. The blend surrounds you in an aura of calm, it is just that beautiful. I rather believe it is better to just let the fragrance shift and blend, no need to dissect the notes. There is no lipstick - only silky powder over lavender, spice and leather. Just enjoy it!

This is a 5 star fragrance to me, and a tribute to perfumery even if it does not suit you personally. A must sniff for everyone.


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Review of Dior Homme Intense by ClaireV



In my house, the Dior Homme Intense is for me, not my husband. Are you kidding me? The cards are stacked against me enough as it is already – the man is devilishly good-looking, funny, kind, and carries our ten-month old daughter everywhere in his arms – in other words, a prime target for women with active ovaries anywhere. I'm not going to also spray him down with the sexiest male fragrance known to man. That would be like loading a gun and giving it to a toddler. No, the attractive husband may have my old Encre Noire. If that doesn't put a dampener on the enthusiasm of the bands of marauding women around my ‘hood, then I don't know what will.

Dior Homme Intense is a smooth iris snuggled into clouds of cacao, musk, vanilla, and dry woods – at once distinctive and familiar. It manages to be both creamy and powdery, which is why so many people talk about Dior Homme Intense having a vintage “lipstick” vibe. For all of that, I don't think it comes off as too femme. For me, it occupies vaguely the same territory as Guerlain's Shalimar Initial, Van Cleef & Arpels' Private Collection Bois d'Iris, and Byredo's 1996, which is to say, plush, sweetened irises that come close to being gourmands but pull back from the edge at the last moment. I vastly prefer this little corner of the iris category to the rooty, citrusy, grey irises that make up the bulk of the genre. I prefer my irises sanded down and a spoonful of sugar or musk added for comfort. Dior Homme Intense is the best in show, in this regard. I love it, and consider it far superior to 95% of what you can get in the women's aisle in the department store.


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Where to buy Dior Homme​



Where to buy Dior Homme Intense​



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2. Fahrenheit


  • Launch : 1988
  • Perfumers : Jean-Louis Sieuzac and Maurice Roger
  • Comments : Even today, after over 25 years since its launch, Fahrenheit still smells different to practically everything else. Maurice Roger, head of Dior Parfums at the time told WWD, “For several years the men's fragrance market has been flooded with chypres or fougères enhanced by cocktails of aromatic notes— compounds of lavender, rosemary, sage, etc., [Fahrenheit is] built on a rather floral concept, but not a traditional women's floral like jasmine. Honeysuckle is a rather wild, natural floral. My observation of the market was that there are a lot of very similar scents based on Mediterranean cocktails. If you test all the recent introductions, you will find very similar propositions.”

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Review by nathanbradleyf



I wore Fahrenheit when I was in junior high school. I remember when it came out and it was unlike anything I had smelled before. I have smelled it many times since then and it always brought back a flood of memories. I thought about wearing it again over the years because I loved it so much but I just didn't want to go back there. Recently someone came in my office wearing it and it smelled so good. I immediately recognized it but it was different to me somehow. I found out that it had been reformulated in 2014. I have it on now as I type this review and I'm loving it all over again. It's Fahrenheit but it's not…..but it's still perfection. It lasts all day on me and I get compliments all the time. I really can't understand somebody not liking this fragrance. It's a classic but it doesn't rest on the fact that it's a classic. It still smells new and groundbreaking just like it did in the 80's. This is quite possibly the best of all time


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1. Eau Sauvage


  • Launch : 1966
  • Perfumer : Edmond Roudnitska
  • Comments : Eau Sauvage was created by master perfumer, Edmond Roudnitska, and launched in 1966. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest men's fragrances of all time.

Based on the classic scent of the Eau de Cologne, Roudnitska mixed things up by adding a massive dose of methyl dihydrojasmonate (or more popularly known as Hedione), which is derived from jasmine.

The fragrance continued to be a best-seller today and has inspired many flanker versions, starting back in 1982 with the original Eau Sauvage Extreme. In the last 15 years we've also seen Eau Sauvage 100% Glaçon (2001), Eau Sauvage Fraîcheur Cuir (2007), a new version of Extreme (2010), Parfum (2012) and Cologne (2015). But not Sauvage, as that's not a flanker, according to Dior…

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Review by katana



All Time favorite

This scent, this masterpiece, is my favorite of all time, and the one that truly started my journey into the world of fragrances though it was not my very first. However, it is one I wear only on the most wonderful of occasions when I want to feel my very best, and it is best kept for spring and summer and beautiful days. It is bright and fresh open application, full of promise and sunshine and then classy and sedate and you just have to try it for yourself if I go into how much I like it I'm going to embarrass myself. If I could have only ONE scent in my life - it would be Eau Sauvage


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Finally​


Quick nods to J'Adore, Dior Addict and Jules who would have been here if this was a Top 10 instead of a Top 7.

What are your Dior Super Scents? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget to check out the lists from Candy Perfume Boy and Persolaise.
About the author
grant
Grant is the founder and owner of Basenotes and lives by the sea.

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