Christian Dior (1991)

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Dune by Christian Dior

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About Dune by Christian Dior

People & Companies

Christian Dior
Fragrance House
Maurice Roger
Veronique Monod
Packaging / Bottle Design

Dune is a women's perfume launched in 1991 by Christian Dior

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Dune by Christian Dior

There are 74 reviews of Dune by Christian Dior.

Purely by accident, having been gifted to me at Christmas (I was not a fumehead in my earlier incarnations), Dune was my signature scent throughout university. It's very simple, if you're doing femininity by numbers: the outfit ticks the box for Look Pretty, and some perfume ticks the box for Smell Nice. (And if you're me the vertiginous heels tick the box for Doesn't Mean You're A Nice Girl, but that's another story).

Today, the more I read about other people's opinions of this stuff the more I think I fell so completely on my feet with Dune that I haven't yet managed to find another fragrance that fits me as well. That would certainly explain the burgeoning scent collection of which few ever get any wear.

Dune is an oriental, but a "fresh", "transparent", different take on the genre. True orientals give me headaches; I deeply want to love them (alas, Opium) but they're just too much. Win no. 1.

People often describe it as "pensive" or "dark". Signature fragrance of an intellectual goth girl who wouldn't work out she wasn't actually a girl for another ten years? Win no. 2. Still wearable as the person she became after that? Win no. 3.

It has in it, apparent to different viewers in different ways, something alluring or sexy; a naked-skin muskiness. But it's really not a mainstream way of articulating that quality. Be thankful that I won't go into detail about my former self in this respect - but that's win no. 4 for me.

Dune has of course been reformulated, so what I'm retesting today is its original version (I still have the half-used bottle of my youth). It's still just oriental enough without triggering the headache. It's complex, definitely dry as opposed to sweet (and isn't that a market segment that's dried up in recent years, at least among the general public; man I'm looking forward to the passing of that trend). It has a burring, rough-textured quality that underscores the floral heart; a quality that simultaneously stops it becoming too lushly feminine and keeps it from being generic. Sand-scoured stone springs to mind. I can detect the the skin-scent phase underneath it all, and it's a little funky, a little sweaty, a little "this is where I need a shower after Vigorous Exertion". Which is not everyone's idea of sexy, but it works for me.

Fascinating stuff.

This review is for the Esprit de Parfum concentration of Christian Dior's Dune.

I'm at a loss to describe it. It's glorious. I wish I were better at identifying notes and layers. It's not floral, it's not sweet, it's not light. It's not pheromone sexy but it is warm and sort of delicious. Slightly spicy but not cinnamon. There must be some sort of vanilla, which I usually do NOT like, but whatever is happening here works. It's a much rounder or layered vanilla.

It's not soapy.

You could wear it to work, if you were careful. This Esprit concentration is pretty strong.

A man could wear this. Absolutely yes.

Whatever Dune is, it's a thumbs up from me. It's dark and dry and pairs perfectly the Dune 2021 trailer. (I hope the movie will be good, but if not, we'll always have Dune 1984, with Sting in that codpiece.)

Edited to add: The dry down is somewhat reminiscent of vintage Obsession.

Dune is to the desert what l'Eau d'Issey is to water.
A dry, low key scent, it was the first big hit to use peony - and maybe still the best.


Miniature w/o box

Its an aldehyde vanilla floral woody with a soft mandarin top. It smells really good. They did a good job with this fragrance. It has a gentleness to the composition. Smells super classy. Mine was a new version, and I think I'm gonna be buying this for the misses.

Dune by Christian Dior (1991) is one of the more interesting fragrances to emerge from the house in their post-Roudnitska modern history. Worked on by three perfumers just like Dior Fahrenheit (1988), Dune smells sort of like a similar challenging fracas of unlikely notes, with abrasive qualities to help connect the perfume to the name, but softer and more-alluring aspects in the finish. Unlike Fahrenheit, Dune is obviously not based around an accidental petroleum barrel note, but is sort of in its own way the feminine equivalent in terms of daring, even if it would ironically get a matching masculine iteration six years later that has nothing in common with it. Maurice Roger and Jean-Louis Sieuzac returned for Dune, bringing in Nejla Barbir to work on the rather unique opening of Dune specifically. To say Dune captures the essences of a sun and heat-blasted desert is pretty accurate even if the scent isn't necessarily earthy, but it works with what it's got and has decent performance to boot.

The overall vibe of Dune is a dry semi-oriental and animalic floral fougère, a genre itself mostly unused for feminine-marketed perfumes in the modern age. Dune skirts around this face by using a heap of peony in the heart alongside a rich array of white florals, making you forget the fougère base is there until it has settled to the skin phase. The opening of Dune is the most jarring aspect, with aldehydes and bergamot paired with palisander and that omnipresent peony which follows the scent all the way down to the finish. There is a bit of mandarin here but a musky "nether regions" accord surface after the opening blast fades, merging with the peony and following into a bed of muguet, similar to Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981) but without any civet or soapy orris. The ylang-ylang and rose play tug-of-war with indolic jasmine and a dry vanilla for your attention and by the heart, more of that yellowish musk shows up alongside patchouli to really warm up the sandy approach of Dune. Oakmoss and some tonka establish the fougère accord in the end but the tonka is a light dusting compared to benzoin and sandalwood accord that helps finish out Dune. The overall effect is pretty unique, strong, and typical of the late-generation challenging animalics appearing at the cusp of the 80's and 90's, just sold to women instead of men as was the usual for the period.

Dune really is unisex in hindsight, and men will likely enjoy its sillage more than women in the modern age, since it really is just a dry white floral semi-oriental fougère with light animalic touches like Paco Rabanne Ténéré (1988) or Sybaris Antonio Puig (1988), but with all the "dad's aftershave" touches from lavender and/or geranium ironed out to make it lean very gender-neutral. I'm genuinely surpirised more men into the old dandy styles haven't stumbled upon Dune but then again, Macy's barely pitches it in store and nobody really talks about it much, even the women who enjoy it. Dune ended up being something of a wash for Dior, and never got the flanker support of other entries, with Dune Esprit de Parfum (1994) and Dune Sun (1996) being the only expansions to the line. Bone dry and musky alongside indolic tones and that vividly defiant mandarin peony accord, Dune is not a perfume to be forgotten no matter who the wear is, that is for certain. Definitely worth a test for anyone into bold perfume strokes with a bit of safety in convention, Dune is almost a year-rounder but best in extreme temperatures whether warm or cool, to let its different sides show. An underrated gem! Thumbs up!

This is probably my favourite perfume of all time, and that says a lot if you've seen how much time I spend testing (and retesting, then buying, then selling, then rebuying, etc.)

Dune may intend to conjure up sandy mounds and ocean air blowing over a garden of herbs, but in reality it's a transparent oriental with immeasurable radiance.

Starting with a splash of citrus and greenery (stemone), you may feel like an herbal-fougere accord is oncoming with a hint of lavender, but instead, you get a musky (galaxolide), chocolate-floral with the sheen of jasmine (hedione.)

The drydown, which really is what Dune is all about, is peppered with patchouli, sandalwood, and vanilla. If your bottle is old enough, you may even get some of those notes composed with natural materials. What makes all of these notes meld together, though, is a huge slug of orris, which adds a dry, austere feeling and lightens the weight of these heavy materials.

A genius, outstandingly original masterpiece. Dark, pensive, and something I could never live without.

Note - the EDT is my favourite, showcasing more of a diverse note list. The extrait is more dense and focused on the drydown. The alcohol-free summer spray is an unpleasant concoction with only minor nod to the real thing. I've not yet tried the esprrit de parfum. At the time of release, Dune had a ton of promo items like broaches, earrings, bracelets and the lot. You'll come across them at high prices, but I assure you, they are not fine jewelry and shouldn't be purchased as such.

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