Christian Dior (1985)

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Poison by Christian Dior

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Christian Dior
Fragrance House
Jean Guichard

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Reviews of Poison by Christian Dior

There are 117 reviews of Poison by Christian Dior.

Poison is Snow White -and- the Wicked Stepmother, united in the deadly gift of the poison apple. It's both innocent and imperious, a purple-green toffee apple bubblegum, with a layer of toxic frost.

A typical 80's composition of ylang-ylang tuberose and orange flower, with gourmand and chypre elements, Poison is one of the most distinctive - and audacious - scents there ever was; a powerful contrast of cute and vindictive, warm-spicy and icy cold.

It's Femme for all those ice queens who hold their heart untouchable, whether by others - or themselves.

A gothic masterpiece.

My first experience of Poison was at my sister's wedding reception in the 80's. One of her friends walked by, and I was immediately intoxicated by the rich, fruity, floral, ambery and potent scent. I had to ask what she was wearing, and ever since, Poison has been one of my favorite perfumes for women. It radiates confidence, sensuality and sex in a deliciously voluptuous way. It's mysterious and captivating and mature --- not for young girls or the office! For me it conjures up dark velvet curtains, purple and wine-colored cushions with everything moving in slow motion --- every second to be savored.

The musical parallel I get is the Arabian Dance from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker," or something slow and sultry by Cassandra Wilson ... maybe a deep midnight raga played on shehnai.

It's hard to express just how big Poison was in the late 80's. If you've seen old photos of people in malls or old videos of people dancing in clubs, or movies about people in high school, they all reeked of Poison. It was THE smell of the late 80's.

So what does it smell like? Well, nothing like the bloated notes list would suggest. Instead, it smells like a grape lollipop. Sure, if I try really hard, I can pick out clove and a pinch of something coconutty, and it has a floral effusiveness that suggests that there are flowers in there, but everything melts together to smell like sugary grape candy.

Were this anything else, I'd probably vote thumbs down, but this is such a nostalgic smell that I can't help but vote thumbs up despite myself...

Dior Poison (1985) is a perfume for ladies who needed to absolutely blow the doors off when they made an entrance, and for some guys who wanted to leave a scandalous trail too. While not explicitly unisex, Poison has both intimidation and allure that defies gender, to the point where it was infamously banned from some restaurants in the 1980's when launched. Previously, only Giorgio Beverly Hills (1981) had received that notoriety, but moreso for volume than tone. Poison is an altogether different beast; this perfume envelops a space, subverts the atmosphere, and changes the mood of everyone present, and like actual poison, can corrupt or destroy those unable to withstand it. Dior Poison is technically an oriental, but has so many dark, fruity, floral, and green aspects that it is truly abstract. The perfume became quite ubiquitous in its heyday despite its controversial nature, and although nowadays it's still rather recognizable, Poison has becoming something of a rare bird of prey among the pigeons that are both the current market and its many flankers.

Poison opens with a spicy dark melange of orange blossom, plum, and rosewood. Mace, coriander, anise and pimento give this dark fruity floral a fathomless rounded feel for which Poison would become known, while the woody tones in the top prevent sweetness from overtaking. The heart is a dense kitchen sink of indole, honey, and cinnamon, with jasmine and rose performing their usual duties alongside muguet and a well-concealed tuberose, adding a dirty skin feel accentuated by blackberry and pasty labdanum. Each tier of this perfume could almost be a whole perfume unto itself, such is the complexity here, but the final woody and animalic resting place of amber, opoponax, sandalwood, cedar, and musk is what keeps Poison pulsing all night. The plum and blackberries in particular give a sort of wilted fruit accord that flits and flickers through the florals, spice, and woods, which make the "poison apple" design of the bottle all the more appropriate. Sillage and longevity are incalculable, so don't try to wear Poison casually, because perfumer Jean Guichard made sure it won't let you. This stuff always has been and always shall be divisive, so no context for appropriate use is given. If you have to ask if you should wear Poison, then you shouldn't.

Poison to me feels like oneupmanship against Coco Chanel (1984), which itself was a reaction to perfumes in general becoming more virile into the 80's after an early period of mega-mossy fougères or stiff leathers for guys, plus extremely dense tuberose florals and sharp green chypres for women leading out of the 70's. Perfume overall was increasingly daring and rising in a fever pitch towards utter pandemonium of excess by decade's end, which makes the "fresh" olfactive reset button into the 90's all the more disappointing to enthusiasts who lived it. Poison however, seemed to whether this change gracefully at first, earning flankers that have extended its stay. One such flanker, Hypnotic Poison (1998), has proved more popular than the original, albeit not more challenging or iconic. I really like Poison for its "forbidden fruit" vibe, and although it lays heavier than a drum of lead, I could see anyone who is genderfluid pull this off with the same ease, just not in an office space, a casual setting, or as history has shown, a restaurant. Test if feeling tempted, and wear if you dare... Thumbs up.

This complex potion invokes long lost memories of my younger years. My great aunt used to wear this as her signature, she always had a bottle near her boudoir mirror and it radiated from her whenever she hugged me. My Mum allegedly wore it in the 90s too. I'm male, and now 22.
This is the first and only perfume that gains me numerous compliments on how I smell. My first time wearing this the other month, a 40-year-old colleague said I "took her back years" and said that I smelt amazing. From then on I knew it was special. I've had numerous comments since then. One friend at the pub said I smelt "delicious". A male customer in his 50s said I smelt like his wife and yet, despite my blushed face, I didn't care.
My first bottle was a full 100ml vintage (batch code 1E102) and none of the vintages I've purchased have smelt as good as it is. I don't know why. All have varying batch codes; and all have their differences, probably due to ageing or how they've been stored. I truly believe Poison can age like fine wine. That 100ml bottle may be slightly turned, as the liquid can appear almost greenish on my skin, but it smells insane. The animalic musk and witchy incense has aged into an intoxicating honeyed plum juice, that lasts and lasts.

Vintage Poison can fill a room and I'll forever be shocked it's an EDT. It can wear you and it has been known to announce my presence before I've even entered a room, or after. It's that powerful. It has nuclear sillage and longevity, and to me, is the reigning queen of tuberose and the sole goddess of the olfactory world. Embodying the mystique of the evil witch from Snow White, it is the best perfume ever made. Purple velvet drapes. Seduction. Nothing comes close to it.
Warm spices intertwined with a cloud of stewed plums, tuberose, laced with dark wild berries, lavished in ambery honey. The drydown is very animalic and carnal to me. My skin "eats" perfume, but Poison lasts the longest of all the perfumes I've ever tried. Strong, heady projection for at least 8 hours. Yet, I can still detect the dark, animalic musky traces of it on my wrist almost 24 hours later, even after a shower. My attraction to it is not just for the beautiful scent but also its infamous history and enchanting concept. If not for those things, then for its intriguing name. Everyone wore it, it was banned from restaurants, it had a huge global release. The 80s is my favourite era, and this fragrance expertly reflects that decade.
Big, bold, daring, powerful.
Poison is an alchemic masterpiece, a classic of its own fairytale, Dior's magnum opus, an icon, and a legendary symbol of the decade it was birthed.

I have smelled some of the current formulations. One which I presume is from either 2006 or 2016 (batch code: 6P01), with gold accents on the box packaging. It does not last like the vintage. Less spicy, less potent, less incense, but is still a nice plummy potion. Fuck the IFRA and Dior for what they've done to it.
Back in March, I purchased a 50ml bottle from Boots, I presume with the latest reformulation. I've never purchased Poison in an official retailer before. I don't know if it was a dud batch or if it really is what Poison is in 2019, but it smelt disgusting. A spiking coriander note, that just smelt off. Nothing like Poison. I ended up selling it on eBay.
I own several bottles of the vintage EDT, all varying volumes. I have the Esprit de Parfum in a 30ml dropper and a very rare 100ml spray tester bottle of it too. I'll soon be adding the Eau de Cologne to my collection.

I can't really be objective about Poison, as it's attached to a lot of nostalgia for me. The first bottle I acquired of it was in 1986, as a teenager. I wore it almost every day for 2 years. It's what people came to associate with me (and according to old classmates, it still does remind them of me.) At the time, I was the sole girl at my school who wore it (or the later knockoffs), and it was a strange, dark, daring scent which fit my strange-girl personality. I even had a cat who adored it, and would lick it off my wrists (my mother checked with the vet to be reassured that the amounts she'd be ingesting wouldn't hurt her); this memory is bittersweet, given the brevity of cat lifespans.

On me it was thankfully never "too much" according to everyone who smelled it on me (I applied exactly one spray, which might have had something to do with that), and it smelled mostly of its fruit and spice notes. Even after it became an ubiquitous, abused and overused fragrance, I was told that it was still somehow distinctive -- and therefore not annoying -- on me.

Not long ago, I opened a box that had been stored at my parents's house and found a full bottle that had been bought in 1993, according to the serial number. 25 years later, the bottle smells exactly how I recall it; one spray provoked a rush of memories in a way the newer formulas don't, which is rather curious.

So yes, Poison, for me, is and will always be a 5-star scent.

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