The Love and Death of Miss Dior
FALLING IN LOVE
I have a soft spot for Miss Dior. It was my first true introduction to Chypre.
My first encounter with it was actually a “blind buy”. I bought a set of Dior minis in one of my travels, about 5 or 6 years ago, without ever sniffing the lady before. The Miss Dior bottle wasn’t closed properly, so about half of it spilled all over the case containing the collection, making them all smell unanimously wonderful.
What stroke me as most special about Miss Dior when at first was how warm and round it was. No one note stood out in particular. It was a true “perfume” in the sense that the sum was greater than its parts… The spilled Miss Dior diffused soft, thick, almost oily molecules in the air, surrounding me with a constantly vibrating aura that feels utterly erotic. The following is what I wrote a few years ago about my impressions from the EDT that resided in that mini bottle 6 years ago (half of which evaporated away to the atmosphere, and the rest soaked into my skin and poisoned it with Chypre love). I still have about 0.5ml left to remind me slightly of what it used to be, and luckily also a vial of a vintage Eau de Cologne to remind me of the glorious days of Miss Dior before the reformulation.
So here is how I raved: “This wonderful and timeless Chypre is as smooth and as round as could be, so well orchestrated that the different notes blend in harmoniously and act together rather than compete with one another or "show off". It is young-spirited and sophisticated at the same time, therefore appealing to women of all ages that are seeking a classic, refined expression of their feminine self, without feeling overly girly...
Though different olfactory stages and notes can be detected, they are not as pronounced or separated from one another as you might expect. Rather, they lead to one another with a harmonious continuation that makes the complete experience magical and seductive. Which is, after all, the secret for the charisma and sex-appeal of Chypres – the way they blend different notes without leaving too-obvious hints as for what they really are. You know the notes are in there, but you smell them all at once, singing in one beautiful accord!
The top notes of galbanum, gardenia and citrus are accompanied by no other that the relatively harsh herbal notes of sage which surprisingly converts the top note accord into a peach-like fruitiness. The top notes appear fresh and soft simultaneously, and lift up the Chypre nuances of patchouli and labdanum from the base.
Once the initial green frutiness has mellowed, Miss Dior reveals her round, feminine floral heart of jasmine, neroli and rose, completely balanced as no note is dominating the other.
This all dries down to a base accord of a warm and somewhat wild Chypre accord: patchouli, oak moss, labdanum, as well as civet notes which contributes to the roundedness and fullness that links the phases altogether. Some refined, subtle woody notes of vetiver and agarwood appear late on, adding a clean, somewhat “sour” nuance, neither making the composition dry or bitter by the half, nor taking away from it’s overall luscious femininity.
It is definitley a must for all Chypre fans!”
A couple of years after the mini EDT, I was fortunate to spot a small flacon of the parfum extrait for an unusually reasonable price, and was surprised at the difference between the two concentrations. The Parfum was a lot more fruity and round than the Eau de Toilette – the sharp (almost metallic lead-like) top notes of the sage and galbanum were softened and smoothed that for a while I was almost convinced it was similar to Diorella’s fruitiness. There is a cedar note in there as well, and along with the sage, it strangely makes me recall the magical Vol de Nuit now. I would have never thought I would find any resemblance between the two. There is a smooth, almost powdery-woody feel to it. But the base is as oakmossy as could be, with the pulsating raw energy of civet tamed only by whatever you can do to hide the long lasting, recurring waves of chypric orgasm that lasts for as long as you let it lick your skin.
Top notes: Galbanum, Sage, Gardenia
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Neroli
Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Labdanum, Civet
THE TRAGIC REFORMULATION
There is a rumour about Miss Dior being reformulated. I wasn’t so worried until I actually got a new bottle of the EDT. This smelled like Miss Dior, no doubt. However, to my disappointment, the animalic quality has been tampered with. Forget about those erotic waves of pleasure… The new EDT now opens with a sparkling note of lemon and lemon leaf, goes through a floral phase that is a pale, watered down reflection of its former “New Look” satin-white-corseted-waist, and than dries down to a chypre base that is dominated by no other than VETIVER. Yes, you heard me right. Vetiver. The clean, tart, almost citrusy, woody root. Not oakmoss. Not civet, but vetiver. It may be a non-sensitizer (for now, anyways) but by no means can it replace oakmoss!
If that makes you feel better, though, the new formulation does include oakmoss (it’s even listed on the ingredients on the box). It also has tree moss, actually. But overall, instead of the refined sexuality, it is more of an eau suited for summer since the addition of citrus at the top (formerly, the chypre effect was mostly achieved by the presence of aldhydic greens and galbanum, and the citrus nuance was actually a neroli note, rather than a citrus peel oil). It is still better by all means than many of the watered down florals out there; but the new formulation has caused it to lose a significant amount of its edge and originality. To top this off, Miss Dior is now followed everywhere by a trashy copy of her original self threatening to inherit her fame without any merit of her own: the “Miss Dior Cherie” – a strawberry and popcorn brat that never heard of oakmoss and dares calling herself a Chypre. I can only imagine how many people bought Miss Dior Cherie as a gift by mistake just because of the similar name.
I propose a moment of silence in memory of Miss Dior of the New Look.
And plenty of angry letters to Dior Fragrances.
New Look photo originally uploaded by Deignucdavis
Bottle image from Amabilia.com
New Look Sketch