Diorama starts out as a sweet and decidedly indolic white flower fragrance, dominated by jasmine, rose, and tuberose. It has a very satiny, buttery quality about it, a trait that I associate with floral scents of a certain mid-twentieth century vintage. (Patou's Joy is a perfect example.) Because it largely eschews aldehydes, Diorama avoids any "old lady" associations, and leans instead toward the sensuous and seductive side of the white flower spectrum. Compared to something like Fracas or Narcisse Noir, Diorama is a real lightweight!
As it develops, Diorama's white flower accord is joined by some oriental spices and subtle green notes, both of which help the scent remain buoyant, despite the heady tendencies of all those indole-soaked blossoms. Diorama mellows and softens with age, revealing a smooth, powdery base as it dries down.
What I like most about this scent is a certain balance, so classical in nature, which keeps at bay the overbearing lushness that makes some older white flower fragrances challenging to wear in a contemporary setting.
I never had the good fortune to try the original Diorama, but maybe this is really a blessing. Now I can enjoy the new Diorama without having to compare it to a past masterpiece. Having worn and loved the original Diorissimo and Diorella for many years, I felt betrayed by the ghastly shadows that now carries their names. Not so with Diorama (though I must admit I am curious as to what it used to be).
New, reissued Diorama is a favourite of mine for all year, all day, any occasion use. It goes straight to a powdery yet distinct floral accord with jasmine, rose, peaches and plum that slowly settles in a lovely mellow woody base. It is a kind of summary of all fragrances I love - it is not one of the most outstanding, but if I had to choose only one for a desert island this would be a contender.
31st May, 2014 (last edited: 07th June, 2014)
Very peachy, very buttery, slightly animalic, very uplifting, very complex, the only Dior creation I actually like, but only in the vintage 1949 version.
Barbara Herman calls it fruity, spicy, and powdery, a cross between Mitsouko and Femme, sensual and carnal.
Turin calls it a "fruity chypre" but only reviews the re-formulation, which he dismisses as unworthy with only two stars.
The vintage is quite fine, one of the best fruity chypres I've encountered, very worth sampling.
Top note: Bergamot
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Gardenia, Peach, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Muguet, Galbanum
Base notes: Patchouli, Oak Moss, Vetiver, Violet, Labdanum, Castoreum, Civet
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I just received the 2, 1/4 ounce each bottles of vintage Diorama EDT that I won on Ebay and I can say that every review that I read about it that describes it somewhere between Vintage Rochas Femme, Diorella, Miss Dior and Mitsouko, are pretty much right on target. This, or what I can smell of it, has aspects of all 4 of the scents I've listed. The problem with vintage Diorella in this concentration is that it is very weak sillage-wise and you have to bury your nose in your wrist to smell it ( I've experienced that same problem with Diorissimo EDT, anyone else?). However, what I do smell is absolutely beautiful in it's own special way and even though it has echos of the previously mentioned scents. smelling this leaves me longing to stumble upon a bottle of the vintage pure parfum to get the real Diorama experience. And even though the new re-formulation has received some good reviews, I want to experience it in all of it's real oakmossy goodness, because it's definitely in here.
I have to say that even in its weekness, I like it better than all the scents mentioned above, with the exception of Mitsouko, which Diorama is equal too in my book, and could surpass on my top 25 list if I ever get my hands on that bottle of vintage pure parfum!
UPDATE: Found a third of an ounce of the pure parfum a while back and I love it. Experiencing the vintage made me curious enough to try the newest reformulated version. The results:
The reformulation of Diorama smells more like a combination of Diorella and Parfum de Therese in the opening and goes back and forth between the two as you wear it. It isn't until the far drydown that you get a hint of the wonderful scent that vintage Diorama used to be, but this phase fades very quickly. The new Diorama is a little too heavy on the salty/citrusy notes an lacking in the peach/plum notes that made vintage Diorama a slightly sweeter version of the classic Miss Dior. In short, the new Diorama, while it's nice on it's own, just doesn't live up to the original. With all that said, when my $19 bottle of Chypre D'Orient arrived today, I was over moon when I spritzed it on and and immediately thought "vintage Diorama!"...yes, with oakmoss and all. For those of you who've never experienced vintage Diorama, if you want to and can't find it, get this as this is the closest that I've found to it. This week I've made another discovery: if you layer reformulated Diorama with Mitsouko you also get something very close to the original Diorama. It's all about the peach and plum and oakmoss notes and Chypre D'Orient has all three. Shame on Dior for allowing Molinard's Chypre D'Orient to steal it's vintage Diorama thunder! I'm giving reformulated Diorama a thumbs up for smelling like vintage Diorella and Parfum de Therese, both of which I love.
14th April, 2012 (last edited: 13th February, 2014)
Beautiful, just beautiful. Sharply floral opening of very indolic jasmine/tuberose overlaying ripe, ripe (not overripe) peaches. Cumin peaks shyly out from time to time. This is rich, bright but not sharp, intense but not heavy and not, I would think for anyone under 30, although I dislike age boundaries, it just seems appropriate in this instance. This is for the new version and I should mention that I got it during early summer and was rather underwhelmed and put it away. Today, late November, it's beauty is radiant and I believe is best left for cooler weather. I have tried Le Parfum de Therese and found it toothachingly sweet without any of the subtle and naughty nuances of Diorama. To each their own. A big thank you to Dior for trying to bring back some of their classics in spite of the (ridiculous) ingredient restrictions that are making it so difficult. Please try this if you can.
29th November, 2011 (last edited: 09th August, 2012)
Diorama has Roudnistka's signature all over it! To my nose it smells VERY much like his Le Parfum De Therese (Frederic Malle label) and also bears genetic resemblance to Diorella. What sets Diorama apart, at least to my nose, is the noticeable addition of cumin/coumarin. This makes Diorama wearable by both men and women, moreso than the previously mentioned Roudnistka frags. Beautiful.
(This review is for the re-issued EdT and not the vintage Diorama).
This is very Routnitska in every possible way. Unfortunately I only smelled the vintage Diorama briefly, so I can't comment or compare on the differences between the vintage and the current version. I understand why reviewers have described this as 'buttery' because of its richness. Overall, it comes off like Diorella on steroids. Specifically, if you took the melon/peach top notes of Diorella, quadrupled the amount of fruit, and then let the fruit get to the point of just being overripe, you'd have the topnotes of Diorama. Likewise with the floral notes. The strength of fruit and floral notes overpower any woody or herbal notes that may be present (which I assume they are, given the fragrances depth, but they aren't clearly discernible), and the effect of this richness is to give the overall fragrance a 'butter' feel. It's almost too intense at first, but dries into an incredibly well balanced, classic fruity/floral.
By today's standards Diorama is on the slightly feminine side of unisex and could easily be worn by a guy. I liked my sample so much I arranged for a bottle purchase from Paris, and it's one of the highlights of my collection.
Diorama is one of the few fragrances that have left me speechless at first sniff. Another was her cousin, vintage Diorling. In fact, I looked down at my Diorama edt sample again to make sure that I was not smelling the Leather Goddess that is vintage Diorling. Anyways, the white floral notes of tuberose and jasmine came classily strolling out along with a hint of leather. Then emerged just a tiny smidgen of spices (saffron and/or cumin perhaps, but only a minuscule amount) all luxuriously wrapped in full fat, creamy, honest-to-God fresh butter. My words cannot do this fragrance justice. All I can say is that by the end of the 3rd hour, Diorama had dried down into a luxurious buttery floral leather scent that is simply hands-down gorgeous. I would adore to own a bottle of this!
I have no idea what's in this, but I keep thinking "buttery tuberose". I'm not even sure I know what tuberose smells like... But it's a white floral nevertheless. Dries down slightly flat and plasticky I'm afraid... on a cuminy/green base. I can tell it's well done even though it's not my style at all.