This review is for the reformulated version currently at Sak's and Neiman. I have never had the opportunity to try the vintage.
The harsh green opening is challenging for me and has a bit of an "old lady" feeling to it, which I think is the geranium and violet.
After 5-10 minutes, it is an unapologetically bitter chore/oriental with a green tinge. At this point it reminds my husband of bitters from the bar.
When the dry down hits, it is quiet, but gorgeous, with the cinnamon and patchouli so well-blended that they are not directly identifiable. It is gorgeous and lasts all day.
Dioressence used to be a lovely fragrance - especially in the Parfum strength. I would think it was definitely influenced by the trend started by Youth Dew and Opium, but it was greener and more delicate than other oriental fragrances of the same era. There were originally three strengths: Parfum, Espirit de Parfum and Eau de Toilette, and some lovely bath products too.
I recently tried the new formulation, and was very disappointed: the overall scent is similar to how it used to be, but after wearing it for a short time, it changes and becomes a rather sickly, sweet, spicy nothingness. (I have found that Eau Fraiche seems to have undergone similar reformulation, though Diorissimo seems the same as it always did. I am currently putting-off trying Diorella and Diorling in case they have suffered similar reformulation).
My thumbs up is for the original formula of this once-glorious perfume. I realise trends in perfume change, just like anything else, but I find it difficult to believe how so many houses (Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain, Patou, and even Caron, to name a few) are all but discontinuing some of their truly great perfumes, only to replace them with throwaway sweet nothings.
I've seen some discussions online among perfumer writers about the merits and pathologies of vintage perfume collecting. I'm kinda live and let live on this one. If it feels good do it. If you accept that well-kept perfumes can last quite a while, then what's the harm in having a little vintage? I've had pretty good luck, myself. I found a bottle of Miss Dior eau de toilette from the late 70s, early 1980s on eBay once. For whatever reason, no one bid on it and I bought it for $8. It was in its original packaging, sealed and in perfect condition. I have a couple of 1960-1970s bottles of Lanvin Arpège that I bought for sentimental reasons. As to be expected, the top notes are faded, but they are all sensational.
But how far will you go for vintage? Me, not far. Of course my consolation prize is all of contemporary perfumery, so I’m not panicking.
But sometimes you can't say no, yes? I just came across a sealed boxed bottle of Dioressence of indeterminate vintage, but probably late 90s early millennium. Dioressence the Tease, the Trap. Known to have made the progression from old school, animalic grande dame to complete rubbish. To believe the stories, the vintage is the Grail, and the later reformulations weren't worth pissing on.
So what vintage had I found? Fuck if I know, but it's interesting. It's not the monster that I suspect the original formulation was. But is it trash? No, actually. It’s a powdery, sweaty chypre, that's built for human scale. The topnotes are definitive grandma perfume * and have that come-hither-yet-stand-offishness that only an old-school powdery perfume can convey. The powder is the key. Up top it's prim and upright. By drydown, it folds into a muskiness, making a tartness that smells like perspiration. In the end, it's something like the drydown of Chanel Pour Monsieur sprayed on after a long run. MMmmm...
* No jibe here, and no irony. I just value grandma differently, I suppose. Grandma, who wore all the 'perfumey' 'powdery' nose-scrunching perfumes back in the day, knew better than we do. Credit where it's due. I applaud grandma.
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Darn it! Great perfume makes me feel glamorous no matter what I'm looking like. I'm wearing the same t-shirt and camouflage cargo pants I've been working in for the past three days, but I've just spritzed on vintage Dioressence EDT and with the lock of hair that keeps falling over my eye, I feel like some kind of 1950's femme fatale, smelling of dusty, rosey florals and spicy sweetness underlined with a subtle note of skank on this 90 degree + day in Washington, DC. It doesn't get any better than this.
Dioressence opens up with a pungent green floral accord that grows progressively more powdery as it develops. The green notes and powder become seasoning for a "doughy" rose that soon dominates the composition. Because it remains relatively dry and green, the rose in Dioressence is neither heavy nor heady. Instead, it remains quite crisp and relatively bright. Once settled, Dioressence continues for some time on its green and rosy way in a relatively linear manner.
Only after an hour or more do traces of spice and some woody notes emerge in the base. These soften and sweeten the composition while providing some additional complexity. Dioressence is notable for the clarity of its construction, if not for any great longevity or projection. It doesn't really excite me, but it is a very finely tuned, dignified, and understated scent that would work well in a professional setting.
Barbara Herman describes this as a spicy, floral chypre with an initial green note. Heady and intense – for experienced women, glamor, cigarettes and champagne.
Turin describes it as an Orienta l"Green" Chypre – 4 stars
Ingredients as per Ms. Herman:
Jasmine, Geranium, Cinnamon, Carnation, Orris, Ylang, Tuberose
Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk
My sample was a pre-reformulation edt. I found it a warm, slightly spicy, light chypre – reminiscent of Breathless (Charbert), but with no lasting power - longevity nil. What I got of it was lovely and tres sophisticated, but sadly gone in an instant.
I've been sampling the current version, not anything vintage.
It's a wonderful green chypre, which seems to be built on a sweet green leafy note (sort of like Guerlain's signature sweet pea note, but brighter and tinged with shiny verbena), which rides its way through the day over the ever-changing chypre structure, starting with aldehydic citrus and working its way down to a green grassy patchouli and deep moss. There's a slightly vinegary plasticity to Dioressence, which will be familiar to fans of the classics but may turn off new noses.
As for 70's green chypres, Eau de Campagne is still the one to beat IMHO, but I'd happily take Dioressence over No. 19 and many of the other most popular.
First bought when working as a sales girls in David Jones Dept store many many years ago when it was intense and extremely special.
Found a tester on Ebay that is a pale reminder but it still evokes the original mystique!
Opens green, green, green but settles into something that I can only describe as "milky" vanilla and musk. I don't get dated or "old lady" at all, but rather pastoral youth in a bottle. Since I like smelling like I just came in from milking a cow in six-inch stilettos I'm quite happy with this EdT.
I rarely enjoy dating myself. But, I will say I first was introduced to Dioressence in the 1970's when I was in my early twenties. My mother balked that it was too matronly for a young lady. I found it sophistocated and romantic, and still do!
Agh! I don't know where this lilac is coming from. Awfully overpowering attack on the senses. I have an immediate vision of a woman in a 50s B movie clawing at her own face.
Dioressence is green, powdery love. I'm a young woman and I really like this fragrance.
The opening is quite strong and chemical in a sense. Dioressence establishes the earthy greeness in the top notes, which is then followed by intense aldehydes and delicate fruits.
The heart makes way for the introduction of beautiful floral accords, mostly white florals, and sweet yet spicy cinnamon. The combination is almost heavenly.
I curse those that call Dioressence 'old lady'. I've never heard such nonsense in all my life. This may be the most recent re-formulated version, however I don't find this fragrance unpleasant in the slightest. The original may have been better, but the most current version still has avid fans.
The drydown is deliciously soft and somewhat sweet. Vanilla is the highlight here, with the patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss and musk creating an atmosphere behind it all.
The lasting power is wonderfully good, however the sillage is quite soft. I like this aspect, as it makes Dioressence quite mysterious. I often wonder why Dioressence is one of Dior's most overlooked fragrances. It's a pity that releases like the Poison series and Miss Dior Cherie tend to shadow some of Dior's earlier masterpieces.
I have just purchased an EDT from ebay. I wore it proudly in the early 80s & remember the sharp green opening that settled in sophisticated patchouli - I can't wait to re-wear its magic!
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I am reviewing the vintage parfum.
Au débouché, I get geranium, roses, cinnamon and patchouli.
Once I dab it on my skin, what I perceive is geranium, roses, cinnamon, patchouli, vanilla, benzoin and ambergris.
I find it a spicy, smooth and creamy oriental that doesn't smell dated at all; it is quite classic in feel.
I don't get any chypre-ness from it.
It possesses a raw sensuality that is enhanced by its vanillic sillage (sillage is a lot more vanillic than what it smells like on the skin), an animalic vanilla, not a gourmand one.
Its staying power is excellent.
l know this classic gets a lot of love & respect from others here, but l just couldn't get beyond the sharp, pungent, peppery, green opening. Being a gardener l'd have to say it smells like pelargoniums, the mediterranean plants often called geraniums, rather than the true geranium which has virtually no scent. Not something l want to smell of.
Maybe Dior have found a geranium that has a smell, but I'm assuming this a floral lash-up. Gorgeous opening, although very feminine imo. It then evolves into a rather sweet spice and patchouli bed. All in all a lovely oriental that lasts and lasts. I spray 20 minutes before venturing out as the heart and base are definitely unisex.
I love Dioressence. I can't say much more than it reminds me of a mixture of Opium and chypre notes. More elegant and exclusive than Opium though.
I see that the Parfum, Esprit De Parfum, and bath products have all been discontinued, which is such a pity (I really wonder what Dior is trying to do to their classic perfumes). The Parfum was richer and sweeter than the EDT, with the Oriental notes more obvious than the chypre. I love the EDT, but it is really isn't as special as the two stronger versions.
29th March, 2010 (last edited: 29th December, 2010)
There are a handful of 'reinterpretations' out there that I really enjoy. The current 'Dioressence' is one of them. It's a really credible Oriental chypre, which strikes me -- with its obvious cinnamon and vanillic punch and close-to-the-skin quality-- not as an old school Dior, but rather as a modern chypre with a 'vintage vibe', not unlike La Prarie's new masterpiece, 'Life Threads Platimum'.
'Dioressence' was once a deep, green, milky Oriental with tons of sillage. It was divine to me, the mixture of greens, citrus and "cream", like a key lime chiffon cake for my nose, and I truly, truly miss it.
But the latest scent bearing the name 'Dioressence' is aa fun, respectful-of-the-chypre, high-quality, sensual offering from Dior. And I wear it proudly.
The opening is a quite solid green / citrus / floral accord, very nice and already betraying its chypre identity with some rather strong animalic and indolic notes. As far as I’m concerned, it’s love at first sniff. I can’t detect the aldehydes that are supposed to be present, but the rest of the listed notes come through clearly and cleanly. I don’t notice very much change between the top notes and the middle notes… they both are green / floral accords with indoles, and I enjoy both very much. The base moves in with a complex base, where I’m presented with a sensual musk / patchouli / styrax accord sweetened by benzoin and vanilla.
I find Dioressence very sensual. And its sillage off my skin is a bit stronger than that of many similar fragrances. Its longevity is typical of other fragrances of its type and time. Dioressence is a cleanly presented chypre with competent-plus moves and characteristics… it’s a faultless fragrance.
Rather light in the EdT version, but still a recognizable chypre. With the vanilla and storax in the base, this leans a little in the direction of the Oriental genre. The cinnamon here is a subtle touch; just below the radar, it nevertheless gives a bit of spiciness to the floral bouquet in the heart note. The aldehydes and green note in the top also give it a lift and make this a bit lighter on the chypre scale than some.
I remember owning samples of this back in the 80s of the EdT. The opening notes were bright and sparkling, that developed into a spicy powdery and floral scent with a woody base of oakmoss.
Flash forward a couple of decades and I've had the luck of owning the parfum, which is much warmer and remarkably different. The EdT is basically fresh, with warm spicy and powdery tones. The parfum is warm and spicy, and in a way reminds me a lot of Opium, but not as overt and smoother. The opening is aldehydic and ambery, sensuous from the start. The heart is spicy with smooth florals with a recognizable note of rose and powdery notes of iris. The base is sensuous and woody with oakmoss and musk. To compare it with a mens scent (yes, guys, you can wear the parfum too), I would say it's much like JHL, but much more interesting.
Try the parfum, you might definitely change your mind for those who didn't really care much about the EdT.
I can't believe that there are only 7 reviews for this classic and sophisticated scent....
I have always loved Dioressence. It is, to my mind, the best green fragrance on the market and the best Dior. I think it is the oakmoss, patchouli and cinamon that work so well together to give a fabulous and unique fougere/chypre drydown that just lasts and lasts. It's suitable for all seasons and all occasions, and I'm just hankering after a new bottle.....
Fantastic, dark, major, classic style oriental. Not for the faint of heart! Could be a signature scent for the right woman who wants to make a big, elegant statement. It opens with a rush of intense aldehydes, heavy flroals and spices -- in the same family as Youth Dew, Sikkim, Paloma Picasso, Aromatics Elixir, Fendi, etc. The drydown reminds me a bit of the balamic drydown of Chamade parfum and is the best part. The lasting power is impressive as is the sillage. Could be worn by a man too. This fragrance is an impressive example of the heavy oriental style - it has one foot over the fence in the vague chypre style - but I read it as a classic oriental.
Very pretty, well balanced and elegant. It smells less 'vintage' than some of its contemporaries. In fact, to my nose, smells quite modern and niche-y. Still, a bit too much powder for me to wear on all but the rarest occasions. I wish the green floral opening would last longer--add a dash more spice, a dollop of creaminess, and I'd be hooked.
I have a vintage mini of this that I just discovered in a drawer. I haven't tried the reformulation but I can say that this smells really beautiful. Very well-constructed, deep and rich and not as terribly "perfumey" as some of the vintage scents can be. There is something very peppery in it to my nose in the middle, and as it dries there is something almost buttery. Still something, I suppose the geranium, keeps in from being full-blown powdery and adds a little edge, a bit of interesting sharpness. It is not sweet at all, and might be a nice masculine. I'd put this in the same general category as Chanel No. 5 and Youth Dew, but not as prim. Very sophisticated and almost exciting. So glad I opened that drawer!
I agree that it packs less of a whallop than Miss Dior, which is good for me. I can wear this to work, whereas Miss Dior has people coming from upstairs (I work on the first floor by myself) asking, "What are you wearing today?" Not complaining, but that makes me feel like it is a bit much.
It is still the oakmoss chypre of Miss Dior, only far more subtle. All Dior's last forever on me, something in the composition of Dior's goes with my skin chemistry. I get no rose from this at all.
I have only a decant, but plan to have a big bottle soon. This will become a second stringer in my stable. I so wish I could locate some of the vintage juice.
This review is for the new reformulation of it:
A very green, somewhat spicy and very unisex (if you can get past the top notes) fragrance that shines with contemporary coolness yet still adding a little of old world class to the mix. Contrary to what standard knowledge might say, I get more of a fourgère type of fragrance than a straight-up chypre. Maybe it’s the “new oakmoss” thing. I think it was called a chypre so chypre and dioressence fans wouldn’t feel “cheated” from the start.
The very fresh, intensely dry but flowery opening makes you wonder what has happened to those petals: they seem mixed with hay, wild grass and twigs, all moving in all directions, and the dryness of it all makes you feel that the flowers (among them a waxy violet) are drying up on your skin in real time, right there on your wrist.
After the rather rocambolesque opening, the scent settles quickly into the longest green pasture of unisex nature, combined with a pond-like air of freshness that says wet, grassy yet rocky with lots of fall winds, cool yet comfortable, with just a very soft hint of sweet. It’s intensely violet-colored geraniums, hidden in between intensely green shrubs and wet earth (after that very dry opening) and with an added dash of rosemary and even juniper. I would assume that if we layer it with lavender it would fit very comfortably there.
The whole composition of this new EdT, is rather short lasting and you’ll need to reapply during the day. Cool sillage. The drydown turns back to dry again, with what seems to be a very balanced marriage of patchouli and cinnamon with hints of clover. But it doesn’t really feel too spicy as the overall green feel of it all never really ceases to exist. I can see very practical, nature-loving people wearing this scent. It can feel nostalgic at times.
I like this EDT a lot. But this needs to exist in at least EDP in this new incarnation. An extrait would be even more attractive of course, like a stormy afternoon in the country.
What begins with "D" and has four syllables? Dioressence. What else? Disappointment. This cannot be the dynamic fragrance that influenced a generation. It is attractive, but not earthshaking. It is warm and vaguely animalic, but not overtly sexy. Because of its history, I wanted this fragrance to grab me by the neck and shake me like a tiger. If there is anything to a name, it should mean The Essence of Dior. By the same token, it is odd that the primly named Miss Dior carries a bigger whallop. Most of the time, when I like something on a paper strip, I love it on my skin. Even if I hate it on paper, I sometimes love it on my skin. I loved Dioressence on paper, right from the start, so I was prepared to go ape over it on my skin. The first whiff was animalic, fecal, which got my attention. But the opening note faded quickly, politely, and softly into the background, leaving the rest to develop into a sharp, then tangy cinnamon and sweet/sour floral combination, and then progress into an earthy geranium and patchouli aroma, still mildly dirty. I love chypres and patchouli and all of the notes contained in Dioressence. Altogether it strikes me as a good, but not glorious fragrance. Maybe the modern version has changed drastically from the vintage? Or am I only expecting too much from a legend?
Classic, but definitely not a summer scent. Goes well with cashmere sweaters, though. I'm undecided on this one - some days I love it, some days I can't stand it.
Which hasn't stopped me for having it in my wardrobe, so I guess I love it more than I hate it.