Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Dioressence by Christian Dior

Total Reviews: 25
This review is for the original, vintage formulation.

Top Notes: Aldehydes, Orange, Fruity Notes, Patchouli, Green Notes, Bergamot.

Heart Notes: Carnation, Tuberose, Cinnamon, Violet, Orris, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Geranium.

Base Notes: Musk, Patchouli, Benzoin, Vanilla, Oak Moss, Vetiver, Styrax.

Dioressence was launched in 1979. The nose behind this fragrance is Guy Robert.

To my nose, this is very much a classic chypre despite the fact that there is no labdanum listed in the notes pyramid. I detect a huge oak moss note that dominates the entire composition from top to bottom and from beginning to end. I do detect some florals, most notably rose, geranium, and a tiny hint of carnation, but the florals are dominated by the oak moss and green notes. I detect aldehydes, orange, and bergamot upon initial application, but they fade relatively quickly, albeit not as quickly as the top notes of many of today's fragrances. The one note that characterises Dioressence more than any other for me is the oak moss.

Dioressence smells trés chic, sophisticated, expensive and undeniably old school. It is very much a perfume of its era or even earlier than 1979. In fact, if I did not know better, I would have supposed it was launched in either the 1950s or 1960s. It is difficult to believe that this composition came at the end of the 1970s, just before the vogue for really big Orientals began in the early 1980s.

As it is so unmistakably wedded to its time period, I cannot imagine young women of today wearing Dioressence, but it is nonetheless an exemplar of the very high end chypre fragrances of its time. This is a fragrance for chypre worshippers more than anyone else, and it is a fragrance for those who love and tolerate oak moss very well in large doses. I like oak moss, but this is an oak moss bomb. Anyone who wants to know what real oak moss smells like should sample vintage Dioressence.

Longevity and sillage are good+. Projection is good. I applied it approximately eight hours ago and can still detect it on myself.

Fragrance: 7/10
Longevity: 8.5/10
Sillage: 7/10
Projection: 7/10
05th February, 2017
Poet Federico Garcia Lorca:

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon,
all things are watching her
and she cannot see them.
27th October, 2016
Kotori Show all reviews
United States
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.
26th November, 2015
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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.
17th August, 2014
2013–I’ve seen some discussions online about the merits and pathologies of vintage perfume collecting. I’m live-and-let-live on this one. If it feels good, do it. 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’ve come across an old/new bottle of Dioressence edt from the ‘90s-‘00s. Dioressence the Tease, the Trap. Purported 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? Not at all. It’s a powdery, spicy oriental-chypre that’s built for human scale. Prim and upright but also tart and musky. More than a bit sweaty, actually. Dioressence has that come-hither yet stand-offish quality that old-school powdery perfumes conveyed so well.

2016— I’ve just found a wrapped and sealed bottle of pre-1980 Dioressence eau de toilette. This is the original version, composed by Guy Robert. It existed in its original formulation from 1969 to 1979 when it was reformulated by Max Gavarry. The bottle I found in 2013 was Gavarry’s.

Gavarry’s reformulation resembles the Robert original in that are both powdery, woody-floral chyprientals in a perfume-genre multi-culti sort of way. Gavarry’s started with a tart, funk-and-powder dynamic and spiciness in lieu of the animalic quality of the original but the drydown failed to keep up. It was tame in comparison to raspy balsamic drydowns found in other ‘70s-style oriental/chypre hybrids like Rochas Mystère and Lancome Magie Noire (both 1978) and Lancome’s Sikkim (1971.) Though both models of Dioressence cover a lot of the same territory, the evolution of the Robert version favors the classic oakmoss/amber drydown of a chypre and therefore seems more coherent. Its path is more logical than Gavarry’s which has its finger in a few too many pies.

From the perspective of 2016 both versions seem dated, but in 1979 I imagine the ‘new model’ read as more contemporary than the original Dioressence. As animal-sourced materials were fell out of favor, rich, spicy notes were used to give perfumes depth and richness. The Gavarry reboot fits in with the Cinnabar/Opium/Ispahan spiced-eggnog perfumes of the late ’70s. The original Dioressence was based at least to some extent on Miss Dior, a floral-animalic chypre from 1947, and would have seemed unstylish and outdated by 1979. Gavarry’s version made sense for its time, but from the angle of 2016, the original has the glamour of the coveted mid-century chypres. The Gavarry is like a ‘70s movie sequel by comparison. Less authenticky.

Dior continued to change Dioressence over the years, the name being the only continuity to the original. Quite unfortunately, Dioressence’s lasting contribution of perfume history is that it started Dior’s trend of continual, unacknowledged reformulation. Look no further than the bottomless pit of Dior Homme and Miss Dior Chérie reformulations. Actually, look further. The unambitious reformulations of Dior’s classics like Diorissimo, Diorling and Dorama—‘Les Créatures de Monsieur Dior’ I believe they’re called—are the logical and regrettable outcome of the repeated tinkering with Dioressence over the years.
19th June, 2014 (last edited: 21st June, 2016)
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.
18th June, 2014
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.
17th December, 2013
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!
27th March, 2013
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.
29th January, 2013
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!
22nd September, 2012
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.

07th November, 2011
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!
29th October, 2011
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.
15th January, 2011
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Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
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.
16th June, 2010
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.

15th February, 2010

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.

19th January, 2010
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
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.
18th December, 2009
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.
27th July, 2009
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.....
10th May, 2009
AnnS Show all reviews
United States
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.
30th April, 2009
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.
22nd December, 2008
dagmar Show all reviews
United States
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!
04th July, 2008
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.
10th May, 2008
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.

13th October, 2007