This week Perfume Smellin’ Things will be focusing on “men’s” fragrances. I put “men’s” in quotation marks, because, as I have declared many times before, I consider masculine-feminine distiction in perfumery unnecessary and quite random. And in that I have the very authoritative backing of one of the greatest perfumers, Pierre Bourdon, who, when once asked what is the difference between a women’s a men’s scent, replied, Pour Homme written on a bottle. There are of course scents that are so “hairy-chested” and virile that I am unable to wear them (and wouldn’t want to smell them on a male of the species either), but then again, some of the “women’s” scents are so over-the-top buxom, heady, in your face, I-am-a-Woman-hear-me-roar feminine that they are just as unwearable for me. In other words, apparently I don’t deal very successfully with the extremes in perfumery, be they “masculine” or “feminine”.
And that brings me to today’s scent, Dior Homme, a wonderful example of moderation and understated elegance. Centered around an iris note, this fragrance is painted in subdued hues of beige-pink and grey. After the brief brightness of the top notes, which illustrate very well the in-between-two-worlds quality of lavender pointed out by Edwin Morris, who said that it is “a link between herbal notes and a decided floralcy”, the iris begins to flourish. This is a beautifully pale accord that makes me think both of the cool petals and the subtle rooty-ness of this flower. So as not to let the iris become completely ethereal and airy, as it is often prone to do, the perfumer, Olivier Polge, gracefully but firmly grounds it with the notes of amber, patchouli and vetiver, delicately sprinkles it with cocoa powder and, in the late drydown, completes the stylish composition with a hint of smoky leather. Supremely elegant, discreet, unfussy, sophisticated and neutral in the most positive sense of the word, Dior Homme is easy and a pleasure for me to wear and a delight to smell on a man. I must add that I find the direction, in which Hedi Slimane leads the men’s fragrance division of Dior to be admirable. The three colognes (Eau Noire, Cologne Blanche and Bois d’Argent) and Dior Homme walk the line between classic and contemporary, subtle and full of character with commendable ease and style and to me are more interesting and desirable than many of the “women’s” releases, both Dior’s and other companies’.
Dior Homme is available at Scentiments, $33.89-$45.89.
Tomorrow, Habit Rouge by Guerlain.
Here are the links to my (and, in one case, Mr Colombina’s) reviews of some other “men’s” fragrances:
Annick Goutal Duel
Christian Dior Bois d'Argent
Christian Dior Cologne Blanche
Creed Cuir de Russie
Guerlain L’Instant and L'Instant D'Un Ete Pour Homme
Guerlain Vetiver and Vetiver Frozen
Hermes Terre d'Hermes
Fresh Cannabis Santal
Le Labo Vetiver 46
Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d'Homme
Parfums d'Orsay Le Dandy
Labels: Dior, iris, Masculine, Olivier Polge