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Monday, June 05, 2006

Perfume Review: Dior Homme

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


Christian Dior Bois d'Argent

Christian Dior Cologne Blanche

Creed Cuir de Russie

Guerlain Derby

L’Instant and L'Instant D'Un Ete Pour Homme

Vetiver and Vetiver Frozen

Terre d'Hermes

Fresh Cannabis Santal

Le Labo
Vetiver 46

Les Parfums de Rosine
Rose d'Homme

Parfums d'Orsay Le Dandy

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Blogger andy said...

I am with you,totally, as the feminine and masculine distinction is concerned... I didn't know Pierre Bourdon's answer to this question: His "pour homme" on the bottle is probably the best I have ever read about this issue! With some exceptions I'd wear any perfume irrespective of its label pour femme or pour homme.
But, I probably wouldn't wear Dior's Homme....

2:37 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Thanks! I am looking for a non-vetiver, not-too-out-there skin scent for the Big Cheese ... this one was recommended by a commenter, I need to try it. Terre d'Hermes was too much, Arpege was too spicy. I now have samples of: Allure PH, D&G, L'Instant and Armani Code to spray on him if he'll stand still...

7:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You didn't like Dior Homme? I would love to read your opinion on the scent!

8:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Non-vetiver, not-too-out-there skin scent more or less describes Dior Homme. It is a "quiet" and "tame" fragrance and I mean both words in the very positive sense. I think there is a good chance the Big Cheese will like it, as well as L'Instant Pour Homme (perhaps try the new summer version on him too?).

8:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am glad to have been of any help :-) Are you thinking about Father's Day present?

9:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Always happy to enable in any way I can :-P

Se,, I didn't even think about Father's Day when I planned this week's reviews. Shame on me. :-)

10:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

M, there's not a word in your wonderful review that I disagree with. Dior Homme is such a beautiful scent, I love it to bits! And this week's focus on "men's" fragrances is a great idea :)

10:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Dusan! I like Dior Homme too, I was actually surprised to discover I like most if not all Dior's "men's" scents.

10:27 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

I'm finding I really love the rooty smell of iris. The notes in this sound heavenly. I'm going to have to try this and let my husband try it, too.

10:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The rooty quality is my favorite thing about iris. I like "floraL' iris fragrances too, but it has to be rooty for me to really fall in love with it.

11:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I apologize to everyone who tried to comment today only to find the blogger not working...again!
Very sorry, and I hope the site will be up and running very soon.

1:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great review, as alwasy! I do love Dior Homme, too. I find it a perfectly balanced minimalistic cologne. My only gripe is about the name - it's one of the least masculine scents I've ever smelled. Total discrimination! ;D

3:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I completely agree. I can't think of another less manly "masculine" scent. I actually thought my first sample was mislabelled :-)

3:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You are absolutely right. Edwin Morris. I believe the quote is from Fragrance : The Story of Perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel. Off to correct the mistake.

5:07 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I never really liked scents that go too much towards masculine or feminine, at least for everyday wear. Someone wrote that Fracas was just the kind of scent that lead to "Perfume-free" offices (shudder), and as much as I adore it on a lady, it's a special occasion kind of scent. Much like MKK on a man: although I love it, I don't see me wearing it to the office.

This sounds just wonderful, though.

5:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You mention two perfumes that are exceptions to my rule of not liking extremes :-) It's especially funny with Fracas, beause I am usually a white-floral-hater, and yet I adore that monsrously heady white floral. But no, I wouldn't dare to wear to the office either! :-)

5:38 PM EDT  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Colombina
hmmm....I will do a post about the coming days (I hope).
Now, I have to read the Habit rouge post of yours....

3:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Colombina, thanks for your review of Dior Homme - definitley one of the more interesting new releases. I do wish it was a bit different, but I still like it all the same, for its elegance and good manners. These can be very charming qualities... I think it works well on both men and women, and love the bottle too.

As for the distinction between men's and women's scents, I think the definition is who wears it, not how it's marketed. However, some scents seem to be more feminine and some more mascline than others. But the label is not what would stop me from wearing one or choosing the other.

However, I think a lot of men are not so much into perfumes, and feel they need the reassurance ( or guarantee) that they are not going to wear a lady's scent by mistake. That is why in my own line I do highlight the ones that are particularly masculine, to help customers that are more traditional about scents feel comfortable about their choices.

11:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is very true what you are saying about men needing the reassurance of the manly perfume name. I have also heard women exclaiming in fear, but it says here it is a man's scent!

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Logo Design Pilbara said...

i agree,i love Dior Homme,too...As for the distinction between men's and women's scents, I think the issue is who wears it. However, some scents seem to be more feminine and some more mascline than others.nice review....thanks

9:24 PM EDT  

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