Lady of the House


As my inaugural entry, I thought it fitting to write about my first fragrance purchase of the year: Miss Dior, Le Parfum (not to be confused with the Eau de Parfum), created by Christian Dior’s house perfumer François Demachy.

As I was paying for this bottle, I could hardly believe what I was doing. I had no intention of even trying Miss Dior, Le Parfum on my skin, let alone buy the thing, and I recoiled as the salesperson swooped in for a preemptive strike against my yet-to-be-voiced apprehension. I was blown away.

Le Parfum is my ideal big, bold spicy oriental (technically, it’s an oriental chypre). This honey-coloured jewel comes on strong with a heavy gust of cinnamon, clove and vanilla, as though it swept through a Middle Eastern bazaar and then fluttered thorough the rose fields to settle on your skin. At the same time, it oozes a sugary richness that reminds me of a rum from Trinidad called Zaya Gran Reserva, steeped with notes of vanilla and caramel.

In the perfume, I detect a fleeting trace of tobacco, too, but that could be the effect created by the woody, fruity, sweetness of the blend. As it evolves, copious amounts of rose, citrus (Italian mandarin), and an elegant patchouli come out to seduce you, but that delicious spice clings on right through to the dry-down where it hovers in a sweet puff of powdery vanilla. The listed notes suggest the dry-down is amber, but to me it smells more like straightforward vanilla laced with with spice, which is perfectly wonderful.

This perfume is potent and extremely diffusive. (When I opened the box, I had to put the bottle in solitary confinement, though it’s recently been introduced back into the population). For my taste, the lightest spritz will do. Le Parfum is not some pretty young wisp; she is a buxom, sensual matriarch. This Miss Dior — perhaps better referred to as “Ms Dior” — has come of age.

Miss Dior, Le Parfum is a newer release (2012) but it carries an unmistakable quality that whispers of decades of past. If the original Miss Dior created in 1947 was your grandmother’s perfume, then the 2012 Miss Dior, Le Parfum could be what your grandchildren remember you by.

I’m not sure how it achieves this, but Le Parfum acknowledges its legacy and brings it to the present for all of us to experience. It’s not the original, nor is it intended to be, but of all Miss Dior’s many faces and reformulations, Miss Dior, Le Parfum is the clear heiress to the Dior scent throne — vastly different from her beloved ancestor, but worthy of her lineage nonetheless.

Even the flacon nods to its heritage, from the hounds-tooth embossing to the pretty bow around its neck. I love the stately silver nameplate, and that it comes in small doses: 40 ml and 75 ml.

As I got into the car, doused in my purchase, my youngest brother reacted as if I had entered with a biological weapon (Did I mention it’s potent?). “Oh my god, you didn’t buy that, did you?!” he exclaimed. I certainly did. And I may even tuck some away for my future grandchildren so that they may know “my” original Miss Dior.