Continuing with what has apparently turned out to be Edmond Roudnitska week, today I am wearing Christian Dior Diorella, said to be Roudnitska’s personal favorite among his own creations. It was released in 1972 and features lemon, greens, basil, bergamot, melon, jasmine, rose, carnation, cyclamen, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, patchouli.
Diorella is often called the "sister scent" of Eau Sauvage, but Roudnitska disagreed. Diorella, he said, was descended from Eau Fraîche de Dior (1952), although both Eau Sauvage and Diorella could also be called the grandchildren of Diorissimo (see Michael Edwards, Perfume Legends, p. 160). It is not for mere mortals such as I to argue with genius, and I have never smelled Eau Fraîche de Dior, but Diorella smells very much like the feminine version of Eau Sauvage.
The top notes are mostly citrus and greens; if sprayed, it is very perfume-y, the kind of perfumey that can stick in the back of your throat for the next hour. As it settles, it takes on heavy notes of over-ripe fruit. The fruits settle in turn (it is not overly fruity or sweet once it dries down), and are joined by the floral notes, although as in Eau Sauvage, it is hard to make out anything individually other than the jasmine.
It has the same lovely oakmoss and vetiver base as Eau Sauvage, and like that fragrance, it is fresh and summery, but the fruits and patchouli give it a deeper, more languid feel. And while it is more feminine than Eau Sauvage, to my nose it is not so feminine that a man couldn't wear it.
The Eau de Toilette is easily found online. I do not know if it was ever made in a heavier concentration, if you know, please comment!
Sounds intriguing, chere NST. I've never tried it.
Laureline (whiling away the hours until foot sculpture time)
Ah, I found something you haven't smelled! I am taking notes. And good luck with those feet, L.
Oh, how this one brings back memories! This was the first fragrance I ever received from a boyfriend, my first boyfriend actually! I think I was 16, and he lived with his family in Venezuela, and he gave me the big 200ml splash bottle…I think I still have it somewhere. I can't recall if it was EDT or or EDP, but it was the most beautiful green,sparkling fragrance I have ever smelled.
A few months ago I was in Saks and I noticed that they had Diorella so I tried the tester. It was not what I remembered at all, it barely resembled the light, lovely scent from so many years ago. Is it a change in formula, or just a lapse in olfactory memory?
V, What a nice memory! Luca Turin, in Le Parfums, says:
le parfum est nettement meilleur que l’eau de toilette, et exprime mieux le côté vert
de cette création.
Tous deux semblent quelque peu diminués en comparaison des premières éditions,
mais je n’y jurerais pas.
So I guess it did come in parfum (and maybe still does?) and has perhaps been reformulated. I did not try it until last year, so I have nothing to compare it to. But, will say that I find it radically different sprayed vs. dabbed, at least in the first few minutes, and perhaps that is what you are objecting to? That is what I meant by the “stick in the back of your throat” comment…it isn't so strong and perfumey when you use a splash bottle.
I have to get a copy of that book; Turin is right on the nose with that assessment.
I'll hunt around for the bottle & see what the label says; now I'm curious!
By the way, I saw a picture posted on the Perfume of Life board of Luca Turin and he was not at all what I had imagined he would look like (after reading the Emporer of Scent); he is actually better looking than I had pictured him to be!
Another by the way, I love how you reviewed a “family” of scents for one line by one nose–it just adds another dimension to my fragrance education!
I've never smelled any of these Diors you're reviewing this week, but I just have to say, I'm loving the ad artwork.
T, Rene Gruau did lots of the old Dior ads, although I'm not sure he did all of these. There is a wonderful site at http://www.rene-gruau.com where you can see more of his perfume ads. I don't understand why modern perfume advertising is so utterly boring.
Hi R! I have tried to like these but gave away Miss Dior and Diorella (years ago). Now I am keen to retry them – I have changed!
Thanks for the review – great as usual.
And I have never tried Miss Dior, N! Will have to do so and see what they've done to it with the new Miss Dior Cherie.
If you're interested in another piece on Luca Turin, in the May 2004 issue of Gourmet, there's an article by Chandler Burr on LT on Jurancon wines, which LT compares to Caron fragrances for having a creme de marron scent. He said that Sauternes are more in the Guerlain school. There's picture of LT looking off somewhere with a glass of Sauternes in his hand.
Anyway, about Diorella. Next time I go to a stand alone Dior boutique in Manhattan, I must check the parfum version. As you know, LT totally went off on “Dior's accountants” in Burr's book for changing the Dior fragrances from their original versions.
Thanks so much for posting, I am going to try to find that issue of Gourmet. I wonder if there is a single fragrance left in its original state; even Chanel no. 5 has had minor changes.
If you get your hands on some Diorella parfum, please let us know if it is wonderful!
I love Dior Eau Fraiche, let me know if you want a sample of it. Can't wait to try Diorella now. I have Miss Dior and Eau Fraiche only.
I suppose it's because photography now dominates the fashion media, and everything is sex-sex-sex and young-young-young. Snore.Snore.Snore. Except for a simple sketch by Manolo Blahnik or Karl Lagergeld it's rare to come across drawings or an illustration in a fashion magazine these days because advertisers and readers will complain that they can't see the accessory or the clothes. Everything has to be spelled out to readers now, which doesn't make for subtle, intriguing photos or drawings. Vera Wang perfume is if you want to become a bride, Envy is for if you want to be envied because you get laid because of your panda eyeliner technique etc… Grau was one of the greats. If you want a dose of chic without morbidity or WASP preppiness, he's your guy. That ad for Eau Sauvage is so impish.
It is true, photography, which can be wonderful, has ruined advertising. Do you know for sure if Gruau did the Eau Sauvage ad? I can't find any confirmation online.
How kind, I would love a sample. Is it discontinued? The only thing I could find online was Dior Addict Eau Fraiche.
Turin and Sanchez rated this perfume so highly in Perfumes, The Guide that I had to try it. Also have become a recent convert to Diorissimo. Went to Saks 5th and sprayed some on. As soon as I got into the car my 14-year-old daughter just about bolted out of it exclaiming “What is that horrible smell?” Even though it seemed like it would belong in a category of scents I would like, it's definitely not for me. It reminds me a lot of Yves St. Laurent's “Y” which I used to wear, which I guess I've outgrown since I'm not wearing it now. Diorella is a very persistent scent — I feel like I'm still smelling it two days out. Too bad Diorissimo doesn't last longer.
YSL Y & Diorella are both chypre fragrances, so they do have something in common.
Ah, so this is chypre…it is wonderful! I'm an archivist by profession, so I love the musty smell, lol, glad they bottled it. The herbal/citrus/(very light) jasmine is divine…I'm in love. I get what you mean about sticking in the back of your throat at first, but it doesn't bother me if I don't rub my nose in it. I give up on the sticky-sweet contemporary scents. It's all about the '60s and early '70s for me for a while. Private Collection is next. (Am I correct in thinking it's NOT a chypre? “Just” a green floral?)
EL PC *is* a chypre — a green chypre, and you can see more green chypres here:
Hi, I’m a newbie to the world of perfume, and just beginning to explore building a small collection of fragrance for myself. This blog has been a wonderful source (both entertaining and resourceful) for me. But I also need some help here. I bought a bottle of Diorella without sniffing it, because of its wonderful reviews, being a classic, not a floral, and also because Saks is too far away from me and Saks online had a discount. (Uh!) Smelling Diorella teaches me that fragrance does “develop”; but sniffing it is also annoying. Somehow shortly after spraying it on my wrist, I smell something kind of powdery and pungent (probably inaccurate adjectives since the smell is hard to describe), lingering quite strong, and persisting into the drydown, though less pronounced than before. And it makes my nostril itchy. I don’t know if it is the “mossy smell” of the oakmoss, though it seems kind of similar to the drydown of Cristalle EDT, which, I learned, has oakmoss, and I find not easy to like. (But I don’t remember if I got itchy nose after sniffing Cristalle EDT in Macy’s.)
I try not to dismiss a perfume simply because I don’t adore it from the first sniff, especially the classics. But Diorella is my first chypre perfume and a challenging experience that maks me wonder if I should simply stay away from chypre from now on. Any tips/advice of how I may learn to appreciate Diorella and chypre? Thanks!
Several reponses. First, you know, chypres really vary…even if you don’t like oakmoss, you might find some chypres you like, so I wouldn’t write off a whole fragrance family that quickly. Second, things grow on you. You might put Diorella aside for 6 months, and keep trying other things, and then go back to it and see what you think. You might also give Dior Eau Sauvage a chance…it’s lighter than Diorella and perhaps an easier “entry level” chypre.
Third, so far as tips for appreciating it — gosh, why bother? I mean, give it a chance later, as I said, but beyond that, there will always be fragrances you don’t like, right? There are many, many wonderful classics that I simply can’t stand to wear.
I always thought Diorella reminded me of the scent of slightly green bananas. Anyone agree? I just love it and it’s great for these cold Scottish winter weather blues. Whenever I wear it people ask about it, so it must be distinctive, hopefully in a pleasing way. It’s so brilliant being able to find out its history! Thanks nst.
I always think of peaches & plums, but yes, a very distinctive scent whatever fruits you get!
I came across this blog while trying to locate some Diorella perfume. I was given Diorella when I turned 13, in ’79. The full works: soap, edt, perfume, powder. Although I’ve tried others, Diorella has been my fragrance ever since. In response to the original post, I still have a very small bottle of the perfume, bought for me years ago and which I hardly wear. Although I’ve been told that perfumes loose their fragrance after a while, recently when traveling I started bringing it with me instead of the larger EDT bottle. Still, the search continues for the more potent concentration…
Perfume does not usually lose its fragrance, although it might “turn” — go bad, essentially. Also pretty sure Diorella has been reformulated at this point (reportedly it’s still quite good, just different), so treasure your old bottle!
I started wearing Diorella in 1979, and do now. There were several years when Dior stopped production of this scent. When they brought it back there was an odd difference. As noted by others, it is similar, and very nice, but heavier–a bit more matronly. (Then again, so am I). The original had a magical lightness to it, which it definitely does not have anymore. (A French perfume journalist once explained the change, but I don’t remember what he told me). That said, there’s a former boyfriend that loved the old Diorella on me. I saw him again after many years, and when he hugged me he immediately recognized the fragrance. So… not that different, I guess.
In the U.S., I believe that Saks and Dior itself are the only places that carry it.
You’ve been very loyal! And yes, it’s not all that easy to get in the US, although lots of the online discounters carry it.
Diorissimo was my birthday present from my granny, every year, since i was 16. But once she bought Diorella instead, and she gave it to me without noticing the difference.
20 years passed, and i still remember that perfum, i can feel it, i remember where i was when i smell it for the first time. Even i miss it. just used that only bottle, and after that i went back to Diorissimo…. until now.
I loved that precious little bottle…but i finally i allways choose Diorissimo