Dior : Dior Homme

Clark Gable - click to enlarge

Created by : Olivier Polge

Date : 2005

Genre : Iris tobacco

Concentration : eau de toilette

Evidently, Olivier Polge has inherited some of his father’s creative genius.  Although this recent version of Dior Homme is not as gorgeous as the original when it was launched in 2005 (according to sources), it’s still absolutely lovely and I find it so very encouraging for men’s perfume, today and in the future.

Dior Homme smells rich…  it is well constructed AND it has top notes, a heart and bottom notes!  WHAT A CONCEPT… EH?!?  (Can you tell I’m Canadian?)

Polge’s creation starts with a fruity-iris accord that I don’t think I’ve ever smelled before.  The iris is not the vegetable version we find in Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist… it’s the powdery, grey version that is melancholic, suave and classy!  And the fruity notes provide a mouth-watering backdrop… too bad they don’t hang around very long.

The heart is an iris-tobacco accord with a distinct vanilla note weaving itself in and out of the mix.  There is plenty of space between the notes and you can’t help but be in awe as to… how do they do that?  Although I don’t smoke tobacco, I like it in perfume as long as it’s balanced with other notes and the vanilla-tobacco drydown is exquisite.  And so… I love this one so it’s difficult to write about it.  Words are scarce.

As for perfume classification, Michael Edwards calls it a Soft Floral.  Michael, I love ya baby… but I’m not getting it.  (Can you tell it’s Oscar night?)  I’m calling it a Wood – Crisp.

I don’t know why I never bought this one before but I’m really happy it’s in my magic closet now.  I’ll be wearing Dior Homme when I want to project a badboy image… because DH is as close to smoking tobacco as I’ll ever get without coughing my lungs out.


Image : Clark Gable

L’Artisan Parfumeur : Dzongkha

Created by : Bertrand Duchaufour

Date : 2006

Genre : Woody iris

Concentration : eau de toilette

When I test a fragrance I always wear it twice but in this case, I made an exception.  One day was enough.  It’s not that Dzongkha is bad, it’s just that it’s not for me.

I suppose Dzongkha was considered a breakthrough when it came out… an iris for men with a woody facet but that’s about it.  There isn’t much else to say other than it smells synthetic to me because the woody-iris accord didn’t evolve much and almost 24 hours later I could still smell it on my skin… and that was even after a hot shower at the end of the day!  I said in an earlier review of La Traversée du Bosphore that Bertrand Duchaufour was the King of Cold.  The same goes for Dzongkha.  It’s downright chilly.

The iris in this one is a rooty, vegetable iris.  If you like Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist, you know what I’m talking about.  But be careful, Dzongkha is overlaid with a wood veneer so my reference should be taken with a grain of salt.  The notes are tightly packed and as my friend FiveoaksBouquet would say “there are no spaces between the notes”.  In addition, this one is two-dimensional.  It’s missing a third dimension… some door to let one in!  It reminds me of Van Gogh’s doorless church at Auvers with opaque windows that leaves the viewer outside!

So let me finish this post with the fact that I’m not a fan of woods… so if you like woody scents, try this one out.  As for me… get me out of here!  Next week I’m reviewing something green to help me forget this cold, dark winter!

You’re out of the woods (!)
You’re out of the dark
You’re out of the night
Step into the sun, step into the light
Keep straight ahead
For the most glorious place
On the face of the Earth or the sky
Hold onto your breath
Hold onto your heart
Hold onto your hope
March up to the gate and bid it open

Top image : Church at Auvers (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh

Bottom image : Optimistic Voices from The Wizard of Oz (1939)

L’Artisan Parfumeur : La Traversée du Bosphore

Created by : Bertrand Duchaufour 

Date : 2010

Genre : Gourmand amber

Concentration : eau de toilette

The Bosphorus Strait is a natural boundary between Europe and Asia separating the West from the East, modernity from antiquity.  When I tested La Traversée du Bosphore it felt like a trip from chic, cerebral Paris to earthy, mystical Istanbul, which is why Denyse Beaulieu’s reference to the Orient Express in her perfume review is perfect.  In this fragrance, Paris is represented by France’s national flower, the fleur de Lys (or iris) while Istanbul is represented by a sweet, incense-rich amber.  How Bertrand Duchaufour pulls it off is simply a stroke of genius because I’ve never seen a perfume move so much.  LTdB goes from a frigid iris-leather accord to a warm, sultry amber in a matter of a few hours.  This shift may not be for everyone… it’s a bit Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… but I found it intriguing and fun.

If Sophia Grojsman is the Queen of Roses, Bertrand Duchaufour is the King of Cold.  It’s not that Mr. Duchaufour doesn’t do other things, it’s that when he does cold notes, he can’t be beat.  The opening of La Traversée du Bosphore is as cold as it gets with one of the greyest, most frigid iris notes I have ever smelled… it almost gave me shivers.  Although I got a couple of fleeting whiffs of Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens, which always smelled way too vegetable for me, LTdB’s iris is luxurious and intense.  It’s not quite Chanel’s Cuir de Russie… nothing is.  But it’s still beautiful.  As well, there are some wood and leather notes in there… prompting my friend Ricky when presented with the scent strip to say, “It’s complex”.  That, it is.

The sales associate at the L’Artisan Parfumeur counter talked about many other notes, including apples, roses, pistachio and tobacco but, in truth, I didn’t get much of those notes in the top, middle or basenotes.  I just got this beautiful iris-leather opener which morphed into a candied amber about 3 hours into the test.  The gear change between the two main accords was intriguing.  It’s not unlike a sunset when the sunlit pink clouds are offset by a steely blue sky. 

La Traversée du Bosphore’s quality, sweet amber drydown seems to last forever and you have to wonder if this is the same perfume you started out the day with.  Once you’re there, you realize just how far you’ve travelled.  LTdB is a great example of top-down construction… starting in one place and taking to a completely different place.

Classifying this one is a puzzle but I’ll go with Michael Edwards’ strategy of basing his classification on the drydown.  So… it’s a gourmand amber.

Graphically, La Traversée du Bosphore  reminds me of the above Mark Rothko painting with its cool blue top and warm amber base.  Both painting and perfume are spectacular.

If this perfume doesn’t transport you, nothing less than a time machine will.


Top image : Untitled by Mark Rothko (1903-1970)

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