The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mini Mondays- Givenchy Dahlia Noir and Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver [10/3/11]

On this lovely Mini-Monday, we have perfect weather today and two fragrance reviews- one mainstream, one niche.


Givenchy Dahlia Noir was conceived under the creative direction of Givenchy's in-house head designer Riccardo Tisci. The roses and aldehydes on opening are reminiscent of a quieter YSL Paris. Dahlia Noir then moves quickly into generic floral bouquet territory with watery (not marine, more like diluted) aspects with a slightly powdery facet- presumably iris. There is the promise of sensual depth in the base notes with tonka, but it's never allowed to speak too loudly (even in the drydown), which is unfortunate, because it's what could have made this fragrance somewhat interesting. The note of patchouli is listed officially, but I cannot detect any. There is a soft but bright fruitiness to the composition, probably due to the rather nicely rendered mimosa note. The fragrance is described as a powdery floral chypre, but to say that this is any type of chypre is pushing it a bit. To my mind, this is an average-quality floral composition with unrealized potential. There are dozens of modern perfumes on the market today that smell just like this- taking cues from the drama and guts of the perfumes of the 1970s and 1980s, but ultimately they just end up being neither here nor there. In the end, Dahlia Noir gives us an amalgam of tired synthetic musks with lingering traces of generic, nameless flowers.



A lovely spray sample of Frederic Malle L'eau d'Hiver by Jean-Claude Ellena was sent to me by a friend as a birthday present (along with two other Malle samples). This was my first experience with any Frederic Malle perfumes, and L'eau d'Hiver turned out to be my favorite of the three. It's just a whisper of a scent, I could easily use up the entire 2ml sample in one application. As I sat there contemplating it, contented and fully saturated, I realized why I loved it so much. It's similar to Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, but it has the streamlined restraint associated with Ellena's work. The heliotrope note is dominant, but it's brighter and more cheerful here, with the bitter almond facet carrying with it traces of cherries macerated in liqueur. I usually prefer scents with more heft and lasting power, but I can say with certainty that if I had a bottle of L'eau d'Hiver, I'd use it up, and quickly. I'm not sure I see the association with winter in particular, because to me, this fragrance is as seasonless as it gets. Casual, uplifting yet refined, it's simply enchanting.



[sample of Givenchy Dahlia Noir was free from a department store, Frederic Malle L'eau d'Hiver was a gift]

1 comment:

  1. I have a sample of Dahlia Noir. I should try it for bedtime - I need something generic that won't keep me awake, ha!

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