Christian Dior Poison

I think I´m overdue on a post on buying on eBay.  So here it is.  Don´t buy any fragrance on eBay, particularly vintage.  It´s all worthless crap – bottles, even “sealed” ones, are filled with substances like rum or vinegar or sulphuric acid.  Or Angel.  Trust me, you don´t want to take a risk on that stuff.

Because otherwise you end up bidding against me and I know one of you nabbed that bottle of Bakir, you shameless wretches!!  Which one of you was it?!? Damn your eyes.  I wanted that bottle, how am I ever gonna feel the Bakir love if you keep outbidding me?!?  Wah wah wah.  In consolation I somehow accidentally bought another purse flacon of vintage Femme, which I have decided has a mind control drug as its chief ingredient.

However, I also bought (and yes, look, in only three paragraphs I actually get to the point of this post!  A Christmas miracle!) some Christian Dior Poison, the old stuff.  Because in my Coco sniffage I wandered down memory lane and it was pretty clear to me that they´d been messing around with Poison as well.

There´s a limit to how much weight you can peel off Poison.  Luca Turin described wearing Poison as “like road testing an Abrams M1 tank in the evening rush hour.”  You can remove some exterior armor, and tie a thousand helium balloons to it, and hire Christo to wrap it in pink tulle, and it´s still pretty heavy.  It´s still the world´s largest Fruit Cocktail Dipped In a Molten Syrup of Um, On Second Thought I´m Not Sure I Should Be Putting This On My Skin.

Notes according to Michael Edwards’ Perfume Legends include orange blossom, honey, wild berries, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, ambergris, cistus-labdanum, opopanax. The perfume was created by Edouard Flechier and released in 1985.

Poison was the launcher of a thousand office-fragrance bans.  I can see their point.  I put the teeniest dab on my hand and it created a Yugioh-like force field around me for the next twelve hours.  If you can bear it, though, go give it a spray (not during work hours); Bloomingdale´s and Macy´s usually have it.  I am interested to see that places like Sephora and Macy´s have frequently given up on Poison entirely and just carry a couple of its lesser spawn, like Midnight, which seems to have been pretty successful.  For the record, Hypnotic, with its poisoned-almond smell, is next on my to-buy list — well worth owning, in my opinion, assuming one whiff doesn´t kill you like the cyanide it conjures.

It´s not that the current iteration of Poison isn´t strong – it is.  And if you hated the original, you´d likely hate this just as much.  But we fans love that long, resinous, cherry-cordial arm of evil reaching out to grab us by the throat, and really, what´s the point of Poison without that? The smell of Poison is almost indescribable, but I’ve always loved Marlen’s go at it: “Somewhere between a triangle of incense, cough syrup, and tanning lotion lies the olfactory pyramid for Poison.”  It seems to me that the current Poison EDT has been slightly emasculated (defeminated?) — it’s less intense.  It’s like the eau de cologne of its former self.  It also seems to have been tilted in the direction of mere nauseating sweetness, while lacking the taloned viciousness of yore.

This New Poison quasi-gourmand EDT seems faintly ridiculous to me.  I assume it´s some sort of money-saving measure, or a gesture toward the changing-tastes floral update Chanel Coco has clearly undergone.    Trying to remake Poison into anything that would appeal in the current marketplace would be to render it unrecognizable as Poison (again, see the flankers.) 

While I was at it, I bought a bottle of Poison Esprit de Parfum, which according to an old NY Times article (see link below) was the parfum version of the Poison EDT.  (Brief aside: Esprit is pictured in Perfume Legends and I only find it and the EDT online, including eBay.  Does anyone own an eau de parfum, or is the esprit the EDP?)  Esprit is apparently aimed to satisfy those of us for whom … you know … regular Poison isn´t quite potent enough.   Describing the difference between the two is like trying to gauge the difference in impact between a sledgehammer and a pickaxe.  Esprit is less sweet, slightly animalic and more amber/incense.  It is quite smooth, like many parfum iterations are.  It is also astonishingly powerful.  I had, at one point, a dot of Poison Esprit on my thumb I had applied with a toothpick, and the clerk at our corner store looked at me with an expression between suspicion and horror and correctly identified the scent.  I think she’s hoping it’s not making a comeback. 

If you´re interested, I thought this NY Times article from 20 years ago was fascinating.  They´re predicting that perfume makers were going to stop making parfum concentration because it´s too expensive and nobody´ll buy it.  Hah – this at a time when they quote a 1.7 parfum for $150, and a 1-ounce EDP for $25.   I want Santa to bring me a time machine.

57 Comments
sara December 23, 2008

I'm hanging on to my last drops/dregs of vintage Coco and Mitsouko because facing the "new and improved" versions will make me cry! FYI Ava-Luxe Bakir is a great dupe of the original and quite affordable!

Erin December 23, 2008

My Poison story: Back in the 8os when I was a teenager, my parents made me take a job at a fast food restaurant in order for me to prove I wasn't an entirely useless git (still working on that). One of the other girls working there (Teri) liberally doused herself in her mother's bottle of Poison before every shift... I'd like to suggest that one has never experienced the truly hideous potential of this monster until smelling it up against the stink factor of old fryer oil and chemically re-hydrated pickle chips. Customers would come in, take one sniff of Teri at the register and flee for their olfactory lives! Brilliant! It was like some kind of perfume guerrilla art Long story short, our manager (Creepy Larry) tried to ban her from wearing it at work. When she wouldn't desist, I rushed to her defense, arguing her constitutional right to smell like a maraschino cherry dropped into a slaughterhouse, thus getting myself fired alongside her and beginning my life long affection for its awfulness. Have a merry holiday. Looking forward to hearing all about the scented presents you all receive.

pyramus December 23, 2008

I suppose you know that there was at one time an Eau de Cologne version? It was enchanting: lighter, fresher, with the hatefulness bleached away. It was still recognizably Poison, but without the attack-dog intensity. As far as I know, the Esprit de Parfum was the closest they ever got to an actual perfume. That was lovely, too: deeper and lusher than the admittedly strangulating EDT, which is how everyone seems to have experienced Poison. And now they've changed it. It's reformulated, and absolutely no longer the same thing. I bought a bottle (the Amulet, that refillable dagger-shaped vial) and I thought it had gone off, so I checked one of the refills, and then a bottle in a department store, and then another in another. All the same, all changed. Ruined.

Robin December 22, 2008

I can't contemplate Poison right now either...in an end-of-December mad rush, and just wanted to say Happy Holidays & all that...hope it's perfect for you & BC & Hecate & Buckethead & Diva.

Pikake December 22, 2008

I can't contemplate Poison right now, I'm still laughing over.... "and hire Christo to wrap it in pink tulle, and it’s still pretty heavy". Nice work!!

sweetlife December 22, 2008

Love reading these comments. I didn't think I knew what Poison smelled like, either. But when I finally gave it a sniff, the 80's came rushing back to me... And then, my sweetie and I were staying in a fancy hotel paid for by somebody else, and I kept smelling it when we came out to the elevators. Finally, I figured out that the manager wore it, and that I could smell her ages after she had been by to do a sweep of the floor. I shared this with DH and he said, "Are you sure? I thought that was some kind of cleaning product!" I don't know whether to go google snipe-ware or be glad I don't know about it. I've had some stunning ebay purchases recently, but though they were very good deals they weren't exactly cheap, all added up together. I don't think I need to be any further enabled...

helenviolette December 22, 2008

;) I was a youngin in the 80's and had a mini bottle of Poison (aka Grape Ape)from my trusty perfume haunt (Drug Emporium)- surely there were other 11 yr. olds out there wafting around that stuff?

karin December 22, 2008

I was in my 20's in the 80's and Poison was one of my very favorite scents. I haven't had a bottle since probably the early 90's. I loved it, and wore it with abandon. I was clueless, though. Was I antagonizing everyone around me when I wore it??? Oh well!!! That purple bottle was awesome,too...fit right in your hand. Unfortunately, I didn't keep the empty bottles, so have no trace of Poison left. I know Filene's in MA carried it before they went out of business a few years ago. Haven't seen it anywhere else since.

Olfacta December 22, 2008

Oh, Thank God! I was thinking maybe all that vintage stuff I bought six months ago was...fake? It's just been too nerve-wracking for me lately, even the sniping. I've even forgotten my password. Not the one for paypal, though.

Magpie December 22, 2008

Oh, Poison. ::sigh:: Way back when, I was a tour guide for a group from Russia and they gifted me with a ginormous bottle of Poison. I wore it constantly. (I wonder if I still have that bottle somewhere? Hmm. Time to call mom and have her root through my old bedroom.) At any rate, after my girlhood perfumes of Je Revien and Niki de Saint Phalle (my crazy/fabulous aunt's fault), moving into Poison for my late adolescence was, well, perfect. I've never tried the spawn, and I won't venture near the new stuff. Like a high school crush, I prefer to remember Poison as she was.

Patty December 22, 2008

Can you believe I've never smelled Poison either??? I guess in the 80s I just wasn't paying attention. Now I'm extremely curious, having read reviews like this one. Only problem is, no one seems to have the original anymore, only Pure, Hypnotic, Midnight, etc. I'll keep searching and hope it doesn't knock me flat when I finally do try it! As an aside, I've been lucky with the two fragrances I've gotten through eBay (Bellodgia and Bandit) - they both seem to be as they should be, with no strange additives.

Musette December 22, 2008

I will always associate Poison with my longtime BFF who wore it during her third (and most disastrous) marriage - she was wearing it when her nutcase new husband tried to kill her on their honeymoon (or so she says - I wasn't there). Anyway, that was the apex of 80 Bad Girlism to me and I never quite 'got' it. I think I was wearing either Anais Anais or Ralph Lauren at the time - pretty tame stuff. xo>-)

Louise December 22, 2008

Darling, are you sniping those desired auctions? The only way to go with so many aggressive perfume collectors running around :o OK. Confession time. I have never knowingly smelled Poison...the flankers, yes (I like Hypnotic on others), but the original, nevah 8-| Do I want to start now??? It takes a lot to scare me, but this might just do it....:-ss BTW, it'll be Ruby pumps for the holidays, thanks!

Bryan December 22, 2008

March, I have the edp and the esprit sitting on my shelf and when I go to pick something for the day/night/middle of the night/Anytime, I avoid even brushing up against the sleeping dragons, for fear of spilling them and being forced to move. I do love them, once in a very rare while, but even I, who adores big bold monstrous sillage, is a bit afraid of the behemoth. You are welcome to any of the stuff I have for comparison. I shudder to think of how much it will take to wrap the suckers tightly enough.

Masha December 22, 2008

http://www.irmashorell.net/bakir-perfume_2 The above website is Irma Shorell's Bakir page. They do very faithful remakes of things like Chaos and Venezia, and reasonable prices. Is this the Bakir you're looking for?? Loved the article on Big 80s Poison. I sure remember that one! But I was a Cristalle teen in those days....

carlene December 22, 2008

Oh, no, they did not! I'm going out there tomorrow in 30 below or whatever it is, I've got to know. Not that I don't believe you, I do. I just don't want to. I need to know how bad it is. I've lost my faith in humanity. My only comfort is that I still have at least a half bottle of the old stuff. Crap.