Oh, dear…


On This Day – and Every Day:  A Profound Thank You to all our Veterans and  standing (and reserve) Service Men and Women. 




“Anita, you know how I feel about Diorling. 🙂 However I don’t expect miracles anymore. The old house of Dior is part of the past.
You might find the same structure but the ornaments are different. I see it like a different fragrance that happens to have the same name Diorling. 😉


This was the wise intro to a conversation I had with the beautiful Celina regarding the new (2011) version of Diorling.   Most of you know my deep and abiding love for the original  – I have at least 4 early-ish iterations of this beautiful fragrance, which has been reinvented several times, since the 1963 Paul Vacher chypre creation which is full of leather, oakmoss and patchouli.  Angela did a great comparison here back in 2008 and mentions a host of reformulations in the past (gasp!) 45 years!  I was 11 in 1963, way too young to know Diorling – and Dior was not my mother’s House.  So I came to the party way late and, like so many latecomers, full of rabid desire for the good times I missed. And several of the vintages I have hint of good times, indeed!

It’s weird to think of 1963 as vintage – that makes ME vintage, alas!  But there you have it.  And if I go down that Vintage Path of Comparison we will be here all day, with me lamenting What They’ve Done To Diorlingblahblahblah….and you know what?  I need to get over it.  Celina urged me to approach the 2011 version on its own merits…and after hemming and hawing about it, I did – sort of.  Okay, I approached it first by comparing it to an 80s-ish version, which was, actually not all that great a version.   It had a soapy quality to it, though the leather showed up quite early and stayed a bit longer than I expected – but it wasn’t as much fun as I would’ve liked.   My Snob Self was stunned…..becauuuuuuse….well, okay!  I admit it.  I PREFER THE 2011 VERSION!  There.  Ya happy?    The thing I exhort all perfumistas to retain, that Beginner’s Mind, slammed shut in my own brain, as I condemned the new version out of hand.   Well. Hoist on my perfume petard and all that.  I decided to quit while it was ahead – no way in the world could it compare to the earlier versions.  So with Celina’s gentle suggestion dingling around in my brain, I took a shower and started anew.

The new version, by Francois Demachy, is a flat-out chypre, with little pretension to leather, though it shows up halfway through the midpoint.  If I were to compare it to the original I would call it Reverse Diorling as the leather comes after the floral – but I’m not comparing, am I?  This one has a little bit of bergamot fronting it, with the jasmine, patchouli and leather following and dancing around…it’s got that ‘new’ Dior Chypre smell to it, as if the whole reissue group is taking its cue from Diorella  (and Michel Roudnitska).  There’s a hint of the lemony-bergamoty-leather from the original Diorella but it’s not as lemony-leather as Bandit.  If I were to compare, Bandit’s lemon-leather is an ivory-handled straight-edge razor, whereas the new Diorling is ….hmm…maybe a nice mother of pearl pocketknife.  Both can kill you but the former will likely scare you to death first.  Thesmooth bergamot comes sneaking back in during the drydown and is supported by a nice little (emphasis on little) hit of leather.  And it has decent, wallpapery, longevity.   I spritzed it at 8p and was surprised to find it still with me at 8a.

I know I’m stompin’ around this tune and not really getting to the point, which is “dangit, does it smell good and would you wear it!?”  and the answer, blushingly enough, is yes.   Not FB but I certainly don’t bemoan my decant. And blushing because I had to be (sweetly) scolded into Doing My Job, which is to rate a perfume on its merits, not on my own prejudices.  And…..well, with the name and all it can’t help but be  a reissue of one of my most beloved frags – it’s like I feared falling in love with another Rottweiler, now that my Georgie is gone.  And that’s just dumb (no dog can take his place but there is always room in my heart and home for another. ).   This is most definitely not the original Diorling but as Celina pointed out, I don’t think they were aiming for that.  I think (hope) they were setting out to issue another in their Chypre series and did so without embarrassing themselves overmuch (as they did with Diorama, imo).  2011 Diorling actually smells more like a Roudnitska now, rather than the original Vacher.  And that’s weird – but not too shabby!


And now a question for you:  are you still in possession of Beginner’s Mind?  Do you think it’s even necessary for a Perfumista, once s/he’s gotten past a certain sniffage point?

You can get it at SFA for $90, 3.4 oz.     My decant came from a split.

  • March says:

    Hey, I’m thrilled that you found a new formulation you like and that’s readily available. 🙂

  • Louise says:

    I don’t know that I can still possess a Beginner’s Mind really-but there are reformulations I can appreciate. As a different scent.

    Arpege is one of these-I just forget the name and comparison, and enjoy wearing it. Femme is another-little link really to the vintage, and I love cumin. Another group is the Piguet family; I adore the vintages, enjoy the moderns.

    Not sure what this says about my mind, but I remain open to a select few reformulations.

    • Musette says:

      I think you retain an open mind until you smell it! And that’s great – that’s the whole point of beginner’s mind. I err, often, in that I prejudge.

      Your reform likes and mine are in synch!

      xo >-)

  • Dante's Bra says:

    I love this post. Seems like a balance of Beginner’s Mind with learning about perfume structure and history would allow you to judge a perfume on its own merit (i.e. is it boring? linear? does it evolve and how?). Like other arts, perfume is a balance of innovation and history. To me, having Beginner’s Mind means being open and curious, which is invaluable no matter what kind of perfume lover you are.

    I love vintage perfumes because they hint at other kinds of beauty that we may not have any more, but you can’t always wear them easily because they were made for different times. As much as I love the intricate embroidery of the old Guerlains, sometimes I want to move through my day with something more flexible. Perfume wasn’t meant to sit in a bottle in a museum, but to be worn and loved by real people.

    Ain’t no shame in your Diorling love!

    • Musette says:

      I like the idea of ‘flexible’ perfume (and I adore the phrase ‘intricate embroidery’ in reference to the old Guerlains). I know what you mean about some vintages – once they’re on it’s like …:-?…it’s like they almost become the sole focus of your experience. I remember being in the same space as Leontyne Price (not ‘with’ – I don’t think anyone could ever have been ‘with’ Mme Leontyne)…it was like being in a vortex – and she wasn’t even doing anything! 😮

      xo >-)

  • mals86 says:

    You know that for certain items, I am a Confirmed Vintage Ho. (Emeraude, anybody? No. 5 parfum? Jolie Madame?) I love the richness and complexity of a lot of vintage fragrances, even ones that were on the cheap end of the spectrum when sold new. And I’ll put up with a wonky opening to get to the goodies that follow, which is good because so often those vintage things require some patience.

    But I like to think that that I’m keeping an open mind about the new stuff. Cuir de Lancome caught some flak from people who wanted it to be the original Cuir (1930’s? can’t remember ‘zackly) and were disappointed in how floral and ladylike the La Collection version was. But I love it. Love! Granted, I am not a big lover of green chypres nor of leather chypres – Bandit skeered the pants off me – but I can’t imagine CdL being *better* than this. It is pretty perfect, iffen you ask me.

    “Does it smell good and would you wear it?” is always the question, right? I think I might add, “Does it move me emotionally?” Because that’s what I’m after, really.

    • Musette says:

      Based on your reviews I would agree that you keep an open mind – probably more open than mine :”> I tend to get caught up in the vintage trap all too often, in that I don’t give the new stuff any sort of chance at all (I think some of that might come from having been bitten so often – and so hard- by re-releases).

      CdL is different from its earlier iteration but is one of those successful relaunches (imo). Its smooth beauty can stand both on its own and in comparison to its predecessor.

      xo >-)

      • Ann says:

        Great post! I agree with you all that it’s good to try and keep a beginner’s mind and judge things simply on their own merits. I don’t have a ton of vintage background to pull from, so perhaps that’s easier for me. But I’m right wit’cha if it smells good enough to wear and bonus points if it moves me. And Mals, I, too, am loving the Cuir de Lancome just as it is, so I don’t feel any need to investigate and/or mourn what was. It’s lovely right now!

  • Teri says:

    After having spent a good part of the last two years on a mission to collect all of the scents that were in some measure significant to me throughout my lifetime (either I wore them, friends or family wore them, or they were just ubiquitous during their time), it’s difficult to name too many scents that have been improved by the changes made to them.

    I can’t say that I’ve researched the matter, but it appears to me that more time per scent was taken in crafting scents ‘then’ than is taken ‘now’. As a result, most of the scents that endured were pretty darn perfect just the way they were.

    I don’t believe in reformulating fragrances. I think it’s a cheat to the consumer. I’m certainly not saying that all reformulations result in ‘bad’ scents, just that they aren’t the original. They are poseurs masquerading under a familiar name. As sad as it makes me to say, I think that fragrances which can no longer be made as they once were should be retired. And if perfume houses want to make a ‘modern’ (oh how I hate that term!) version of a classic, call it Nouveau No. 5, or 21st Century Diorling, or some such. The consumer deserves to be warned.

    • Musette says:

      I don’t know about ‘time’ taken (like you, I haven’t researched it) but I do believe the ingredients were more interesting back in the day. I think Houses hold onto those names for so many reasons – but I do think it would be great if there were a way to announce it’s being a reformulation, since not all perfume lovers would know that. I was stunned to find SFA describing Diorama as ‘new’ though now that I think of it….:-? it might as well be, having such a tenuous scent connection to the original.

      xo >-)

  • Persolaise says:

    This is actually a very, very interesting question (and a very enjoyable post too, by the way).

    I do sometimes wonder if we’re just plain wrong to expect perfumes always to smell the same. I mean, okay, if Dior or Chanel or whoever pour something into a bottle and name it after a 20th century classic knowing full well that it bears little or no resemblance to said classic, then they’ve got to expect a certain amount of criticism, right? But maybe we should also be expected to let go of the past, as you imply.

    I’m sure I’ve used this analogy elsewhere, but I’ll use it again. We seem to think that a perfume is like a DVD or an album of recorded music: it’ll always look and sound the same no matter how often we play it, no matter how old it is. But maybe we ought to think of perfume as a stage play or a live performance of music? The structure should be recognisable from one night to the next, but the details will be infinitely different.

    Just a thought.

    And as for Diorling, I have no knowledge of the original (more’s the pity) so when I smell the new one properly, I’ll have no choice but to judge it on its own merits.

  • pam says:

    I’m still new enough to being a perfumista to have something of a beginner’s mind. But part of it is that I have stayed away or not been exposed to a lot of vintage perfume. Once you go that route, there is a tendency to compare, and let’s face it, they’re not coming back. I just heard that Diorissimo is dead, but I bought a bottle last year and am enjoying it very much. (Smelled the original years ago.) Loved your review and will have to visit Saks and have a little spritz.

    • Musette says:

      I, too, think it’s difficult to retain a beginner’s mind once you fall down the rabbit hole of vintage/niche – but I think it’s important to at least try – I fight that fight all the time! And it’s a good thing I do, else I would’ve missed some gems!

      xo >-)