Fourplay — still flying the Missing Woman Formation

This week March is still gone….. but on her way home!!! We have picked two scents for this week, Frederic Malle’s French Lover, which is brand spanking new, and Christian Dior Diorella.


Is he butch or Metro?

Notes of angelica, pimento, galbanum, iris, bay rum, clove, cardamom, juniper, cedar, oakmoss, frankincense, patchouli, vetiver

Lee: Can’t he be butch and metro? Truth or dare time: I’ve had a couple of French lovers in my dark and sleazy past, and you know what, I think I picked badly. They weren’t all that. Now, not wishing to slander (libel? I always get those two confused) a nation, I’ll put it down to wrong choices. But if they were representative of French Lovers, this scent’d be all talk and rather neurotic action. It isn’t, thankfully. I do get the similarity to Ellena’s Angelique in the top notes – it was like the candied angelica that used to decorate fairy cakes in my childhood which, in spite of all the sugar, still had a bitter, gin-like quality to them. And then it becomes hirsute, and reminiscent of butch fougere stuff from the 80s. Elle said it reminded her of CDG2 Man, and it does me a little (the incense / wood / spice thang) but it’s almost a bang-on smellalike to something else in my nasal memory that tantalises me but remains out of reach… Antaeus? No. Bel Ami? No. Portos? No. Someone help me out, s’il vous plait…

Patty: I got nothing still, except what I can smell before it goes on me and the alcohol note that’s probably some musk note (styrene maybe? sturgene, can’t remember what CB said) takes over is really great. I’d love to smell it on someone without the alcohol. I think it IS butch and metro, at least before he puts my feet up in the stirrups, gets out the rubbing alcohol and tells me to open wide.  Now all it reminds me of when I smell it is that I’m due for a physical.

Bryan: I fell for this elegant, virile stud so fast my head spun. I was on the fripperies sight purchasing a decant seconds after it dried on my skin. Let me say that this scent, in theory, is absolutely not me. Let me write that again, NOT me. I usually fear what traditionally “masculine” notes do to my psyche…father figures and all those terrible connotations. In fact, I have completely written off Cartier (unfairly, no doubt) because my father wore Pasha. This however is a truly unique “masculine”. I only use the term masculine here the way marketing execs intend….clearly I do not believe in gendered fragrances. The angelica and cardamon dominate on my skin and it is DELICIOUS. I would love to smell this on a woman. I’m layering this with my Carnal lover as soon as my French one arrives.

Not Barbarella — Diorella!

Notes of lemon, greens, basil, bergamot, melon, jasmine, rose, carnation, cyclamen, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, patchouli

Lee: Nyaaargh! I’m easily confused. So, on Saturday, I sniffed Diorling in the Harrods Roja Dove place, thinking we were writing about that one. And I had some salient comments to make – about how not all chypres scare me, about how refined and severe and austere Diorling is, but how beautiful and true. But of course, we’re not blinking well writing about Diorling… Must’ve got the darling/lover thing trapped in my head. And then I thought, oh yes, I DID smell Diorella after all. Only to realise a moment later, that no, the soft, feminine voluptuous apricotty number was in fact Diorama. So, racking my oh so reliable smell memory, isn’t Diorella the one that’s like a softer, slightly warmer Eau Sauvage? In that case, I like it. But if that’s Dioressence, or Diordillydally, or Diorukelele, or some other bleedin’ Dior (apologies to Marina at this point) don’t go whinging if I’ve got it wrong.

Patty: No, lee, not soft, at least on the open. Green gassy herbaceous monster, like scraping the blades of my lawn mower after I’ve mowed a football field.  It is fierce green, but under all of that, I now recognize the genius of Dior, you have to wait for it and look deeper than that first blast or green herb.  As I scrape down the blades, there, hidden up under the mower is this beautiful little floral bouquet that is all soft and beautiful, still sitting in all of that green.  Diorella is a wonder.  Lee, we can do Diorling next. Would love to do that, especially in the parfum.  That one still just takes my breath away.  Diorella just makes me thing I wish I was young and in love and rolling around on the football field with my date after prom with my corsage on my wrist.   But I still want her to sit across the room when she’s all smoothed out, girl’s got a little skank going on.

Bryan: Wow, two for two this time. I also have a decant of this hot, chic, green babe coming my way. I love this green voluptuous scent. This was supposedly Roudy’s favorite to compose…in 1972 (my birthyear, so I wanted to love it, I’m cheesey that way). I do love it. I love the green blast at the beginning, but here it isn’t overwhelming as vintage vent vert can be. Then, the magnificent bouquet begins to enthrown its wearer. I became intoxicated during this stage and I would have done some really bad things to own a bottle of Diorella at this point. I get the sexy skank too, which makes me love her all the more. I will be wearing this all summer, oh yeah, all summer.

  • Renee says:

    “Dioressence, or Diordillydally, or Diorukelele, or some other bleedin’ Dior”

    I swear I choked on my grande chai and then nearly killed myself trying to regain my composure and not collapse into giggles at work, because I don’t think I could explain “Diorukelele” to the unfragrant. Thanks for the laugh!

  • minette says:

    fun reviews as usual. i knew i needed to get my hands on french lover.

    lee – the way i remember the diff between slander and libel is – slander is spoken (the s word goes with the s word), libel is written. so in your case, writing, it would be libel.

    bryan – hope you’ll check out cartier – there are several worth trying even if you don’t dig pasha (i don’t like it – a coworker drenches himself in it and it just smells like cheap sandalwood and musk on him). declaration and eau de cartier are wonderful – and sexy in different ways.

  • Solander says:

    Bryan – I’m cheesy that way too. Antaeus is my vintage.

    Oh I need to smell Diorella, I love me some greens. Can’t keep all the Dior-somethings apart either, had to check my notes to see if I had already tried it…

    • Patty says:

      It took me a year to sort out the Diors, old from new and then all the ellas and ssences and ings. It’s not like they tried to hide the Dior name or anything.

  • winterwheat says:

    Green gassy herbaceous monster? Now THAT I’ve got to smell. (Or maybe not.) 😉

    Mmmmmm, you make French Lover sound yummy. Can’t wait to try…

    • Patty says:

      If you like green, you must sniff Diorella. That opening is just a big green machine! 🙂 I mean that with all love, of course.

  • Maria B. says:

    This is bizarre! I’ve tried twice to respond to carmencanada and once to Lee, and all three messages have disappeared into the ether. Please don’t take it ill if I don’t respond to something you say. I seem to be in the same Bad list that Ellen sometimes falls into. I don’t know why. My messages have been G-rated. (Okay, PG-13 at worst.)

  • Amy says:

    ::stomps feet:: I WANT TO SMELL FRENCH LOVER RIGHT NOW!!!! I adore ASlP, and if this is a souped-up, slightly more testicular version of that I want in on some of that action. Patty, you’ve got samps? Think I’m goning to have to order one.

    So what’s the deal with the name, anyway? Is it going to be Bois d’Orage or what?

    I’m going to school on all of y’all’s real-life FL experiences and developing a questionnaire to take with me on my trip to Paris this fall. I’ve only got a week, I don’t want to take any chances…

    • Amy says:

      Apparently, I cannot work the smilies. How disheartening.

    • pitbull friend says:

      Um, Amy? Do you want to hear about our French lovers? Or our French Lovers? I can only address one… :-” –Ellen
      P.S. It took me a while to discover that you have to click the smilie at the exact spot you want it, with no subsequent text. If you go on typing and then come back to it, it doesn’t work.

    • Patty says:

      Well, I HAD samps, but I split half of my bottle with someone else, and I’m waiting for another bottle that should be here next week. It’s been really popular!

  • donanicola says:

    Wahey guys these were great reviews, thanks! Lee, I think slander is the spoken form and libel the written form of defamation if it’s of any interest! Love the sound of the Ooh La La and it’s on the list to try. I ADORE Diorella – it’s one of my summer favourites but could someone help me please? Along with the Eau Sauvage similarity (and isn’t it just) it also reminds me of Parfum de Therese (another Roudy, yes?) but crucially for me, without the melon? I get overwhelming melon with PdT which kills it stone dead for me.

    • Lee says:

      What’s that Simon and Garfunkel song now playing in my head?

      “I’ve been slandered, libelled
      I’ve heard words I never read in the Bible
      And I’m oh oh oh so tired

      Just one step away from the shoeshine
      Two steps away from the County line
      And I’m trying to keep my customer satisfied…

      Or something?

      …off to sniff melons…

    • pitbull friend says:

      Hey, Nicola: You are right! The way I always remember it is that Ssssslander is Sssssspoken. At least in the States, though, they are usually lumped together as “defamation,” esp. because there’s a lot of crossover (i.e. someone said something defamatory about someone and a third party printed it in the newspaper). There! More than you wanted to know! :d –Ellen

    • Patty says:

      Melon in PdT? Really? Wow, I need to go resniff. I don’t remember melons in Diorella. It’s so covered up with that green gas for a while, I couldn’t have found it with four hands and a pitchfork.

  • Dusan says:

    Haven’t experienced a French Lover (although my gf *is* 1/8 French, he!) and have yet to try the Malle one. Diorella, on the other hand, croons to me in green chypremeter. And I love the skank.
    Bry Dreamy (R), geez I thought you were younger, you sure sound it. Turns out you’re 5 years my senior 🙂 Tuberose fanatic that you are, have you ever sniffed Givenchy’s Ysatis or Amarige? No? Quick, don your tuberose getup and run to the nearest mall! 🙂
    P, I am now stuck with the visual of you making out with a jock on a freshly mown pitch, corsage on your wrist, and you know what? There is nothing remotely vulgar about it, actually very sweet and kinda nostalgic (no, I’ve never made out with a jock or worn a corsage). You could sell this image to Dior for their ad copy for Diorella!
    Lee, I’m always guaranteed a good laugh with you, mate. That’s an interesting example of cross-cultural, erm, communication you’ve got there 🙂
    This was fun, guys!
    Can’t wait for March to join back in…

    • Lee says:

      That’s my beef, Dusan. It was mainly cross-cultural, erm, communication…:((

    • pitbull friend says:

      Isn’t it amazing? This is that rare place where you can mention your girlfriend, then say “I love the skank,” and people realize you are discussing two different things. :d Dusan, I just can’t believe how young you are. I had just gotten over how young Lee is. Such things make me feel better about the state of the world. –Ellen

    • Patty says:

      Not that that ever happened. The guy I was dating was in school during Prom, so a bunch of the girls went stag, and for some reason I had to catch a ride home from a guy that was a year younger, which was really nice of him, until he pulls over a mile from my house thinking we were going to have a makeout session. I was like, dude! You are dating one of my friend’s sister! Get off or I’m walking.

      Embarrassing, to say the least. He married the friend’s sister.

  • Judith says:

    I am supposed to be getting part of a French lover split (those FLs do get around):). I can’t wait! I haven’t sniffed it, but I have decided that I will love it (will be VERY disappointed if I don’t).

    Must admit (oh, the shame of it), that I have never smelled Diorella. I do love Diorling, though; does that count?

    • Lee says:

      J – it is loveable – and then some. But the earth didn’t move for me. I reckon it’s one you warm up to.

      Diorling is a wonder I think.

    • Patty says:

      Splitting and sharing French Lover, that is true on so many levels. 🙂

  • Diormarina says:

    Diorukelele, hahahaha :d I wonder what it would smell like. You can bet it would have *some* lily of the valley in it.

    Diorella IS like a softer, slightly warmer Eau Sauvage.

  • Elle says:

    I really like FL, but am not sure I need a full bottle. Apart from CdG2 Man, it’s also reminding me some of an angelica laced version of Ginestet’s Le Boise. Original was not the first thing that sprang to mind when I sniffed it. But if I’d never smelled anything like it, I’d probably be buying a case of it right now.
    I’m a hard core Dior fan, so when I say Diorella is my least favorite, that doesn’t mean I don’t love it – just that I don’t worship it to quite the same degree as Diorling (my absolute favorite). Oh, and Miss Dior Cherie is, to my mind, an imposter and I think olfactory DNA tests should be done. It’s no more a Dior than Anna Anderson was Anastasia.

    • Lee says:

      You know, i’m loving those Dior classics more and more – and least when I can work out which is which…:d

    • Patty says:

      I think the House of Dior’s perfumery staff needs to be checked for pod people. Can’t be the same folks responsible for these classics, which while I can’t wear them all, I’ve learned to admire a lot.

      But now I have a bigger problem, I read ahead March’s post for tomorrow, and I’m way overbudget on my perfume purchases. Damn March and Lee!

      • Lee says:

        :d Oops.

        If it’s any consolation, I no longer have a perfume budget. This doesn’t mean I can buy what I like (if only). It means I can buy nothing.:(( I’m trying to work out what nothing actually means…:-?

        • Patty says:

          …does not compute….. does not compute… does not ecompute….danger, danger

  • carmencanada says:

    Lee, I get you on the French lovers — all talk and neurotic action is also something I sampled in my 20-year exploration of the population… They can’t all be “oh la la”, can they? For FL, ze parfum, I get the link to 80s fougères but this is much more restrained. As a one time follower of menswear fashion shows (I wrote reviews for a website), I’ve always been fascinated with the way designers (except the “let’s put’em in a skirt Gaultier) play with a much more limited sartorial idiom: those very restrictions make for a very subtle work on details, proportions, persona…
    I think Malle/Bourdon did the same type of work on FL: tweaked, displaced, re-proportioned, but deliberately within the masculine idiom – which goes against the current trends in perfumery.

    However, although everyone including me is getting that distinctly masculine vibe I agree with Bryan that it could be interesting on a woman.
    Patty, if you’ve checked out the thread on Basenotes, you’ll see that it seems to disappear on certain other wearers.

    And Diorella, well… I need to try the mean and green at some point. It seems to be less aromatic that my beloved Diorling. And it’s by Roudnitska, what’s not to love?

    • Lee says:

      So it’s not just me?

      You’re right about the 80s thing – it is subtler, more elegant – hirsute without being wiry, I suppose. Hirsute makes the brain go ‘Tom Selleck’ when really I meant more ‘Viggo Mortensen’ I guess.

      I’m one of those people who has problems with Iso E Super. The men’s l’Instant, for example, disappears on me in five minutes.

    • Patty says:

      yeah, i saw that note. I wish it would disappear rather than that alcohol note, which truly does last forever. So if you can smell it as it should be smelled, I would think it has killer lasting power.

      you must try Diorella. Ultimately, it won’t work for me to wear it, though the ultimate drydown is just a dream, it spent too long in an area that I admired, but really didn’t like having that close to me. 🙂 For an EDT, I was shocked at the lasting power.

    • Bryan says:

      I completely agree with your comparison to the men’s fashion shows. Clearly Malle/Bourdon were not trying to redefine the genre, but to add their elegant twist. Very well said, indeed, C.

  • Bryan says:

    The anosmia thing really scares me. I do not envy you here, but I believe every one of us is anosmic to a couple certain scents or scent combinations. This last winter I fought with anosmia through a particularly bad cold. I can only say, rather vulgarly, IT SUCKED. Alas, you have plenty, and I mean plenty of others to take your mind of the fickle Lover.
    I’d be willing to bet a rather large sum that French Lover smells fantabulous on you. I don’t know why, I just think you can wear the big “masculines” quite well, from what you’ve written in the past. Diorella is probably one of my faves from the Diornomenclature scents of yore. What did you think of dioressence? I have only smelled the reformulated and it was very very perfumey…ick. Try the FL with Carnal…I’m telling you, YUM.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks B. It seemed to smell okay to me and March, but didn’t really move either of us. I think that was as much due to sniffing frenzy as anything else.

      Oh, and I keep meaning to tell you. Yes, I do love Carnal Flower, though it doesn’t work with me. But a sniff every once in a while – marvellous. You also asked me once what classics I love – well, Carons are good to my nose – particularly Poivre, Coup de Fouet, Narcisse Noir, Tabac Blond etc. I also love Jicky and admire Mitsouko. See, I’m drawn to spice and smut, rather than flowers – I need educating on white florals cos every once in a while they knock me out (in a good way) – like Un Lys or A La Nuit, but I’m way to unfamiliar with them to make discerning judgements.

    • Patty says:

      I wanna smell FL on someone else! Weird thing, i put it on my husband, and it was great for a few seconds, then… you guessed it, alcohol for him too. Maybe the longer we’ve been around someone, we inherit their oddities? That scares me more than I can express. 🙂

      • Kelly says:

        Oooh! Bring it with you! You know how things go all bizarre and different on/to me!!

  • Maria B. says:

    You guys are such fun–and the picture is perfect. Lee, I’d love to go fragrance sampling with you and my DH. You’d both be very interested and enthusiastic and funny, but at the end of the day you would have jumbled all the scents together. I guess I’d have to take a notebook like March. :d

    Bryan, I’m twenty years older than you. I hadn’t thought of looking for fragrances introduced in my birth year. It might be something of an exercise in frustration–it’s so long ago many fragrances will have been discontinued.

    Patty, I’m sorry about your (mercifully limited) anosmia. I wonder if I’m walking around with some without knowing it. My husband can sometimes smell roses I can’t smell, and vice versa.

    Has any dear reader smelled vintage Vent Vert? I bet it knocks your hat off. Alas for reformulation. Since being introduced to Tauer Reverie au Jardin I’ve been craving galbanum.

    • Bryan says:

      I have a small bottle of vintage VV in EDT. I quiver to think what the vintage extrait would do to my nostrils. (Quiver is such a fun word, but I digress). Seriously, though, if galbanum is what you seek, look no further than Balmain’s vintage beauty. As for the age thing, it’s just fun to put a scent with a year, though I would venture to guess that twenty years earlier saw the birth of more than one stunning classic. Thanks for the lovely words.

    • carmencanada says:

      You definitely want to get hold of vintage Vent Vert for that galbanum slap, Maria. Hint: look for the square Balmain bottles or for cylindrical bottles in splash, repeat, splash, not spray. The beauty of this scent is the floral complexity that starts surging through the green after a few minutes – much in the way it does, unexpectedly, after the aromatic/quinoline assault of Bandit. That Germaine Cellier was one tough gal.

      • Maria B. says:

        D., thanks for the tip. La Cellier was one amazing woman. The mind that could come up with Bandit and Fracas…well.

      • Maria B. says:

        Well, D., I tried to reply to this, but the message vanished! Basically: Thanks for the tip. La Cellier was one amazing woman. Then I speculated about the mind that could create Bandit and Fracas. Wouldn’t you love to have dinner with such a person?

    • Lee says:

      M – I’m not normally as bad as I make out here. The names, the names. Lame excuse, I know.

    • Patty says:

      For some reason, I have a hunch most people have a little anosmia or distortion. It may explain some wild interpretations of scent. Someone sent me a sample of a new thing, and I just love it, but it’s supposed to be salty, and I get… Life Saver. Slightly salty life saver, but definitely the round candy with a salty hole in it. Weird, no?