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May 20, 2008

Dior Addict : Perfume Review

Dior_addict_2

Life is full of ironies. The more I smell Dior Addict, the more I admire it and the more I realize that I will never be able to wear it. The contrasts between a languid floral oriental and an assertive dry chypre that fascinate me on a technical level render the fragrance very sharp. The impressive sillage of dry woody notes and rich vanilla drapes around me like heavy velvet. Russian women, whose tastes in perfume run the gamut from classical floral aldehydic to high calorie orientals, embraced it, but according to market research, they are the only ones who did. …

Moreover, when I heard that Thierry Wasser, its creator, was hired as the in-house perfumer for Guerlain, I knew that I had to revisit some of his commercial work, and it is another reason why Dior Addict came out of its dark hiding place in my perfume closet. Since Wasser is an extremely talented, innovative and original perfumer, I see the announcement as very timely and exciting. Moreover, as I explore his fragrances (especially his independent works like that for Aqaba and S-Perfumes,) I realize more and more that his style of perfumery is a perfect match for Guerlain. Orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean, and oriental resins are among the notes that Wasser seems to favor, and indeed, these materials comprise the traditional Guerlain palette. All of the above are amply present in Addict, even if the result is more Tom Ford edgy than Guerlain baroque.

In fact, out of Wasser’s commercial portfolio*, Dior Addict (2002) always struck me as particularly curious because of its unexpected feminine-masculine dissonance. On the face of it, the composition abounds with the conventionally feminine notes of vanilla and white flowers, but when examined closer, it is essentially a rather masculine construction of woods and incense. It is, if you will, a tartan skirt that turns out to be kilt.

The interplay between the feminine floral oriental and masculine chypre facets of Addict begins right from the top where the spicy notes of basil and cinnamon balance out the heady sweetness of orange blossom, jasmine and ylang ylang. The heart of the fragrance is comprised of sweet vanillic, resinous notes as well as dry, ambery woods, and it is this juxtaposition that creates a memorable signature. While my relationship with Addict is ridden with ambivalence at best, I would rather be intrigued by a fragrance than bored.

Dior Addict includes notes of “mandarin leaf, silk tree flower, Queen of the Night flower, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, absolute of bourbon vanilla, sandalwood from Mysore and tonka bean.” It is available from all Dior counters as well as Sephora.

* Wasser has created Jacques Bogart Furyo (woody oriental with a fantastically dirty animalic note, now sadly discontinued,) Calvin Klein Truth, Gres Caline, Lancôme Hypnôse, Guerlain Iris Ganache, among others.

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