|Notes:||Top notes of aldehydes and orange; middle notes of jasmine, geranium, cinnamon, carnation, orris, ylang-ylang, rose and tuberose; and base notes of patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, vanilla and musk|
|Advertising Slogan:||Le Parfum Barbare (The Barbaric Perfume)|
This version of Dioressence is the original eau parfumee from 1969 that was created by Guy Robert. This one is nearly impossible to find. The 1979 version by Max Gavarry is the retro scent that most people are familiar with. There has always been some confusion regarding the fact that Dioressence originally was launched in 1969 and then was reformulated and relaunched in 1979 (the version by Gavarry) especially as Fragrantica has it listed as Guy Robert, 1979. The relaunch followed the general outlines of the original Dioressence, but it was made plusher and sweeter. The warm spices were enriched and the dense pungency of ambergris was substantially reduced.
An excerpt from Perfume Shrine:
The advertisements read: "Exuberant. Smouldering. Uninhibited". It was all that and more. Mink coats, cigarette-holders, lightly smeared eyeliner after a hard night. Dioressence launched as "le parfum barbare" (a barbaric perfume); the ready-to-wear fur collection by Dior in 1970 was orchestrated to give a powerful image of women as Venus in Furs. Commanding, aloof, demanding, even a dominatrix. The fragrance first launched as a bath oil product, reinforcing the name, i.e. Dior's Essence, the house's nucleus in liquid form; Dior wanted to write history. It later came as a stand-alone alcoholic perfume, the first composed by perfumer Guy Robert for Dior and history it wrote indeed. A new breed of parfum fourrure was born!
The fragrance of Dioressence itself was the love affair of ambergris (a 100% natural essence at the time) with the original 1947 Miss Dior, a chypre animal perfume, itself laced with the animal notes of leathery castoreum in the base, so the two elements fused into each other most compatibly. Ambergris is lightly salty and nutty-smelling, creating a lived-in aura, while leather notes are sharper and harsher, especially when coming from castoreum, an animal essence from beavers with an intense almost death-like stink. The two give a pungent note.
In Miss Dior this is politely glossed over by a powdery gardenia on top. The animalistic eroticism is only perceptible in the drydown. In Dioressence the sexiness is felt from the very start, only briefly mocked by a fruity lemony touch, and it only gains from further exposure to notes that lend themselves to it: rich spices, dirty grasses, opulent resins, sensuous musk.
The intensity of the animalistic accord in Dioressence was boosted even further by the copious carnation-patchouli chord (much like in Jean Carles sexy Tabu), spiced even further with cinnamics (cinnamon notes) and given a glossy glamour with lots of natural jasmine. The greenery over the oriental-chypre base notes is like the veneer of manners over the killer instinct. Still the Guy Robert treatment produced something that was totally French in style.
When I smell the original perfume created by Guy Robert in 1969, the relaunch from the 1970s and the current version, I feel as if I’m wearing three different perfumes—an ambery animalic chypre, a full-bodied spicy oriental and a pale green chypre.
The story of the original 1969 Dioressence was famously told by Luca Turin, who shared that Guy Robert was commissioned by Dior to create an intensely animalic fragrance that ran counter to the luminous blends that made Dior famous. The new fragrance was to serve as a fragrant accessory to Dior’s collection featuring furs. Chandler Burr captured the story in his book The Emperor of Scent and described how Robert found his inspiration in a lump of ambergris and a bar of cheap soap scented with Miss Dior knock-off.
“Dioressence was created from a cheap Miss Dior soap knockoff base, chypric, fruity aldehydic, plus a giant cube of rancid whale vomit. And it is one of the greatest perfumes ever made,” says Turin. In The Emperor of Scent, author and scent critic Chandler Burr quotes Luca Turin: "The best Guy Robert story is this. The House of Dior started making perfumes in the 1940s. Very small scale. The first two, of which Diorama was one and Miss Dior the other, were made by Edmond Roudnitska, a Ukrainian émigré who'd studied with Ernest Beaux in Saint Petersburg because Beaux was the perfumer to the czars. So Dior approached Guy Robert and said, 'We're doing a new perfume we want to call Dioressence, for women, but we want it very animalic. The slogan will be le parfum barbare, so propose something to us.' Guy can hardly wait. Of course he wants a Dior commission. And the challenge of mixing the florals of the traditional Dior fragrances into an animal scent is just a bewitching challenge, who else would have the guts to attempt joining those two. So he gets right to work, plunges in, and he tries all sorts of things. And he's getting nowhere. Nothing's working. He's frustrated, he doesn't like anything he's doing.
Guy had the good fortune to acquire some ambergris, and while at the Dior HQs, after rubbing his fingers into the oily block (which is how you smell this floral, marine-like scent), he went into the bathroom and washed his hands with a Miss Dior knock-off soap. On the plane ride back, he smelled his hands et voila! — "le parfum barbare" was born.
Dioressence has been reformulated. This is the original Guy Robert formula Eau Parfumee version. We are decanting from a bottle that was untouched and still in its original packaging.