Thursday, May 14, 2009

Miss Dior Cherie L'Eau by Christian Dior: fragrance review

It's not often that I am caught completely off-guard and totally surprised by something. Usually my instincts and my (hard-paid for) experience guide me through most eventualities with assured steps. Yet the latest Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau managed to make me do a 180 degree turn! Not because it is a masterpiece. Far from it. But because I was fully prepared to absolutely hate it, just because I have been alienated by the sugary, patchouli, fruity spin of Miss Dior Chérie, a scent that is completely different than the classic chypre Miss Dior from 1947 (Dior's first scent) of which you can read a review here. The shared name makes one think hard on how much travesty one can stomach.

Furthermore, the developments at Christian Dior for some years now have been quite unsettling as the whole image has been cheapened and ultimately vulgarised. Not to mention that the very latest observations I made regarding reformulations afoot to all their classics, from Diorissimo and Diorella onwards ~signaled by cunningly new-old looking packaging only~ has left a bitter taste in my mouth... So a testing at Sephora just because it was the latest thing provided a rather pleasant jolt out of the doldrums of contemplating on "what Dior had been"...
According to its creator François Demachy, "Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau is not a complicated fragrance". Imagine a freshly scrubbed young lass, put a headband on her bouffant long hair, a mock pout with no depths of murky sexuality à la Catholic girls and you're basically got your sanitized BB.9
(ie. Bardot version 2009) ~a product of bourgeois paternalism and market satiation! Yet, didn't Bardot herself began her career posing for bourgeois magazines and studying ballent under Boris Knyazev?

Demachy has been instrumental in the creation of Aqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta, the re-issue of Pucci Vivara, Fendi Palazzo and a pleiad of scents for parfums Christian Dior (he almost seems like in-house perfumer at this rate, which I m not sure how to interpret!): the newest Dior Escale à Pontichery which we recently reviewed, as well as last summer's Escale à Portofino, Farenheit 32, the masculine Eau Sauvage Fraicheur Cuir and Dior Homme Sport, the Dior numbered Passages special collection of scents Collection Particuliere, Midnight Poison, Dior J'adore L'absolu...

Vogue.co.uk describes Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau as "a sparkling and distinctive floral scent blended with notes of tangy yet spicy bitter orange, Gardenia and white musks that aims to sum up the certain 'je ne sais quoi' of the ultimate French girl. Pretty in every detail - down to the bottle's iconic bow - this lighter, François Demachy-designed adaptation of the original perfectly fits a long-standing perfume brief from Christian Dior himself, "Faites-moi un parfum qui sente l'amour" (make me a fragrance which smells of love)."

I don't think Miss Dior Cherie L'Eau quite captures all that (especially the amour part), but it's not typical of the myriads of fruity florals on the market: First of all, the scent is decidedly floral for a change, but with a certain modern translucence and a lightl dewy feeling that makes for a refreshing take on green florals. The direction is "muguet"/lily of the valley "clean" (the lucky charm of Christian Dior himself) but done via a green, budding gardenia accord; which might be replicated by jasmolactones, if the eerie feeling of familiarity with Pur Desir de Gardenia by Yves Rocher is anything to go by, although the Rocher one is much more gardenia-oriented than this one. A small facet of the pleasantly bitter citrusy touches of Escale à Portofino and Mugler Cologne is also hiding in there with a very soft powdery drydown, fluffy like an air-spun macaroon with green filling and a little laundry-day feel. The girl wearing the John Galliano dress in the shade of candies, model Maryna Linchuk shot by Tim Walker, is perky, and innocently upbeat in a 60s kind-of-way (hold the orgasmic cries of the original Bardot song that accompanies the commercials shot by Sofia Coppola,; this one is a pouting Bardot seen through unknowing ten-year-old eyes!). The blotter beckons me from the depths of my old, ivory LV Monogram Vernis handbag: should I give it one more chance?

Notes for Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau:
bitter orange, gardenia accord, white musks

Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau has just launched widely, in amounts of 50 and 100 ml (1.7 and 3.4 oz) for 59€ and 85€ respectively.
If you have a few moments to kill, the Dior website for the fragrance is fun!

The rather confusing Miss Dior Chérie line comprises so far:
Miss Dior Chérie Eau de Parfum 2005,
Miss Dior Chérie Eau de Toilette 2007,
Miss Dior Chérie Eau de Printemps 2008(limited edition),
Miss Dior Chérie Blooming Bouquet2008(exclusive aimed at the Asian market),
Miss Dior Cherie L'Eau 2009.

Last but not least: For those of you who might as well get a dose of the old standby classic gardenia chypre of Miss Dior, there are some bottles over at Fragrancenet.com as well as the standard Miss Dior Chérie. Using code SHRINE saves you a further 10%!(offer good throughout May).

Related reading on Perfumeshrine: the Dior series

Pics via punmiris.com and imachildofthemoon.blogspot.com


  1. Never having had the privilege to experience the original Miss Dior, I don't feel the outrage and snobbery in the snub of Miss Dior Cheri which I find to be fun and pleasant enough. I put it on the same level as Coco Mademoiselle in terms of sweet, girlie fragrances that I only reach for occasionally.

    Though it goes without saying Chanel and Dior are worlds apart...I really don't like any other Dior fragrance and was surprised I even liked this one!

    The website is precious, though. Dior has always had really good web designs.

  2. You know what I loved about this review? First, that you (as usual) navigated the perilous waters of differentiating other similar releases, and also that you aren't too proud to admit you found yourself charmed by something that maybe isn't high art! I like an anti-snob... you've made it sound really appealing, I'll try it!

  3. K,

    Miss Dior Cherie is perfectly fine for people who haven't tried the classic (there are many and I don't deem them beneath) and thus do not associate the two. So in that regard I totally get what you're saying! I was utterly crestfallen when I first tried it without any prior information to notes, etc. It was the complete antithesis of the old one.
    Now that you're mentioning it, however, I have for long wanted to like Coco Mademoiselle and couldn't. I wonder if it is because they remind me of each other? Hmmm....not sure.

    You know, Dior had some terrific fragrances and they still do, in spots: their current issue of Diorling (a Paris exclusive) is fabulastic smooth floral leather. Their re-issued Diorama is not too bad, it's quite good, although for that I prefer the old one. Diorella is rather nice still, at least the last batches I had tried, because they're reformulating that one too! :-(
    Some of their limited editions, such as J'adore L'absolu, Dior me Dior me Not, were rather good (in wildly different ways, mind you!!). I think the former is available right now.
    And I do find their Hypnotic Poison in edt and Pure Poison are modern and well-made. Maybe give them a whirl!

  4. March, honey,

    how are you? Hope everything is peachy :-)

    Thanks for saying so! They're not doing us any favours with disentangling the tangled, so we have to do it by ourselves I guess!
    And you know, my jaw must have dropped to the just about the bottom shelf where they keep their "classics" tucked away so that no one can see them, when I was tolerating the "would you like to try the latest blah blah blah" routine. I mean, eyes lighted up and I actually asked "what is this?" It's rather nice, if a bit too "precious". Bardot would only wear it in ballet class, I guess...(no, not that kind of ballet)
    Seriously, give it a try, I'm lookinng forward to reading your impressions!

  5. I enjoyed reading this post, particularly as I am torn between love and hate for the Miss Dior Cherie line. I can't stand the EdP or the EdT - both are so overwhelming sugary that I want to gag.

    BB was a surprise and I loved it when I sniffed it at the airport on the way to Malaysia in December. Not knowing that it is an Asian exclusive, I came back to Adelaide to find the ladies at the Dior counter hadn't heard of it. I will buy a bottle when I am in Malaysia at the end of the year - if it's still available!!

    I received a sample of L'Eau last month which I have not yet used, as we are approaching winter here and I think it's a spring/summer scent. I am sorely tempted now though, after reading your review!

  6. A,

    glad I made you spend a happy minute here. I share your feelings, alas, on the line, although I have not sampled the BB. And now, I should I guess; you're terribly naughty in having me going through hoops now trying to locate samples!! Bad, bad Audit! :-)

    But yup, the L'Eau version is very spring-y/summery, so I don't know if it will bring smiles of contentment or not. It's rather fun though!

  7. ooh I do hope you get your hands on some BB! I would love to know what you think of it!

  8. Great! If I manage to do it, you're guaranteed some feedback, then :-)

  9. They threw a sample at me at Sephora or wherever. I tried it.
    Cat piss. Now, I know that some white flowers plus citruses fragrances change into something nondescript on my skin. It may be the indolic thing combined with weird skin chemistry, I don't really know.

    But, you say that Diorling is reissued? And Diorama? And in Paris? Where?! I'll add a reason or two to visit my dear Parisian friend, then:D I have old Diorling extrait and, well, maybe it's just old but it seems to me that it has nearly zero lasting power, though. On the other hand, I admit that I never tried it properly because I somehow didn't want to waste it. With 7.5ml bottle for the rest of my life and eternity... but now when they have it again, I can splash it:D

  10. L, hi!

    I was somehow forced into testing this myself. But luckily I didn't get cat piss, LOL

    I don;t think there is anything indolic in this, certainly there is no real jasmine or orange blossom or tuberose or any such. And indole doesn't really give a cat-piss effect, nor poopy for that matter. Its reputation is grosslyt exagerrated. If you do happen to locate some indole, you will see it has a rather pungent, urinous more than fecal smell. It's just that it happens to be part of the olfactory picture of human feces and in small, small ration in some flowers.
    I believe the disagreeable effect you get is the citrusy accent, it's quite prominent and yes, a bit harsh. Paired with a laundry musk (also harsh) it does present a sharp fragrance. I like sharp fragrances sometimes in the heat, though.

    Re: the Diors. Yup, Diorling and Diorama re-issues are available at the Dior boutique in Paris, as exclusives. The former especially is worth hunting down as the re-issue although a little different is a fabulous version that presents the smoothest leather on flowers this side of Doblis (which is even more buttery, but I will spare you the heartache). It lasts satisfactorily on me, but it only comes in EDT. So if that's a concern...BTW, the bottles are splashes, so you should feel justified.
    Diorama is also good, but in that one I prefer the vintage, it seems rounder to me and more billowed.

  11. And might I also add that I believe the citruses in this are synthetic, to my nose.

  12. Viola17:33

    I was shopping for fragrances a few years ago; I like floral, light, fresh, tangy-sweet, happy, simple, cute.
    The perfume saleswoman recommended to me Miss Dior Cherie... wow, that was a bad choice. I felt like if I had smelled it too much I would've become diabetic. It was sweet-sweet. Sweet as eating sugar straight out the bag. It conjured up images of a peroxide blonde smoking a cigar with a fake personality desperately trying to hang on to her youth in all the wrong ways... I didn't want that smell anywhere near me!

    I asked her for the other Miss Dior Cherie, the green-hued L'Eau. I wasn't prepared to give up on Dior just yet. I haven't loved many perfumes after the first scent, as I tend to spray it on a piece of card, go to sleep, wake up and smell it to see if I like it. But THIS... by heavens it was like I fell in love.
    It's not perfect. It's far from it. But it's beautiful. I can't even begin how to express how it made me feel in words. Yes, it's just perfume, but when I spray it on it has some strange psychological effect on me, just like I'm falling in love. It works even stronger when I spray it on in the early hours of the morning on a crisp, sunny day.
    It feels like it was made just for me. And I think that's how perfumes are made to do: make you feel like you are exclusive to it. I felt like Christian Dior himself walked through my front door and went, "it's a nice day outside, you're happy in your life; you deserve to remember this forever." Like falling in love, I never give much thought on any others now.

    I think people need to not depend on perfume reviews as much because it's very subjective, and what one company calls 'floral' you might call 'woody'; one person says something's overrated and another person will say it's timeless. Just go out to a perfume shop and smell as many as you can without feeling light-headed! Good luck!

  13. Anonymous19:14

    This to me smellslike cheap alcohol only . It is probably the effect generated by citruses, but I completely dislike it...


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