Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dior Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle: fragrance review

Doing the Lutenesque visuals for Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle is not enough. Although purple hues and mysteriously shut eyelids with a sophisticated maquillage on them (by Tyen, no less) have a way of drawing a perfumista's attention, the juice has to be really original in a galaxy of flankers adorning Sephora shelves to equally capture devotion. And it's not circulating on American perfumery countertops, you say?

The original Hypnotic Poison by Annick Menardo, with its trippy bitter almond and caraway opening, managed to jolt sniffers into a "love or hate" mnemonic sense (much like all her other perfumes do too, like for instance Black by Bulgari or Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka). There's simply no way to be indifferent to it! Of course even within the same fragrance spectrum there are the ultraviolet and the infrared ends: The Eau de Parfum concentration of the original Hypnotic Poison is the former; intensely bitter and fluorescent at the beginning like underground dance clubs with "black lights" over you and with a pythonesque grip on its audience. While the Eau de Toilette shares the latter's nightime vision ability, permeating a place and its wearer in a warm incadescence; almost a homing device.
To take the light analogy on spot, Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle seems like long-wave infrared or "thermal imaging": a completely passive picture of the objects in question based on their own thermal emissions only, rather than any external light or thermal source. Basically, if you got it, it will not oppose it, but it can't "work for you" otherwise.

The latest Christian Dior flanker in the Poison series, Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle, is essentially a vanilla orchid floral fantasy composed by Fran├žois Demachy, a more floral variation on the best-selling 1998 Hypnotic Poison minus the frightful originality.
Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle opens with the slightly medicinal facets of dominant ylang ylang, soon mollified by rosa Damascena with its feminine, velvet character, almost cancelling out the medicinal. Although tuberose is listed in the notes, the effect is nowhere near the strange, cubist renditions of tuberose soliflores of niche perfumery, instead boosting a faceless rendition rather than the sex beast on steroids. The vanillic-ambery facets (plus a hint of cumin) are played in favour of the previous woody notes which conspired to make the 1998 Hypnotic Poison the non-sweet, powdery gourmand it is. Eau Sensuelle feels more floral and more "acceptable" standard vanillic, the same way that No.5 Eau Premiere is a lighter, more vanillic but less musky version of the original Chanel No.5. Only Dior's does not have as silky an effect as the Chanel's.

Still, those who didn't really like Hypnotic Poison or just couldn't "tame the beast" (it's no coincidence it's advertised with a python encircling Bellucci's voluptuous body menacingly!), will find this essentially watered down version to their liking. And this probably explains the reasoning behind its concept by LVMH in the first place. Is it a bad fragrance, then? No, but it won't make it into the next 50 years like the original Hypnotic Poison will, most probably.

The bottle reprises the shape of Hypnotic Poison’s in deep-red, subtly translucent glass, topped with a cabochon cap that looks purple, red or mauve, depending on the light. Really great work. Be aware that the outer box is VERY similar to the original Hypnotic Poison with only the Eau Sensuelle in small typeface below the name: therefore attention is required when buying so as not to confuse the two!
Available from major department stores in Europe in 50ml/1.7oz, 100ml/3.4oz and 100ml/3.4oz spray deodorant.

Notes for Dior Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle:
Top: ylang ylang, rose, orange blossom
Heart: orchid, tuberose, green notes
Base: sandalwood, vanilla, woods, musk.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine:
The differences between all the Dior Poison fragrances (the original 80s Poison, Tendre, Hypnotic, Pure, Midnight and their Elixir versions)

photos via,, brusselsisburning


  1. Rappleyea23:15

    Very interesting review, E. Believe it or not, I've never smelled ANY of the Poison family! But your description of the original Hypnotic by Menardo sounds very interesting.

    And re: your comment on the Lutenesque visuals, when I first opened the site and saw the picture, my immediate take was that it was a picture of a clown with a red clown nose!!


  2. Hi Donna!

    Thanks for saying so, you're too kind.
    Actually it was the colour schema which brought me into this track of though, between the two ends of the spectrum etc. Glad it resonated with you!

    I guess it's best that they did not think of the clown with the red nose!! LOL!
    BTW, I was referring to SL pics like this one

  3. Hi Elena,

    I am a long-time reader of your blog and just love what you do. Thank you for all your hard work.

    I sniffed this at a duty free recently and really liked it. I loved the original. It's like yesterday when I remember getting it. I seriously cannot believe it's been 12 years since its release. I want to see if I can track down the elixir version to try.


  4. Robin,

    thanks for your most lovely words and for commenting!
    Hope you continue to like it here.

    It's quite a modern classic that Hypnotic Poison, isn't it? I think the Sensuelle version is quite pretty, probably meant for those who like the original but find it either a bit too sweet or "heavy" for everyday wear.
    The Elixir is VEEEEEEERY tenacious, I can tell you.

  5. Hello, do you know the difference between Hypnotic poison and Hypnotic poison EAU SENSUELLE ?

    Most shops do not have eau sensuelle:

    Thank you <3

  6. Asia,

    I'm not sure I understand the question, though thanks for commenting and posing it.

    The above is a review of Eau Sensuelle and exactly why it's different than the regular Hypnotic Poison.
    I'm starting to doubt I'm clear, LOL.

    I didn't believe this is a promo link for Sephora, so I left it at that. Yet merely comparing the "notes" of both (the Eau Sensuelle's are on the bottom of the review above, the original's everywhere on the web) one can see the Sensuelle is lighter and slightly floral compared to the deep almond and bittersweet talc of the original. The reality is indeed exactly that.
    Hope that helps!


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