Friday, September 21, 2018

Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison: fragrance review and musings

The original formula of Hypnotic Poison by Dior was presented in a red rubber bottle (much like the 1990s Bvlgari Black fragrance, there was something about rubber in 1998, it seems), and I was expecting something similar to Bvlgari's potion at the time. The fetishy matte of the bottle was a nice touch; it felt odd in the palm of one's hand, as if it wouldn't "roll" enough. The smell nevertheless is what initially frightened me. The bitter almond was too strong for me, too medicinal, the wrong side of medicinal actually. This was not the medicinal chypre perfume of my memories of Clinique Aromatics Elixir (perfume review HERE), which I adored even as a child. After all, I'm no shy violet when it comes to Strange Smells. It felt heavily vanillic with something suffocating too in the mix; later on I discovered the culprit was the combo with coconut.

credit: suzumechan at deviant.art.com via


Coconut is forever tied in my mind with those horrible dangling trees that cabs used to come with. Back then when I was a child and we used cabs for travelling across the country from time to time, smoking IN the car, and with a child IN the car no less, was not frowned upon. The drivers therefore used to pack the most powerful scents available in the dangling trees car freshener horror: either coconut or vanilla which are weapons of mass destruction in the heat of Greek summer. Needless to say the memory of nausea follows me to this day haunting coconut scents ever since.

On the other hand, Hypnotic Poison is intensely powdery, a quality associated with dryness and grooming (more on powdery fragrances HERE). It therefore evokes a sense of pampering and cleanness, highly appreciated in warmer climates. Hypnotic Poison is a huge commercial success in both France and Greece, for what it's worth. What made it a definitive best-seller in Europe, and especially the souther countries (Greece, Spain, France...) is the fact that in a completely novel way, it reweaves the basic idea of grooming: that things should be inedible. It sounds contradictory when the main component is actually a bitter almond note, recalling liqueurs like Amaretto, but the intense powder in Dior's Hypnotic Poison suggests grooming and not stuffing one's mouth with pastries made of marzipan paste. Maybe a very naughty talcum powder to powder one's latex skirt before venturing out night-clubbing? The thing is, it works. Exceptionally so.

Hypnotic Poison is a perfect fragrance for fall and winter. It's seductive, yet not easy to decipher. Men seem to love it. Perfume lovers wink at you knowingly when you mention it. It's full of character. It's also approachable because of the almond, vanilla and coconut. It's also too effing much sometimes!

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous21:54

    Have you sampled HP in a store recently? The reformulation completely destroyed its biting powdery bitter almond quality. Ioanna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ioanna, thanks for commenting!

      Nah, it's been a while. So you say they have watered it down even more? I need to test again. That would have been a shame... I did like the Eau Sensuelle (reviewed it a while ago when it launched), though for a die hard fan it would have been redundant I suppose.

      Delete
  2. i don't care for coconut scents...i love to eat or drink coconut things (real ones, not the nasty synthetic flavours), but i cannot bear it to be noticeable in a perfume or other non-food context. i don't mind the original "poison", in its vintage incarnation at least, but i thought the "midnight poison" was the best of the family in every way. sadly they discontinued it. i actually rather like bitter almond scent, though, so now i am curious to smell "hypnotic" again... although, perhaps not, if it means encountering that coconut vibe. (and i completely understand the reference to those awful "air fresheners" in cars...just NO!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I hear you. The edible stuff is just fine, it's the fake smelling stuff that is revolting. I think that HP successfully bypasses the coconut in lieu of the bitter almond so it's more amaretto than batida di coco (though I like bcc oddly enough).

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  3. I really like the edp version, but not the edt. I think the difference might be liquorice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could be! It's funny how one addition or deduction can make all the difference in the world, huh?

      Delete
  4. It is now like a totally different perfume
    And nkt for the best.

    ReplyDelete

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