Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Dior Chypres series ~Diorling: fragrance review

If Diorama is synonymous to a classical goddess, then Diorling is fit for a dark Rennaisance angel. This supremely elegant "leather chypre" that saw the light of the day in 1963 is one of the rare beauties that have such smooth contours, so velvety a sheen as to render the leather note a tender caress on a very expensive handbag of an austere design resting atop a soft feminine lap while waiting for a rendez-vous a deux; a handsome beau bringing flowers hidden behind his back.

Diorling was created by Paul Vacher, the nose that is officially credited with the creation of Miss Dior, that classic of classics for the house of Christian Dior, in a French attempt at "English refinement". 

In the case of Miss Dior it has been inferred that its formula was based on a concept by Jean Carles (the man behind Tabu and Ma Griffe) and the extrait de parfum was further assisted by the great Edmond Roudnitska. In Diorling there is no data to support a hypothesis that the perfume was aided by either man’s expertise. It is therefore interesting to examine what sources Vacher drew his inspiration from.

One could trace the lineage of Diorling in such formidable leathery scents such as Cuir de Russie (1924), Bandit (1944), Jolie Madame (1953), or Cabochard (1959). Diorling offers the relatively harsh but restrained opening of bitch tar coupled with bergamot and what seems like bitter orange without the bracing, almost bitter aromatic top of Jolie Madame, the acid green of the quinolines in Bandit or the bracken & whip of Cabochard ~ which make for challenging compositions that seem demanding like an ancient Greek cthonian deity or a creation of Paula Rego.

On the contrary, Diorling weaves its sexy, dry, leathery note smoothly throughout the duration of the fragrance on the skin revealing flowers of an incomparable beauty and luminosity: the clean note of hydroxicitronellal, which echoes the headiness of muguet/lily of the valley, and light, airy jasmine with no real indolic dirtiness. Although rose is part of the bouquet garni of Diorling, I perceive no evident trace of its lushful personality as it is hidden behind the backdrop of dryness and classical symmetry; two traits which put it firmly in my heart of hearts. As the scent slowly dries down a stream of patchouli and earthy vetiver come to the fore elegantly and quietly to position the whole into the realm of chypre. This chypre however has neither the intensely floral animal naughtiness of Miss Dior nor the opulent fruitiness and floralcy of Diorama {click for review} which draw contrasts of chiaroscuro. Diorling puts its spell through the equilibrium of a delicate pendulum that never veers from its well-ordained course.

Nota bene: The above review pertains to the vintage edition of Diorling, which is also the best. There is a newer bottle in 125ml eau de toilette with houndstooth label available from Paris Dior boutique which is lighter and with less intense animalic components (circulating in the late 2000s).

Then there is a 2012 "modernised" version of Diorling joining the perfume line Les Creations de Mr.Dior on 30th January 2012, comprising notes of Calabrian bergamot, Egyptian jasmine, patchouli and leather. This one bears the characteristic design of the newer Dior bottles with the silver "mock thread" around the neck of the bottle in sizes of 100ml.

Boutique Dior is located at 28-30 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris. Fax number to order: 00 33 1 40 73 57 95. Also available at time of writing at Le Bon Marché (in Paris) and at Harrods (at Roja Dove's Haute Parfumerie) in London.

Ad from okadi. Pic of Emanuelle Beart courtesy of aufeminin


  1. Anonymous08:56

    i love that review! A Renaissance Angel... what a comparison! :-) I do wonder why Diorling and also the more popular Diorama became 'unpopular', did they really or did they have to step back for new launches?
    Thank you for these beautiful reviews,

  2. Thank you Nina for your most kind words. It warms my heart, dear.

    RE: your question on the "unpopulatiry" of Diorling and Diorama. I think they were in circulation up to point and when the avalanche of Poison came along (which was intended to reposition Dior, whose Miss Dior still was their bestseller at that point in time)the tastes of the time had changed and they disappeared completely. Then of course launches escalated and the lure of the new reigned supreme.

    Luckily they have been available again. (if only they did the same with Dior Dior!)

    1. Hello, and thank you this outstanding review on DIORLING. It has been years since I last had my hands on DIORLING, and quiet frankly forgot has it mixes with my own chemistry. I was wondering if you know how the new modernized 2012 formula compares against the older version?

  3. Anonymous14:58

    Dear Helg,

    I've been reading--and rereading--your Dior series with much interest for quite some time. Only yesterday, when vintage Diorling edt came my way, can I finally follow this brilliant review. The reissue--while a wonderful fragrance in its own right--did not really elicit the sensations you describe here. The vintage absolutely does. In the past 20 hours, I've put it on three times--I just cannot get enough. Absolutely--a Renaissance angel. Or even a Michelangelo Sibyl.

  4. Thank you dear Catherine for your most kind words and for the very interesting comment.

    I am very glad that you found the beauty in Diorling which is ravishing beyond words IMHO.

  5. Thank you for this piece. Is the new Diorling available in the US?


  6. Thanks Kate for dropping by and for your question!

    Like I said: a 2012 "modernised" version of Diorling joining the perfume line Les Creations de Mr.Dior on 30th January 2012, comprising notes of Calabrian bergamot, Egyptian jasmine, patchouli and leather. This one bears the characteristic design of the newer Dior bottles with the silver "mock thread" around the neck of the bottle in sizes of 100ml."

    This means that wherever the Creations de Monsieur Dior are currently available in the US, the new Diorling (as well as the new Diorama) will be featured. The US is too big a market to shun. I'd try my hand at Saks and Bedgrof first (phoning them should do it).


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