Monday, February 12, 2024

Dior Dolce Vita: fragrance review of a perfumery classic

Photo by Bianca Czarnock on behance, borrowed for educational purposes


Dior's Dolce Vita fetes its 30th anniversary this year, being launched in 1994, when Dior was very careful with its new launches and the firm was creating mega-hits that shattered antagonism in one fell swoop. The promise of happiness, exuberance and confidence in Dolce Vita, in its flamboyant and optimistic package, looked smashing. A drop of sunshine, dropped magically in your lap, for special moments and for making it your own.

The scent of Dolce Vita by Dior indeed smells as voluptuous and sensuous as Anita Ekberg looks in the classic Fellini film La Dolce Vita. It was under the direction of legendary director Maurice Roger that Dolce Vita came to be, composed by Pierre Bourdon.

Under Roger's direction Dior's iconic perfume, Poison, was born in 1984, launched with much aplomb, as well as Fahrenheit in 1988 and later in 1994 the subject of our story, Dolce Vita. The fuzzy peach fruitiness in Dolce Vita is part of its succes. The effect, possible since at least Mitsouko by Guerlain in 1917, is mainly accountable to γ-undecalactone and despite many other molecular options today, it is still used by perfumers. The scent thus becomes wondrously sensual, with a fuzzy feel akin to caressing the skin of a peach or a smooth epidermis still with vellus hair, all tactile contours. Just beautiful. With the addition of baked goods cinnamon, the pleasantry in the fragrance is exponentially increased. The inclusion of palissander, commonly known as rosewood, is what ties the comfortable woody backdrop with the gourmand impression of the more delectable notes and makes for a soft, pliable, squishy feminine woody. 

Happiness in Dolce Vita lies in sweet accords that immediately seize you by the taste buds: warm cinnamon, spicy cardamom adding a middle-eastern touch, and the juicy lushness of soft apricots and lush peaches. An accent of juicy citrus puts a welcome dash of sharpness so as not to lose the bones amidst the plush. The magnolia, key within the floral bouquet, puts a spin on the citrusy fruitiness and almost lends air to the molecules. It feels expansive and melodious in the air at this stage. Finally the composition renders woody and soft notes: as the scent of Dolce Vita dries down the notes of palissander with heliotrope and vanilla beckon you even closer. It's a come hither of a scent, yet exuberant and confident too. 

I have dedicated an anniversary article to Dolce Vita on Fragrantica, if you care to read in its entirety.

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