Remember me… Dioressence by Dior The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

In her heart she knew that spring was the hopeful season, yet this year it felt, if not cruel, then hard.

It was hard too to let go of the rituals of winter, of early suppers and open fires, sleeping in until darkness ended and of hospital visits without, it seemed then, an end.

But all of that was over.

On a day between those set aside for St David and for other mothers she went to see them open the earth with sharp shop window shiny spades.

She watched the men who serve the dead in their deliberate unhurried work and realised she hadn’t anticipated the smell. She hadn’t known that winter soil disturbed after months of slumber would so surely carry the scent of decay.

Last autumn’s leaves decomposed and mixed with wet grass, grey moss and the year’s first flowers smells simply and unkindly chemical.

In the astringency she sensed an echo of her anguish.

Anguish. She could never use the word at home where she was expected to partition off her pain and move promptly along.

Her mother, people remarked, had lived to a good age.

The wreaths that came contained premature blooms: geraniums, carnations and roses all brought out before their time.

Only she had chosen a spring flower. Her violets spelt out a circle and no name.

Walking from the church, the resins and spices and smoke still surrounding her, the priest’s platitudes still in her ears she was roused from her semi conscious state by the same chemical stench.

Stood by the grave someone handed her a handful of dust.

And in her head a soprano began to sing Purcell.

“When I am laid in earth
am laid in earth
may my wrongs create
no trouble no trouble in thy breast.

“Remember me!
remember me!
but ah!
Forget my fate!”


TS Eliot was wrong you know, it’s not always April that is the cruellest month, it is whichever season that brings sorrow with it.

Dioressence is a terribly sad smell, the smell, in fact, of sorrow.

In the vintage formulation a vertical door of heavy as lead oakmoss serves as an opening.

Aldehydes, unspecified green notes and a slight citrus seek to sanitise and lighten this dark accord but do nothing to soothe its awesome presence.

The interior of the fragrance remains determined by this entrance too, and whilst there are floral elements within: geranium most noticeably, rose, carnation and some structural jasmine, the whole effect remains resolutely patchouli , grassy green and solemn.

The spices, resins and hint of musk that seem to come to the fore for a moment in dry down fade to pianissimo much sooner than the principal notes are done with their song.

The overall effect is magisterial and silencingly beautiful.

Others of course will hear the spring chorus singing nature’s melody in the meadows by the way and perceive the call of procreation and are in their way are quite right too.

Dioressence is substantial enough a piece of work to allow for many readings.


Sorrow does not discriminate between men and women and nor does the springtime, then why should this scent?

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

15 responses to “Remember me… Dioressence by Dior The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. batkitty

    Fascinating review……. I have never perceived Dioressence as sad or solemn–but the first time I wore the vintage parfum was on a very warm late spring/early summer day when a thunderstorm threatened, and every time I’ve worn it since then I remember the electric anticipation of the humid air and how it magnified the rose and violet against the damp mossy green. It’s a powerful and, for me, very promising and energizing memory.

    But it is a very deep and lush perfume, and I can imagine how it could strike people as you have described.

    • Dear Batkitty
      Thank you for your very perceptive comments.
      I have a feeling that The Dandy may slightly ‘out there’ with my sense of this perfume.
      I found it to be intensely powerful and dark and lush, but instead of the energy I would associate with spring and summer I experience that very precise moment of breaking the first new ground of the year, when decay is as present as renewal.
      Perhaps Dioressence is a representation of the circle of life and we have experienced different parts of that cycle.
      More likely, The Dandy has a natural inclination to find certain green perfumes rather emotionally blue. For me Dioressence sits with Ma Griffe, Estee Lauder’s Private Collection and Guerlain’s Chamade in that regard.
      Before everything becomes to despondent I do get spring from others like Sisley’s Eau de Campagne and others that will be appearing here soon.
      Thank you once again and always for taking the time to read and respond.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • batkitty

        Interesting that our sense of that first turn of cold dirt leads us in different directions. For me it is pure promise, when winter finally gives over to spring and it’s an almost maddening excitement to get into the garden and plant again. The coldness and dampness of the early spring dirt is a hard-won and wonderful thing in my cold climate, and even the smell of decaying leaves is part of that excitement, looking forward to rich earth and long, warm summer days.
        It’s amazing how a perfume can bring out such strong (and opposite) emotions!

  2. Vintage Dioressence is an impossibly sad perfume: every time I test it from my tiny sample (alas, not enough to wear) I feel a sorrow of a “nevermore” kind.

  3. Lilybelle

    I used to love Dioressence. I haven’t sniffed it in years. I can’t imagine what has been done to it.

    • Dearest Lilybelle
      This was a review of a vintage bottle it’s been in the family for many years.
      It may be that the dark notes have taken over, over time as it smells nothing like the light and airy, fleeting piece of work that is on sale these days.
      That is cause for sorrow enough in and of itself!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Oh my word I did miss reading this review… So glad I came back to find it. Now then, there is nothing quite like a perfume of sorrows is there? This sounds tragic and epic in its grief. I know I would love it from the first turn of the spade.
    A beauty of a review dear friend.

  5. serafinarose

    Dear Perfumed Dandy
    You have just made sense of this one for me. It is indeed a lament of a scent. I could never put my finger on it before. Beautiful. And I LOVE Janet Baker and that particular aria. Sublime.

    • Dear Serafina
      You have already become a most valued habitue of these halls!!
      I am so glad that we are of a mind on this scent – other’s find it wholly cheerful and of the new life of the Spring, and yes there is an element of that – but does not the season bring with it thoughts of those things that will not be reborn?
      Sorrowful thoughts.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. “Sorrow does not discriminate between men and women and nor does the springtime, then why should this scent?”

    Perfumes do not themselves discriminate between men and women, then why should the Dandy? And if the Dandy does not, then why should anyone?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s