Our Lady of the Knives Diorella by Dior The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter 

Every artist has a shining sliver of ice lodged in their heart.

Every part of her is artist.

She, though, does not work with brushes or staves, instead with blades.

Knives as sharp and flexible as her clear soul cut infallibly through each pitch perfect ingredient preparing the meticulous meals she insists on serving outdoors once sunshine comes.

Sashimis, ceviches and carpaccios so fresh they deceive as clean flesh and not fish and fruit they are.

All served with lemon herb dressings on long oblong green glass platters, amongst plain vases filled with honeysuckle stems.

Her kitchen, open to the elements and curious eyes alike, is at the centre of a moss lawn.

She, in impeccable whites, is at its centre commanding circling sous chefs to: tweak starched table clothes, excite palettes with unexpected basil, rearrange tabletop arrangements of jasmine and red carnations, pass around cleansing melon millefeuille entr’acte.

If any apparent fracture in her composure appears, the fissure is mere momentary illusion, she huffs to her herbaceous borders simply to hasten patchouli plants into perfume and achieve aromatic perfection for her paying clientele.

The meal ends with a peach desert as peerless as the operatic dame soprano whose name it bears.

Our lady of the knives acknowledges her audience.

Taking a curtain call on her kitchen stage she is all curtsies clutching a bouquet of cutting edges.

Diorella by Dior is no chef d’oeuvre to be trifled with.

An exacting, precise, cerebral perfume it is not a work but an embodiment of art.

Taking the basic chypre recipe and deploying Occam’s razor all fat is removed, all excess skimmed off: only lean muscle, fresh peeled fruit and salient floral seasoning remain.

The bill of fare may be read as unremarkable: lemon, oakmoss, basil, bergamot, a melodius melon, a few greens, a soft peach and a sprig or two of patchouli.

Oh, and that heart rending honeysuckle.

But each part is of the highest quality and it is the genius of their deployment, not the pretensions of their provenance that, gives the dishes as served their unrivalled effect.

The courses run sparkling citrus, through green floral heart to fruit and soil conclusion flawlessly.

Everything because of a single genius.

There is no man or woman in the kitchen, merely the one in charge in whites.

Diorella is Chef.

The Perfumed Dandy is lucky enough to own an older version of Diorella. The current reconstruction is a different, happy lemon sort of a scent, though not entirely to be sniffed at.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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24 responses to “ Our Lady of the Knives Diorella by Dior The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter 

  1. A story woven by a Shahryar befitting Scheherazade — only this could coax me back from my self imposed WordPress vacation. “Our lady of the knives”… Brilliance. I now know what Oud and Chypre smell like, thanks to our friend Lanier. I’ll be back on my site in the next couple of days, and now I’ll disappear again and leave you a kiss, V

    • Dearest V
      Do come back… we miss you!!
      But if you’ve been spending your time with Mr Lanier learning about oud (Our L likes a little oud) and chypre (The Dandy’s would probably be a chypre if he were made fragrance) then that is time well spent too…
      The kiss is returned and fear not there is not pain of death from this Shahryar for those who miss a tale or two).
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Divine. I adore, and wear, vintage Diorella as well. You capture it perfectly.

  3. batkitty

    I love this review–what a wonderful portrait of the magnificent Diorella!

  4. Amazing review. The Gruau poster reminds me that time when I was a child. And as a Monsieur Dior fan I feel delighted after reading this post. Thanks. Love it.

  5. brie

    Bravo, Monsieur Dandy!!! You have perfectly captured in words this glorious fragrance!

  6. Oh you Dandy! You are so unpredictable and neverendingly encyclopedic I cannot decide whether to read fast (which feels only natural with all these blades and crudités and other not to mess with swirling fresh rawnesses) or slowly to catch every flying lime zest flake that swirls across this Michelin recommended chef’s table of olfactory eloquence. I shall spend the rest of the day dreaming about luncheon in Diorella’s meditteranean garden.

  7. I love everything about this, Dandy. “Diorella is chef.” This post is as succinct as the perfume itself. I’m left wondering what the older version smells like… If only I lived near you Dandy, I’d pop over and get a fix. Delicious review, and don’t you love that print?

    • Dearest Gripping
      The Print is just stunning, like all of Rene Gruau’s work for Dior. If we had images like that today to go with the latest perfumes.
      Honeysuckle is the note in older Diorella that I find to be sadly missing from the light, airy and too conformist latest iteration.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  8. Lilybelle

    Mr. Dandy, do you think vintage Diorella, properly sealed, ages well? I would love a bottle from the same era as my mother’s: 1970s. Hers was a giant splash bottle with the houndstooth band around the middle, and the fragrance was delicious, absolutely *all that*. ^^^ I used to sneak dabs from her bottle. I had a spray bottle of reformulated Diorella around late 90s/early 00s,and it was very pleasant but nowhere near as glorious as that other one, the one you’ve reviewed. I think you and I agree that reformulations are often lovely, taken on their own merits, but of course if you miss the original then the reformulation just won’t do. I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss all reformulations as swill, though, just because they ARE reformulations. On me, a reformulation wears better than a musty, old original way passed its prime. I can’t wear those, though I keep a few as nostalgia items. Some I do wear but only at home alone for introverted moods. Well, I’ve blathered on as usual. Best regards, dear Dandy!

    • Dearest Lily
      I tired what I think are both the versions you talk about, as they are now both now vintage (having been replaced by the ‘Creations’ edition).
      I felt that the splash version, though rich and beautiful was not nearly as sharp as it could have been, the opening had largely gone and the melon was moving into the background. The flacon I sampled had been used and so I too wonder what one of those sealed lots that occasionally appear on line might be like.
      I thought the 80s or 90s version better on balance and certainly better than what’s the the shops right now.
      Hope that helps, perhaps we will all have to content ourselves with memories of the original in all its glory.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        It does help, thank you. I hadn’t considered that what still seems like yesterday to me (late 90s/early 00s) is now “vintage”. So even that one has been reformulated. I think I will content myself with memories of the original…unless a sealed *truly* vintage bottle should somehow serendipitously make its way into my life.

  9. Lilybelle

    Also, just wanted to say that the steely knife metaphor is so apt! For the vintage, that is. There is/was cold steel cutting through the ripe fruit. Perfect review of a perfect fragrance! You did it again, Perfumed Dandy! 🙂

  10. honeysuckle Is indeed *heartrending*

    so lovely to meet someone who understands.

    *waving* with a white glove with those tiny pearl fastenings and a slight tear at the beauty of your words (while lying in a cloud of Chloe by Chloe, the original).

  11. Even though I do not invision Diorella as a chef (in my eye she’s a young socialite eating a juicy fruit rather than a worker handling said fruit), I smiled at your take on one of my favorite perfumes.

    • Dear Undina
      Aren’t the images other people conjure from scents just fascinating?
      A socialite? Interesting.
      Most of those The Dandy’s met met are far too intellectually messy and self-absorbed to match my impressions of Diorella…
      But then socialites are often perfectly turned out, which this perfume undoubtedly is, whereas chefs can be a visual mess.
      Perhaps my Diroella is a ex-debutante executive chef immaculate in unsullied whites!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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