Before I discovered Diorella a number of years ago, summery perfumes never seemed to quite hit the spot. Traditional colognes, fruity perfume cocktails and summer florals were too simplistic and bland. They just didn’t feel like “me”.
Then I found Diorella and it was just what I had been looking for. It was fruity and green which made it great for warmer weather but it was also interesting and intelligent. Too often, summer fragrances seem rather air-headed but Diorella had a certain depth and quirkiness about it. It was also that word my mother hates – “sexy”. I’m not sure where it comes from, but the older formulations ooze an understated animal purr.
Released in 1972, Edmond Roudnitska has been quoted saying that of all his creations, Diorella was his personal favourite. This is no small praise considering he is also the nose behind Femme, Diorissimo, Le Parfum deTherese and Eau Sauvage, among others. If you already like either of the last two but have not tried Diorella, I would particularly recommend it. Note lists vary but tend to include bergamot, lemon, basil, “green notes”, honeysuckle, peach, rose, jasmine, cyclamen, carnation, patchouli, vetiver, musk and oakmoss.
I would classify the pre-reformulation Diorella as a fruity chypre. On first spraying, the combination of orange, lemon and basil somehow give you a wonderful zingy blast of lime. This zesty brightness soon recedes and the rich scent of over-ripe fruit takes over. It is this combination of warm fleshy fruit and feminine florals which makes it so unusual. On paper, such a mélange really shouldn’t work but it does and maybe that’s what is so special about the old Diorella. It teeters on the edge, but never falls over.
The current formulation is recognisably Diorella and it is still very good but it is lighter, fresher and less floral. It is not quite as full-bodied as its former self and is missing that wonderfully odd, languid quality. It feels like it has taken a step towards the sexless cologne end of the perfume spectrum. Having said all of that, I would still highly recommend it because even in its slightly attenuated state, it’s still an awful lot better than the vast majority of mainstream fruity perfumes currently on the market. Plus with the changes afoot at LVMH, who knows what the next formulation will be like?
Diorella is currently available as a 100ml Eau de Toilette. It has only been around for a couple years, so it’s still not too hard to get hold of previous editions (in lavender blue or houndstooth packaging) if you want to seek it out.
Image source: parfumdreams.de, arcimboldo spring via fineartsamerica.com