Only You – Review: Dior Escale à Portofino

After my rather more lukewarm than enthusiastic take on Escale à Pondichéry and the agitation Escale aux Marquises caused me, I approached Escale à Portofino with trepidation.

Is this worth my time and effort?

After wearing it, finding it quite agreeable and the most enthusiastic response of my husband since Reflection (I believe “fabulous” was his exact word), I thought this was indeed worth taking a closer look. Seems like I saved the best for last…

Escale à Portofino was the first of the three existing “Voyages” fragrances by Dior, it was released in 2008 and created by Dior’s head perfumer Francois Demachy. Its notes include bergamot and petitgrain, almond, orange blossom, juniper berries, cedar, cypress, galbanum, caraway and musk.

A few weeks ago my younger son broke two of his little fingers. They got squashed under a falling cupboard. Thankfully all turned out well, he is healing perfectly and won’t have any permanent damage, but it was a big shock, maybe even more to me than to him.

Victoria from Bois de Jasmin suggested to utilize scents with orange blossom to soothe him as well as me. I wore Grand Neroli a lot and I believe it helped greatly. As the one pleasant side effect of the whole story, my interest in orange blossom scents got aroused.

Escale à Portofino is a beautiful orange blossom perfume.

It starts with a slightly sharp but sparkling top of neroli, lemon and petitgrain and mellows quickly into an orange blossom soliflore. The other notes are playing only supporting roles to let the orange blossom shine, aided by a slight, but wonderful almond bitterness in the heart. The drydown is a soft fade-out of orange blossom on wood.

It is a fragrance done in classic cologne style, so it is not expected to last for hours, but it is surprisingly tenacious for its kind.

All in all, Escale à Portofino is – by far – my favorite of the three in the series.

It is refreshing and calming, balances warm and cool notes graciously and has an inherent air of sophistication and elegance that goes well with the image the bottle projects.

I envision the Italian Riviera in the sixties as depicted in movies like The Talented Mr Ripley or the Hotel La Sirenusa in Positano we visit in the lovely “chick flick” Only You starring my beloved Robert Downey Jr.

This was one of my favorite movies in my twenties, I have seen it countless times. I loved the story about unwavering belief in fate and the one, perfect man, the beautiful setting in Italy, lovable and believable characters played by very good actors.

I can just imagine Marisa Tomei would wear this perfume on her Italian journey and it would make Robert Downey Jr. swoon. I can just hear him say “Fabulous!”

Didn’t I hear that somewhere today?

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18 Responses to Only You – Review: Dior Escale à Portofino

  1. Victoria says:

    I am so delighted that my suggestion helped alleviate the stress even a tiny bit. Wanting to explore more orange blossom fragrances is indeed a wonderful side effect. :))
    Do you ever cook with orange blossom water? A teaspoon in a recipe for milk pudding makes for the most wonderful combination! I also put some in my bath water.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The orange blossom flavored milk pudding sounds yummy. I should try that.
      Your suggestion was really great, I think Niki reacts especially well to Grand Neroli, he nuzzles into my neck the moment he smells it. 🙂

  2. Marie says:

    Positano also plays a role in the film Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane. DL has a short but passionate affair with a gorgeous young Italian, but – alas – it doesn’t work out and she finds him, again in Positano, with a young beautiful woman. Perhaps DL should have worn Escale a Portofino! It’s such an elegant – and confident fragrance. The young woman probably wore something sickly fruity sweet and he loooooved it – good riddance! 😉

    It’s interesting to hear that your husband likes it so much. I would have figured that it would be too unisex a fragrance for it to evoke a masculine reaction, but fortunately I was wrong about that. I really like it and it might be my birthday present for me this summer. Not that I must have men like the fragrances that I wear, but if they do, I don’t mind 😉

    I’m quite delighted that Escale a Portofino exists. The classic chypres are some of my all time favorites – no, they ARE my all time favorites, but one of them has let me down – Miss Dior – it’s not what it once was, and although I make an effort not to indulge in fragrance nostalgics, it does make me a bit sad, that today’s Miss Dior is nearly unwearable to me today. Here’s where Portofino comes to the rescue and provides a wonderful and wearable here-and-now throwback to a different time.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is never a bad thing when a man likes a perfume! 😉
      At least this one out of the three Escales is a really nice one.
      When is your birthday? Portofino is a fine present to give yourself. 🙂

      • Marie says:

        My birthday is in the beginning of June – the first summer month 🙂 I’ve made a little tradition of giving myself something nice – nothing major, just a little something that isn’t strictly necessary but just – well, nice. Portofino would actually be a bigger “little something nice”, but if I keep liking it so much, it might be worth it.

        Interesting that orange blossoms are soothing – perhaps we are instinctively drawn to them for that reason. I’m thinking of getting a sample of Grand Neroli to investigate further into the subject – one should broaden one’s horizon 🙂

        • Olfactoria says:

          Absolutely, Marie! 😉 I am sure you will enjoy Grand Neroli, I find it more interesting than the Dior.
          That is a great tradition you should keep up! 🙂

  3. kjanicki says:

    I love orange blossom and find it very comforting too. I often wear an orange blossom perfume to bed. Thanks for pointing this out to me, it was never even on my radar. I’m going to give it a try.

  4. Tara says:

    Sorry to hear about N’s little accident, that must have been dreadful. Glad no lasting damage has been done and he is healing well.

    Orange blossom is a really beautiful, sunny note and a definite mood-lifter. So pleased it’s given you and N such comfort.

    As for Escale à Portofino, it’s seems LT’s theory that only one of a collection of three perfumes is any good, proves right again.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Tara, for your concern towards N. He is doing fine.
      LT seems indeed right. It will be interesting how a fourth in the line will turn out, we will see that soon in the Jardins series at least.

  5. Axum says:

    What a nice review! A kind SA gave me a tester of Portofino on a miserable day back in early February and it brightened me right up! I think a bottle of this will be my hot weather perfume this year.

  6. bloody frida says:

    This sounds like something I want to wear TODAY – it’s actually sunny and near 60 degrees! Thanks for the review.

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