The Seven Sins – Lust And Wrath; Review: Vintage Dior Dioressence

When Carrie of Eyeliner on a Cat announced that this blogging collaboration would have The Seven Deadly Sins as a theme, I rejoiced. What a great challenge!

As soon as I sat down to get to work though, I realized how hard this assignment was going to be. I had picked my two favorites of the bunch, Lust and Wrath (make of that what you will 😉 ), and now I tried to match those two with a perfume each.

My very first thought went in the direction of Vero Profumo. Rubj, the seductress seemed to be a good idea to represent lust, and the fierce Onda could easily be wrath, it has some people shaking in their boots alright.

But it didn’t quite fit… for one I didn’t want to associate the angelic Vero Kern with such sinful creations (although there is no doubt in my mind she would delight in that, because she might be angelic, but there is a good-sized devil sitting on her left shoulder, grinning about all of this). Also, I was looking for something new. Something unknown.

I wanted to experience those sins fresh and without preconceived notions.

Lust and wrath, wrath and lust – what do they have in common? A frenzy, a blind aggression, an unreflected impulse driving the sinner, pushing him, making him proceed farther and farther towards the goal. The goal? Eros and Thanatos. Life and death. Two sides of the same thing. The two guiding impulses of our lives, when we believe in Freud’s theories.

Lust and wrath are expressions of our deepest drives – to live, to die. No wonder the church wants no business with them, when what they sale only comes afterwards.

I browsed through my perfume collection, looking for inspiration, when all of a sudden I found it – the one perfume that is both lust and wrath, both positive and negative, both growling passion and screaming anger: Vintage Dior Dioressence.

dioressence ad

The vintage in front of that name is not merely decorative, but essential, because sadly, tragically, the Dioressence that I smell on myself at the moment, is no longer available. The existing version, leading a measly, largely ignored life, I guess, at the bottom shelf of every Dior counter as part of the Les Creations de Parfumeur collection, is very far removed from the barely tamed wild thing it once was.

dioressence vintage

If you get the chance to try the vintage juice, do it.

Dioressence was marketed by Dior as le parfum barbare, the barbaric perfume, and that was no mere talk.

Created in 1969 by Guy Robert, Dioressence was a rich chypre including notes of
aldehydes, bergamot, orange, jasmine, violet, rosebud, ylang ylang, geranium, cinnamon, patchouli, orris root, ambergris, oakmoss, benzoin, musk and styrax.

The story of its creations is famously recounted by Chandler Burr in his book The Emperor of Scent (about Luca Turin): Robert was asked to create an animalic scent. He had been handling a big piece of ambergris in his lab, and later washed his hands with cheap floral soap, allegedly a Miss Dior knockoff. When he later smelled his hands he had stumbled on the idea for Dioressence – an intensely animalic base crossed with a green floral.

Dioressence smells furry, spicy, dark, full of warmth – no, heat – and at the same time exhibits a soft side. The gorgeous floral bouquet of Dioressence takes it from the low-lands of the id, to the soft grassy plains of the ego.

What about lust and wrath? Are they in here? Oh yes, they are. Dioressence contains both of these elemental forces, those lapses of the sound psyche, the exceptions to the calm seas of the rational and sober mind. But it does so with a good dose of conciousness. It is no mere unthinking beast, it trancends its most base instincts and instead uses them almost wisely.

And that is what makes it the perfect representative for our two sins: to sin means to do evil consciously.

Knowing better, yet still following your desires.


Don’t forget to take a look at my fellow sinner’s posts today:

Eyeliner on a Cat

The Candy Perfume Boy


Fragrant Moments


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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33 Responses to The Seven Sins – Lust And Wrath; Review: Vintage Dior Dioressence

  1. nukapai says:

    What a great theme!

  2. Persolaise says:

    Nice choice, Birgit. And you’ve inspired me to dig out my vintage Dioressence bottle.

    Here’s to a sinful weekend!

  3. Tara says:

    Wow, what a post! All that in one perfume? It’s nothing like that now. What idiots those responsible at Dior are.

    Off to search evilbay.. . 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Nothing at all like that.

      I bet those idiots at Dior don’t know what all the fuss is about, to them perfume is smelly colored water one way or another. 😦

      I keep my fingers crossed you find something on the bay.

  4. Joan says:

    Again, what a great theme! I love Dioressence, although I haven’t tried the vintage. Good stuff!

  5. Tora says:

    I was wondering what you could possibly pick to exemplify those two disparate themes/sins. I had just read the blog regarding pride, and I thought how hard the concept of pride is to match to a perfume. So lust and wrath are such powerful forces, that I had all kinds of scents swirling around in my brain. And Rubj absolutely came to mind. (And I bet Vero would love that association!). Then when you said Vintage Dioressence, I was in Total agreement. You are so right on about that angry erotic element… with a deep growl! Good choice!

  6. Pingback: Seven Deadly Sins – Greed |

  7. Annina says:

    Fantastic topic! You’ve chosen so very well, Birgit! I love Dioressence, it has always felt brash and untamed to me. It is certainly not for all audiences!

  8. Wonderful post, dear Birgit. I have sampled several vintage Diors, but not this one. When I read Emperor Of Scent it made me want to smell this. Now I must renew my search. 🙂

  9. Tatiana says:

    Perfect choice of perfume! Vintage Dioressence is like a furry beast lying there, purring come hither, then lashing out with a huge “Gerrrrowwl! Hisssss!” All fangs and claws and then back to that low, throaty, sexy purr. I now feel the need to visit my daughter for her birthday in July in NYC, just so I can drag her around to all the flea markets and vintage shops hunting for vintage perfumes.

  10. Oooh you make this one so lustfully and wrathfully gorgeous! A must try!

  11. Pingback: The Deadly Perfumes of Pride | The Candy Perfume Boy

  12. annemariec says:

    Oddly enough, vintage Dioressence does not make me think of emotions as much as textures: rough leather, scratchy tweed, and dirty spices. It’s not a sweet fragrance but there is plenty of warmth. It’s remarkable to think that young women once wore this. Today, only niche houses would be this daring, and they would charge a fortune for it. Seen in that light, the price you pay on eBay for vintage Dioressence may not seem so bad.

  13. I never knew that story about Dioressence. Very cool and an interesting list, as always.

  14. Vanessa says:

    Perfect choice! In the very early stages of my hobby – when my nose was very sensitive and easily overwhelmed by spice and animalic notes – I once likened Dioressence to embalming fluid, which I totally retract now. But I did at least pick up on a sense of danger and fierceness. And I suppose indulging too much in those vices could lead you to the funeral parlour earlier than planned…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I couldn’t have stomached Dioressence in the beginning either, it is definitely a challenging scent, and it could get one into trouble of any kind I guess… 🙂

  15. Carrie Meredith says:

    Ooh, I love the illustration- it seems to support your feelings regarding Dioressence’s dual nature. Now I’ve got to find a sample of the vintage, you’ve piqued my interest! Fabulous post, Birgit.

  16. Undina says:

    The only version of Dioressence I’ve worn was a vintage one (well, two – since those were from two different bottles); I haven’t experienced it in its prime time (unlike Miss Dior, Diorella and Diorissimo) but I liked a lot whatever left of it in those vintage versions.

    Before I actually read your review I thought that the “wrath” part would be on the account of what they’ve done with Dioressence in its current version 😉

  17. Pingback: Vintage Dioressence by Guy Robert for DIOR 1979 + GIVEAWAY « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

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