Long Lost Love – Review: Diva by Ungaro

By Sandra

One of my fondest scent memories is of my mother. We were on a family summer vacation in the south of France for 4 weeks. One of the cities we visited was Aix-en-Provence. I was a young teenager and was just becoming interested in the luxuries in life. I always loved my mother’s perfume and remember sneaking into her dressing area to steal a spritz or two of her perfume.

Imagine my surprise when my mother asked if I wanted to go into a Parfumerie with her in Aix-en-Provence. For the life of me I cannot recall where my father was – but I do believe that he would have sat in a cafe waiting for his women to finish their shopping. My sister was with us and as far as I remember she had no interest in perfume. I thought I was only along to help my mother pick out a perfume.

She chose Eau de Campagne by Sisley and then asked the sales assistent to show me something as well. Out of a hand full of perfumes that she showed me, I fell in love with the bottle of Diva by Ungaro. The sales assistent noted that Diva was probably not a perfume for someone of my age, but I was adamant that that was my perfume. My mother proudly presented me with my first bottle of grown up perfume!

Diva UngaroI wore Diva for over fifteen years. It was as close as I ever got to having a signature scent. I lost count of the number of bottles of Diva that I bought in those years. And then, something changed. It had lost a certain rich quality. It was a bit more bracing in the top notes and the drydown was not as lavish. So I lamented its loss and started my journey to find another great perfume love. They say that you do not forget your first love. Not even in perfume I would add. I have many perfumes loves at the moment, but I have been searching for a glimpse of the first.

Fast forward to January 2014. I was walking down a major shopping street here in Vienna and searched out a perfume store recommended to me by Birgit. This store is literally a hole in the wall and as I walked in I was taken aback by all of the discontinued perfumes staring right at me. And then I remembered that I have been longing to find my lost love Diva and asked if they had some. Yes! They did. I was obviously not permitted to smell the perfume but I took a chance and bought it. I was so desperate to recreate the memories of that day in Aix-en-Provence.

As I sprayed the perfume I was immediately transported back to the tree lined street next to that Parfumerie and to the days afterwards walking around Avignon, Orange and St. Tropez. It is perfectly intact.

Diva is a rose chypre and in my opinion simply stunning. It opens grand and opulent, to my nose this perfume is centered on a full bodied red rose. It dries down with only a touch of honey to give it a more rounded quality. There is a bit of sandalwood at the end as well. All in all this perfume is all about the rose. The best part is when I spray, I spray on my clothes as well and love the aura that surrounds me all day long.

Sandra and her sister on that fateful trip to France.

Sandra and her sister on that fateful trip to France.

Knowing my love for Diva I am in danger of wearing it lavishly and without restraint, so if I am not careful I will go through my bottle in no time. Since it is irreplaceable it will have to be a cherished perfume that I only break out on special occasions.

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This entry was posted in Aldehydic, By Sandra, Chypre, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Rose, Sisley, Ungaro and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Long Lost Love – Review: Diva by Ungaro

  1. Undina says:

    What a beautiful story! I’m so glad you’ve reunited with the perfume you loved. I can completely relate to the feelings since I’ve been searching for the vintage version of my first perfume love (Climat by Lancome) for many years now.

    I don’t know how old was the version of Diva that I tried but I liked it. It’s too intense for me to wear often but I have a small decant of Diva and from time to time I enjoy wearing it.

    Do not save the perfume for too long: now, after you opened it, who knows how long it’ll survive. Enjoy it now, while it still smells the way you remember.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Undina for the encouragement to just wear it and enjoy it. I will love every moment.

      I have never tried Climat. I hope you can find some. It was as if I was reunited with a dear old friend. Xo

  2. Tara says:

    I loved reading this, Sandra. The fact that as a young girl, you stood your ground and insisted it was right for you, proves that you were worthy of “Diva”! Lovely story.

    Like Undina, I’m so pleased that you found it again and it was just as you remembered. It’s a wonderful thing to have a perfume that can transport you back to a special time. Great photo too.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Tara. Yes, much to my parents’ dismay I did stand my ground from an early age on. :). I love being transported through perfume to different memories.

  3. poodle says:

    Wear it and enjoy it if you love it that much. I’ve always been one to save my favorites too but one thing that 2014 is making abundantly clear to me is that you don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even if there will be a tomorrow. The saying is live for today, but I’ll say spritz for today. Enjoy your Diva.

  4. Safran says:

    Your beautiful story reminds me, that my mother used to wear Diva and I used steal a spritz once in a while! But I do see in the shelves once in a while, it doesn’t seem to be discontinued here.

  5. Donna says:

    Lovely story. Took me back to my own adventures with perfume and my Mother. Thank you so much!

  6. What a wonderful story, Sandra! I love how your mother made such a lovely experience of you getting your first perfume.

    I’ve never tried Diva but I’m certainly intrigued to now!

  7. Darilyn says:

    Hi Sandra! I too, love your story! I just ordered a mini bottle from FragranceNet.com.
    I could not resist being part of your journey, as a “Diva”!!!!

  8. Cheryl says:

    What a lovely memory, and lovely mother! When I want a more powerful presence, Diva is
    one of the perfumes I reach for.

  9. ringthing says:

    Thanks for sharing your lovely story, Sandra, I enjoyed reading it very much. I have a decant of Diva received early on in my perfume journey from a delightful online friend and I love it – definitely a precursor to perfumes like Paestum Rose and others. I’m not scented yet so I’ll wear it today. Diva stands up to the cold weather, and whatever else comes her way 🙂

    • Sandra says:

      Tickled pink that you also like Diva! You are right in saying that Diva does well in all situations. You smell divine today. 🙂

  10. Anita says:

    I too loved this fragrance! Do you have advice for how to know which bottle is vintage or less changed??

    • Sandra says:

      Another fan of Diva! Truth be told – no idea. What I find on the shelves in Vienna is all new formulation and mainly EdT. I had to go to a shop which is known to carry vintage perfumes.

      Maybe others have tips for us…

  11. Anka says:

    Such a good read, Sandra, thanks for sharing! My first perfume love was Balahe (Leonard). I bought it when I was 10 (!) and went through three bottles. Than my taste changed completely and Balahe has been discontinued anyway. But reading your memories, I would love to smell it again. (Diva’s notes sound a bit similar).
    Since prices for vintage bottles are extremely high on ebay (I wonder why?), I am afraid what if I don’t fall for my first love anymore? Or worse, what if I think how could I ever love this one?

    • Sandra says:

      I remember Balahe! Gosh, I would say that if you can smell it again do so. All sorts of lovely memories will come back. Hopefully you can find a vintage mini and then you could have it again.

  12. Bastet says:

    Diva is one of my old favorites as well and has been in my regular rotation for many years. I recently replaced my old bottle (after going without for a year or two) and to me the current version still smells wonderful, although I found a big difference between the EDT and the EDP (I vastly prefer the EDP). Granted it may not smell as good to me if I were to do a side-by-side comparison with the vintage. Or maybe the online discounter I purchased from was carrying old stock? My new bottle still has a real glass top, very unusual these days, so maybe its not a recent reformulation after all. Anyway, whatever version I now have it is recognizable as Diva and I am enjoying being reunited with an old friend – I especially love the rich honey note.

  13. Sandra says:

    Oh I could not agree with you more. The EdP is far superior to the EdT. I am so pleased that you too have been reunited with an old friend.

  14. Hey there Sandra,
    Excellent story and that picture, you look like a couple of movie stars.
    Thanks for being such excellent company in Vienna we have a ball the last few days. Could you please tell us, where is that hole in the wall?
    Portia xx

  15. Suzanne says:

    What a sweet story, Sandra. Although I’ve never smelled Diva, it sounds like (pre-reformulation) it was divine. So glad that you were able to find a vintage bottle and to enjoy being pulled back into that day when your mom gave you that beautiful rite-of-passage-in-a-bottle, so to speak! And that photo of you and your sister is wonderful.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Suzanne. It was a rite of passage in a big way. She asked me why I love perfume so much and I answered that it was because of Diva in the south of France.

  16. annemariec says:

    Are you tempted to go back for a back-up bottle? Or would that spoil the special-ness of your new treasure?

    • Sandra says:

      I bought the last bottle in the store. 😦 Don’t think they will get it in again. Otherwise I probably would have bought a second one.

  17. What a wonderful story and find ;-)!

  18. What a lovely and wonderful story, Sandra! I am so glad to hear that you are reunited with Diva — that is a very happy story indeed! This reminds me of my first real adult bottle: I was 14 and studying abroad in France for the first time. And the end of my stay (I was with a host family), the mother took me to the local parfumerie to pick out my first fragrance. It was Dior’s Dune and equally inappropriate for a teen! But I loved it and was so saddened to recently smell how much it has changed. Maybe there is a hole in the wall here in NYC? 🙂 We can only hope!

    In any case, thank you for sharing!

  19. Ann says:

    I too am an avid Diva lover. I agree something is not quite as subtle as it once was. I will never forget the first time I smelled it. It was magical for me. It was a must have and as a stay at home new mother of two babies, it was not anywhere in the budget. It was a scent strip in a magazine. Oh how I dreamed of owning some one day. I met the Rep at the Opera and he asked if I would consider modeling…he was the Diva Rep! Dream come true! I get paid to smell good and show people the product for the launch? I get it free??? Lucky for me, that day came and I have never been satisfied with another fragrance. I still wear it but miss the oil body spray and powder. It will always be my signature scent or nothing at all. I have tried to love others, but there is only one for me. Diva. Tiffany for women was another love but my grandmother loved it too and it became her signature scent. She recently passed away at the age of 96.5. It is wonderful how scent connects us with people. My husband is Tiffany fir Men. So subtle on the dry down it draws you in closer…like the Diva!

  20. fuckyouelegance says:

    Beautiful story! One of the reasons why I bought Diva is because of this journal entry! Thank you so much!

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