A very rare find (my eyes almost popped out on stalks of amazement when I saw it standing there impassively, neglected by passersby at the Sunday Shinagawa fleamarket; didn’t the seller know that bids for this start at extortionate prices on e-bay? Do they not know that some perfumistas would be clawing each other’s eyes out to get their hands on this bottle?),  the feeling of discovering these rare treasures one of the most constantly nerve-crackling moments of my life, one that never fails to send my red blood cells writhing and thickening with adrenaline. Perfume REVIVES me.

In the past I have come across countless vintage Carons;  a Guerlain Ode extrait;  and things I had never even known the existence of, such as Quiproquo de Grès (a lemon-leaf reinterpretation of Cabochard). My avaricious thrill of clutching my Diorling (‘Mine! MINE!!’) was childishly tempered only slightly upon finding that the perfume had, at Roja Dove’s request, been made available again at the Harrod’s Haute Parfumerie, along with the legendary Diorama. Thus not quite as precious or or exclusive a find as I thought. However, debate has raged over how tame the Dior reformulations have been: this is definitely the original, softly dirty-elegant animal-hide from 1963. While the top notes may have deteriorated slightly ( I am not getting much of the muguet/rose said to be in the blend), you would hardly know it; you would also hardly imagine it to be necessarily designed for a woman. Like  Cabochard, this type of chypre is a category of scent that in dry down is irrevocably bi-sexed: suave and wordly on a man as it is on a woman. A shrewd creature dressed up in tweed and this could have a room in the palm of their hand.


Luca Turin writes of  ‘les parfums fatigués’, those sly, ironic scents with a hint of overripe melon, a whiff of decay; scents  that reek, basically, of decadence, even death. Diorella (1972) is one such scent – a brilliant mix of fresh/stale; clean/dirty, at once citric and animalic. Dior somehow mastered this type of scent better than anyone else, that supercilious French fromage.  Even the angelic Diorissimo has that corrupted aspect somewhere in the heart of its innocence; that depth and knowing. These scents have such style; a true fuck-you grace that can be almost daunting. And Diorling is possessed of similarly exquisite taste; restrained, low-registered, composed, but ready to pounce if required. I see it on the incestuous matriarch of Visconti’s ‘The Damned’, contemptuously lowering her lacquered eyelids,  her ever-present cigarette…….; invincible, magnificent. That is, before her destruction at the hands (and body) of her son, played with malevolent disdain by the beautiful Helmut Berger.

The cruel vulnerability of a scent that tries to reason with your emotions even while dominating them. The laconic orange blossom, peach-tinted flowers layering a subtlely spiced, woody scent laced with tobacco and patchouli that soften to a complex, secretive series of moments (who was the Japanese woman that owned this perfume? Why did she discard such a treasure  at a flea market?); gives nothing away, titillates you with visions of times forever gone.



Filed under Chypre, Leather, Perfume Reviews

16 responses to “I KNOW YOU WANT ME…..DIORLING by CHRISTIAN DIOR (1963)

  1. OMG! I just love the way you can articulate the emotions of finding a rare vintage perfume. My heart pounds like crazy when I encounter some amazing gem like the vintage full-bottle of Diorama EDT that I found in a case at an antiques mall last fall. Those moments are so rare, in my case, that when they do happen, it makes it all the more intense, even spiritual (lol).

    Although I love many of the classic scents, I used to think that nothing could compare to the fragrances made by Caron or Guerlain…that is, until I aquired a string of Diors (Miss Dior, Diorissimo, Diorama) in pure parfum concentration. Now I’m obsessed with finding the pure parfum concentrations of Diorling and Diorella. I have a 1990’s version of Diorella EDT and vintage (1960’s) EDT’s of Miss Dior, and Diorama, but I find that the vintage EDT’s of all the Dior’s can be very weak. Have you experienced that?

    There’s nothing like reading your reviews with a cup of coffee in the morning. Thanks for sharing your passion.

    • Thanks for not finding me just a complete fool!

      And I agree, the vintage Dior parfums are stunning. I have Diorella, actually (also from the flea market) but have used almost all of it up as I actually really love wearing that one. Miss Dior too, which is pretty stunning in vintage and comes up a lot here in Japan. I can look out for one for you if you like.

  2. As much as I love you I am beyond jealous!!!!! Why indeed did that Japanese woman discard such a treasure??????

  3. Martha

    Wow! I’ve never found any such treasure at a flea market. You definitely scored.

  4. Dearest Ginza
    A wonderful account.
    That Dior decadence. How true. No one else could have made muguet so, well, manque.
    I desire Diorling so much, though know that I will probably never own it.
    Ah well.
    For you, some words of comfort for if the reformulated ‘Dioressence’ and ‘Diorella’ are benchmarks, the new “Diorling” is nothing like the vintage.
    What you have is truly precious.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Oh my word! That was so exciting to read! You really have a way of telling a story that just grabs me and takes me along. Brilliant!

  6. Rafael

    Perhaps you already know? Dior launched Diorling as a tribute to julie Christie in the movie “Darling.” (This also initiated the new line, ‘Trapeze”) The design and launch was during the brief time Yves Saint Laurent had the helm at Dior.

  7. I discovered Diorling in 1964’s when I lived in London and I love it. I can not find it now but just Googled it and saw it for sale on eBay.

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