A very rare find, my eyes almost popped out on stalks of amazement when I saw Diorling standing there impassively and forlorn, neglected by perfume-blind passersby at the Sunday Shinagawa flea market. Didn’t the seller standing obliviously at his stand know that bids for this perfume start at extortionate prices on e-bay? Did he not know that some perfumistas would be clawing each other’s eyes out to get their hands on a bottle of this rare and rarified creature?..








Dior Diorling and other Dior fragrances vintage 1955 ad (hprints.com)







The feeling of discovering these long forgotten treasures is, as you know,  one of the most constantly nerve-crackling moments of my life. One that never fails to send my red blood cells, anaemic from a week of too much reality, writhing and thickening with adrenaline. Perfume REVIVES me, like a vampire right after a feed.








In the past, during my expeditions among the various recycle shops and fleamarkets here,  I have come across countless vintage Carons;  a Guerlain Ode extrait;  oodles of Chanel parfums, and things I had never even known the existence of, such as Quiproquo de Grès (a lemon-leaf reinterpretation of Cabochard) and the exquisite Michelle by Balenziaga ,my avaricious thrill of clutching my Diorling (‘Mine!  Mine!! ! MINE !!’!  !) being childishly tempered, only slightly, upon then 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. It was thus not quite as precious or as exclusive a find as I initially thought. However, debate has raged over how tame the recent Dior reformulations have been: this edition is definitely the original, dirty-elegant dissipation from 1963. And 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 designed for a woman. Like  Cabochard, this type of chypre is a category of scent that in dry down is irrevocably bi-sexed: suave, nonplussed and wordly on a man as it is on a woman.






A shrewd creature dressed in tweed and satin and wearing Diorling could have a room in the palm of their hand.










Luca Turin once wrote of  ‘parfums fatigués’, those sly, ironic scents with hints of overripe melon and 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, Guerlain included – that regally supercilious Parisian paradox of chic and 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 of course possessed of similarly exquisite taste; restrained, low-registered, composed, but, if required, quite ready to pounce. I see it on the incestuous matriarch of Visconti’s ‘The Damned’, contemptuously lowering her lacquered eyelids, her half-forgotten, 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, and ice-hearted 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, wood-bedded scent laced with tobacco and patchouli that then softens 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

35 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.

    • It was, although I have never really worn it. Not quite me, somehow. I have found that Dior perfumes often give me that reaction.
      Respect, but not straightforward love.

  8. Loved waking up to this. Quintessential ginzaintherain. Thanks. I treasure my vintage Diorling; it’s in the fridge shoulder to shoulder with other bottles I want to keep alive as long as possible. It’s one I admire more than adore; as you say, not really me. Closest is vintage Diorama, and Edmond’s creation for his wife, recreated admirably in FM’s Le Parfum de Thérèse.

    Coincidentally, as I opened my laptop to read you I had just splashed on some vintage Diorissimo, because it’s that time of year. I really only wear it in the Spring around Mothers Day when the muguet are blooming here near Vancouver. My vintage version is almost filthy somehow, not so much animalic as decayed, in a good way: a necessary counterpoint, artistically, to all that sweet green floralcy. Again, not me at all, but yikes, they sure didn’t mess around back in the day, did they?

  9. Renee Stout

    Loved reading this again, and yes, I’m still looking for Diorella in vintage parfum concentration. Let me know if you run across one!

  10. I LOVE THIS! You take the cake…eat it…and then shove it in our hungry faces!
    I have never really thought of hunting down classic perfumes, I am busy
    enough plunging into those multitudes within our present day overpriced
    but intriguing market.
    But Man Alive! Your adventures in this realm just turn me on…what fun,
    what scents, what scandalous bargains. Your blog makes me feel like I am
    in there with you on every adventure…on every mystery…Please, Please
    don’t stop, I thank you for every word of it.

    • And thank you for saying this. It gives me energy back.

    • Incidentally, what scents are your favourites at present? I also like to be tantalised by all the things I don’t know myself.

      • I am so new to the role of perfume-addict that I am probably thrilled to pieces with reformulated contemporary perfumes that may have been out there for years. What I love surprises me…more English than French…i.e. Miller Harrises’ GERANIUM BOURBON, LA FUMEE OTTOMAN, FLEUR DE BOIS; Florises’ MAHON LEATHER, NIGHT SCENTED JASMINE, EDWARDIAN BOUQUET; and for the French, love Sisley’s SOIR DE LUNE,
        EAU DE SISLEY #1 & #3, and Givenchy’s AMARIGE to mention just a few.
        Your blog has been especially helpful in steering me into some delicious stuff. I think you pretty well know what is out there but you have the added
        surreal thrill of discovery in the back alleys of Tokyo.

      • Like your selection though as well. I have a little thing for Floris and I love Miller Harris as well. Got through my bottle of Soir De Lune in no time and am delighted to see the mention of Amarige. If you have never read the review by the Perfume Dandy, you simply must: https://theperfumeddandy.com/2013/03/21/too-much-is-never-enough-amarige-by-givenchy-th

  11. Robin

    Ever since I’d read this back in 2016 I’d been keeping a lookout for the Michelle you mentioned and found one a year or two ago. You spoke the truth. It’s sensational.

    What do you think of the current Diorling? I was underwhelmed. Pity.

  12. Matty

    What a find. I too wonder who gave this perfume up.

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