Dior Homme Cologne is a ‘refreshed’ and repackaged version of the 2014 light citrus musk that was released as a summer variant to the velveted, sweet iris of the original, groundbreaking Dior Homme. I loved the powdered, clean laundered air of the top iris note in the first editions of that scent as much as the next person – and applauded the absolute volte face it represented in what the possibilities it held for fragrances targeted at a male audience. If actually wearing Dior Homme, with the cloying, densely sweet ambered/tonka bean vanilla in its later stages made me want to actually claw the skin off my own face, I still do appreciate its relevance as a gamechanger.
Because I am not really one to go out of my way to try all the exhausting flankers of every scent release, the cologne version of Homme – actually a totally different perfume – had escaped my attention. Yesterday, though not quite as nifty as Robert Pattinson in my work suit and splendiferous tie, I decided to sample this, on a paper card, in the city, and just a little on the back of my hand so that I could wash it off as necessary.
First impressions: Francois Demachy, grand nez at Dior, sure knows how to nail the deal. Essentially, this is an aldehydic grapefruit musk with a healthy dose of steam-ironed freshness and Iso E Super to surround the wearer like a just washed forcefield, with some vetiver in there as well (not mentioned but I can smell it) on top of hidden iris, as a discreet link to the first iteration of Homme.
At first I was thinking: ooh, could I actually wear this? Could this be my next summer scent? Grapefruit is not often done well in perfume; here, it is bright, energized; the link to the floral heart of the scent apparently based on grapefruit blossom, the idea of a fleur de pamplemousse quite appealing as a light morning summer flutter. As the scent gradually settled, I realized what it was beginning to remind me of a lot: : a modern unisex tribute to Estee Lauder’s White Linen.
I did begin to feel strange after a ten or so minutes, though, I must admit, as if my identity had been hijacked. This wasn’t an entirely unpleasant sensation, as we all sometimes need a break from ourselves, but I definitely had the sensation of being on a plane, in the cabin air, and the artificial happiness of clean scents being pumped into the space to stop you choking on all the flatulent miasma. It was pleasant, but too generically ‘nice’. Eventually, I had to wash it off because the white musk base – still with traces of convincing grapefruit – was starting to bother me. In the same way thar Prada Infusion D’Iris, or Terre D’Hermes, which I always invoke as examples of perfectly crafted modern perfume that I nevertheless personally always find too one note and insistent, are very pleasant but also nerve-dulling, this is also one of those pristine juggernauts that are destined to sell by the bucketload, despite the internal sameness, because they just work overall : immaculate balance; good projection, an easygoing, relatable smell. This is perfect for a smart young person. Just not for yours truly.
It’s also quite interesting to look at the advertising for this fragrance. Robert Pattinson is up on high; sitting alone, in the sun, clean and groomed, smelling of just-showered floridian citrus, crisp and fresh; in self-contained solitude. No European supermodels clawing at his chest or mauling him in a elevator :