Midnight Poison by Christian Dior is the fifth perfume in the Poison collection since 1985. It comes after Poison (1985), Tendre Poison (1994), Hypnotic Poison (1998), and Pure Poison (2004). It was one of the most prestigious launches of 2007 as if in an attempt to recapture the glamor of the golden age of perfumery -- modeled after the golden age of Hollywood -- a reminder of the era of mega launches such as those of the original Poison or Opium or Trésor when such means were deployed that a perfume could become the center of attention for an enduring period. The campaign seems to have been mostly visual as articles on the perfume are not that numerous. Actress Eva Green was enlisted and director Wang Kar-Wai shot one of the most luxurious and romantic advertisements of last year (check the French version) in a year that was not lacking in them (Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Guerlain L'Instant Magic, the ad).
Like for Coco Mademoiselle, it is a storied advertising campaign, mostly visually, re-interpreting the story of Cinderella who now swings from the roof of the opéra Garnier in Paris at the stroke of midnight...
The picture above shows the Collector Edition for three of the Poisons. They are released this month and will be available until February-March 2008 to correspond with Valentine's Day season. Midnight Poison will be available at Sephora, the other two at Dillard's, each 50 ml bottle retailing for $59. The flacon is darling, accenting its romantic personality with tendrils running around the base and up four "corners". The blue this time is a truly dreamy midnight blue although in principle, each flacon is supposed to be slightly different (at least for the standard version).
Thanks in great part to this very active campaign, we can assume, the fragrance has become a top best-seller in France. We initially felt that it was lacking in originality and to some extent this remains true but it depends on how high one sets the bar and how realistic one cares to be. The perfume was created to please, not to challenge and in this it fulfills its goal. Making it do anything more difficult would be like asking a well-integrated handsome man who is part of the establishment to act upon the beliefs nurtured by a Rimbaud. It would be ludicrous to do so. The perfume embodies a popular trend of perfumery based on the modernization of traditional rose scents and even more particularly, on a fashionable accord of rose, amber, and Patchouli.
Midnight Poison was composed by tandem of perfumers Jacques Cavallier and Olivier Cresp under the artistic direction of François Demachy who has been pushing for more quality, a credo that one could indeed see applied in Pucci Vivara for example and now Midnight Poison. The perfumers also, interestingly, contributed another perfume based on this type of accord last year, the new Elle by Yves Saint Laurent. It is not the purpose of this article to draw a comparison except to point to some obvious perfumery affinities (see also Gucci by Gucci). Some will fault the proximity of the inspiration, others will keep an open mind as to the fact that perfumery is an art of the fine-tuned nuances and that it likes to play with subtle yet significant variations like for instance in its sister art, cuisine (arguably, every art does that too).
Midnight Poison although closely related to other perfumes is not a mere copy, but a variation, a study on a similar main accord.
The perfume opens on a juxtaposition of juicy and woody notes tied by a floral heart letting you see its clear architecture immediately. The deeper amber-y base is perceptible from the beginning and subtly reminiscent of the syrupy, uniquely dark fruity and honeyed texture of the original Poison, but soon you realize, with the added textural effect of finely sifted silky powder.
A cottony rose at first unfolds lying on a bed of soft, plush vanilla. The impression is creamy but not heavy and slightly gourmand. The vanilla accord is made a little bit more nervous thanks to a dash of enlivening citrus. The Patchouli courses through the scent, adding a metallic, ferrous element and a more masculine note in a little girl's gourmand boudoir atmosphere. Maybe a dream brushes past her of knights in armor warring swords in hands and princesses locked away in towers awaiting their liberation by their paramours. But this was just a passing image for in the next moments, the rose becomes delicate, contemporary, ultra-feminine, and blooms thanks to the life-giving, thirst-quenching dewy mandarin.
After having reached a peak of expansion the scent segues into a fruity and lightly sparkling rose while a deeper underlying layer of ambergris bespeaks of more sophisticated femininity. The rose in midnight Poison is both fresh and warm. The amber-y body is round as can be. The dry-down with time becomes muskier and animalic with some neroli it seems. It is very sexy.
We suspect that the scent smells even better than experienced up close as wafts boomeranging back to you smell strangely exquisite.
(Images: via Dior press and Voguezone.com)