Well, indeed the new Addict Eau Délice by Dior opens on delicious, fresh, fruity and sparkling top notes quickly fading into a cosmetic interpretation of those as if someone thought it was fun to eat a rose-lychee cake in the shape of a pan of eye shadows. The main fruity-floral accord is anything but banal. It introduces an interesting measure of unassuming dissonance making you think of one of those brainy, intellectual teenagers who are intellectually older than their years. Visions of modish and bespectacled Parisian high-school girls wearing thickly rimmed, panda-eyed eye-glasses on purpose because it gives your face immediate character as well as operate as a shyness shield, impose themselves. The scene is in Paris, on the sidewalk outside a lycée at the end of classes. Unfortunately, they smoke too because, well, cigarette is a fashion accessory to many and by now we know, a health hazard to bystanders...
Fruit & Style Talk
Eau Délice has the capacity to pull you inside the life of an in-group seen from the outside with all its desirable, cool attributes. It offers instant style; this is what perfume can do for you. Spray on some and you get the condensed juice of decades of thinking about style and fashion. Besides that quality, it riffs on fruit in a very interesting way: it smells pulpy but not overly so remaining fruit-loving yet not regressive. It is elegant. The fragrance smells a bit askew but not astray. The fruit expresses a bit of rebellion with its accents of bitter almond and cedar wood, but stays within the system obviously simply because it masters it so well.
For those who think it is strange to think of fruity notes as conveying a sense of risk, I answer that the first time I smelled Yvresse aka Champagne by Yves Saint Laurent in 1993 with its lychee and nectarine overdose which translated as big pineapple, it was odd and even off-putting to find so much fruit in a fine perfume bottle. This was the dawn of big gourmands ushered in by Angel by Thierry Mugler just the year before in 1992, which I had found more acceptable and immediately adopted for its hazy, nostalgic and warm Oriental qualities. Yvresse I adopted much later on when it was no more named Champagne.
The Dior-Guerlain Connection Under One House
Another important twist to take into account as far as the olfactory personality of Eau Délice is concerned, presented as a fresh, Oriental perfume, is how at the core of the fragrance there is a flattering homage paid to Idylle by Guerlain. The floral notes that compose the enchanting bouquet of Idylle, especially in the eau de toilette version which is presented as having a stronger freesia-neroli aspect, have been recaptured here because they are admired and there is market competition to attend to, or closer to home, market consistency and perfume house signature writ large.
Notes of rose, jasmine, ylang, freesia and lilac are there in that familiar Idylle form but less symphonic and musical, made jammier. Add to that the cherry note which sometimes wafts heavily from a Guerlain boutique in the throes of a La Petite Robe Noire promotion and we can start thinking that Dior and Guerlain which both belong to the LVMH luxury group and are both overseen by perfumer and artistic director François Demachy in some capacity are intent on disseminating a house signature that goes beyond that of either houses.
The Guerlain house in particular is historically famous for its distinctive base called the "Guerlinade". In Eau Délice, a little bit of that warm iris-y and animalic base has seeped in. It may explain the "cigarette" impression in the begining of the fragrance: there is something a bit hazy and tobacco-like about that base especially as experienced in Guerlain Héritage, but also in Idylle. As LVMH have recruited a new in-house perfumer in the person of Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud who is currently creating the next Louis Vuitton perfumes, the thinking could be more and more "LVMH" rather than just Guerlain or Dior. The more so since LVMH have cut ties of dependency from mammoth fragrance suppliers. This flanker composition here is certainly a testament to the invisible olfactory bridges that are daintily being thrown between the two famous perfume houses right under our noses.
Perfumer Thierry Wasser who composed the original Dior Addict is the person that was retained to succeed Jean-Paul Guerlain. Some affinities speak for themselves. You are reminded of that as Eau Délice develops its vanillic, Oriental base albeit in fresher form. If Addict had something Shalimaresque about it, it has not lost that nuance of attachment in its latest flanker.
This is in part why you get an impression of "instant style". There are so many layers of thinking and testing of the waters of taste in this new perfume that we can recommend it as a carefully crafted fragrance which is very pleasant to wear. If it is not "original", it is authentically about French perfumery style. It really is not just a light composition but about tapping both into the tradition of the house and the success it encountered on the streets of cities where women wear perfume seriously. It is not just about Dior per se but clearly, LVMH, with the inclusion of its oldest perfume brand and most historic lineage, by any common standards, Guerlain.
List of notes: bergamot, cranberry, orange, cherry, jasmine, rose, ylang, bitter almond, cedar wood, white musks and vanilla.