We’ll kick off a series of Dior Privée reviews with Vanilla Diorama, my favourite out of the five relatively recent releases that I’ve tried. Dior rebranded its elite, quasi-niche line in 2018 as “Maison Christian Dior,” discontinued a number of popular entries, and debuted a number of new creations that, I’d argue, evince a new olfactory and stylistic aesthetic. While I pondering whether to do an overview post with my thoughts on Dior’s new look (pun intended), let’s start things by looking at Vanilla Diorama.
Vanilla Diorama is a gourmand vanilla amber eau de parfum that was created by François Demachy and released in 2021. Dior’s official descriptions have taken on a frustrating, almost Lutens-ian quality where the note list is oblique or minimal and scattered throughout an exceedingly long text that seems to be about everything and nothing, all at the same time. For example, the fragrance’s colour palette — which, last time I checked, wasn’t a key factor in deciding whether or not to purchase a $250 or $350 fragrance. But I digress. You can read Dior’s official description here, if you’re interested.
The official note list for Vanilla Diorama appears to be:
Orange, Pink Pepper, Lemon, Rum, Cacao, Cardamom; Bourbon Vanilla, Madagascar Vanilla, Sandalwood, & Patchouli.
My detailed review thread on Twitter:
(Review THREAD) 1. #Dior's Vanilla Diorama, exclusive to its Privée niche line & Dior boutiques, is a lovely, addictive vanilla. It could share top place with Loree Rodkin's Gothic I as my fav. vanilla. However, I struggle with the performance issues on my skin. #scent
— Kafkaesque (@Kafkaesque_Blog) February 1, 2022
As you will notice if you read two of the replies to that thread, one person had no problem at all with Vanilla Diorama’s sillage or performance while another, my friend and fellow fragrance reviewer, The Perfume Dandy, dismissed the fragrance as an “eminently muted affair.” You can find more opinions on Vanilla Diorama at Fragrantica and Basenotes.
You can order samples of the various Dior Privée fragrances from Surrender to Chance. Vanilla Diorama is available for $2.99 for a 1/2 ml vial with sizes and prices going up from there. There are other decant sellers out there as well.
All in all, while I enjoyed Vanilla Diorama quite a bit, I think I’ll stick to the opulently thick, rich, intense vanilla (with patchouli, spice, and a touch of incense smoke) of Loree Rodkin’s Gothic I, my favourite vanilla fragrance.
In the days ahead, I’ll cover Souffle de Soie, Tobacolor, Spice Blend, and Rouge Trafalgar. Most will be very short reviews. I may even opt for the Luca Turin approach when it comes to some of them, like Rouge Trafalgar, summarizing things in a small paragraph. You can anticipate that none of the reviews will be hugely flattering and they most certainly will not be gushing. Dior’s apparent new aesthetic and its concurrent new focus on appealing to the uber-wealthy East Asian markets with their particular olfactory style, culture, and scent preferences — issues that I touch upon in the Vanilla Diorama review up above — do not result, in my opinion, in distinctive, creative, interesting, or original fragrances. They are highly derivative and, I’d argue, quite commercial and mainstream in character (in addition to a few having some performance issues). As a result, they are not, in my opinion, worthy of being considered niche and/or not worth the high price in question.