Top: Aldehydes, Gardenia, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot
Heart: Carnation, Iris, Jasmine, Neroli, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Narcissus
Base: Labdanum, Leather, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver
I feel foolish because for years old-school Miss Dior never appealed to me enough to try it. It wasn’t just that there have been countless reformulations over the years or the risk of falling for a vintage gem. To be honest, I think it was the word ‘Miss’ in its name and the association with the ultra-feminine full skirts of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 – the year of its release. I assumed Miss Dior wasn’t for me, that it would be too prim and proper.
Now I’ve experienced the wonder that is vintage Miss Dior Parfum (thanks to Miss Portia) I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can see there is a kind of houndstooth smartness to classic Miss Dior but oh, there is so much more to this iconic chypre under its pristine surface.
It’s one of those perfumes that is incredibly cohesive, so tightly woven, that it has a distinct character and persona all its own. This makes it rather tricky to unpick and separate into its constituent parts, but we shall see…
Vintage Miss Dior is glorious from the start. It’s all there; the green-veiled florals with that unmistakable backing of real-deal oakmoss which, along with labdanum and patchouli, give it that addictive chypre tang.
The aldehydes are whisper soft, no doubt because the juice is several decades old. Copious galbanum can make a fragrance come across as steely, but here the austere queen of green is softened by waxy garlands of gardenia flowers.
Perhaps what strikes me most is the fragrance’s texture. The floral heart is set against a backdrop which Neil of The Black Narcissus described perfectly as “tweedy”. The weave and waft of the original Miss Dior has a cross-hatched grain that I see in shades of dark brown, slate grey and forest green, relieved by flecks of white.
It doesn’t take long – about an hour – for a thread of castoreum-style musk to unravel from the whole and make its presence known. There is a hidden filth scene behind the façade of respectability. I covet this kind of contrast because it creates intrigue and true allure. This only deepens through its development.
Down in the base, a leather of the super strict variety is revealed. The provocative mixture of cool oakmoss, animalic musk and hard leather is the last thing you’d expect under that crisp, buttoned-up exterior.
Miss Dior never has to take her gloves off in order to put others in their place: just being around her makes everyone mind their manners and sit up a little straighter. It’s an irresistible combination of seductiveness and no-nonsense.
What may at first look appear to be schoolmarmish frigidity is actually leather-bound suggestiveness masked by a show of propriety.
Miss Dior is fragrant subversion of the most elegant kind.
Do you adore vintage Miss Dior? How does the current Miss Dior Originale compare?
25 responses to “Miss Dior Vintage Parfum by Dior”
I love… no LOVE Miss Dior in all reincarnations until it was stripped off its name and given the “originale” moniker. I’m not saying that the current version is bad – I just cannot bring myself to trying it. And I’ll probably stick to the vintage findings – as long as I can find them (Please meet my Miss Dior family).
I’m so glad that now Miss Dior speaks to you as well.
Oh wow, that photo of your collection is gorgeous! What a lovely family portrait.
I was hoping someone would chime in on the current version, so thanks for that. I don’t feel hopeful about “Originale” after experiencing the vintage. It’s hard to get hold of a tester anyway. I will try it if I come across it but I think vintage is the way to go with Miss Dior. No wonder Portia stockpiles it 🙂
Inspired by your review, I wore it to the office today – and it was wonderful! Thank you.
Ah that’s lovely to hear. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving weekend.
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I share the “miss” problem with you, T. ! Plus I’m afraid of vintage, I’d need the time I don’t have to find a reliable source for genuine vintage quality. So no, I’ve never tried it, and probably never will, but your review definitely made it sound damn lovely 😀
I totally relate to where you’re coming from, M. It’s time, money and risk going down the vintage route. There’s plenty of great stuff around so it’s hardly a necessity. I’m in a quandary now I’ve tried it though…
I think sometimes there’s nothing to lose. Some of the less coveted, under-the-radar juices are affordable on eBay. I recently picked up small amounts of Balenciaga Le Dix parfum and EDT, multiple vials of Shiseido Inoui and Spirit of Zen, and a full ounce of 80s Eau de Givenchy for less than $20 apiece. They smell great, among my absolute favorites, and I would’ve missed out not trying them.
I go by the pictures. So that rules out expensive sealed boxes. Check that the liquid is not iced tea dark. I actually prefer lightly used items—a regular person or their relative who didn’t care for the scent and forgot about it, instead of a possible fake. I bought a houndstooth Diorissimo I’m not fully decided about, but I still didn’t spend too much.
Timewise, no need to pore over pages of vintage perfume results. Just check which auctions under your price ceiling are about to end and make the leap if you see something interesting.
Thanks, Rebecca H. That’s really helpful advice. I never thought about partly used bottles being less of a risk.
YAY!! One Of US!
So happy you love Miss Dior parfum Tara. Somehow I knew it would be a terrific fit.
When you come stay we can troll the Dior back catalogue for a night, there are some others here that will flip your wig.
I remember it smelling great on you when we had dinner in London. I’m so lucky to know you and benefit from your kindness. Very happy I got to fall for Miss Dior at last, thanks to you.
I can hardly imagine all the fun we’d have in Sydney.
Mutual admiration society of two.
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Beautiful review, that had even this non-chypre fan weak at the knees! I am sure Lisa Wordbird gave me a sample of vintage Miss Dior way back when, and I shall now have an active hunt for it. I am most curious about its ‘leather bound suggestiveness’. It’s a quality I knew people talked about in regard to Jolie Madame, but Miss Dior clearly has a lot more about it that deserves further investigation…;)
It really is like that in the base, V – surprisingly so. Jolie Madame has that from the start as I recall but more strict than suggestive.
I hope you find the sample. Unlike me, you got organised a while ago so hopefully that will help.
I do indeed adore Miss Dior. If I had to pick the “house on fire” perfume to save, this is probably it. And it’s thanks to Portia that she and I are together again (It was a blog article that reminded me of my first encounters with her, and made me seek out an old bottle from the same era. Thank you, Portia!)
Happy to send you a squoosh of a recent “originale” if you’re curious, Tara. It’s definitely related, even if it doesn’t have the same complexity and depth.
Glad you found Miss Dior again.
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That’s a lovely story, crikey. I feel like Portia is Perfumeland’s Fairy Godmother in a number of ways. She brings people and perfumes together.
That’s a very kind offer and much appreciated but I’m sure I’ll find it in store somewhere so I won’t put you to the trouble.
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Beautiful review Tara. You have me swooning and holding onto my credit card too. I cannot go down the vintage path- too painful if something goes wrong. Sandra xo
I know, Sandra. I don’t seek out vintage either for the same reason. This one came to me as with Vol de Nuit. It’s hard to go back to the current versions afterwards so maybe better not to know!
Hello Tara, thought it was high time that I chimed in with a comment. Love your review, especially those three words ‘leather-bound suggestiveness’ A colleague wore this way back in the day and I always loved it on her. Strangely I never made any moves to buy it for myself, for whatever reason. But now I think the universe is definitely sending me a message! As you say, Portia is quite obsessed with this and wears it regularly which got me thinking about it again. Then it pops up on my eBay feed, a nice little vintage parfum. And lo, I log on here and what do I see? Okay okay, I take the hint😉 I’m going to pull the trigger. It’s a small amount of juice, the price is minimal so it’s not major outlay.
I can at least pretend I’m an elegant lady while wearing this, though I know the truth. Thank you again, love your blog.
Hi cassieflower, I’m so happy you’re going to go for the Miss Dior! I hope it’s still available – the time definitely seems to be right. it’s great that you found some online for a good price. At least it’s one vintage that isn’t completely out of reach, for now.
I love how Portia wears it whenever, wherever and that’s definitely possible with Miss Dior and the way to go, I think. You clearly are elegant because you have elegant taste 🙂
Thanks for you kind words about the blog, I’m so pleased you commented.
What a treat to own a vintage bottle of this classic! Great post, from your words to your pics. R
Thanks R! It’s almost finished so I’ll have to go hunting on eBay soon.
Ooh fragrant subversion, I like it! You think its going to be Miss Goody Goody then she is ….much more. I too have been gifted by Perfumelands Fairy Godmother! and its a treasure amongst my small collection of goodies.
When you come to Sydney we will try out the latest formulations and compare together our Miss Dior, we can be subversive in David Jones !
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