Dior Homme
Fragrance talk

Dior Homme 4 Life

Dior Homme is one of the most successful fragrance lines in both the history of Dior and modern perfumery. Almost every single release was successful commercially. Almost. I’ll be talking to you today about the three Dior fragrances that make up the Homme family, along with one that simply got away. Before we jump in, let’s briefly discuss the history of the line because it’s rather vast.

Dior Homme was originally launched back in 2005, changing the direction of men’s fragrances. This pioneering release was built around the unusual and rare note of Iris. This melancholic purple and quiet fragrance flower fives off a makeup, powdery odour. As creative and rebellious as Olivier Polge was, he blended some of French perfumery’s finest ingredients and made a fragrance that all men were dying to smell: The inside of a makeup bag.

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Dior Homme Variations

This was a big risk to take for a massive house as we expect niche houses today to be doing something quite similar. This certainly wasn’t their first big move towards changing the fragrance game. A few decades back, Dior came up with Fahrenheit. This petrol fragrance was released in 1988 and was a bold step for the house. Although it didn’t change any trends, it was very successful commercially.

Six years later, it still remained of the best-selling fragrances globally among Dior creations. Then, all of the sudden, something shifted in the air. Francois Demachy took the role as the chief in-house perfumer for Dior and gave the brand a facelift. Demachy was asked to recreate their beloved Homme. So in 2011, Dior Homme 2011 was born. I haven’t had a chance to smell 2005 as I was only 10 years old when it was released. 

Dior Homme
Dior Homme

Based on its original popularity, they wanted to create a new successor for this massive hit of a scent. Dior Homme Intense was born in the exact same year. Dior wanted to ride this wave even further so Demachy kept the beloved Iris core and added sensuous musky notes. As well, there was an unusual raw material from the Far East which mimicked musky odours as real deer musk became restricted along with the absurd price of synthetic musk. It was a smashingly successful release!

This wasn’t enough for Dior. They wanted an ultimate interpretation of the Homme line so Demachy created a highly concentrated Parfum version. He kept the DNA of the previously released Intense flanker and elevated it with a new, sensational combo for the West with Oud and Rose. Partially, to get the attention of the Middle Eastern customers. This was a bit hard to bear for some as it took the DNA so far from the original Homme, therefore, it really never reached the US market until this day.

Now, let’s discuss the three fragrances that I believe make up the heart of the Homme line and the fourth which was discontinued. 

Dior Homme 2011

Dior homme
Dior homme

Reminiscent of the original creation by Olivier Polge, the composition is built of powdery and fresh fragrant Iris. It has aromatic components of classical Lavender and Sage above the powdery and waxy feel. Around this core, there’s powdery Amber and Cocoa powder contrasted with hazy and dry Vetiver. There’s a smooth Leather whispering in the background. The more we approach the dry down, the more waxy and powdery it gets. To me, it doesn’t necessarily smell like a makeup bag as people refer to it. I find it quite a clean, floral and hazy woodsy scent.

I’m not one to collect vintage bottles or older batches but there’s something special about my favourite line by Dior. I was lucky enough to find the original formula from 2011, as displayed here, which performs quite well. The longevity is around the 7-hour mark with a modest projection. The Leather is more pronounced along with the Vetiver although it doesn’t get dirty or muddy. It is still the same Dior Homme as others describe. 

Dior Homme Intense 2011

Dior Homme Intense
Dior Homme Intense

The intimate version of the original opens up with its predecessor Lavender as the leading note with the distinctive fragrant floral, Iris. It shifts into a darker tone as deer musk mimicking Ambrette rises and takes the main spot in the core along with powdery Iris. There’s a bit of fruity flurry from Pear to sweeten up the feel a bit and balance out the dark muskiness of the Ambrette. Along with Vetiver from the original Homme, the woodsy facets are amped up with Cedar forming a strong woody backbone.

This is clearly a more sensuous and flirty type of scent compared to the original. This is also often described as the scent of a man of the night due to the wicked character of the scent and the wearer that might be more polished, self-caring and open minded than usual (as we used to call these types of guys “Metrosexual”). 

The version I have is a bit older with a remarkably more full-bodied texture compared to the 2020 version. It also lasts a bit longer too, at the 6-8 hour mark depending on the day. The Ambrette is also quite pronounced.

Dior Homme Parfum 2014

Dior Homme Parfum 2014
Dior Homme Parfum 2014

The Parfum introduces itself with a distinctive, statement-making precious Iris which combines with Westernised oud. Later on, Leather and Musk come to play to amplify the bold and edgy feel of the composition. Yet, this is not harsh whatsoever, thanks to creamy Sandalwood that smoothen up the edges a bit. All in all, incredibly masterfully blended! This is indeed the ultimate version of the fragrance!

This happens to be my favourite of all these four as it’s the darkest take on the DNA. It’s also highly appreciated among fragrance connoisseurs.

Again, I am very fortunate to have the first batch here from 2014 which has matured quite beautifully. The full-bodied texture with dense musky and leathery sensation is truly unmistakable and quite noticeable. The longevity is the best out of all, extended to 12 hours.

Dior Homme Eau (for Men)

Dior homme Eau
Dior homme Eau

This is the purest form and most Iris-centered flanker out of all. This represents the airy and brightly fragrant side of the flower. The opening is very nose-catching as juicy citruses accompany the Iris. There’s succulent and invigorating Grapefruit in the leading note along with an aromatic spice from Coriander. As it settles, the distinctive Amber from the original comes to remind me of the original vein. The woodsy facets have been toned down a bit. 

This is definitely made for summer wearing as the texture of the composition is very light and delicate. With the citrus-driven blend, this naturally doesn’t last long and might also be competing with classic Sport and Cologne flankers, so Eau for Men had to go.

Summary and What’s next for Dior Homme

Dior Homme has been out for almost two decades now and is still sold enough for the brand to keep the line alive. The recent 2020 formulation of the three that make up the heart wasn’t responded to positively by the fragrance crowd.

Now, Sport and Cologne have new formulas.  Is this the end of the Dior Homme line? Is there going to be a completely new flanker line such as “Elixir”, “Le Parfum 2.0” or “Absolute Precieux”? Is there going to be an even richer and more contemporary feel to these? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  • Keon Charles

    Very good article, while I have never smelled the Parfum, in 2005 Dior Homme Original formula by Polge was the first luxury scent, I bought for myself , iris for men was so groundbreaking back then I got 5 compliments before,I even left Macys,I spun right back into the store and plunked down a hundred dollars.The L’eau version was excellent compared to say the Sport versions and was the forerunner of scents like Prada’s vaunted and since discontinued L’Homme line. Dior Homme Intense remains today the Apex of men’s iris fragrances.

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