Christian Dior Miss Dior perfume review

Miss Dior, vintage advertMiss Dior, modern advert

Miss Dior was released by Christian Dior in 1947, shortly after the success of his groundbreaking "New Look" collection. It was Dior's first perfume, and was created by either Paul Vacher or Jean Carles (or possibly both), under the direction of Dior's childhood friend Serge Heftler-Louiche. The fragrance notes include gardenia, galbanum, clary sage, aldehydes, jasmine, rose, neroli, narcissus, iris, carnation, lily of the valley, patchouli, labdanum, oakmoss, ambergris, sandalwood, vetiver, and leather.

Miss Dior was said to have been influenced by both Chypre de Coty and Vent Vert (see Michael Edwards, Perfume Legends). It starts strong and sharp, with gardenia and dark green undertones from the galbanum. It retains some of the green, but settles into something much softer, with well-blended floral notes and a classic chypre base with lots of oakmoss and smooth woods. The whole is muted by a dusting of light powder, which tones down the earthy notes and lends an elegant, understated touch to the composition. It is sometimes described as fresh, but to my nose, you could only call it so in comparison to other aldehydic florals of that era — it is considerably less assertive than many from the 1940s and 50s.

In an an attempt to improve its faltering sales in the United States, Dior repackaged and relaunched the fragrance in 1992. Although the juice was said to have been left untouched at that time, it is of course highly unlikely that the formula has survived intact since 1947. Whatever tinkering has been done has not erased its old-fashioned feel, and I can only assume that this year's release of Miss Dior Chérie (which I will review tomorrow) indicates that Parfums Christian Dior has accepted that Miss Dior is not likely to appeal to modern consumers.

Miss Dior is easily found online at the major perfume discounters.

Update: in 2011, Dior began to call the newer Miss Dior Chérie simply “Miss Dior”, and to refer to the original Miss Dior as “Miss Dior Classic” or “Miss Dior Original”.


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39 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm afraid it certainly does not appeal to this modern consumer. I will bite my tongue and not share my complete thoughts on it, but suffice to say, it certainly does have a certain unmistakable character. You can't say that for the cavalcade of fruity-floral waters that are floating around out there right now. I may not like Miss Dior personally, but I give it marks for not being bland.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That bad, eh? I do not have such strong opinions on Miss Dior. I do not love it as I do Diorella, Eau Savauge, Diorissimo, but I don't hate it either.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I recently purchased vitange Miss Dior extrait de parfum and eau de cologne (which is actually strong enough to be closer to the modern EDPs), and they are different from the modern editions. There is an elegant richness, more greenness and more softness. That sharp blast is not at all present in the vintage, and the entire feel is of silk, rather than silk-synthetic blend of the modern. That being said, I still prefer the modern Miss Dior to Miss Dior Cherie. I cannot wait to see the review tomorrow.

    • Harlow says:

      You are so right. The older version is richer, softer. I bought the new version and was a bit disappointed. I would have paid extra for the real thing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oops, I meant vintage. Not enough coffee this morning….

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am ashamed to admit, that I don't even remember how Miss Dior smells…it's been a while since I last tried it on. Must revisit. I am curious about your take on Mis Dior Cherie, can't wait to see the review tomorrow.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How nice to see this fragrance on your blog this morning! Miss Dior was my first bottle of 'grown-up' fragrance. I received it as a gift from my grandmother for my 18th birthday all-too-many years ago, and I can still remember how elegant it made me feel. I don't favor chypre fragrances so this isn't a fragrance I wear these days, but this brought me such a lovely memory. Thank you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mondays are hard, and I am on my 4th cup of tea already ;-)

    I am sure the vintage is an improvement, it always is!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi M, I know I tried it in my teens, but had no memory of it either until I gave it another try last week.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And Diorissimo was one of my very first “grown up” perfumes…the Dior line was really amazing when you look at it in retrospect.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I recently was accosted at the Dior counter by the saleswoman with Miss Dior Cherie – I can't think why she thought I would be interested in a perfume clearly for the younger and more frivolous market – as I am approaching 40 I was bemused. My brief encounter earned me a scented card – smell the popcorn, she enthused, but all I could smell was a mango fruitiness. Anyway this led me to sample Miss Dior to see in what way it ever resembled this one. Happily they were streets apart and I loved Miss Dior – it really conjures up an elegant French air, perhaps it also stirs up memories of what my mother's friends would wear and is therefore comforting but also evokes a certain 1950's chic. Definitely would go nicely with a tweed or boucle suit and matching heels and handbag. For those days when you are putting on the Ritz.

    Kathleen

  11. Anonymous says:

    I can attest to the fact that the Miss Dior of old was superior to that of today…i used to wear it consistently thirty years ago (ack!) and the new version is just not as rich and lacks the splendiferous basenotes.

    i've purchased several vintage bottles on ebay and they are as good as i remember.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Kathleen, that is a perfect description — tweed suit & matching heels & handbag. My “putting on the Ritz” days are awfully few & far between, so Miss Dior doesn't really fit my personality but I find it more wearable than many of the new releases.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I will have to look for it on ebay myself…I wish I had been more interested in fragrance 5 years ago, when almost anything could be bought on ebay for a song. Nowadays the competition for vintage fragrance is fierce.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Miss Dior is one of the few chypres I like — and I love this one. The soft, not-sweet base, the intriguing heart notes, and the mysterious opening notes captivated me from the start. I have a few vintage bottles and have never smelled the reworked ones. Silly me, who hates checks, almost rejected the first bottle, a gift from my husband, the eau de toilette, merely on the visual. Yet, the visual matches the scent — controlled, orderly, crisp.

    I find the strength of the eau de toilette just right for me, and never sampled the parfum.

    Hmmm…. I just realized that this juice overcame my aversion to both chypres and checks. Amazing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    R, I can´t say anything about Miss Dior – simply because I don´t know it. It´s the same with all the other Dior scents: I know the names, but not how they smell. Perhaps I should test them – I feel a bit stupid because I´ve never been interested in them. Being a niche snob ;) I thought they would be too synthetic for my liking. By the way: Is Diorissimo the scent which features lily of the valley? I love lily of the valley, so perhaps I should sample that first!?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ahem. I meant to write my present was an eau de toilette, not my husband.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I loved my first bottle of Diorissimo with the houndstooth check pattern, and I was very sorry when they repackaged it.

    I am a huge chypre fan, but this is not my favorite. I admire it, but I am still trying to decide if chypre+powder is something I can wear.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Do try Diorissimo, yes, it is lily of the valley and it is gorgeous. The EdT is not long lasting, but it is lovely all the same, and the EdP is stunning if perhaps a bit strong — apply sparingly.

  19. Anonymous says:

    LOL — it works either way ;-)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi R! Great review R! I used to wear Miss Dior many years ago and recently tested the parfum after years and I am pleased to let you know that I still like it a lot. Much better than a lot of detergents that come out these days. ;)

    Hugs,

    N

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi N — LOL at “detergents that come out these days”!

    I wish it was possible to test parfum in department stores here, but it is rare to have the opportunity outside of New York.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hello R! It is not easy to get to try parfums here either. Sometimes I have to really push to get the SAs to reach for the “right” drawers. Then they suddenly find the parfums stashed away etc. I have a feeling that the SAs do not like to part with the parfums. Why should they care? Hmmm – it must be the same all over the world.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I was just gifted this perfume for my birthday. I'm usually game to try anything, but I've been wearing the eau de toilette now for 30 minutes and I just can't get into it. I'm in my mid-20s and this is definitely not my style. My mother-in-law also gave me Tresor. I think people are buying me fragrances they themselves would like or wear… oh well, at least I didn't pay for them!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Gosh. Can you exchange them someplace, I hope?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I've wanted a scent that included gardenia in it, and received Miss Dior in edt form as a gift for my 24th birthday. I really wanted to like it. It starts out citrusy and green (joy!). Plus, the bottle looks so pretty with its embossed houndstooth pattern. However, it would end up a screechy, dusty smell (no joy…).

    Well, today, I took a small empty vial and decanted some of the “juice” into it, and dabbed it on my skin. What a difference! It still has that green citrus smell in the beginning, but this time it finishes to a creamy gardenia with a little bit of melon and soft sage floating around. I'm amazed. I never would have thought of decanting had I not read about it here. Thank you for that! Now I can actually enjoy my birthday gift!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I'm so glad that decanting solved your problem! And now you've got a travel size :-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Maybe one of the most classic and classy perfumes of all times .

    If the younger [audiences] are not familliar with this is their loss.

    All the new perfumes is just the same.It's certain that you can't imagine a 17 year old to smell like miss dior but even if the name

    is miss dior i think that you have to be at least after your 25th bitrhday.

    If you want the smell of class that's your scent.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It's a great scent :-)

  29. Anonymous says:

    Another fine fragrance is the classic estee of estee lauder.

    You haven't reviewd it.I would like to read a review from you.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I'm afraid I have not smelled that one in years…

    • hollyc says:

      My mother wore Estee when I was very young (she also wore Youth Dew and I begger her even as a child not to) and when she would put me to bed, she’d give me a soft, soft sweater that had her perfume (Estee) on it and I’d drift off so happily, it was lovely. Hmmm, the early makings of a fragrance addict with a strong predeliction for chypres. Anyway, I tried it the other day and it has changed greatly, terribly sharp without the lovely soft sweet drydown. Smelled terribly chemically to me. Sigh.

      • hollyc says:

        Oooops I “begged” her, not begger. Its’ too late for me to be typing!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Miss Dior was and has always been my most favorite perfume and I have raised my two daughters to like it very much. That is one thing that my daughters told me they will always remember when they think of me. I was raised in the south as a teenager back in the 1960's when girls dressed well and were very preppy, pappagalo shoes and bass weejen shoes were the thing. the 1960's was very much a Ralph Lauren era for the south even before Ralph Lauren appeared on the scene. Just wearing Miss Dior brings back many memories of my dating days at UNC Chapel Hill North Carolina. It makes me feel young and innocent.

  32. Anonymous says:

    That is so nice that your daughters will always remember your scent :-)

  33. hollyc says:

    Hey, if you’re gonna be late to the party, be really late right?! Anyway, on a Dior kick at the moment and fished out my bottle of Diorella last night which underwhelmed me when I got it. Spritzed and went to bed. Woke up in nirvana. None of my Dior’s are vintage, but I only love the oldies from them and think “Cherie” a horrid, fruity sweet mess. Wearing modern Miss Dior as I type this and find it lovely and soft, it goes on sharp then transitions into a dowdy, prim and proper bore, and then gives up the pose to show its lovely, quiet, soft femininity, very lasting with moderate sillage. Glad I have it. Now, in spite of Angela’s (whose reviews I love) damning review of Diorama yesterday, I ordered it anyway and will provide my two cent’s worth when I’ve gotten it. Hopefully not three year’s after the last post! Buying unsniffed, right up there with tightrope walking . . . . keep your fingers crossed for me . . . .

    • Robin says:

      Good luck…hope you’ll love it!

    • contrabassa says:

      I love your description of the stages of Miss Dior! :) I feel that it could be applied to many of the “ladylike” classics:

      First, you are hit over the head with PERFUME,
      which transitions to “grandma” or old “duchess,”
      and if you can bear this beginning, you are rewarded with a creamy, complex, elegant scent.

      Alas, the first two stages of a classic perfume get many of us scrubbing! It is too bad that the modern creations don’t develop into something lovely, the longer you wear them.

  34. sweetgrass says:

    I tried Miss Dior EDP at Sephora today, and I really liked it. I wasn’t sure at first, as the opening was really fruity on me, kind of peachy but with some green undertones. I’m not generally a fan of fruity scents but the green notes kind of mitigated the sweetness and balanced it out. After the fruity stage faded away, it was woodsy, and a little earthy and floral, and I loved it. I found myself almost compulsively wrist-to-nose after I got home.

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