Perfume review: Paula Dorf Zita

Paula Dorf Zita fragrance

Paula Dorf started as a make-up artist and eventually launched her own line of color cosmetics in 1997. Her first (and so far, only) fragrance, Zita, was released in 2003. It was created by perfumers Cecile Krakower and Ralf Schwieger, and has notes of tea rose, fresh cut grass, freesia, galbanum, peach, pink peony, iris, sandalwood and musk:

"I had this vision of walking with my mom as a little girl," said Dorf, who noted that childhood memories were the main inspiration for Zita, which is also her middle name."The smell of the grass, the flowers, I've always had that scent in me." (via Womens Wear Daily, 1/31/2003)

Zita starts as a very green, very grassy floral. The rose is predominant, but it is a light, fresh kind of rose rather than a deep rose — a pink rose, if you will — and the grass, along with the peony and freesia, gives it an airy, out in the garden kind of feel. The peach is subdued but adds a bit of lushness, and there is a hint of powder from the iris. On the dry down, it gets somewhat deeper and warmer, and the fresh green notes are replaced by a musky sandalwood.

It is dewy and soft, and very spring-like. It is reminiscent of the lighter Rosines like Ecume de Rose and Un Zeste de Rose, although it doesn't really smell like any other rose perfume I can think of. There is something about it that seems perfect for an outdoor May wedding, and when it was still easily found online (see below), it was often touted as the perfect bridal scent.

I love rose fragrances, but for some reason I don't reach for them often. I pulled Zita out of the cabinet today because I was thinking about romantic perfumes for Valentine's Day, and as it turns out, it is also the perfect scent to counteract the 12-odd inches of snow we got here yesterday. I am more than ready for spring.

I am sorry to say that I have no idea where to buy Zita. It used to be readily available at department stores and at online sources like Sephora and, but no more, and it is not included in the Paula Dorf collection at Home Shopping Network. Bottles turned up at TJ Maxx last year shortly before it began disappearing, so I suspect that it has been discontinued. Please comment if you know!

Update: I just remembered that Paula Dorf has a website. I called. It is discontinued. They still have a few bottles, call 1-888-472-8523 if you're interested.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was a lovely scent, so very pretty. Definitely romantic. It's a shame they discontinued it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is such a lovely fragrance, and I am very disappointed to discover that it is discontinued.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really love Zita, but to me it's as much Iris as it is Rose. Very pretty and girly and like you said very hard to find.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Discontinued? This is tragic. What a blooming pity more folks hadn't discovered it sooner. And also drat. Hm. I may have to go ahead and call them because I have the LARGE bottle, and it is almost gone – I'm down to maybe a half inch left in there. It's such a cool fragrance to me, it smells very much like a simple rose bouquet with decorative grass just pulled out from the chill of the florist's refrigerator. It's really lovely, and was surprisingly wonderful for her first try at fragrance. I hope the lack of success won't discourage her from trying again, because it'd be interesting to see what else she might think up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    M, I should have figured it out as soon as I saw it in TJ Maxx…I am slow. It is very pretty & I'm glad I already have a bottle.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I would call it girly too :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Agreed, K, I hope they will do another one. They said they had only the smaller bottles left (I assume that meant 50 ml?) and I haven't seen it at TJ Maxx in ages, so it might be your only hope.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Damn. I saw this in SpaceNK a while ago and thought it was rather nice…just assumed I would get round to it in my own time (you know, the little spray each time you go in to the shop…the sniff of the drydown when you get home…the begging for samples…etc.). But there you go, in the volatile world of niche perfumery, you have to get it while it's hot.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You know, I didn't think of it as a niche scent, and wouldn't have expected to see it at Space NK (of course, I've never been there, just basing that on the other things they carry). Either way, its gone!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a shame this has been discontinued.

    I tried this during a visit to the States last year (hanging out in Sephora). I really liked this one, and probably would have put it on my “to buy” list. Cute bottle too!

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is a very cute bottle. I do wish companies would announce when they are discontinuing things so at least people would have the chance to stock up!

  12. Anonymous says:

    My wife and I both love this scent but have had horrible luck with it. First I broke her bottle while moving some luggage around, then she spilled half her new bottle. Now of course with it discontinued she'll have to make it last…although she's at least discovered that sandalwood may be the key and looks for it in other perfumes. Along those lines – does anyone here know of any major differences between Live and Live Luxe by JLo?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ouch! She had better hoard that bottle, although it would also be worth putting in an automatic search at ebay.

    On J Lo:

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