The Christian Dior Poisons, part 2: Hypnotic Poison

Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison fragrance amuletDior Hypnotic Poison advert

Yesterday's subject was the original Christian Dior Poison fragrance and the follow-up effort, Tendre Poison; today I am continuing with Hypnotic Poison.

Christian Dior launched Hypnotic Poison in 1998, four years after Tendre Poison. Created by perfumer Annick Menardo, the fragrance is designed around four accords instead of the traditional top, middle and base pyramid:

Those are a bitter almond-caraway accord, a sambac jasmine accord, a moss-jacaranda wood accord and a vanilla-musk accord. The jasmine is particularly potent...It's also the link with the original Poison. (via Women's Wear Daily, 7/10/1998)

Hypnotic Poison was also the first fragrance released after John Galliano was brought in to revitalize the fashion side of things at Christian Dior, and was meant to resonate with his modern, theatrical design aesthetic; to portray a woman as "eternal seductress, using all the weapons of seduction". (ibid.)

Although Hypnotic Poison returns to the oriental themes explored in the original Poison, they don't smell alike in the least. Hypnotic Poison is a creamy-sweet concoction of vanilla sugar, jasmine, and musk, with a velvety finish and a dash of spice. The nutty-woody undertones temper the sweetness perfectly: it is edible without feeling at all cloying or overdone, and does not, like so many of its gourmand compatriots, smell too young and sweet for a grown woman to wear, despite the fact that it is often compared (accurately) to the smell of root beer.

As for sexy, well, I suppose it is. But in stark contrast to Poison, which you might wear out on the town in black leather and stiletto heels, Hypnotic Poison is at home in front of the fireplace in a cashmere sweater, and more interested in a leisurely breakfast in bed than a night of intrigue and adventure. Whether that succesfully ties in Galliano's fashion, I cannot say, but it gets my vote for the most appealing of the four Poisons.

Christian Dior recently released the Poison Amulets. These are limited edition 15 ml purse sprays in Poison, Pure Poison, Tendre Poison and Hypnotic Poison (shown above); each comes with 2 refills and is packaged in a satin pouch with funnel. They can be found at sephora or at major department stores, and run $50 each; if you can wait, they might turn up at discount eventually. If you prefer the original fragrance packaging, you can find a 30 ml spray of Hypnotic Poison for $28 at scentiments.

I meant to include Pure Poison today, but am running late (as always), so look for a review tomorrow.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Your EFT checking in to say that I cannot believe you find it to be the most appealing of the four Poisons! R, you *are* an enigma. I am a bigger fan -I think- of gourmand, warm, sweet, etc. scents, and I found the Hypnotic one to be too much. Too sweet, too cloyong…like sweet overheated plastic.

    *agog* :-)

    • I J'adore Dior! says:

      On everyone the perfume smells different. It might smell like warm vanilla cupcakes topeed with bitter almonds coming fresh from an oven, and to some it smells like burnt cookies.

      All due to body chemistry :)

    • I J'adore Dior! says:

      Once I visited Sephora to buy Calvin Klein’s Beauty, but I ended up buying Hypnotic Poison as Beauty was highly floral and cloying on my skin.

      And then I came upon this shining red star which is an extremely warm thing : Hypnotic Poison. The vanilla iis so seductive, soo enriching, and with the jasmine that balances things out perfectly, the bitter almonds create a gentle, soft twist.

      Hypnotic Poison is really very hypnotic, it makes me want to bathe in vanilla rich creaminess. Sometimes it drives me mad, it’s such a warming, sweet and perfect scent that I want to much my wrist spritzed with the warm juice.

      Really hypnotic, highly sensual, very benevolent. Annick Menardo really new what she was doing when she created this heavenly perfume.

      This perfume’s Eau Sensuelle version has been the inspiration for my NST name.

      Dior has been a wonder in this creation, a creation unforgettable for centuries to come.

      • I J'adore Dior! says:

        *munch my wrist*

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your review of HP aligns almost exactly with my experience of it. I had made a mistake defining it as a “dark floral” … its vanilla quotient pulls it away from the jasmine and out of seductress realm into a comfort zone. Something — I think it is the caraway/almond — jars me a bit, but I think it is the only “edible” or gourmand fragrance I come close to appreciating.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, I guess I should clarify: I don't own a bottle, and don't particularly feel moved to buy one. But if I had a bottle, I'd wear it, and that is *not* true for any of the other Poisons. I think this one is very nicely done, and not too sweet at all, especially once it dries down.

    And it is appealing to be an enigma, but probably more accurate to say that I am inconsistent, LOL…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, because there is something jarring in the early stages about the caraway/almond thing, but I also think that is what saves HP from being “too much”. And yes, it is a comfort scent. Unlike Poison, you could wear it quite appropriately with flannel pjs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well, I'll be Marina's enigma, b/c I usually hate sweet/gourmand scents, but I like this–and I DO own a bottle of it. (I don't care for any of the other Poisons). When it first came out, I adored it and wore it frequently. Now, I wear it only very occasionally, but when I'm in the mood, I find it perfect–wonderfully sexy and comforting at the same time. And men seem to adore it. Interestingly, I think the perfumeur is the same one who created Le Labo Patchouli.

  6. Anonymous says:

    R, if I had to pick my Poison, this would be it as well. (Yes, that was my attempt to be funny!) When it first came out, I desperately tried to make it work for me. I was in love with the notes (esp. jasmine sambac) and was on quite the vanilla kick back then, but there's something there that always triggers a headache for me. It never fails to make my head pound, but I really do love this scent. I think the come-hitherness quality of the scent is very vague, but does the job very well, b/c its so subtly seductive.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Annick Menardo did both, and also Bvlgari Black & Lolita Lempicka.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good one :-)

    And sorry it gives you a headache! I am very lucky…a few perfumes cause my sinuses to close, but so far, nothing causes a headache.

  9. Anonymous says:

    R — I gave up sniffing the Poison flankers awhile ago, and somehow I'd missed this one. Smelled it at Sephora. Wow — it really surprised me. Of all of them, this is the one I'd want to receive a bottle of. Here's the odd thing — it's not even my style, I was sure reading your review I'd hate it. It's very gourmand-y on me, that almond-caraway note reminds me of those weird sesame-honey candy chews. I found it quite attractive and compelling, creamy and nougat-y without overt sweetness (it did not smell like root beer to me.)

  10. Anonymous says:

    It isn't my style either. It is just so nicely done, and so much better done that your average gourmand.

  11. Anonymous says:

    While I like Hypnotic Poison it can be overpowering. Definitely a “spritz” perfume as in spray on lightly or you can be overwhelmed by its strength. It does though make one think of a fireplace, it has an earthiness about it that can be relaxing and enjoyable.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it can be overpowering.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i just smelled this one today for the first time at the urging of sales lady when i mentioned i love chocolatey sweet foody scents…anyhow, i've detested the original poison from day 1 (possibly reminds me of this nasty chick who doused herself in it, lol) but this hypnotique poison has caught my attention! i really enjoyed it. have not purchased it yet, as i need to see where it goes first, then i can try it on my own skin, etc, but i just read what you wrote that same perfume designer as bvulgari black and lolita lempika L?. that is trippy because i own and love both black and lempika L. i just had to comment on this because it was so coincidental. thanks for the info. & it did not remind me at all of rootbeer, as someone said but i do love rootbeer 2 lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    Now you need to try Menardo's Patchouli for Le Labo — great scent, although unfortunately considerably more expensive that the ones we're discussing here.

  15. Anonymous says:

    She walks in beauty,
    Like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that's best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes
    ~Lord Byron ~
    That's what I think about this scent. Couldn't live without it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It's a great scent.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hypnotic Poison is powerfull, sweet and long lasting. If you wear it in summer it can kill you. Wait for the colder days and then you can enjoy this great vanilla/musk scent.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Agree it is best in cooler weather :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    I love this fragrance no matter what time of year it is. I'm not one to try lots of different fragrances because many of them either give me enormous headaches or cause allergy problems but Hypnotic Poison definitely suits me.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I find it a bit much in the heat, but glad it works for you!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Robin, do you think it's a unisex fragrance? Are any of the Poisons? They're incredibly intriguing.

  22. Anonymous says:

    No, I don't find it unisex at all — but that doesn't mean that the right man couldn't pull it off.

  23. afraafra says:

    The almond opening is a bit too much IMO, it goes on right to the drydown.

    • Robin says:

      It does stay nutty, it’s true! Sorry you did not like it.

  24. sabsoob says:

    amazing! i was looking for a replacement for FEVER by CELINE.. but this one is more mature and ffeminine.

    • Robin says:

      I haven’t tried the Fever one…but glad you like the HP.

  25. APassionateJourney says:

    I want to try this sooooooooooo bad! I see it made it’s way back onto Macys’ website, so here’s hopin’ my Macy’s will get it again!

    • Robin says:

      Gosh, it’s carried lots of other places…did you try Sephora?

      • APassionateJourney says:

        Found it at MACY’S in Frisco! Well, found it somewhere else first, but that’s a loooong story! Bought it :)! I looove it! H.P and Glow are the LONGEST lasting EDTs ever! I sprayed this on at night and the next day, even after a shower, I still smelled it! Fantastic, and it does smell like Root Beer! Mmmmmm!

  26. Subhuman says:

    This is almost – almost – on the edge of “too sweet” for me, but something pulls it back. The musk, maybe? The bitter almond? I expected HP to have more of an “edge”, I’ll admit, but I do like it. And I do consider it rather unisex…or would, if I didn’t smell it on so many young women around here. Root beer floats don’t really have a gender, y’know? I kind of want a bottle; it seems like the perfect comfort scent for winter, and red’s my favorite color. :P

    • Robin says:

      Agree about root beer floats! Just heard recently that HP has been reformulated, maybe, so have been meaning to go smell it again.

      • Subhuman says:

        I Googled some reformulation talk re: HP, and among those who suspect reformulation, the concensus seems to be that the overall character of the scent is the same, but the intensity and richness has been toned down slightly, and certain notes have been tweaked. Less jasmine and anise, from what I read, and more noticeable vanilla. One blogger (I forget which) compared old and new bottles, and found them basically the same aside from some subtle tweaks and less va-va-voom intensity. So…who knows? The bottle I bought today smells just like the HP I’m familiar with from my first sample, and from smelling it on umpteen people in the year since my above post. (Yes, it took me a whole year to stop waffling – can I pull it off? Is it too sweet? Do I really like it that much? Will I tire of it? – and just buy the damn thing. Every time I caught whiffs of it on a friend or coworker, I found it intoxicating to the point of distraction. I don’t like gourmand scents as a rule, and my feelings about vanilla run hot and cold at best, but you can’t help who you fall in love with, right? I want to bloody BATHE in this stuff. The most satisfying $60 I’ve spent in a long while. Now I can get on with my life.)

        • Robin says:

          Thanks — I really should go get a bottle before they redo it again!

  27. Brigitte says:

    On a quest for a sexy scent that wasn’t overwhelming or dried down to a note that reminded me of baby powder and bug spray (unfortunately, this is what the original poison does on me!), I fell in love with HP! HP is just beautifully done- the almond note is natural and not overly sweet, the jasmine is just enough. After going smelling multiple newly released fragrances marketed as being “sexy” and “dark” only to find a trend of overly sweet berry notes, mixed with a synthetic clean patchouli note that more like Febreeze than Venice Beach, I was happy to find this more sophisticated, wearable sexy fragrance. I also love that Monica Belucci is the model for it- to me, a beautiful Italian woman in her 40’s is the epitome of sophisticated sexuality.

  28. pauliestarr86 says:

    To me Hypnotic Poison smells like the Jager shots I did last night at the bar and soon became sick to my stomach after smelling it at sephora. I definitely want to revisit and try it because, I liked Pure Poison and want to try the other members of the Poison family.

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