Tuesday 15 November 2011
Dior: Maison de Parfums
The Dior Maisons De Parfums is located exclusively in Selfridges in London but it feels like visiting Maison Dior itself (I imagine, I am yet to go to heaven in Paris).
We were invited to sit down on the classic dove grey Dior chaise with a glass of champagne and some serious coffee tables books about Dior, to relax and acclimatise to our new surroundings.
I had decided to take a good friend who is getting married next year and wanted to pick a new scent for the day as I thought my perfume schizophrenia would be too much of a challenge for a service designed to choose one signature or occasion perfume for you. We began by discussing the perfumes my friend already enjoys and wears- we concluded that the feminine florals she enjoys (Benefit's Maybe Baby and Dior's own Miss Dior Cherie) were in her opinion to relaxed for a wedding and that her beau found them a little sweet and she wanted to find something new and sophisticated that he would appreciate.
With a brief and a style in mind we started the best part of any fragrance quest- the sniffing! The extremely helpful and I must say very knowledgeable lady who works exclusively for the Maisons De Parfums gave us approximately five scents to begin with- which is a reasonable number I felt.
My friend (and I) had strong reactions to these smells as they were obviously chosen to be quite distinct from each other. This process allowed us all to understand that despite thinking she enjoyed sweet florals the scents my friend was actually choosing in a blind sniffing session were sophisticated but still relatively light florals like J'Adore and Forever and Ever Dior as opposed to the heavier scents like Diorissimo- more classic masculine or citrus and aldehyde leaning scents like Diorella were firmly rejected (as I think we all expected they would be- but it is fascinating watching someone test scents for the first time without thinking about the packaging and marketing of them).
After a quick sip of champagne and a waft of coffee beans to refresh us we moved on to a narrowed down selection in the family of preferred fragrances. The perfumes are always initially tested blind but then their names and some of the history is revealed and it's interesting how that can change or support some one's reaction to a fragrance.
Ultimately we took home a beautiful bottle of Forever and Ever Dior- a scent my friend had a strong initial liking for and which does come in one of Dior's grandest, most special boxes. It's a lovely choice for a bride I think and it is different from perfumes she has worn in the past but still very much in character for her. She loved the evening at the Maison De Parfums and interesting so did I, even with my knowledge and being so used to trying perfume they managed to make the experience very enjoyable and to teach me things I didn't know. I was also give some lovely samples of perfumes I had enjoyed trying which I thought was a nice touch (hello New Look 1947, you smell extremely good).