Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
One of the three colognes released by Christian Dior in 2004 under the guidance of Hedi Slimane, Cologne Blanche was composed by Francis Kurkdjian. All three fragrances are well-composed, with the attention to detail that cannot be left unnoticed, from the high-quality ingredients to the understated luxury of the packaging. If the name cologne leads one to expect thin and bland citrus concoctions, Cologne trio will definitely be a wonderful surprise. The colognes are quite varied, from bitter herbs and caramel undertones of Eau Noire to chilly elegance of Bois D’Argent. Cologne Blanche is an epitome of refinement, with its marriage of indulgence and comfort set against a ravishing delicacy of almond base enriched by the softest of musks.
The bergamot and orange are the radiant ornaments, delicately intertwined with the herbal whisper of green herbs. It is as if a branch of rosemary got caught in the fruit basket, its piney scent adding a rejuvenating element. The sensual touch of musk is an interesting element, considering the essentially “straight out of the shower clean” aura of the composition. However, there is something ethereal and alluring about the fragrance that makes me want to lean in and inhale the scent emanating from the skin.
The elegant drydown is reminiscent of the bittersweet peach stone, which alternates between milky green almond and lusciously sweet nut. A mere hint of confectioner’s sugar scented with vanilla foils the understated musk of the base. If I am to imagine a fragrance Napoleon would like on Joséphine (a woman of whom he said in his letters, “I must see her and press her to my heart. I love her to the point of madness, and I cannot continue to be separated from her. If she no longer loved me, I would have nothing left to do on earth”), Cologne Blanche would be it, fitting Napoleon’s fastidious cleanliness as well as Josephine’s predilections for exotic musks.
Cologne Blanche, like the other two colognes, Bois d’Argent and Eau Noire, is available in 4.2oz, 8.4oz, and 16.9oz bottles, and can be found at Neiman Marcus and Dior boutiques.
Painting: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. Portrait of Empress Joséphine. 1805. Oil on canvas, Louvre. Abcgallery.com