Christian Dior Dior Addict : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Life is full of ironies. The more I smell Dior Addict, the more I admire it and the more I realize that I will never be able to wear it. The contrasts between a languid floral oriental and an assertive dry chypre that fascinate me on a technical level render the fragrance very sharp. The impressive sillage of dry woody notes and rich vanilla drapes around me like heavy velvet. Russian women, whose tastes in perfume run the gamut from classical floral aldehydic to high calorie orientals, embraced it, but according to market research, they are the only ones who did. …

Moreover, when I heard that Thierry Wasser, its creator, was hired as the in-house perfumer for Guerlain, I knew that I had to revisit some of his commercial work, and it is another reason why Dior Addict came out of its dark hiding place in my perfume closet. Since Wasser is an extremely talented, innovative and original perfumer, I see the announcement as very timely and exciting. Moreover, as I explore his fragrances (especially his independent works like that for Aqaba and S-Perfumes,) I realize more and more that his style of perfumery is a perfect match for Guerlain. Orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean, and oriental resins are among the notes that Wasser seems to favor, and indeed, these materials comprise the traditional Guerlain palette. All of the above are amply present in Addict, even if the result is more Tom Ford edgy than Guerlain baroque.

In fact, out of Wasser’s commercial portfolio*, Dior Addict (2002) always struck me as particularly curious because of its unexpected feminine-masculine dissonance. On the face of it, the composition abounds with the conventionally feminine notes of vanilla and white flowers, but when examined closer, it is essentially a rather masculine construction of woods and incense. It is, if you will, a tartan skirt that turns out to be kilt.

The interplay between the feminine floral oriental and masculine chypre facets of Addict begins right from the top where the spicy notes of basil and cinnamon balance out the heady sweetness of orange blossom, jasmine and ylang ylang. The heart of the fragrance is comprised of sweet vanillic, resinous notes as well as dry, ambery woods, and it is this juxtaposition that creates a memorable signature. While my relationship with Addict is ridden with ambivalence at best, I would rather be intrigued by a fragrance than bored.

Dior Addict includes notes of “mandarin leaf, silk tree flower, Queen of the Night flower, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, absolute of bourbon vanilla, sandalwood from Mysore and tonka bean.” It is available from all Dior counters as well as Sephora.

* Wasser has created Jacques Bogart Furyo (woody oriental with a fantastically dirty animalic note, now sadly discontinued,) Calvin Klein Truth, Gres Caline, Lancôme Hypnôse, Guerlain Iris Ganache, among others.

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36 Comments

  • risa: I find this review fascinating, since a) I adore the smell of silk tree flowers, b) i find Addict neither masculine nor feminine, and c) it gives me such a migraine I hesitate to explore it. I like Wasser’s other works, particularly Truth, but this scent comes across to me like such a punch in the nose I can’t give it the assessment it deserves. Therefore, thank you for such a great, in-depth look! May 20, 2008 at 4:01am Reply

  • Marina: “A tartan skirt that turns out be to kilt” – love that! And I am very excited about Wasser working for Guerlain. May 20, 2008 at 6:59am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Risa, it gives me a migraine too if I wear it, but I still do try it in hopes that the last time was just a coincidence.

    Wasser uses this silk flower accord in many of his creations, although I would never pick it out in Addict. May 20, 2008 at 7:00am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Marina, it just occured to me as I was wearing it. Very masculine in some ways! May 20, 2008 at 7:30am Reply

  • Peter: It sure is longlasting! I recall spraying it by accident on my jacket and living with it for weeks. I even got a few compliments from my female friends. Maybe I should consider a bottle. :)) May 20, 2008 at 8:39am Reply

  • Dusan: LOL at the kilt visual! Would Ewan McGregor like Addict, I wonder? He does wear eye liner, after all 🙂
    I like Addict well enough now, but boy was it obnoxious back in its heyday! You know, Russian women were not the only ones to embrace (and go heavy on spritzing) Addict – it was massively popular here as well. Slovene blood, I guess… 🙂
    It’s wonderful to see you back, Vika! And congrats on the Basenotes award!
    xoxo May 20, 2008 at 8:56am Reply

  • Sveta: Vika, that’s funny. When I was visiting my sister in Moscow 3 years ago, Addict was everywhere! Women were drenched in it. I can’t smell it without thinking of Moscow public transport. 🙂 May 20, 2008 at 9:06am Reply

  • Mike: I’m glad to see you describe Addict as masculine, because although I’m a man I wear it. I happen to get lots of compliments on it. So, Peter, give it a go! May 20, 2008 at 9:48am Reply

  • Tara: Wow, I would never have thought of a guy wearing Addict but now I’m curious. I have to try spraying some on my husband. May 20, 2008 at 10:19am Reply

  • cara: Woah! All perfume blogs are “Addict”-ed today. Sorry, couldn’t help it! 🙂 Did you guys coordinate this or are you magically on the same wavelength?
    I had such a bad experience with Addict (a person who wore, not perfume per se) that I avoid it at all costs. May 20, 2008 at 10:40am Reply

  • Tarn: I’m afraid Addict gives me a headache – not at first (hence, why I own it) but after about an hour. And it (the headache and the scent) just won’t go away! It’s just one of those scents which SHOUT. So I’ll be getting rid of my bottle on Ebay, I guess. May 20, 2008 at 10:45am Reply

  • Robin: V, am mollified to hear you say that Wasser is a perfect match for Guerlain, he didn’t strike me that way at all. Hope it will turn out well! May 20, 2008 at 11:21am Reply

  • Debbs: I enjoyed reading this review even though you don’t seem to like Addict. Years ago I bought a bottle and wore it often; it smelled great on my skin and didn’t give me a headache. Your review reminded me to revisit it. May 20, 2008 at 2:32pm Reply

  • violetnoir: What a great review. Thank you, darling!

    Now on a more pedestrian note: Isn’t Addict the one that smells like Guerlain L’Instant? I prefer the latter, but if this is the one that smells like L’Instant, then I can understand how Thierry Wasser may fit Guerlain’s aesthetic.

    Hugs! May 20, 2008 at 2:46pm Reply

  • March: Count on you to point out something that makes me smack myself in the forehead and say, why didn’t I think of that?!? I think it is that tartan skirt/kilt dynamic that I find alluring. I promise I will never wear more than one spray, though.

    And glad to hear your reasoning for why you think Wasser would be a good fit for Guerlain. And a little edgy would be good. That powdery, heliotrope-heavy baroque aspect of a few recent releases is getting tired. May 20, 2008 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Arwen: Thank you for your timely review. I have never smelled Dior Addict, but this morning I was rading some comparisons bwetwen Addict and Rochas Absolu (I am debating whether to buy Absolu). We all most be in the same brain wave. I am not sure I am crazy about Wasser at Guerlain. Truth may be the only perfume of his that I like (even though I did not like it enough to buy a bottle), so to me it is scary, on the other hand, good for Guerlain to take a chance on somebody who will probably shake the status quo. May 20, 2008 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Elena: My father came from one of his business trips with a bottle of this (surpirsingly, he loves perfume almost as much as I do). He sprayed it into the air and I just could not take this smell. It made me uneasy and anxious. There is something very raw and sexual about this scent and its presence was so out of line in my parents’ warm and familiar house. This perfume was like a vulgar woman, flaunting her skimpy clothes that you see on the street while walking with your parents and you get embarassed and uneasy. I could not imagine wearing this scent.
    Thank you for reviewing this, though, V. I admire the fact that you review all kinds of perfumes (from one-hit wonders to easy-to-love masterpieces) and are always open to re-visiting fragrances. May 21, 2008 at 1:47am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Peter, it definitely lasts for days, if not months, on fabric! May 21, 2008 at 8:27am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Dusan, thank you, it is great to be back. Yes, this must be a regional thing! I do not smell it ever in the streets here in NY, but Eastern Europe is another story. May 21, 2008 at 8:44am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, well, that may not be the best of associations! 🙂 May 21, 2008 at 8:44am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Mike, I can see how it actually might work better on a man. It is quite a masculine scent in some ways. May 21, 2008 at 8:45am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Tara, please let me know what you think! May 21, 2008 at 8:46am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Cara, there may have been some communication. 🙂 May 21, 2008 at 8:46am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Tarn, it definitely shouts. I can relate to you–it gives me a raging headache too. I am very sensitive to some of the heavy orientals and sharp ambers. May 21, 2008 at 8:47am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: R, it is difficult judge the perfumer by his commercial work overall but in this case, I see a good match for Guerlain, especially in Wasser’s indepedent creations. I wish I had met him and saw more of his creations that are not on the market. They did not pick him because he did Hypnose or Addict Summer Litchi, but because his style, creativity and expression would make for a good match for Guerlain. Plus, it is telling to me that almost every single person I talked to who is familiar with his work overall is confident that he will be a great Guerlain perfumer. Even those who generally have nothing positive to say in general! That alone is telling. May 21, 2008 at 8:57am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Yuki, thank you. Your blog is a lot of fun! May 21, 2008 at 8:58am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Debbs, I am glad that it reminded you to revisit a favorite. Sometimes the best shopping is inside one’s own closet. 🙂 May 21, 2008 at 8:58am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: R, thank you!
    Addict does not really remind of L’Instant, but it is closer to Absolu by Rochas (as Arwen points out below). L’Instant is a L’Heure Bleue type to me, where as Addict is more Shalimar. Still, the basil + orange blossom in Addict might take it in the direction of L’Heure Bleue…. Now, you’ve got me thinking. 🙂 May 21, 2008 at 9:00am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: March, doesn’t that dissonance create such a memorable effect? I like it too, even though I cannot wear Addict at all.

    I agree on the heavy and opaque quality of recent releases from Guerlain (not all, but some of them). I am interested in seeing how the Guerlain feeling can be taken further. It is a hard job, no doubt! May 21, 2008 at 9:02am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Arwen, see my comment to Robin. I think that Wasser has more tricks up his sleeve than what the market allowed him just yet. So, I am confident that he will do a terrific job.

    Absolu is similar to Addict, but it is fresher and lighter. I prefer Addict, because the citrus notes of Absolu have a somewhat functional feeling. However, if you like it, definitely go for it. Absolu is a statement fragrance and I always get lots of compliments when I wear it. May 21, 2008 at 9:05am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Elena, I can understand what you mean about raw and disconcerting. Press releases on Addict emphasized soft sexuality and femininity, but it is anything but that to me. I find it mildly disturbing, even though it is what makes it exciting for me.

    It is interesting to revisit fragrances and to re-examine the ones of which I have such a strong impression. Sometimes completely new and different facets emerge! May 21, 2008 at 9:07am Reply

  • Sveta: Vika, that’s right! Maybe that’s why I don’t like it that much. May 21, 2008 at 11:23am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, that seems very likely! 🙂 May 22, 2008 at 9:07am Reply

  • elsie: I bought Addict way back in fall of 2004 and have been out of it for quite some time. I actually sort of forgot about it until I was reminded of it back in fall and was absolutely obsessed with buying another bottle! Although I didn’t. 🙁 Anyway, I’m sort of surprised at the comments here because for me, Addict is the epitome of a fall scent…warm, cozy, and it just smells sooo good when you’re cuddled up in a sweater next to a fire. I love when the newly chilled autumn air wafts the scent towards my olfactory bulbs, as well! I am such a nerd, but this scent is simply enchanting. I absolutely love how this scent stays attached to most anything you spray it near…I totally miss that about this perfume! Next fall I am going to run out and buy a bottle of this delicious elixir. 🙂 January 6, 2012 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Sulin: I’ve been smelling a lot of Addict in Ireland! The women seem to enjoy it here. 🙂 April 23, 2013 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Mar: I have to say that I absolutely love this perfume for a sexy rendezvous. I wear it to seduce and it does, everytime. A very sexy and strong essence that turns sweet and light. Men cannot resist it. February 20, 2015 at 1:37pm Reply

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