Christian Dior Mitzah : Perfume Review and General Notes on La Collection

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Mitzah bricard

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

La Collection: A Few General Observations

The Christian Dior line is not new to the idea of exclusive collections within the main range. Dior La Collection started in 2004 with three colognes: Eau Noire, Cologne Blanche and Bois d’Argent, and all three were excellent. Two years ago, Dior added Ambre Nuit to the collection, and in 2010, it grew to include 10 fragrances with the launch of Mitzah, Vétiver, Granville, Leather Oud, New Look 1947, Cologne Royale and Milly-la-Forêt (Cologne Blanche has been discontinued.) The newest fragrances for La Collection were developed by perfumer François Demachy. So far, my impressions are mixed, but despite my initial skepticism, I find that these fragrances are worth exploring.

Like Cartier and Chanel, Dior stresses vintage and classical themes in the collection. There are traditional colognes, elegant masculines, sweet ambers reminiscent of perfumery bases used at the height of Dior’s glory, and delicately rendered florals. With a couple of exceptions, the collection has a decidedly retro feel about it. It does not attempt to strike at the heart of dark niche longings, as several Cartier Les Heures de Parfum do. Like Chanel Les Exclusifs, La Collection couches classical themes in the language of modern materials.  As much as I love the classics, when I smell Milly-la-Forêt, Granville, and Cologne Royale, I wonder if three conventional colognes are necessary in one collection.  Is another good, but quite traditional Vétiver needed? Overall, some fragrances are more successful than others, but this is only to be expected in a multi launch collection.

Mitzah

Inspired by Dior muse, Mitzah Bricard, a red lipped beauty, Mitzah captured my attention immediately for its elegant, classical amber interpretation. Amber, a fantasy accord attempting to capture the elusive scent of ambergris, a precious animalic raw material, can take on many forms, but the most classical one is a sweet accord based on labdanum, with strong vanilla and sweet balsamic notes. It is the idea behind fragrances like Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Tom Ford Amber Absolute and Annick Goutal Ambre Fétiche, which are inspired by Delaire Ambre 83, a classical amber specialty base. Or smell Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Guerlain Mitsouko or Chanel Bois des Îles and notice their warm, sweet amber accords which come from Ambre 83.

If Ambre Sultan or Ambre Fétiche sit on my skin like heavy fur stoles,  Mitzah is a weightless cashmere wrap. It is transparent and luminous, yet it nevertheless captures the alluring warmth of amber, from sweet to smoky, from balsamic to animalic. Mitzah unfolds in a panoramic manner, revealing all elements of its composition at once–the warm, sweet spices, the smoky-woody vanilla, the refined incense note and the velvety darkness of labdanum. A delicate fresh floralcy adds some interesting nuances to this modern ambery oriental. As I wear it, I find it to be seductive, but above all, very refined. Velvety, smooth, and polished, Mitzah is quite a well-blended fragrance, with a seamless transition between its accords. Perhaps this subtlety will turn off those who love bold, strongly accented orientals in the spirit of Serge Lutens and Tom Ford, but I love seeing traditional themes developed in such a modern manner. So far, it is the only fragrance from La Collection I am tempted to add to my own.

Mitzah (fragrance family: amber oriental) is a part of Christian Dior’s La Collection. It includes notes of coriander, cinnamon, amber, rose, patchouli, incense, vanilla, and honey. Available from Dior boutiques. I would recommend it to those seeking a lighter, easier-to-wear amber than the aforementioned Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Tom Ford Amber Absolute and Annick Goutal Ambre Fétiche. Likewise, it is worth exploring for those who enjoy ambery orientals like Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Armani Privé Ambre d’Orient and Robert Piguet Calypso. I find Mitzah much less interesting on the blotter, where its fresh note hovers far too long. On the skin, however, it blooms in the most enjoyable manner.

Sample: my own acquisition

Photo of Mitzah Bricard from lesechos.fr

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39 Comments

  • Carrie Meredith: Lovely review! I originally passed this one up in fervent favor of Leather Oud, but now that I have a decant of Leather Oud, I’m going back to try some of the others. First in line is Vetiver, because I cannot resist trying vetiver with a coffee note. I have trouble with a lot of ambers, but have recently found love with SL Ambre Sultan, inexplicably. That gives me more courage to try Mitzah, for sure. January 18, 2011 at 1:42am Reply

  • Aotearoa: Oh! I tried this today after I was lucky enough to win a set from Patty at Perfume Posse. It is very rich on me and I was strongly reminded of Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe. I didn’t find it transparent – but then it is mid summer here with high humidity and was possibly not a great choice of the set to test! I did like it though.
    I also wanted to stay how fabulous your recipes have been and how appreciated in our household. January 18, 2011 at 3:54am Reply

  • carmencanada: I’m not a fan of amber solinotes, though I quite adore Attrape-Coeur so can do Ambre 83 in a blend: both when I smelled Mitzah on a fellow guest at a wedding and when I tested it on skin, I ended up wishing it would just. Go. Away. Not that it isn’t lovely, it is, but after a short while it’s said all it had to say and from then on, just repeats it for hours, much in the way that many contemporary constructions do. January 18, 2011 at 4:13am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I still don’t know why, but the Dior Collection leaves me curiously cold. I just can’t be bothered to get involved. I like the bottles, I read the reviews, but still – the exitement is not there. I guess financially that is a good thing. 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 5:28am Reply

  • k-amber: Thank you for a wonderful review as always. This is my current favorite incense fragrance. I have just finished Annick Goutal Incense Flamboyant and Myrrhe Ardente, both 100ml, so this is a great one in winter.
    I don’t know anything about the technical aspect of perfumery though, I can notice the smoky incense note appears dramatically at the earlier stage of its development, which I like. 🙂

    Kaori January 18, 2011 at 7:47am Reply

  • Violaine: Ah I am totally in waiting to try MITZAH; for some irrational reasons i am drawn to it. your review will help me decifer the perfume since I am a beginner. Tip of the hat from V ! January 18, 2011 at 8:34am Reply

  • Marina: I am so unlucky with this one. It’s heavier than the kind of a furcoat one would need in taiga, on me. 🙁 January 18, 2011 at 8:41am Reply

  • Alice C: It sounds wonderful! I love SL Amber Sultan, so this one is now on my “must try” list…(this list is getting way too long) 😉 January 18, 2011 at 8:50am Reply

  • Victoria: Mitzah is in the same category as Ambre Sultan, but definitely more modern for me. I love Lutens too, but Mitzah is something I would wear daily, whereas Ambre Sultan requires me to be in a certain mood for this kind of richness.
    I am wearing Vetiver now, which is a very good vetiver, but if you want something toasty-smoky, Chanel Sycomore would be better. January 18, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Victoria: I suppose that I love what it whispers to me, so I do not mind the repetition. 🙂
    Yes, I agree, if one dislikes amber dominated compositions, Mitzah will not please much. January 18, 2011 at 11:28am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you so much, I am so glad that you enjoy my recipes. I would love to hear what you’ve tried.
    My sample came from The Perfumed Court, so our Mitzah samples are even from the same bottle. The magic of internet! 🙂 You are quite right, Mitzah is not a light fragrance; I meant transparent in a sense that you can see all of the layers of the composition at once. January 18, 2011 at 11:32am Reply

  • Victoria: Not surprising at all! There are so many new things to smell these days, and we all get excited about one thing or another at different times. I, for instance, remained completely immune to the charms of Van Cleef et Arpels Collection Extraordinaire, but later I smelled Cologne Noire on a friend and could not resist… January 18, 2011 at 11:35am Reply

  • Victoria: Kaori, I am so glad that you mentioned the smoky note upfront, because I also loved that about Mitzah. That beautiful incense note right away sets the stage.
    I also love Incense Flamboyant and Myrrhe Ardente (much more than Ambre Fétiche,) and they are my winter staples. Nothing is more comforting than to catch a whiff of incense on one’s collar as you walk through the cold, snowy streets. January 18, 2011 at 11:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Violaine, I would love to hear what you think of Mitzah. If you like ambery notes, it might be a great discovery. January 18, 2011 at 11:44am Reply

  • Victoria: I am sure that you have plenty of other ambers to console you! It also means one less perfume on the must have list, right? 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 11:45am Reply

  • Victoria: I can empathize with you. My own must-try list is neverending! 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 11:46am Reply

  • dee: V, I like what you said about it’s transparency, being able to see all the layers at once… that is a perfect description. I like Mitzah quite a bit (lucky I bought into a bottle-split!), and appreciate it’s beauty—but in an Amber-dense perfume wardrobe, it doesn’t scream “full-bottle!”.

    Had I smelled this before collecting a ton of other ambers, however, I might not have collected so many! January 18, 2011 at 11:47am Reply

  • Victoria: D, I agree, it pales next to many heavy, opulent ambers, which is what draws me to Mitzah–its blend of modernity and classicism. I also think that unless one wants a lighter take on Ambre Sultan, it may not necessarily be a must-buy perfume.

    I was wearing my vintage Dioressence the other day, because a friend said that the amber note in Mitzah reminds him of the one in the original Dioressence, and I could see it too. For a glimpse of Dioressence alone, I love Mitzah’s amber. January 18, 2011 at 11:58am Reply

  • violetnoir: I am happy that you found something to love about some of these fragrances, V, because I was sorely disappointed. I was really hoping for something special in Mitzah, but it smells like a weaker Ambre Sultan on me, and no one, but no one, can repeat the brilliant finish of that fragrance.

    On another topic: I was too late to reply to your post from the other day about perfume topics. If you have the time, would you please talk about beautiful recent releases that have been rarely reviewed or not reviewed at all. I bought a bottle of Costes 2, created my Olivia Giacobetti a few months ago, and it’s just as good, if not better, than Maison FK Pour Le Soir. And, it’s over half the price. I had never even heard of it! I think a lot of great fragrances get lost in the shuffle of so many releases. Thanks!

    Hugs! January 18, 2011 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: R, oh, thank yo for mentioning it. I just read a description online, and it sounds marvelous. I noticed that Aedes has it, so I will try it there when I go to buy my candles this week. January 18, 2011 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Marina: You know, the only amber I have in my collection is Anne Pliska (I think). Got rid of everything else, I guess I am not into ambers anymore, and that might explain the reaction to Mitzah too…And my wish list maybe has one or two entries. Oh woe is me! :))) January 18, 2011 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: I was about to say above that you are always associated in my mind with ambers. Were they ever your favorite notes or is it my own fantasy along the lines of you looking like a Samsara model and drenching yourself in Magie Noire? 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 3:49pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Great!

    I just know there are some “gems” out there that have been overlooked because of the massive number of releases in the past few years. January 18, 2011 at 4:23pm Reply

  • Violaine: Well it’s a deal then ^_^ !
    Yes, I like the perfumes with this note as much as I can understand the note; I order samples now and learn.
    I discovered a french expression concerning a seducing perfume
    “suivez-moi Monsieur” perfume, grossly translated as ‘follow me’; my feeling is Mitzah that kind… January 18, 2011 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I bet! Although I do not worry too much about it these days–a true gem will always resurface somehow thanks to my perfume loving friends like you or other bloggers. 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 7:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I love that expression! I may have to use it from now on too. 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 7:31pm Reply

  • Marina: har har! No but you are right! Remember our makeupalley days? I was all about ambers then 🙂 January 18, 2011 at 7:32pm Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria, now I understand the reason Mitzah draws me strongly as reading your comments. Vintage Dioressence was one of my grow-up fragrances and beloved one. Maybe sentimental value to me and a good old memory, starting to enjoy fragrances. Thank you for valued information 🙂

    Kaori January 18, 2011 at 8:07pm Reply

  • sweetlife: I have nothing to say about Mitzah. But I am now dying to know which candles you are planning to buy from Aedes. January 18, 2011 at 8:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ha ha ha! Vspomnila babka kak devkoj byla. J/k!
    Of course, I remember those days… sigh… seems like ages ago! I really miss some people from MUA who totally vanished since then, like Kerr.
    I also remember how much you loved everything dark, ambers, leathers, dark woods. I thought of you as quite goth. And look, it was not just my own perception (CG did too!) January 18, 2011 at 8:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: I want to get Cire Trudon Odalisque and Annick Goutal Le Sac de ma Mère, if Aedes has it. Also, I need small votives for a gift basket, so I was thinking of picking up some L’Artisan minis. They are among my top favorite candles, and I think that my friends will like them. Plus, my friend Lena loves Maison Francis Kurkdjian line, so I will at least have to smell them. January 18, 2011 at 8:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love vintage Dioressence, and to me, it conveys glamor and elegance better than any other fragrance I know. My love for it also has some nostalgic connotations, because it reminds me of my childhood, of people and times that are now gone forever… January 18, 2011 at 8:54pm Reply

  • samarkand: I adore Attrape Coeur and am found of Mitzah too. Although I have a problem with amber too dense perfumes which tend to give me headaches, like the Goutal or the Lutens’ones.

    I like vey much Mitzah’s transparency and the way it plays with the coldness of the incense and the warmth of the “amber”.

    I just find a pity Dior needs to imitate Chanel where Demachy used to work. January 19, 2011 at 7:16am Reply

  • Victoria: V, as much as I love Goutal's Ambre Fetiche, I find it very difficult to wear. In general, I like some radiance and lift with these kind of oriental notes, which is what Mitzah has. It is a fragrance I can see myself wearing often.
    Since Dior has this collection started even before Chanel did their Les Exclusifs, and since just about everyone has imitated Chanel at this point, I don't find it particularly jarring. In fact, I can forgive it to some extent, because I love these forays into history of the brand. The fragrance industry is often so forgetful of its history in the search of the next blockbuster that a step back like this is refreshing.
    Mainly, I wish Dior would not stick so much to the conventional forms and has pushed the envelope a bit more. They did on Leather Oud, but that's about it. January 19, 2011 at 8:04am Reply

  • Marina: Na samom dele ya belaya i pushistaya. As you now know! 🙂 January 19, 2011 at 8:42am Reply

  • Victoria: Lol! Yes, exactly! 🙂 January 19, 2011 at 10:00am Reply

  • samarkand: Wise answer… Thanks January 20, 2011 at 7:07am Reply

  • Victoria: I am just rambling. 🙂 January 21, 2011 at 9:34am Reply

  • Edward: “Perhaps this subtlety will turn off those who love bold, strongly accented orientals in the spirit of Serge Lutens and Tom Ford…”

    Exactly what it did to me. But I will still give Mitza a second change as I only smelled it on paper (both arms already have Patchouli Imperial, Cologne Royal, Bois De Argent, and Oud Ispahan.

    I will test this on skin together with the others I haven’t tried yet (Eau Noir, Leather Oud, and New Look). Hope the re-test will change my mind.

    Regards,
    Edward December 29, 2012 at 4:34am Reply

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