Christian Dior J’Adore and Its Many Versions : Perfume Review

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Jadore

Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

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

To say that Christian Dior J’Adore attained legendary status faster than any other fragrance created over the past ten years is in fact an understatement. Since its birth in 1999, this vivid fresh floral has been responsible for a family of more than 500 offspring, ranging from mainstream to niche, from Estée Lauder Pure White Linen to Dog Géneration Oh My Cat. I cannot even begin to count how often it is selected as a benchmark for developing new feminine fragrances especially with regards to radiance and diffusion. Yet, J’Adore is also a perfect example of how dysfunctional the fragrance market has become. Instead of being left alone to shine in its resplendent glory and to continue to top the list of global bestsellers, J’Adore has been reformulated and diluted by flankers to the point that its character has been attenuated and its message confused.

The concept behind J’Adore was gold and its hypnotizing effect. Perfumer Calice Becker evoked the captivating glow of precious metal through an intricately woven composition that delivered its radiant quality through a beautiful progression of accords, from the vivid green top note to the lush floral heart and finally to the silky drydown. J’Adore’s luminous aura is introduced by a vivid green ivy leaf note (an interesting aroma-material Glycolierral,) which, while vibrant, is nevertheless soft and creamy. As the initial scintillating notes settle, the floral accord begins to unfold. I have been wearing and studying J’Adore for the past 10 years, but every time I smell this ingenious composition of floral notes, which oscillate from rose to violet, from freesia to jasmine, from honeysuckle to tuberose, I still get the same jolt of pleasure and delight. As J’Adore develops on the skin, it truly recreates the iridescence of a jewel. The fragrance traces a beautiful arc and settles into an incense and amber colored drydown. Dusky and moody, it is the perfect counterpoint to the preceding bright, shimmering accords.

J’Adore was an immediate success when it was first launched, yet, for reasons unknown, LVMH (Dior’s parent) saw fit to tamper with the formula. The remarkable quality of the original J’Adore was its radiance and clarity, with a sillage that uniquely combined airiness and richness. The balance between different floral notes achieved a striking a cappella harmony. The current J’Adore instead has a hazy floral effect, with a strong peachy jasmine accent. The spring-like green freshness is completely absent as is the captivating jewel glow of the floral heart. While it is a pretty fragrance, the reformulations have completely destroyed the incredible balance that set J’Adore apart from all other modern florals. Likewise, I find that the tenacity and the sillage have suffered, with the fragrance appearing both thinner and sharper overall.

As if the alterations weren’t enough, J’Adore has had so many flankers that its message has become completeley diluted. For starters, there were several Eau de Toilette versions. In 2003, the EDT was interpreted as a fresher, dewier version of the original, which was actually quite excellent. In 2007, the EDT was recasted as a magnolia and citrus accented composition. The same year, J’Adore Absolu came out, with stronger accents on jasmine, rose and ylang ylang. In 2008, we had J’Adore Le Jasmin, which was essentially a lush jasmine note set into the fresh green accord of J’Adore. In 2009, we were prompted “to rediscover the femininity of J’Adore,” which was just as well, because I badly needed some reminders at this point as to the purpose of these flankers.  J’Adore L’Eau Cologne Florale is actually quite a lovely, light orange blossom-violet composition, but there is certainly nothing J’Adore to rediscover in it. If you are still reading this, you have the patience of an angel, and I will spare you the details of the non-alcoholic J’Adore and J’Adore summer versions. While I am sure that we have plenty more J’Adore alter egos to anticipate, I will just mention the latest one, J’Adore L’Or. It came out in 2010, boasting its use of the most prized natural essences, and serving as an example of a simple truism—expensive ingredients do not make a great perfume.

Christian Dior J’Adore (1999) includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, champaca flower, ivy leaves, jasmine sambac, Turkish rose, violet, orchid, blackberry musk, wood, plum.

J’Adore L’Or (2010) includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, champaca flower, ivy leaves, Grasse jasmine, Rose de Mai, sweet pea, violet, orchid, patchouli, amber, labdanum, tonka bean, vanilla.

To identify older J’Adore packagingmy older bottle and packaging of the EDP (Christian Dior Paris is written on a violet tinted oval, circled with gold); newer EDP (Dior is written on a solid gold oval; both photos found online).

Samples: my own acquisition; my older bottles of J’Adore EDP (which was the focus of my review) were from 2000, 2002, and 2006.

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62 Comments

  • Ines: I obviously have enough patience because I read all of the post. 😉
    Thank you for explaining this, I remember when J’Adore came out, everyone liked it immensely, including me. And then at some point, I smelled it again (and some of the flankers) and thought that either my nose was not as good then so I thought it was wonderful when at this time I didn’t really appreciate nor like it.
    Flowers on me tend to take such a shrill quality if not done well and that is what keeps happening with J’Adore – it assaults my nose unfortunately. February 16, 2011 at 8:58am Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 I myself was running out of patience listing all of those flankers, so I just had to include that bit about having patience of an angel!
    Shrill is a good description for what J'Adore feels like to me today. It has a very high-pitched note that the original never had. February 16, 2011 at 9:03am Reply

    • Danaki: Shrill describes the new version to a T. I wore it from a sample and my partner – who, yes, is a perfume hater, but doesn’t normally comment on my fragrances – couldn’t stand it, he had to leave the room. May 15, 2014 at 7:26am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I only recently tried a sample of J’Adore and didn’t like it at all. It is sad to hear that it was great once, but ruined by tampering. I really ask myself what motivates the people behind a succsessful fragrance to change it for no apparent reason?! February 16, 2011 at 9:13am Reply

  • Victoria: That's the same question I ask myself whenever I smell J'Adore now.
    Cologne Florale is very pretty, but I wish they launched it separately, because it is only barely linked to J'Adore. February 16, 2011 at 9:18am Reply

  • Marina: It’s amazing how long it’s been since its launch! 1999! February 16, 2011 at 9:22am Reply

  • Victoria: For some reason, it feels to me like these past ten-eleven years just flew by. February 16, 2011 at 9:24am Reply

  • sweetlife: I never knew that bit about the gold, V. Such a great, and increasingly rare, congruence between the scent and the iconic ad. It’s a pity they messed with it. I’m glad to hear you describe the earlier version though, since it clears up a mystery for me about the otherwise excellent perfume taste of my sister-in-law. February 16, 2011 at 10:23am Reply

  • karin: Hi V! Have you tried l’Or? I’ve been curious about it. Not a big fan of the original J’Adore, though… February 16, 2011 at 10:27am Reply

  • Victoria: The problem with fragrances like J'Adore, Angel, Tommy Girl and other very popular perfumes is that they become victims of their own success. Especially now when the GC technology makes copying a perfume (even candles, deos, shower gels, you name it…) very easy. They sort of become ubiquitous. And when a brand contributes to it by launching dozen flankers… I just get so frustrated by it. February 16, 2011 at 10:29am Reply

  • Victoria: Karin, I mention it in the review. Not my favorite J'Adore incarnation and certainly does not improve on the original. February 16, 2011 at 10:31am Reply

  • Ina: I used to quite like the EDT version. For some reason I always associate J’Adore with a dressed-up Russian woman – there is just this Russianness about it that I can’t quite explain. 😉 February 16, 2011 at 11:03am Reply

  • Carla: This was a thorough review. I do like the EdP. I have an older version. The bottle is one of my favorites! February 16, 2011 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I can definitely see that too! You really put it perfectly, especially with the original EDT. I myself wear the EDP more often, because I love the rich amber drydown, which comes as such wonderful surprise. February 16, 2011 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love the bottle too. It feels nice and heavy, very elegant shape. February 16, 2011 at 12:13pm Reply

  • dee: I loved J’Adore when it came out, but never bought a bottle of it. A couple years ago I decided that I would finally get a bottle, but I tested it first—thank God! This was before I really understood the concept of re-formulation, and I thought that I had just previously had bad taste, and did not buy it.

    It makes me sad, now, knowing that it really was the glorious thing that I remember it to be, and that it’s now a wasted version of it’s former self. 🙁 February 16, 2011 at 12:28pm Reply

  • ScentScelf: V, is there any way to recognize the iterations of formulation by the packaging? February 16, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • kjanicki: Why so many flankers? Is it like with Hollywood movies and the constant parade of remakes and sequels – greed and laziness? I would really love to hear the answer from perfume marketers, because I don’t know any perfume fans who like flankers, and the general public must find them confusing.

    Anyway, i think I have a vintage mini of J’Adore and now I’m looking forward to trying it. Thanks! February 16, 2011 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Yelena: There is a mini in my drawer that never opened- can you believe I have never sampled J’Adore? This will be remedied tomorrow. I think my bottle is a few years old, so maybe not reformulated. February 16, 2011 at 3:28pm Reply

  • maggiecat: My sister gave me (at my request) a big bottle of J’Adore L’eau the Christmas before last. When I sprayed it on in the bedroom, my husband later came out of said bedroom and asked me “Did you spray for ants? Ouch! February 16, 2011 at 4:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: I did not even realize how much it has changed until I smelled a perfume on a friend and wondered what it was. I knew J'Adore well, but what I smelled was not like it at all. February 16, 2011 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: I will check at home. I remember that the original had Dior written inside a violet oval. I think that it is different now. February 16, 2011 at 5:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is the easiest way to capitalize on the success of a pillar brand without spending money on advertising and new bottle design and new name trademark, etc. Flankers are also used to boost the sales of a franchise (main fragrance and the products associated with it) overall. I find flankers confusing and at times downright annoying. February 16, 2011 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: The original is very luminous, an interesting combination of rich and transparent. No wonder it inspired such a big family of fragrances! February 16, 2011 at 5:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: Your husband has a good nose! These kinds of fresh floral accords are used in many household products! 🙂 February 16, 2011 at 5:34pm Reply

  • sweetlife: It must be that excel spread sheet thing again, V. 😉 February 16, 2011 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 I feel that I need an excel spread sheet just to keep track of them all. February 16, 2011 at 6:34pm Reply

  • Michael: Excellent analysis! What I enjoy about your blog is your diverse coverage. Niche, mainstream, mass, etc.! February 16, 2011 at 6:44pm Reply

  • brian: Victoria, I thought L’or was interesting, and good, until I sort of went back to the source and thought how stunning it was. L’Or is very creamy but not particularly sunny, and I wonder if that’s where it falters a bit for me. It also smells very similar in some respects to the Hypnotic Sensuelle release–something I like but at the same time feels, like L’Or, as if it’s overloading on one thing while severely depriving of something else. February 16, 2011 at 7:29pm Reply

  • Ann C: Beautifully written review, Victoria. I’ll be interested to hear if you can help us identify the various iterations of J’Adore. I got my bottle on E*ay a year or so ago. I don’t wear it often, but think it is nice enough. I wish I’d tested it when it was first launched; sounds like it was lovely. That rich amber dry down sounds perfect. February 16, 2011 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Michael, thank you, I try! 🙂 February 16, 2011 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Brian, you’ve hit on exactly the same point that bothers me about L’Or. “it’s overloading on one thing while severely depriving of something else!” I love the beautiful essences I smell in it, the richness, the expensive materials, but it does not come together in a balanced manner for me. The main thing is that it calls itself J’Adore, but when I compare L’Or and J’Adore, the balance and radiance of the latter simply shine. While L’Or is lovely, to be sure, it does not match up. February 16, 2011 at 8:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ann, thank you, I love J’Adore, which brings back such wonderful memories for me. I still remember smelling it for the first time at the Marshall Field’s store in Chicago on State Street. That store is now Macy’s and J’Adore is not J’Adore…
    I updated the review with two EDP packages. The older stock is still possible to find, although I am not sure at what point the packaging changed. February 16, 2011 at 9:03pm Reply

  • Vintage Lady: Thanks for this review. This reminds me of the various variations with Shalimar… I remember having tried J’Adore when it came to the market and it was very nice. But I have never tried its variations. February 17, 2011 at 7:17am Reply

  • Victoria: I just checked my notes, and yes, he did both of them. I have not smelled Hypnotic Sensuelle, but if it is in the same rich, yet strangely pale vein as others you mention, I would not be that interested in it. I felt the same way about Ambre Nuit. It also reminded it of L’Artisan Tea for Two, without the sharp edges that make Tea for Two exciting. February 17, 2011 at 10:35am Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, Shalimar is another one that has been having many flankers, especially lately. February 17, 2011 at 10:36am Reply

  • brian: “That store is now Macy’s and J’Adore is not J’Adore”. Yes!

    I feel a lot of similarities in all of these Dior releases, starting with Ambre Nuit–an over-saturation that feels simultaneously wan. I wonder if it could be that it’s simply Francois Demachy’s style? Did he do L’Or and Hypnotic Sensuelle as well, or do you know? February 17, 2011 at 9:48am Reply

  • flittersniffer: Your post neatly combines evocative descriptions with the steely rigour of a state archivist, providing us with a handy reference guide to the J’Adore dynasty. I’d let you loose on those pesky Stella flankers any day – they need a serious sort out.

    I am not familiar with all these adorable variants, but L’Eau Cologne Florale is a personal favourite. It is a bit reminiscent of Kenzo Eau de Fleur de Magnolia (a cheery spring scent), and much better imho that the disappointing soapfest that is Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile. February 17, 2011 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: The PhD student in me is delighted by “the steely rigour” comment. 🙂 That being said, I get daunted by Stella flankers, which at some point just smell alike. Good thing you did not mention Givenchy Very Irresistible or Eternity, which have so many flankers, it is bound to give anyone a headache.

    Kenzo Eau de Fleur de Magnolia was very pretty, although I find that with these delicate, fresh florals, after you smell a few of them, they all start smelling alike. I suppose that if one wants something pretty and unoffensive, they are a good bet. February 17, 2011 at 5:23pm Reply

  • bms209: Hi, I’m wondering if you ever had the chance to try Fragonard’s Belle de Nuit, which many compare to J’Adore? I’m sorry to hear that J’Adore has been reformulated and that the new fragrance isn’t as good. I used this years ago, then lost my taste for florals but now I’m finding myself craving something besides my musky orientals. February 22, 2011 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: I tried Belle de Nuit a long time ago, and I really do not remember it that well.
    There are plenty of radiant florals on the market now, from Cartier de Lune to A Scent Florale by Issey Miyake. February 22, 2011 at 2:48pm Reply

  • L’Homme Vert: Great article Victoria,
    J’Adore has been a favorite of mine since it’s 1999 release and yes it has changed considerably over the last 10 years or so, with ‘Absolu’ being the best variant for me, luv that jasmine. I was fortunate to have recently acquired a substantial quantity of the original parfum (extrait, 3 x 30 ml.) containing both Turkish & Moroccan rose, Sambac jasmine, absolute of Chinese magnolia & ylang-ylang from the Comoros islands, have heard the original is close to the recently presented L’Or concentration.
    J’Adore parfum is ravishingly lush and epitomises the very essence of Calice Becker’s monument to modern perfumery. I have it stored in a cool, dry dark repository, fingers crossed it will age well like most have in my vintage collection.
    Best wishes to all ! March 19, 2011 at 6:04am Reply

  • Victoria: The parfum is quite beautiful. I also have a small bottle and I treasure it. You've described it perfectly! March 21, 2011 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Sandy Sky: I am an independent makeup artist spent 5 years working on the Christian Dior counter – 2000-2005. During that time J’adore was their “star” fragrance. Of course the classic Poison and Miss Dior but J’adore was always the fragrance people asked for. I so wanted to “love” it as much as we were made to feel we should. Of all of the scents Hypnotic Poison and then Dior Addict became scents I liked the most. My personal favourites are an incredibly unique fragrance Sonia Rykiel came out with in the early ’80s (can’t remember the name but can’t get in Toronto anymore). Love Must de Cartier eau de parfum. I purchased a second Rykiel fragrance which I liked but not as much as the original. I have always wanted to find a fragrance that I loved as much as the original Rykiel. Can’t tolerate an over-abundance of Lily of the Valley (Diorissimo). I would tell of my secrets at the threat of it being sprayed on me. Any suggestions on a fragrance/s I can check out? April 11, 2011 at 7:58am Reply

  • kamal: Dear Victoria,

    thank you for this article. I have been wearing J’adore exclusively since 1999. Everyone use ot tell me it fited my personality like a glove. However it has changed so much. At first I thought it was my skin or maybe the place I bought the bottle from (paris, india, uk, usa). At least I know I haven’t changed neither has my taste. Where can I get the original perfume?If it is not available is there any other scent that is close to the composisition of J’adore. I tried channel 19 once and got a lots of compliments for it but I am afraid that if I pick a new signature perfume they might modify it again. June 12, 2011 at 11:05am Reply

  • Natasha Adyarova: So, does anyone know when exactly was J’adore reformulated? Which year? December 15, 2011 at 1:37am Reply

  • Victoria: No, because the changes are gradual. At first, they may not be obvious, but then it is very clear that the fragrance has been altered. In this review, I provide information on identifying the older version vs the newer one. December 15, 2011 at 8:33am Reply

  • Kangourette: Hello, I just red your review and I agree, the reformulation of J´Adore is a pitty for fragrance lovers. Does anyone here has an opinion about J´Adore Absolu? Yes, normally I dislike Flankers too, but this is a very good one! When I found out about refomulation I tried it and it strikes me much better than the current J´Adore Edp. Version. It hat a lovely deep Jasmine-note and is less shrill for my taste! May 15, 2012 at 8:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that Absolu was nicely done, and I also liked the rich jasmine notes in it. I only wish that it were launched as something else, not as a J’Adore flanker. All of these flankers are really so confusing. May 15, 2012 at 6:54pm Reply

      • Kangourette: Yes, I agree, it´s a marketing strategie I honestly dislike and I call it by myself “Flankeritis”. Kenzo has “Flankeritis” too, I don´t want to know how many flankers of Kenzo Flower already exist…. I find myself not trying and ignoring a flanker-scent very often. Did I miss lot of great Discoveries? No, I don´t think so… May 16, 2012 at 4:07am Reply

  • Dawn: I tried the parfum version today and thought J’Adore smelled like Chanel 5. The sales woman thought so too. November 2, 2012 at 4:42pm Reply

  • Sabine: I am so happy to read this smart review about J’Adore! Actually, I wear the original version (1999) at the moment… and I love it. But there are only 5ml left and I tried recently to discover the “original” among all the flankers at Sephora. I understand now why I couldn’t get mine! Therefore I am looking for a new perfume and left a message yesterday on your “Recommend Me a Perfume” page… A bientôt peut-être et merci! December 20, 2012 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Sabine, I’ve received your comment, thank you. Tomorrow is our Recommend me a Perfume day, so I was planning to move it there at the very top of the thread. December 20, 2012 at 3:11pm Reply

      • sabine: Thank you very much Victoria. I received plenty of suggestions which broaden my horizons. December 22, 2012 at 12:37pm Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: Since “Sira des indes” is discontinued, some nice bargains are hitting the discount stores.
    I bought some parfum/extrait recently, and have been surprised by the similarity of the champaca note of original J’adore.
    (The j’adore is a 5ml mini I bought on ebay, trying to have an original rendition of it).

    This parfum is very subtle, very like an EDT, and the champaca feels half shampoo half nice, not plasticity, but it don’t feel so much as natural while it must be. (it’s parfum and weak, after all!)

    So for people searching the “late afternoon glow” of the original J’adore, maybe they could try some discounted “sira des indes” of Patou.
    What’s your opinion about that? July 25, 2013 at 6:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s an interesting suggestion, thank you! I remember Sira des Indes being much more gourmand than J’Adore, but it’s certainly radiant and glowing. July 26, 2013 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Adriana Galani: On my skin, the initial one was so very very fruty, funny thing. I could still smell mandarin even 3-4 hours after wearing. So, gift it was, gift it became. 🙂 Again strangely, I can wear and love the newest I think, called “Voile de Parfum”. As unexciting as it is, when I want to go unobserved and act discrete but still stay put on elegance, I wear J’Adore Voile de Parfume in spite of all my personal fragrance “rules”. 🙂 February 26, 2014 at 9:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I liked Voile de Parfum too. I tried it at the duty free shop, and I was pleasantly surprised. It also lasted well enough. February 26, 2014 at 10:58am Reply

  • Lauren B: I know this post is a billionty years old, but I was wondering if anyone knew where I could even find the original formulation of J’adore. All the pictures on ebay showed the boxes have gold ovals. Does anybody know of a good trustworthy website that sells vintage stuff? April 9, 2014 at 11:20am Reply

    • johanob: I was VERY lucky today Lauren,found an original formulation J’Adore Edp(Lilac Oval on box) at a local retailer in South Africa!So so Happy!!It was just sitting there,way at the back,stuffed behind the newer,shinier J’Adore’s!Maybe you are also lucky to find it that way!I never knew there were so many versions,and as it’s been on my wishlist forever,so glad I visited BdJ on Saturday to read the verdicts here.And buy the CORRECT one!!Happy Hunting!:-)) May 12, 2014 at 5:53pm Reply

  • camille: Any can point me to a place where I can find the original j’adore of 1999 in Boston USA? January 10, 2015 at 1:52pm Reply

  • D. Carr: I have a question I’ve bought this perfume for my wife for many years at Macy’s and other department stores and it has always been clear in the bottle, I ordered one on ebay recently and despite the box being sealed it seams to have a different sprayer on it and the hue is a lot darker than usual… did I get robbed???? September 22, 2015 at 9:30pm Reply

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