Christian Dior Escale a Parati : Perfume Review

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In my bid to fantasize that I’m living in a hot tropical climate, I’ve been starting my day by wearing citrus colognes. When I splash on something redolent of juicy oranges, lemon blossoms or bitter grapefruit, for a moment I forget the overcast skies and the nagging rain. As I sniff my bergamot scented wrists, I might as well be at the seashore, walking on warm sand, kicking up opalescent seashells with my toe.  Better still for my daydreaming if the citrus is wrapped around dark woods, smoky vanilla or luscious amber. Then, it feels particularly sultry and exciting! When I heard about Christian Dior Escale à Parati, which promised to take me to a town on the Costa Verde of Brazil and comfort me with tonka bean dusted oranges, I didn’t hesitate to order a sample.

Escale à Parati follows Dior’s other escapist summer perfumes released in the previous years–Escale à Portofino, Escale à Pondichery and Escale aux Marquises. The green almond and bergamot accented Escale à Portofino was one of my citrus staples for a while, but I haven’t been thrilled with subsequent releases. They were polished and well-crafted colognes, but not particularly memorable. When a fragrance presents a familiar classical theme, I usually anticipate an interesting twist somewhere.

At first, Escale à Parati has a few pleasant twists, which made it very appealing. The top notes of sweet orange, green lemon and bitter bergamot are laced with the piquant warmth of pepper. The cooling whisper of mint lends an effervescent sensation, while the orange leaves unfold into a tangy, green accord. The drydown of blond woods and amber is gentle and caressing, and the initial crispness remains even after the obvious citrusy notes fade.

The fragrance is as classical as a cologne gets; it’s fresh and clean, and it took me a while to realize Escale à Parati is perhaps too clean.  Although Escale à Parati is in the same radiant and green league as Martin Margiela Untitled  and Armani Privé Pierre de Lune, it doesn’t have their natural verdant notes. In contrast to Dior’s Granville, Cologne Royale and Milly-la-Forêt, it’s more abstract and more artificial.  At the end of the day, I don’t get to Brazil; I’m dropped off someplace at the mall near the masculine fragrance counter. That’s one place I can easily reach on my own.

Christian Dior Escale à Parati Eau de Toilette includes notes of bitter orange, lemon, petitgrain, pink pepper, rosewood, mint, cinnamon, and tonka bean. Available from Dior boutiques.

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

Sample: my own acquisition

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25 Comments

  • Radhika: “As I sniff my bergamot scented wrists, I might as well be at the seashore, walking on warm sand, kicking up opalescent seashells with my toe. ”

    What a beautiful idea to wear a perfume to daydream! June 13, 2012 at 9:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Perfume is my favorite way to daydream. 🙂 Why not play a bit and have some fun with it! June 13, 2012 at 10:07am Reply

  • yomi: Pity this – according your review- did not live up to expectation.
    I haven’t sampled it yet but I think I understand that feeling of disappointment. I often wonder if perfume houses think consumers will not notice if products don’t live up to description!
    As a perfume manufacturer myself I try not to over rate marketing above performance. June 13, 2012 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: There is nothing technically wrong with Escale a Parati, but whenever I wore it I kept catching a whiff of something sharp, reminiscent of a typical masculine cologne. You know, that fresh lime, straight out of the shower clean musk?

      I still love Escale a Portofino though. June 13, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

  • Suzanna: Your penultimate sentence says it all. That’s somewhere I don’t care to be transported, since as you say you can easily get there (ho-hum) on your own.

    This set of frags never caught on with me. I will say, though, that the Margiela Untitled is really special and should be sampled by those who have not tried it. June 13, 2012 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Citrus colognes is a crowded area, so maybe I’m just getting too picky. But I agree with you, there are so many other great ones. Untitled is one of my favorites in this category. I like Armani Prive I mentioned, but it’s too $$$ for the amount.

      Milly-la-Forêt is another one I liked very much, but I haven’t worn it enough. Maybe, that’s going to be my “escape the rainy summer” exploration–more green perfumes! June 13, 2012 at 10:12am Reply

      • marsi: I want to try Armani Prive but I’m scared that I end up liking them. I guess I’ll have to give Untitled a try :~D June 13, 2012 at 11:19am Reply

        • Victoria: Pierre de Lune is a delicate green fragrance, with a delicious crunch, but yes, I agree that it’s far too expensive. Untitled is a must-try, however, especially if you like green, effervescent blends. June 13, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

  • marsi: Oh dear, I know EXACTLY what are you talking about. These Escales didn’t work for me in the past. June 13, 2012 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that it’s a nice collection, but well, just unexciting (except for Escale a Portofino, that is). June 13, 2012 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Mj: Hi Victoria,
    Sorry to hear about your rainy gloom. The Midwest is parched this June, but we still get humidity from the lake. I know what you mean about Citrus perfumes dropping one off at the men’s counter. Your talk of citrus perfumes drove me to the bottom of my fragrance dresser to pull out my old bottle of (embarrassed to admit this) Minnie Mouse. On me its citrusy pucker picks me up on particularly hot, humid summer days. There, I’ve admitted it. Kind of turning red now. June 13, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: In all fairness, you would hear me complaining far more about the sweltering and humid weather, but day after day of overcast skies can take their tool.

      I love the idea of you having a bottle of Minnie Mouse. No need to be embarrassed though! *looks down at her Winnie the Pooh patterned socks* June 13, 2012 at 1:26pm Reply

  • neil chapman: Beautifully put. I also imagine I live in a tropical country (actually, Japan and NYc are not that far off, meteorogically; boiling summers, lovely springs and autumns, although the winters are relatively mild compared to your freezing ice), but have been very disappointed recently. It feels COLD. I am desperate for summer too, though somehow, I don’t know why, I instinctively mistrust Dior these days. One of the most very least interesting houses, somehow. Can’t think of anything that has interested me by them for decades…. June 13, 2012 at 12:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you been to the island of Honshū ? I’ve been intrigued by it ever since reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. June 13, 2012 at 1:33pm Reply

  • neil chapman: Beautifully put. I also imagine I live in a tropical country (actually, Japan and NYc are not that far off, meteorogically; boiling summers, lovely springs and autumns, although the winters are relatively mild compared to your freezing ice), but have been very disappointed recently. It feels COLD. I am desperate for summer too, though somehow, I don’t know why, I instinctively mistrust Dior these days. One of the most very least interesting houses, somehow. Can’t think of anything that has interested me by them for decades…. June 13, 2012 at 12:34pm Reply

  • solanace: I love Parati and the Costa Verde in general, so my expectations here are high. It seems that the perfume will not live up to the marketing, though. What a shame, but as some said, this is so Dior these days… Thank’s for the review! June 13, 2012 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Now that I think about it, Dior hasn’t thrilled me with anything lately and their constant reformulations and renamings are so frustrating. I still have high expectations for all of their new launches, but so far, nothing has tempted me enough to part with my hard earned money. 🙂 June 13, 2012 at 1:50pm Reply

  • graindemusc: Parati is the kind of place that makes you wonder what you’ve done to deserve ending up in Paradise. Oddly, the smell I can summon best when thinking of it is that of mandioca frita (yucca “French fries”) and crisp white Chilean wine… June 13, 2012 at 4:58pm Reply

    • solanace: My husbsnd was commenting the other day that Guerlain Vétiver smels of the trackings in the lush forest around Paraty. I couldn’t agree more. June 14, 2012 at 5:51am Reply

      • Victoria: I agree, A! I adore Vetiver. One of the most perfect vetiver fragrances ever made. The bitter grapefruit top notes alone are enticing. June 14, 2012 at 1:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: It sounds wonderful! Now, what perfume actually does capture Parati, that’s what I would love to find out! June 14, 2012 at 1:42pm Reply

  • hongkongmom: Hi there Victoria
    Strawberrynet has Armani Prive refills for $43.50 and I think free shipping to USA!

    Thanks as always for all your amazing articles, reviews and warmth June 14, 2012 at 6:15am Reply

    • Victoria: You know how to tempt all of us here! Thank you very much. A good shopping site to keep in mind. June 14, 2012 at 1:44pm Reply

  • rosemary: Well, I DO love parati, I like the drydow also, ligt warm tonkabeans on my skin.
    Different then a lot of other colognes.
    Because of the tonkabean drydown, it feels to me like a guerlain cologne that is not existing…. June 6, 2014 at 8:38am Reply

  • Julie: I tried Dior’s Escale aux Marquises which features notes of blood orange, pink pepper, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, coriander, elemi resin, benzoin, Amalfi lemon and tiaré blossom. I’m really enjoying it now as it is warming up & summer is around the corner. I also tend to start the day off with a
    citrus scent. Thank you Victoria! 🙂 June 18, 2015 at 5:17pm Reply

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