I was a late convert to Miss Dior Chérie (2005), the Coco Mademoiselle sibling-scent that expanded a green patchouli note with sticky carnival accords like strawberries and caramel popcorn. Miss Dior Chérie is aimed at the young; I was converted to it by a nineteen-year-old girl who owned her own makeup store. She considered it the height of elegance and at first I scoffed, and then I tried. It was too much fun to pass up, with its neon fun-fair atmosphere bopping around underneath the nose in a major chord of teenage pleasure. Why didn’t they have stuff like this around when I was fourteen?
With the mechanisms of the perfume industry being what they are, Miss Dior Chérie was recently reformulated and renamed Miss Dior (the “real” Miss Dior is now called Miss Dior Originale). Sometimes the reformulations means that a “bad” ingredient was removed and replaced by a “good” (and often inferior) one, and other times it means that something that is no longer available is replaced with something that is. The truth is, perfumes are reformulated all the time for a variety of reasons, and the differences can be subtle or striking.
Poor Miss Dior Chérie has taken a hit with reformulation, a change that took place as a re-launch featuring the actress Natalie Portman. For this 2011 re-launch, a new scent was developed along the lines of the old, but taking away the county fair and replacing it with one of those ubiquitous sheer florals.
Making a teen scent into an adult one in this case means removing both the carnival notes and Natalie Portman’s top. Gone are the strawberries, the pineapple, the buttered popcorn and the caramel. In their place are intensified rose and jasmine, the core fundamentals of so many “adult” perfumes. Miss Dior Chérie is no longer a gourmand. It is now a proper neo-chypre with the addition of vetiver and moss to the base. The original played around with being a modern chypre, but the candy notes told otherwise; it was the least of the chypres. Dior loves its ladylike, carriage-trade chypres (Miss Dior, Diorella, Diorling, Diorama), so why not make a baby version of same?
The new Miss Dior Chérie is faceless. Say what you will about the sticky vat of sugar present in the first, but this new Miss Dior Chérie needs the face of Portman to communicate anything at all about it. Somewhere in there is a hint of the original, but don’t look too hard for it. I’m afraid the new Miss Dior Chérie is just something tossed into the wind of modern mall fragrances that say nothing at all about the person who wears them.