Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison : Perfume Review



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

Spices folded into jasmine cream, with a metallic note cutting through the voluptuous richness is a vision of olfactory dessert that was created by Annick Ménardo. Having debuted in 1998, Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison does not shock like the original Poison. Instead, everything about its voluptuous oriental form is slow seduction. At the same time, it projects a comforting aura, with the sweetness of vanilla unfolding against the radiant freshness of musk and the milky bitterness of almonds.

Underscored by jasmine, a cloud of powdered sugar settles upon the base of elegant musk and vanilla. The musk note is almost austere, with a clean and metallic touch that contrasts beautifully with the bitterness of almond, conferring a restraint upon gourmand notes. ….

As time goes on, warm sensuality of delicate, rather than animalic musk fills the arrangement, touching it gently at first and then embracing the composition fully. Ambery richness juxtaposed with the creamy sandalwood lends another interesting facet, which is almost akin to throwing red silk over a lamp. Suddenly, the hues deepen, while the forms soften, and yet the arrangement retains its radiance.

Notes: Bitter almond, caraway, jasmine sambac, moss, jacaranda wood, vanilla musk. Available at the Dior boutiques, select retail venues as well as various online discount stores.

Painting: Henri Matisse. Odalisque, Harmony in Red. 1926. Oil on canvas. Private collection. From



  • Sisonne: V, I think Hypnotic Poison is one of the most beautiful “mainstream” fragrances. It´s sweet without being cloying. It´s like being surrounded in a warm cloud of comfortness.
    But I´ve to admit that I don´t wear it – I know it´s silly but I don´t like people saying “Oh, you´re wearing Hypontic Poison, aren´t you?”, I like to wear fragrancs that can´t be recognized that easily ;D October 27, 2005 at 7:02am Reply

  • Judith (lilybp): Your beautiful review brilliantly evokes this fragrance, which manages to be simultaneously comforting and very sexy. At one time (when I had fewer perfumes) I went through several bottles of this. I’ve been meaning to buy it again (although I won’t wear it nearly as often now) and your review has given me the impetus to do so. It’s really a wonderful scent for the cold weather–and one that always gets compliments (men seem to love it). Have a great day! October 27, 2005 at 7:36am Reply

  • julien: Sometimes this beautiful fragance gets more caramelised vanilla than almond/vanilla…
    i think it is a quite interesting one…But i feel as if there is something missing in it.
    I am bored very easily with it,which i am not with shalimar for example.

    Well,it is quite interesting and beautiful though… October 27, 2005 at 8:01am Reply

  • linda: Lovely review, V! I tried HP recently and found it both sweet and bitter. Maybe I need to retest. October 27, 2005 at 12:14pm Reply

  • helg: Dear V ,

    this one was a complete surprise for me recently.
    Although at the time of its launch it repulsed me (the harsh bitter top note was overwhelming , leaving me reluctant to test again) a recent sampling left me with a pleasureable experience of a comforting and most importnatly not overtly sweet smoothness of almond and vanilla.

    Funny when that happens , huh? October 27, 2005 at 8:44am Reply

  • Tania: I was surprised when I tried this recently, since I’d put it off for so long, afraid it was going to be like Poison. It was absolutely not like Poison. It was so unlike Poison that I could not imagine what the reasoning was behind marketing it as another flavor of Poison, as opposed to its own thing. It is a soothing vanilla-almond, with an interesting bitter-metallic twist as you say. I didn’t mind it. I didn’t love it enough to buy it, but it was good. October 27, 2005 at 9:48am Reply

  • Marina: Lovely review as always, V! I have to finally try HP as it sounds like something I would like. Caraway is an interesting note to use…do you know of any other scents where it was used? October 27, 2005 at 10:12am Reply

  • kaie: I do not love almond, but I do not mind it here. Do you notice coconut in Hypnotique Poison? October 27, 2005 at 2:46pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, warm cloud of comfort is a wonderful way to describe it, because that is exactly how it feels to me. I think that everything in the composition manages to avoid cloying, with the addition of jasmine being a perfect touch for the almondy top notes. I understand what you mean about recognition, although that does not tend to bother me. Most people I know would not recognize it anyway. 🙂 October 27, 2005 at 11:09am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, thank you. I found that the comforting/sexy combination was quite irresistible, as none of the qualities dominate. It is definitely a wonderful cold weather scent, and as I was walking home last night, regretting not wearing heavier clothes, the warm scent of HP was such a comfort. October 27, 2005 at 11:15am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, yes, you are right. That caramelized vanilla note is sometimes more obvious, especially when I notice sandalwood more in the composition. October 27, 2005 at 11:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: E, my experience was identical to yours. When I first tried it years ago, I could not stand the bitterness. It seemed wrong. However, later I revisited it and found the bitter aspect to be my favourite. It is indeed funny! I am glad that I revisited though, because it is now a part of my permanent collection. October 27, 2005 at 11:27am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, it is absolutely nothing like Poison, I cannot agree more. In fact, I find some of the members of Poison family to be quite interesting. All the same, I do not picture this fragrance to be something you might like very much. October 27, 2005 at 11:30am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, thank you! Caraway as a note is present in Jacques Fath Green Water, Dior Jules and Clarins Eau Dynamisante. I actually have a sample of Eau Dynamisante, and I should try it. I believe caraway is also in Serge Lutens Arabie. October 27, 2005 at 11:33am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, L! I think that you picked out the main notes in the composition, and if you are not a fan of that combination, HP may not work out well for you. October 27, 2005 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Katie: Aw, drat. Looks like I’m going to be the first to bring up the Play-Doh factor. Sigh. Vanilla and Play-Doh is primarily what I get from HP. However, it’s the most addicting comforting scent anyhow for me. Sensual and soothing Play-Doh. October 27, 2005 at 2:36pm Reply

  • parislondres: Such a beautiful review again V! I like it but I doubt I will ever buy this.

    Hope you are well. October 27, 2005 at 3:02pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I have never had a first hand experience with play-doh, because Russian “play-doh” was definitely not edible. It was called “plastilin” in Russian and came in shades of dark green, dark blue and brown. It had a distinct chemical scent of plastic and clay.

    I need to find play-doh I hear mentioned, because it sounds very interesting. Castelbajac’s scent done by Roucel was meant to reproduce it on purpose. October 27, 2005 at 3:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaie, there is definitely a note that can be interpreted as coconut. I really like it. October 27, 2005 at 3:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, dear N! There is a category of scents like that for me too. I quite understand what you mean. October 27, 2005 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Katie: I now weirdly have this urge to send you a “decant” (de-can?) of Play-Doh. Heh. October 27, 2005 at 5:08pm Reply

  • Tania: V: As a gag engagement gift, some of my co-workers gave me Play-Doh last year. I may very well send you some. 😉 October 27, 2005 at 6:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, suddenly I will be inundated with play-doh. I am still trying to figure out whether it is a good thing… 🙂 October 27, 2005 at 7:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, why play-doh specifically as a gag engagement gift? October 27, 2005 at 8:00pm Reply

  • Ayala: Am I the only one that smells a lot of camphor in Hypnotic Poison?
    It’s an unusual combination – vanilla and camphor. Medicinal and culinary.
    Victoria, your review describes it with a lot of depth – I remember it as more one dimensional. Perhaps I shoudl re-visit this one… October 28, 2005 at 11:36am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ayala, I do not recall much camphor in it, however the initial bitterness (which I place with almonds more) might be termed camphorous. I would not say that it is a very complex scent, being rather panoramic. On the strip, it is more one-dimensional than on the skin. October 28, 2005 at 11:42am Reply

  • kristen: Great review as always! I was really surprised when I tried this and liked it, since the original Poison made me smell like I had spilled grape juice on myself. October 29, 2005 at 11:26am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, Kristen! This is so unlike the original, I also wonder why they decided to introduce it as part of the Poison range. On the other hand, I love Poison bottle, and it is even more beautiful in red. October 29, 2005 at 5:30pm Reply

    • Debra: I tried HP by accident one night when a bunch of us went out for dinner in 2007. I realized I had not put any perfume on and one of my friends offered me some of hers, which happened to be HP. I’m so grateful for that. Although I have a lot of perfume as I like to try different smells for different occasions, it is definitely my most favorite perfume and I use it for special occasions when I want to feel sexy and it gives me a confidence I can’t explain. I don’t mind people recognizing the scent as it’s usually followed by a compliment and confirmation for me that it suits me. October 29, 2020 at 12:05am Reply

  • babycakes: I have been wearing HP for 2 yrs now and i cannot seem to get used to anything else,i try sniffing diff scents but nothing appeals to me like the comfort and sexiness of HP. 🙂 February 24, 2006 at 8:30am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sounds like you found your signature then! I very much enjoy it, especially on a cold dreary day, when nothing else can comfort as well as HP. February 24, 2006 at 10:54am Reply

  • Gabryella LaCroix: Oh… this is my favourite scent I’ve ever worn. When I am asked to describe Hypnotic the only way I can describe it is “sex in a bottle” for my nose.

    Thank-you for the lovely imagery! I am thrilled I found your site where I can flip through perfumes! It’s the best thing for this rainy day! August 27, 2012 at 2:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Gabryella, thank you for dropping by and for your nice words! Welcome! Hypnotic Poison has such an alluring drydown, and I really think that out of all Poison variation, it’s the best one. August 27, 2012 at 9:52am Reply

  • margaret: its the best perfume ever August 27, 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Michaela: I know the review is pretty old but since today I got out of my no-buy phase by ordering a 50 ml HP to replace the finished one I just had to comment 🙂 ! I love it dearly, it’s one of the few I have constantly repurchased over the years. I wear it all year round, with a light hand when it’s warm and a vigourose one in winter and it completes my golden vanilla triplette: Kenzo Amour, Addict edp and HP… I have yet to find perfumes that are so ‘me’ – these 3 smell absolutely perfect! And tired as I am with Dior-mess reformulations, I can’t give up Dior. Not as long as Addict and HP are still produced – even if reformulated, tweakend, who cares, I will stay a Dior customer, uffff! June 19, 2014 at 10:20am Reply

    • Victoria: HP is one of the reasons I won’t give up on Dior too! It’s just so good. June 19, 2014 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Natalia: Victoria I came to tell you that I just bought this perfume, and I simply CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!! I have never ever ever been so SHOCKED with a fragrance, I am completely and utterly in love!
    I just think I will never wear another perfume as long as I live and I will live drenched in it forever and in all ocasions!
    Just wanted to share it with you because I adore your blog! October 12, 2014 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: So happy to hear it, Natalia! Enjoy it. 🙂 October 13, 2014 at 9:20am Reply

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