Legendary Coco Chanel said, “a woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” Christian Dior said, ”Perfume is a mark of female identity and the final touch of her style.”
Infinissime, the new Eau de Parfum reconstructed by Master Parfumeur- Créateur François Demachy of the House of Dior from the original classic J’adore of 1999, was released worldwide in September this year as the latest scent for Dior’s J’adore line of perfumes. I was invited to experience what it is to be a woman empowered by Infinissime by the Dior boutique at the high-end department store, de Bijenkorf in The Hague.
J’adore (French for “I love”), is dubbed as a fragrance of confidence and a perfume for the empowered woman. Check out Actress Charlize Theron as she returns for J’adore’s Infinissime’s ad campaign, wearing a gold necklace that winds unevenly around the neck, mimicking the perfume’s bottle, and signifying independence and strength, Dior Chin Up, they captioned. South African Theron has been J’ádore’s face since 2004 and the first celebrity signed by Dior, the perfect face for J’adore for a woman of beauty and brains, accolades and nominations in the field of performing arts.
But let’s not forget what François Demachy said about perfumes, “A successful perfume is one in which the formula is as beautiful as the fragrance… one that makes the woman wearing it smile and awakens desire in a man.” I suppose we shouldn’t make an overstatement on women’s power if Demachy, the creator of Infinissime is to marry the Infinissime woman in a man’s world. I can’t help but add what Persolaise of Persolaise Perfumes read from the lavish press release which he commented as, “cringy” about these lines, “… being a woman, she is a woman infinitely proud and noble. Head held high, she has boundless strength…” and so on. All of that epitomised in the perfume’s commercial with Charlize Theron and her back-up women wearing shimmering dresses in gold, heads held high in confidence as they move forward to the music of Kanye West’s Flashing Light. Impressive and modern, but I still also like the old commercial of J’adore when the original perfume came out in 1999, created by perfumer Calice Becker. The concept was gold and its mesmerising effect, translated into the scintillating top notes of magnolia, melon, peach, pear, bergamot and Mandarin orange. Model Carmen Kass steps into a pool of gold liquid to the tune of Barry White’s low and sensuous voice, Never, Never Gonna Give You Up. Feminine, Sultry, Alluring.
At the Dior boutique, Cher, one of Dior’s beauty and perfume specialists, blind tests me with eight of the notable notes in the new perfume in their purest form. Like most modern perfumes, Dior uses synthetics but in the heart of its perfumes, flowers are vital to its formula and image. We started with Jasmine Sambac, a key element and used in all Jádore fragrances due to its “olfactory qualities,” according to Demachy. It is sourced in Tamil Nadu where he visits each year, and the flower is harvested by the crack of dawn when its scent is at its peak.
Next, I smelled Tuberose. It’s in the very heart of this new creation. The flower is once again re-introduced in Grasse during the last ten decades, where it wasn’t seen since the 1950’s. It is harvested when the sun goes down, as Cher mentioned. At dusk, it releases its powerful smell, and its scent is extracted with the age-old process called, enfleurage, only used in Grasse, where carefully prepared wooden frames are coated with a plant-based grease and then blanketed with the flowers and slowly absorb their fragrance. The frames are then turned every 24 hours and covered again and again with fresh flowers until the desired scent is acquired. Tuberose has a waxy or buttery smell of white flowers, so powerful that during Victorian times in England, it was suggested that young girls should be forbidden to inhale the powerful tuberose scent for fear of inciting sexual impulses! During the Italian Renaissance, it was forbidden for unmarried girls to walk through the gardens where tuberose exercised her erotic and intoxicating power, so they would not succumb to drunkenness and men maddened by the erotic smell. It was said that a woman who exudes the scent of tuberose cause mimicry recalling orgasm. Such is the bewitching power of this precious flower, it has to be used with caution. If I have to re-write what was written in the press release, it will be, Intissime-seductive, alluring, magnetic and everything that embodies a woman of beauty and elegance, a woman to behold.
We didn’t go through all the ingredients but we ended with the beautiful smell of the aromatic Sandalwood, grown in Sri Lanka, in Dior’s Secret Garden. “So secret and heavily guarded, the people working there do not even have the chance to see the whole place”, says Cher.
Demachy describes sandalwood as woody with a milky note, slightly animalistic, and a little bit spicy that gives volume and power. Just like the Jasmine Sambac, sandalwood is used in the Jádore line of perfumes.
Other notes in the heart are Centifolia Rose and Ylang Ylang.
While I enjoyed the afternoon ritual of smelling the ingredients and the beautiful introduction to Infinissime, it’s the use of face mask that hindered me to enjoy the scent to its fullest. I admit that it is a beautiful smell, sophisticated, but one I have to get used to. Smelling it on a card for a few seconds and covering your face again wasn’t the best thing to do. I would have preferred to smell it also in the air as it’s being sprayed. It adds “embellishment” to the sombre atmosphere we are going through during these uncertain times. Estee Lauder said, “Perfume is like a new dress, it makes you quite marvellous.” I wanted to feel it marvellous!
Sayuri, The Hague Dior’s new boutique manager replacing Cher who stepped back last year, prepared Jádore bath concoction. Another J’adore to try. We pretended that we were having a bath and enjoying the luxury of Jádore shower & bath oil even if it’s just cotton wool soaked in water with drops of the oil added, sitting on our hands. A must have to intensify Infinissime on your skin or simply soaking on J’adore!
I left the launch smelling J’adore and with my favourite Dior product line, Dior Snow, along with a sample of Infinissime in tow and a little of the new Dior Prestige Light-in-White L’óleo Essence Lumiere (a bit of a mouthful)- a light, whitish lotion with a beautiful texture and a lovely smell of Granville roses.
I wasn’t transformed to be a woman of power or felt like it, but delighted to have met the new Jádore creation which I’m sure will be welcomed with much pleasure and one to love by those who need the strength to keep their heads high and a Dior Chin Up boost, until François Demachy comes up again with something more empowering or lavishing and it won’t be long. Oui, J’adore Dior!