Legend has it that when French fashion designer Christian Dior set out to create a signature fragrance for his brand he asked for the scent of love. Now, love has a lot of different meanings to different people, but I somehow seriously doubt that he meant anything even remotely near root beer.
And yet, anyone who has smelled Hypnotic Poison will attest to its undeniably sweet black licorice and medicinal carbonated beverage top note, mixed with jasmine, marzipan and coconut. The overall impression of the fragrance in its infant stages is a thick float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. As it dries, delicious and creamy sandalwood takes over the composition, which remains sharp and sweet. It is known to last on the skin for ages, with certain venues in Paris known to post “No Poison!” signs with regards to silage.
Granted, this scent was released decades after Mr. Dior made his specialized request and at the hands of a different perfumer altogether, so perhaps the original message was lost in translation, or maybe LVMH just wanted a new direction. Annick Menardo created the original Hypnotic Poison in 1998. The nineties proved to be a rough decade for Dior perfumes, with only 3 releases in the entire 10 years that managed to make an impact: J’Adore, Dune, and of course Hypnotic Poison. The Poison line, first introduced in 1985, has been a successful pillar for the house with new flankers as recent as this spring. The bottles are designed like shriveled glass apples, long overdue for the picking and festering with dark seduction. Hypnotic Poison is all about the color red, representative of lust, blood, and… lollipops, it would seem. Even though Poison Girl is most likely the one the brand expected to be a hit with younger fans, to me it would seem Hypnotic Poison is much more approachable and current with the gourmand trends. Its commercial success and unmistakable fragrance make it a Legendary Scent.
Now, a word of caution about Hypnotic Poison. No, I’m not concerned with it not being age appropriate or it knocking out everyone around you. I’m more troubled by the fact that there are too many versions of it on the market, and if you’re not careful you could easily grab the wrong one. The Hypnotic Poison used in my review today came to me from FragranceNet.com, an online shopping portal for discount beauty products. It’s the 50 ml EDT version, which is going for $51.79* with the current sale. Do NOT mistake it for the EDP by the same name, the Eau Secrete edition, or the Eau Sensuelle. And whatever you do, make sure you’re getting one with a purple-ish cap, which is the modern “reformulated” edition that complies with trade regulations.
So what do you make of this bizarre yet endearing Legendary Scent? It is hard to see how it fits in with its extended Dior family, but as an entry-level fragrance for the average twenty-something, it’s perfect. Suggested wear: movie dates with lots of popcorn, bright carnival rides at night, and long romantic walks to the candy store. Yum.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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