Christian Dior Dolce Vita

dolce vita

Today I tried Christian Dior Dolce Vita and it opened a can of heavily scented worms.

You may know from my earlier posts that Nose Pierre Bourdon seems to be my nemesis. Everything he does repels me. I can spot a Bourdon a mile off. I would like to issue a big disclaimer here however, and say that I admire him very much and he has my enormous respect, but his stuff just doesn’t do it for me. It makes me run away. Sadly Dolce Vita is no exception, although it holds a strange fascination for me.

At this juncture, I should point out that Dolce Vita is not the work of Bourdon alone. He worked with Maurice Roger on this, who in turn collaborated on Dior’s classic Fahrenheit. However this has Bourdon’s fingerprints all over it.

Previous Bourdons have turned me off because on me they smell like knickers. And sex. Worth Courtesan? “The Dirty Unmade Bed.” Shiseido Feminite du Bois? Le Jardin du Lady. Iris Poudre for Editions Frederic Malle? Well no knickers there, but claustrophobic iris (which I later grew to appreciate as a note but not in Iris Poudre).

I approached Dolce Vita with an open mind. At first spray it was peachy and had white flowers and honey in. By the time I walked twenty paces to the door, it was knickers again. Deep sigh. I went back for a second and third spray so that I could get used to it and smell it all day. Luckily longevity is very good so I had a long time to think about it. Nope, still knickers.

pierrebSo what is it about Pierre Bourdon that makes his perfume smell like knickers on me? The only common thread I can see is his use of woody notes. Even then, the woods used vary from rosewood to cedar and sandalwood and back again. Each of the above mentioned perfumes all have the same effect on my skin.

Interestingly on Fragrantica, the reviews are all very different. Some people find it rich and golden. Others find it very fruity. Several mention the strong vanilla. But I didn’t get any of this. I just got knickers. It’s like I’m not in on the joke or something.

So I can’t really tell you what Dolce Vita is like, because I am starting to suspect the knickers effect is just me.

Give it a try if you see it. The bottle is stunning and M. Bourdon is very talented, even if he and I are not meant to be.


You can buy Christian Dior Dolce Vita in House of Fraser, John Lewis and Amazon UK  to name but a few.

dolce vita3


Top photo by Fragrantica

Photo of Pierre Bourdon by

Photo of Dolce Vita and box by

5 thoughts on “Christian Dior Dolce Vita”

  1. Roaring with laughter here, since I’m the resident Pierre Bourdon fan. I actually bought myself a big bottle of Worth Courtesan this week after lusting (ha!) after one for years. Typically, I prefer this fragrance to it’s sister Feminite du Bois, which Bourdon also had a hand in and which also sends you erm, to the ladybits department.

    The heavens only know what it is that gives you such a remarkable reaction to his fragrances, but for me Dolce Vita is a gorgeous, symphonic version of Feminite du Bois, which I much prefer to FdB.

    Luca Turin has a lovely story about its creation in The Little Book of Perfumes, written with Tania Sanchez. When Serge Lutens was setting up the Palais Royale for Shiseido, Bourdon created some of his famous ‘overdosed’ fragrances, where one component was used in much greater quantity, creating four spins on the original Feminite du Bois: Bois et Musc, Bois et Fruits, Bois Orientale and Bois de Violette. Turin goes on to say:
    “Curiously, Bourdon went on to do a fifth variation in a different context. He apparently included one of his Feminite sketches as an afterthought into a presentation for Dior, and to his embarrassment they picked it, resulting in Dolce Vita.”

    1. Ah dear Wordbird! You are responsible for getting me through the Bourdon portal. I sadly I was seeking the exit not long afterwards. I just don’t know how he does it to me. I have tried his new line though and that was knicker-free. I think you gave you that sample? Anyway, I actually liked Boise de Violette. I will forgive anything that has a bunch of violets in.

      Always a pleasure to hear from you!
      Big cwtch xxx

  2. Blimey if you hate his knickers accord then you must DESPISE his seminal (pun intentional) KOUROS. We are talking serious jock straps in the locker room!

    (Incidentally, I love it, but I know what you mean when one isn’t quite in the right mood).

    1. Hi Ginza, your comment did make me laugh! I vaguely remember Kouros from my early days- Lots of young men wore it in the 80s/90s I think? I shall have to try it on my next visit ti my local YSL counter. Thanks as ever for dropping in. Always a delight!

  3. I recall I didn’t like it when I tried it. I found it sharp and pongy. Knickers didn’t come immediately to mind but will give it another try and report back!

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