One Thousand Scents

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hot Stuff: Dior Fahrenheit 32

The last Dior men's release, Dior Homme, got a very limited launch in a relatively small number of stores: clearly intended as a prestige fragrance, it still isn't widely available; you can't just walk into any old drugstore or department store and expect to find it. (It's available in only one location where I live, and that isn't a store, it's a little mall kiosk boutique that has one or two bottles of several hundred different scents.)

Dior is taking the opposite tack with their new Fahrenheit 32; they're launching it wide and hard, and they expect it to be a huge seller. Its name is riding on the coattails of its huge success of twenty years ago, Fahrenheit: but as the name suggests, where the older scent was warm, this one is chilly.

If you spray on Fahrenheit 32 with no preconceptions, you will be shocked. The top note is a cold, jazzy splash of aldehydes and a serious quantity of orange blossom. I've been wearing hardly anything but Fahrenheit 32 for a week now, and it's still striking. A few days ago, I caught a whiff of it and said (to myself), "That's exactly the same orange-blossom note as in Poison!" The day before that, the same thing happened, except that I realized it was the same note as in the ultra-feminine Le Classique by Gaultier.

But Fahrenheit 32 isn't feminine. The orange blossom is unexpected, yes, but it's not girly; this scent is, among other things, a lesson in how to make a floral scent for men. The aldehydes (and, I'm sure, other unnamed synthetics) give the flowers a fresh, crisp edge; they don't smell like a treeful of blooms but like something a little aggressive.

Once the aldehydes fly away, the middle note continues the orange-blossom theme, but now some masculine warmth begins to rise up in the form of vetiver and vanilla. The vetiver is angular and green, giving a little spine to the flowers, and the vanilla, warm but slightly dry, wraps around the rest of the scent, decisively masculine. The orange blossom lasts a long time, but it's this vanilla which outlasts all the rest, leaving a faint haze six or eight hours later.

The bottle is the same monument as the original Fahrenheit bottle, with two exceptions: instead of being gradations of orange, it's clear at the bottom, shading to a frosty white at the top, and the cap, no longer a tubular chunk of black, is a sleek bisected chrome cylinder. The box is a shiny chromed silver with an opalescent band near the top, mimicking the bottle. It's all very desirable, inside and out.

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