One Thousand Scents

Friday, July 27, 2012

Downward Trajectory: Salvador Dali Dalifor and Dalistyle

It's probably just nostalgia talking. I have no reason to expect that the line of Salvador Dali scents would be any better than any other nowadays. But I still have fond memories of the stunning eponymous scent that launched the line in 1983, and so my unreasonable assumption is that the line itself is good. Heck, not even Chanel and Guerlain are reliably good any more: why should some odd little collection named after a painter be?

I think we can pinpoint when the Dali line jumped on the express elevator to hell, though. After the original scent, there was a men's version four years later which is strange and interesting: not particularly wearable by me, but strange-and-interesting is nothing to sneer at. A couple more scents spaced a few years apart, then the enchanting Dalissime in 1994 (at the time, a fruity floral done exactly right, although it might smell like anything almost twenty years and some presumed reformulations later) and the unabashedly pretty Eau de Dali in 1995. That was when they started dependably launching a scent a year, sometimes two, which is an unsupportable number if you want them to be consistently good. I haven't smelled them all, and perhaps some of them are terrific, although the odds are not in their favour, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

But sooner or later the line had to take a nose-dive into the inky depths of modern perfumery, and Daliflor in 2000 is the point at which we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.

It's not a complete monstrosity: a damp citrus opening out into a big, rosy floral with a woody base. There is a lot of rose, which is always welcome: rose scents got a bad reputation in the last couple of decades, but since a rose is one of the best things in the world to smell like, there's always a place for something like this. Unfortunately, the whole composition is cheap-smelling, redolent of car air fresheners and laundry detergent. The bottle and box surely cost more than the liquid inside, and so the packaging is pretty much the only reason to buy something like this, unless you couldn't find another rose scent on the drugstore shelves or have just awoken from a coma and have never smelled a modern perfume before.

But worse was to come: Dalistyle in 2002, at which point the line went straight to hell.

This one is a complete monstrosity, a cheap, vulgar fruity floral heavily saturated with aquatic notes: wet pear and blackcurrant, indistinguishable sodden flowers, and presumably some sort of base to lay them all on, though I never did get that far. There's no denying that it's the sort of thing that was selling in the early 2000s; there's also no denying, though, that it is truly horrible, and what a depressing thought that there are so many things on the market that are just like this, and every one of them worthless.



  • I have tried the original Dali (wonderful), Dalissime (again, wonderful), and Daliflor (bizarre). Beyond this I fear to go, and your review of Dalistyle confirms that my self-protective instincts should be heeded. Thanks for the warning.

    By Blogger olenska, at 11:52 AM  

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