Perfume News: Dior Discontinues Mitzah & Vetiver (La Collection Privée)

There has been endless talk on the internet about the situation with Dior’s beloved Mitzah from the Privee line (also known as La Collection Couturier). Three months ago, I spoke with the head Dior Sales Assistant at the Las Vegas boutique, Karina, who had just returned from a training session in Paris. She told me that Mitzah was not being discontinued. She asked Paris for me, again, and they said no, it was not being discontinued.

Karina just called me from Las Vegas, and told me that the company has officially decided to continue Mitzah. They had thought about discontinuing Grand Bal, but ended up opting for Mitzah instead. Just as shocking, they are also going to discontinue one of their biggest sellers from La Privée line: Vetiver. Someone from Paris has come to the Las Vegas store for a training session (pertaining, in part, to Gris Montaigne, the big new hit for the Privée line), and brought with them the official news of the company’s decision. Vetiver (which I reviewed here) is apparently one of the most popular Privée perfumes, so Karina has absolutely no explanation for its discontinuation.

You can order both perfumes from the Dior website, but I would honestly just call Karina at the Las Vegas boutique. Her direct number is (702) 734-1102 and her full name is Karina Lake. She will give you a free 5 ml mini bottle of the Dior perfume of your choice, along with 3 small 1 ml dab vial sample bottles. (Tell her the blogger, Kafka, sent you and she may throw in a few more.) By ordering from the store, you will get free shipping and pay no tax! But she may be busy with that Dior training with the Paris adviser for the next few days, so I have the general store number below.

Mitzah comes in two sizes: the 4.25 fl oz/125 ml costs $155, while the 8.5 fl oz/250 ml costs $230. I specifically asked how many bottles were left of each fragrance. This is what I was told:

Mitzah: 12 bottles of the Small size; 10 bottles of the Big.

Vetiver: 8 Small bottles; and 8 of the Big.

And that’s it for the one Dior boutique in all of the U.S. Of course, you can still order from Dior online, but Karina isn’t sure what their stock is like or how much longer they will still have bottles.

I’m pretty stunned by the news. My hands are shaking a little as I type this. Actually, I think Karina is even more stunned than I am. She said they told her, and confirmed with a straight face, three months ago that Mitzah would absolutely remain. She kept hearing rumours, but discounted it, especially after her trip to Paris. Whatever led to the company’s decision, those who love either fragrance should buy it now because the prices will skyrocket on places like eBay. Those of you who have been undecided on Mitzah can read my review of it, or order samples quickly from Surrender to Chance while you decide. But I would do it soon. If you love labdanum and incense, if you’re a fan of perfumes in the mold of Chanel’s Coromandel, then I think you’d love Mitzah. Unfortunately for us, Dior doesn’t seem to share our passion for it.

Perfume Review – Dior New Look 1947 (La Collection Privée)

Dior New Look dressNames have weight and, in perfumery, can lead to certain expectations. In fashion, perhaps few names carry more of an instant iconography than Dior’s “New Look.” You see it right away: that famous silhouette, the exquisite clothes, and the spectacular black-and-white photography that often rose to the level of art. You see “New Look” and you associate it with the greatness that it reflects.

All of this may explain the lofty expectations for New Look 1947 and, perhaps, some of the subsequent disappointment. Critics claimed it was too insubstantial a floral, too abstract and sheer, and not worthy of such a great name.

Dior vintage 1950s ball gown.

Dior vintage 1950s ball gown.

I’m not immune to the expectations caused by symbolic names and, truth be told, New Look 1947 was not quite what I had expected. Then, I thought about it and I wondered: what did I expect? What really fits an iconic name and over-arching concept that encompasses so very much? The bottom line, to me, is that New Look 1947 is a very lovely, delicate, sometimes retro, airy, floral perfume and you may enjoy it a lot — especially if you just forget about the name and smell it.

Dior's famous "Junon" dress.

Dior’s famous “Junon” dress.

New Look 1947 is part of Dior‘s prestige La Collection Privée line of perfumes. The line is sometimes called La Collection Couturier on places like Fragrantica and Surrender to Chance, but I will go with the name used by Dior itself on its website. The Privée line consists of fourteen perfumes that are exclusive to Dior boutiques (only one in the US, in Las Vegas) and to its website. The collection began in 2003 with three perfumes but, starting in 2010, the company added more fragrances to the line, and one of those was New Look 1947. All of them were intended to illustrate and celebrate the life of its founder, Christian Dior, and were created by François Demarchy, the artistic director and nose for Parfums Dior.

Dior New Look 1947Dior categorizes the perfume as a “spicy floral” and puts its description in the context of the Dior history:

February 12, 1947: A major event was held at 30, avenue Montaigne in Paris, where Christian Dior presented his first fashion show. With his flower women and bright colors, the Designer launched a fresh fashion trend. “It’s a New Look!” exclaimed Carmel Snow, Editor-in-Chief at Harper’s Bazaar, thus christening the Designer’s inimitable style. Today, the New Look has become an explosive, generous, ultra-feminine and floral fragrance.

The notes for the fragrance, as compiled from Dior and other sources, include:

Ylang-ylang, Peony, Indian tuberose, Turkish rose, Jasmine sambac, Tuscan Iris, Siam Benzoin, and Madagascar Vanilla.

The first time I tried New Look 1947, I jotted down that its opening was “candy sweet florals” which reminded me of gummy drop sugared sweets. The second time I tried the perfume, I was perhaps a little more immune to the enormous sweetness and noticed the florals much more, writing how they were stunningly beautiful and of “astounding delicacy.” Both descriptions and experiences are true. New Look 1947’s opening is both incredibly sweet and incredibly lovely. Airy brushstrokes of ylang-ylang and jasmine vie with peony, sweet rose and the merest touch of tuberose — all on a base of creamy, custardy, rich vanilla. It’s as feminine and dainty as a gaggle of laughing, willowy geishas, walking on air.

Despite the airy weight of the florals, they are rich, strong and heady in those opening minutes. However, they are never indolic, sour, plastic-y or reminiscent of some of the more worrisome aspects of such indolic flowers as ylang-ylang and tuberose. There is nothing to evoke over-ripe decay or cat litter boxes. I suspect the incredible sweetness of the perfume is responsible, in part, for that.

Dior NLMinutes later, the powdery iris pushes aside some of the creamier, heavier white flowers, undercutting their richness and adding a distinctly retro note to the perfume. New Look 1947 starts to take on slight lipstick undertones in its powdery, iris femininity. The perfume also starts to turn a little abstract which, in perfume terms, is a way to describe something of an amorphous nature. The florals all blend into one amorphous floral “whole” with few distinct parts that you can pick out and sitting atop a structure of iris powder and vanilla. The tuberose note was never as individually noticeable as the other flowers and, now, it is even less so. I hope that reassures those who are rather terrified of the note and its often indolic, over-ripe nature.

Forty minutes into the development of the perfume, I suddenly detect a quiet note of velvety peppered woods with a flickering aspect of rubbing alcohol. It is definitely, and without a doubt, ISO E Super, an aromachemical to which my nose has become particularly attuned in recent weeks. Here, it is far from over-powering and, thankfully, has nothing antiseptic, medicinal or shriekingly chemical about it. If you were to ignore that flickering, fleeting rubbing alcohol undertone that pops up every now and then, all you’d really feel is that the perfume has a velvety texture of soft woods underlying the creamy, powdery florals.

"Oval Motif in Grey and Ochre 1961" by Wendy Pasmore at the Tate Museum, London.

“Oval Motif in Grey and Ochre 1961” by Wendy Pasmore at the Tate Museum, London.

By the start of the second hour, New Look 1947 has softened to a sheer skin scent. The ISO E’s alcoholic, peppery note — light though it was — has vanished, leaving nothing but a delicate iris scent with amorphous florals, light powder, sweet vanilla, and a velvety feel. The powder is now light and subtle, which is my personal preference, and no longer redolent of old-fashioned lipsticks. There remains something that feels almost woody to the velvety undertones of the scent but it is light. The whole thing is incredibly sheer and gauzy, and, oddly, reminds me of some modernist paintings that entail abstract brush strokes or Jackson Pollack’s random splatterings of grey and white.

In its final hours, the perfume turns into a simple jasmine and iris floral with vanilla benzoin undertones. It’s nothing complicated and far from revolutionary — but I don’t think any of the Privée line were meant to be. They were meant to be well-crafted scents that evoke elegance and femininity in the classic tradition. New Look 1947 certainly succeeds in that endeavor.

The perfume’s sheerness and low sillage create the misleading impression that it is a vanishing scent. It is not, but it is a skin scent. I haven’t tried the full Privée line (yet), but I have the sense that they are all meant to be lightweight in feel, and elegantly unobtrusive in projection, while remaining for much longer than you’d expect. (The ambery-labdanum and incense Mitzah which I adore was the same way.) For something that is even lighter and gauzier than Mitzah, New Look 1947 was surprisingly persistent and lasted just short of 8 hours.

The sheerness of the scent seems to be one of the main reasons for the blogosphere’s disappointment with the perfume. Bois de Jasmin wrote:

Christian Dior New Look 1947 is one of my most disappointing and frustrating discoveries this year. I say it because I absolutely love the voluptuous idea of its tuberose and violet accord and the image of red lipstick glamor that it conveys. Yet on the skin, New Look 1947 feels far too soft spoken and sheer to fully deliver on its promise of bold elegance circa 1940s Paris.  [¶] …Unfortunately as time goes on, New Look 1947 does not build up to any crescendo and simply fades into a vague powdery floral. My hope is that Dior might consider releasing it as the extrait de parfum. Such a beautiful idea certainly deserves to make a grander statement.

A passionate defense of New Look 1947 was mounted by Octavian Coifan, the acclaimed blogger of 1000 Fragrances, who wrote that the perfume was actually the perfect, symbolic embodiment of the New Look:

New Look 1947, the new exclusive fragrance from “La Collection Couturier Parfumeur” is Dior’s parfum lingerie, the New Nude Look with a grège scent: the softness of “purple gray” orris and the creaminess of “apricot beige” white flowers. It is built on a similar idea with J’adore l’Or – an infinite smoothness of flowers melting into an abstract note,very distant from the figurative depiction of a flower or the representation of a specific bouquet. Like Chanel No5, this perfume is the abstraction of an imaginary feminine scent, it is that “je ne sais quoi”.

… [I]t is less the idea of a specific perfume type and more the concept of a presence, delicate and fragile. It is a skinscent, but not the musky type. It’s again a parfum lingerie that evokes the Dior 1947 backstage before the unique fashion show that changed the world of fashion for ever: soft shoulders, wasp waist, bosom padded for extra curve, hips that swelled and rustling skirts. We have here the scents of make up, lipstick, face powder, the scent of silk lingerie. [Emphasis in the original.]

"The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957" by Claire Wilcox. Available on Amazon.com

“The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957” by Claire Wilcox. Available on Amazon.com

I agree with him, for the most part. I think New Look 1947 is supposed to represent an abstraction, a compilation of femininity. I’m not sure about all the lingerie bits and, personally, I perceive the perfume representing the Dior ballgown as much as the silken slips, but I do think New Look 1947 represents the fundamental essence of the new fashion. Dior’s clothes in that Golden Age of haute design were all about an abstract idea of hyper-femininity in hues of dove grey, white, light iris-y blue and soft, dusty rose. People focus on the opulence, shape and size of the clothes with their yards of luxurious fabric, but the real key was the return to “fairytale” femininity after the bleakness of wartime and the government-imposed austerity of the postwar years. Abstract sheerness and amorphous tones of white, grey and lilac iris certainly make New Look 1947 part of the Dior tradition.

Ultimately, all of this is esoteric, unnecessary, intellectualism and wankery. The critics can argue about sheerness, symbolism and abstractism, but the bottom line is whether the perfume smells good, not whether it lives up to some marketing name. And it does smell good. If you like very sweet, airy, gauzy, florals with some powder and vanilla, then you really must try New Look 1947. Period.

It may be particularly ideal for those who like extremely unobtrusive perfumes. The soft sillage but good longevity makes it perfect for the office, but I think the perfume is extremely versatile as a whole. You must, however, like florals that are very sweet at first and, then, later, somewhat powdery. If you prefer more powerful fragrances, I think you may be disappointed. This is not a diva or statement perfume — not even remotely. Lastly, those with acute sensitivity to ISO E Super may want to skip this one; I have absolutely no doubt it’s there. The quantity of the aromachemical is extremely low, but anything may be too much for those who get headaches from it in any amount.

The general problem with New Look 1947 may be something else altogether: the size of the bottles. They are just enormous! The smallest bottle clocks in at 4.25 fl oz or 125 ml. Most perfumes start at 1.7 oz or 50 ml, going up to 3.4 oz or 100 ml in the large size. Dior’s largest bottle is an enormous 8.5 fl. oz or 450 ml! More than four times as large! Per ounce, they are far, far cheaper than most niche or exclusive-line perfumes. The “small” bottle costs $155, so that is approximately $36 an ounce — the general price of mass-market perfumes. The gigantic “large” 8.5 oz size costs $230 for $27 an ounce — far less than any perfume at Sephora or Macy’s! But, tell me seriously, how many people will ever finish an 8.5 oz bottle?! Who? It’s completely insane.

On the other hand, if you opt for their … er…  “small” size, you are getting more bang for your buck than with any other haute perfume on the market! Even more so if you order directly from a Dior boutique where, in the U.S. at least, there won’t be tax, will be free shipping and you’ll get tons of wonderful, free goodies. (See below for details.) And, by the standards of niche or haute perfumery (which, I grant you, are quite screwy), $155 is not hugely expensive even if the bottle were a regular size.

Bottom line for lovers of light florals: forget the name, lose all your expectations, and give New Look 1947 a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised.

DETAILS:
New Look 1947 is available exclusively at Dior boutiques or on Dior online. In the US, it is sold only at Dior’s Las Vegas boutique [call (702) 369-6072]. However, what I would do is to call this number instead — (702) 734-1102 — and ask for Karina Lake, the Dior Beauty Stylist at the Las Vegas store. She is an amazingly sweet lady who will give you a free 5 ml mini bottle of the Dior perfume of your choice, along with 3-4 small 1 ml dab vial sample bottles. Even better, you will get free shipping and pay no tax! Tell her Kafka sent you. As noted above, the perfume comes in two sizes: the 4.25 fl oz/125 ml costs $155, while the 8.5 fl oz/250 ml costs $230. Though New York’s Bergdorf Goodman and San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus carry the Dior Privée line collection of perfumes, they don’t carry all of them because I think they rotate 6 at a time. I don’t know if New Look 1947 is one of the ones they carry.
Outside of the US: you can use the Points of Sale page on the Dior website to find a location for a Dior store near you. You can also navigate the Dior website’s International section to buy the perfume online. The problem is that the site is not very straight-forward. If you go to this page, look at the very far right to the bottom where it will say, in black, “International Version” and click on that. You should see options for Europe, Asia-Oceana, and South America. Within Europe, there are different sub-sites divided by country. The one closest to you should have New Look 1947 available for sale.
Samples: If you want to give New Look 1947 a sniff, samples are available at Surrender to Chance where prices start at $3.00 for a 1 ml vial. If you’re interested in trying the whole Privée line, Surrender to Chance sells all 13 fragrances in a sampler set for $35.99.

Perfume Review – Dior Mitzah (La Collection Privée): A Worthy Tribute To Dior’s Muse

Beijing Lama Temple

Source: BeijingFeeling.com

The Buddhist temple was vast and ancient, but well-tended by its many yellow and red-robed monks. Its colours gleamed lacquered Chinese red and gold; vast, bronze dragons stood guard and snarled from odd corners; and the smell of incense was in the air. Enormous bronze vats filled with it, in fact; the many, brightly coloured sticks stuck in sand and billowing out heaps of smoke. It was a religious holiday, maybe even Buddha’s birthday, that cold day in November when I visited the Yonghe Lama temple monastery in the northern part of Beijing. Throngs of people filled in the vast courtyard, holding sticks of incense, bowing and praying, and monks were everywhere.

Lama Temple, Beijing. Source: George Oze, Flickr. (Click on the photo for the Oze page showing the photo in full, amazing size.)

Lama Temple, Beijing. Source: George Oze, Flickr. (For the Flickr link and his other amazing photos of China, click on the photo.)

Beijing incense burning on Buddha's birthday. Photo: Jason Lee/Reuters via the WSJ

Beijing incense burning on Buddha’s birthday. Photo: Jason Lee/Reuters via the WSJ

Smoke curled and swirled in the air, becoming almost a wall in its own right. One portly, bald, yellow-garbed monk smiled at me and I’m pretty sure he gently tilted his shaved head towards the large bronze urns filled with fiery logs, as if to tell me to light the sticks of incense in my hands and join the crowds of worshipers. I smiled back at him, then moved past him and the phalanxes of his gentle, smiling brothers, to join the crowds looking like ants before the most gigantic, amazing Buddhist statue I have ever seen.

Beijing and its stunning Lama temple filled with flowers and incense are what come to mind when I wear the absolutely enchanting, elegant Mitzah from Dior. It is from the fashion house’s La Collection Privée line of perfumes which are sometimes called elsewhere (like Fragrantica and Surrender to Chance) La Collection Couturier. I’ll stick to Dior’s own name for the line which is exclusive to Dior boutiques (only one in the US, in Las Vegas) and to its website.  Dior’s La Collection Privée began with three perfumes but, in 2010, the company issued seven more fragrances — all intended to illustrate and celebrate the life of its founder, Christian Dior. Mitzah was one of them.

Mitzah Bricard. Original photo by Louise Dahl-Wolf. Source: Luxus.Welt.De

Mitzah Bricard. Original photo by Louise Dahl-Wolf. Source: Luxus.Welt.De

Right: Mitzah Bricard. Left: 2011 model for Dior's Mitzah makeup collection. Source: Beautylish.com

Right: Mitzah Bricard. Left: 2011 model for Dior’s Mitzah makeup collection. Source: Beautylish.com

The perfumes were created by Francois Demarchy, the artistic director and nose for Parfums Dior, and his goal for Mitzah was to evoke Dior’s greatest muse, Mitzah Bricard. She was a socialite with a mysterious background who always wore something in a leopard print and whose personal style was a huge influence in Dior’s New Look creations and beyond. In fact, she became Dior’s chief stylist and advisor. Mitzah, the perfume, is meant to pay “tribute” both to her role in Dior’s creations and to Ms. Bricard herself as “an extremely sensual woman, with a divinely chic allure and captivating presence.”

Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

According to the Australian Perfume Junkies, Mitzah is going to be discontinued next month, sometime in March 2013. If that is true, then it’s an enormous shame as Mitzah is an incredibly beautiful labdanum, incense and spiced rose oriental perfume whose richness comes with huge delicacy and a surprising airiness. My personal taste veers towards for the opulently opaque, the resinously heavy, the really baroque, or the ultra-feminine and, yet, there is something about this lightweight perfume that makes me actually want to buy one of the giant bottles (more on that later) right away, even if only to split it with friends.

[UPDATE – 3/2/2013: I just spoke with the Dior Beauty Stylist, Karina Lake, at the Dior Las Vegas boutique. The perfume is NOT being discontinued from either the Dior website or from actual free-standing Dior boutiques. She just returned from Paris and a training session at Dior Beauty; she is adamant that the perfume is permanent. It is, however, being removed temporarily from Dior shops in department stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Galleries Lafayette, and the like. Apparently, Dior rotates out 6 of their Privée fragrances at a time in such venues, to make way for others in the collection. That is what is happening to Mitzah. However, Mitzah will remain continuously on the website and at their actual shops.]

[Update as of 5/16/13: Dior seems to have changed their mind. The perfume IS being discontinued after all, along with Vetiver. You can read the full details here.]

The notes for Mitzah, as compiled from the Dior website and Fragrantica, are as follows:

Russian coriander, Damascena Rose, spices, Sri Lankan cinnamon, vanilla, honey, labdanum, Indonesian patchouli, Somali frankincense and incense.

Mitzah opens on my skin with rich, boozy resin and incense. The resin is unbelievably captivating, rich and sweet but, in an odd dichotomy, it’s very airy. There is a raisin-y rum feeling that is also surprisingly light, but note doesn’t last long. Underlying the rich amber are a fleet of other accords: honey; chewy, dark, slightly dirty patchouli; coriander that smells woody and nutty; dusty cinnamon; and a rich, beefy, dark damask rose.

Labdanum compiled into a chunk. Source: Fragrantica

Labdanum compiled into a chunk. Source: Fragrantica

There is almost a chocolate-y note from the combination of the spices, the patchouli, and the labdanum. The latter is extremely luxurious and extremely balsamic. You can almost picture tear drops of resin oozing out in dark, chocolate-y ambered hues. It’s slighty animalic, but not in a musky, skanky way. Rather, it’s like dark, molten, honeyed amber with the edge of something slightly more complex, masculine, and dirty.

It’s the oddest thing: none of this is heavy! Mitzah is almost like a gauzy veil. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a rich scent, but it’s not opaque and thick. It’s never overpowering, bullying, or brazen.

Mitzah Bricard.

Mitzah Bricard.

It’s probably a bit like what Mitzah Bricard was like herself. Judging from the photos, she was distinctively stylish, and never hesitant in being a strong, commanding presence. But she was always elegant and a lady about it. Mitzah, the perfume tribute, is much the same way. I confess I’m quite fascinated by how they made ingredients smell so rich and, yet, simultaneously, feel so airy.

Twenty minutes in, the incense and frankincense notes become stronger. So, too, do the spices acting in the background as supporting players. There is a definite feel of Chanel’s fabulous Coromandel to everything. Actually, to be specific, I keep imagining Coromandel, Serge Lutens’ Borneo 1934, and Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis in a three-way triangle. I think it’s because there is a very cinnamon-chocolate feel to Mitzah. It lacks the mentholated camphor of Borneo 1834, the white cocoa powder of Coromandel, and the more gourmand, bitter chocolate aspects of Anima Dulcis, but Mitzah has a definite kindred spirit tie to different aspects of each of those perfumes. For example; the patchouli-chocolate aspects of Borneo 1834; the labdanum, incense and frankincense of Coromandel; and the sweetness, cinnamon-chocolate, incense aspects of Anima Dulcis. All this with a fair greater lightness than should be expected from a scent with such rich notes as Mitzah.

China Incense - Don Daniele at 500px Com

Incense at a Buddhist Temple. Source: Don Daniele at 500px.Com

Clearly, none of this makes Mitzah a hugely original perfume. One might easily argue, however, that there really aren’t a lot of particularly original amber and incense perfumes anyway. At least, not incredibly wearable, comfortable scents. Dior was not seeking to create an avant-garde twist on resinous, smoky ambers but to make something elegant. It not only succeeded, but it also made something that is hugely versatile. I can see myself wearing Mitzah as much with jeans and a t-shirt, as with leather pants and stilettos, a little black dress, or a suit. It would work for the office, for a date, or for a night just curled up watching a movie. I’m utterly in love with this, and I’m sorely tempted to beg some friends to split a bottle with me! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

A damask rose.

A damask rose.

An hour in, the frankincense (which, to my nose, is smokier and darker than incense) and the resinous labdanum become even richer and more concentrated. The deepening amber note takes on almost a caramel quality in its sweetness. The cinnamon also starts to make an appearance, adding a faintly dusty, nutty element. And then there is the rose. My heavens! One imagines the deepest, most blood-red, baroque roses have been plucked and reduced down to concentrated nectar for a note that is as full-blooded as this one. It’s never cloying; it’s nothing like a British tea rose; and it’s almost fiery in its sensuality. But, unfortunately, it is just merely a glimmer here and there, and I would have been far happier with a touch more of it.

One might argue that Mitzah is such a superbly blended perfume that all the notes blend into one, and it would certainly be true. This has been done absolutely beautifully. But one could also argue that it is quite a linear scent — and that would be true, too. It doesn’t morph into something different in any drastic way. It is predominantly a labdanum-frankincense perfume first, second and third — and all the rest of the notes are merely incidental additions that pop up only occasionally, and never in a way that truly competes with that ambered resin and smoky frankincense. That one vein carries through from the start to the finish of the perfume — and its strength certainly gives weight to the argument that it’s basically a one-trick perfume.

Perhaps. But damn, what a stunning trick it is. In its later stages, Mitzah turns into pure honeyed perfection — sweet but still subtly tinged with that smoke. There is depth to it from the sweetness of the labdanum, and it sometimes throws in a ghostly chocolate undertone to the mix as well. At the same time, there is also a hint of the vanilla, but it is not powdered as in the dry-down to Coromandel. 

All of this occurs with perfume that is not overpowering in its sillage. Not at all. In fact, I think the elegance, airiness and moderate (to low) sillage of Mitzah would make it perfect for those who want a discreet, sexy, smoky oriental that is never obvious. On me, the sillage was moderate to strong for the first twenty minutes, but it was hardly something that could be smelled across the room. Mitzah is far too airy to be overpowering; it’s like a silken gauze on your skin. After that, it became much closer to the skin. In fact, it became a bit too damn discreet for my personal liking! By the fourth hour, I had to somewhat forcefully inhale at my arm, and I think others would have to nuzzle your neck to get a good whiff of it.

It was also a bit too evanescent for my liking. There were faint traces of it during the sixth hour and it died entirely midway during the seventh, which is too short a period of time for my liking. Yet, this is one perfume that I would not hesitate to re-spray, despite my usual dislike of having to do that. I haven’t fully comprehended why I would make so many exceptions for Mitzah — but I would. Perhaps because it is so comfortable, while still being sexy. It feels like wearing the perfect, airy, silky-soft cashmere sweater with just the hint of a silky teddy underneath.

The real problem with Mitzah is not its sillage or longevity but something else entirely: the size of the bottles. They are just enormous! The smallest bottle clocks in at 4.25 fl oz or 125 ml. Most perfumes start at 1.7 oz or 50 ml, going up to 3.4 oz or 100 ml in the large size. Mitzah’s largest bottle is an enormous 8.5 fl. oz or 450 ml! More than four times as large!

Per ounce, they are far, far cheaper than most niche or exclusive-line perfumes. The “small” bottle costs $155, so that is approximately $36 an ounce — the price of mass-market perfumes. The gigantic “large” 8.5 oz size costs $230 for $27 an ounce — far less than any perfume at Sephora or Macy’s! But, tell me seriously, how many people will ever finish an 8.5 oz bottle?! Who? Even for someone like myself whose perfume-consuming skin would require frequent re-applications during Mitzah’s moderate-to-short duration, I can’t imagine anyone ever finishing the large bottle! On the other hand, the size makes it perfect for splitting among friends which, if the story about discontinuation is true, makes Mitzah incredibly tempting.

If you are a fan of smoky ambers and orientals, I urge you to order a sample of Mitzah as soon as you can from Surrender to Chance or the Perfumed Court. Then, find a friend and go in with them for a split. It’s worth it. Oh, is that labdanum and incense worth it!

[Update as of 5/16/13: Dior seems to have changed their mind. The perfume IS being discontinued after all, along with Vetiver. You can read the full details here.]

DETAILS:
Mitzah is available exclusively at Dior boutiques or on Dior online. In the US, it is sold only at Dior’s Las Vegas boutique [call (702) 369-6072]. However, what I would do is to call this number instead — (702) 734-1102 — and ask for Karina Lake, the Dior Beauty Stylist at the Las Vegas store. She will give you a free 5 ml mini bottle of the Dior perfume of your choice, along with 3-4 small 1 ml dab vial sample bottles. Even better, you will get free shipping and pay no tax! As noted above, Mitzah comes in two sizes: the 4.25 fl oz/125 ml costs $155, while the 8.5 fl oz/250 ml costs $230. Though New York’s Bergdorf Goodman and San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus carry the Dior Privée line collection of perfumes, Mitzah is no longer available there.
Outside of the US, you can use the Points of Sale page on the Dior website to find a location for a Dior store near you. You can also navigate the Dior website’s International section to buy the perfume online. The problem is that the site is not very straight-forward. If you go to this page, look at the very far right to the bottom where it will say, in black, “International Version” and click on that. You should see options for Europe, Asia-Oceana, and South America. Within Europe, there are different sub-sites divided by country. The one closest to you should have Mitzah available for sale.
If you want to give Mitzah a sniff, samples are available at Surrender to Chance which is where I obtained my vial. Prices start at $3.00 for a 1 ml vial. If you’re interested in trying the whole Privée line, Surrender to Chance sells all 13 fragrances in a sampler set for $35.99. Samples are also available at The Perfumed Court, but not at Luckyscent.