Monday, September 09, 2013

Dior- Hypnotic Poison

Hypnotic Poison, the 1998 second flanker to Dior's 1985 Poison (the first was Tendre Poison in 1994, a massive white floral that was my sister's signature in her early 20s, once she graduated from fumigating the neighborhood with LouLou and Tresor). Harboring a healthy dislike for the entire Dior Poison oeuvre up to that point, I never gave Hypnotic Poison much chance until an infatuation with the orange blossom-heavy Pure Poison sometime around 2004 or 2005 made me look back at the line. The results were 1) I could finally see the appeal of Tendre, 2) the hatred for Poison itself was left intact, and 3) I became completely smitten with Hypnotic Poison.

Dior Hypnotic Poison is a gourmand oriental. It shares the grand gestures and big bones of its predecessors,  but other than that, Hypnotic is a creature all its own. I think it was the very first whiff that got me: a spiced almond infused with vanilla. If you love Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon this Dior might be right up your alley. Also if you hate it, because Hypnotic Poison has none of the booze or the patchouli that spoil the almondy goodness in Dragon for some. In any case, while Hypnotic Poison is not a subtle fragrance by any mean, it's clearly a product of the yummy generation and not a successor to Alexis Carrington's shoulder pads.

The thing about Hypnotic Poison is that it walks the line between a sex bomb and a cozy comfort scent. I don't think it's quite as dangerous and poisonous as the ad campaigns try to make it seem. Yes, there is something quite animalic in the dry-down, and smelling slightly edible is like presenting a temptation (Denyse Beaulieu mentions the  Eve's apple theme of Dior's Poison series in her review). But more than anything, this perfume is beautiful and enchanting in one's personal space. Hypnotic Poison is unquestionably perfumy, using elements from classic perfumes as far back as L'Heure Bleue ( the bakery aroma of powdery spices over an oriental base). That's actually the part I consider "hypnotic". Not in the staring into the serpent's eyes way, but the enchantment of enveloping yourself in a delicious and complex aroma that makes you happy, confident and content in your own skin.

Notes: bitter almond, caraway, jasmine sambac, moss, jacaranda wood, vanilla, and musk.

My bottle of Hypnotic Poison dates from 2005. It's rich and quite nuclear in strength (two sprays is just a little too much).  Dior has tinkered with the formula over the years, but it's mostly evident in the strength. I'd say that the best juice was from 1998 to 2008, but your mileage may vary considerably. It's relatively easy to tell what you have by looking at the bottle (and box, if available). Of course, you can also plug in the batch code from the bottom of the bottle into any of the online cosmetics checkers. This post on Fragrantica's message board is very helpful to make heads and tails, and I also compiled the little table below to guide you. My one advice is not to buy online based on a stock photo-- there's no guarantee that what you see is what you will end up getting.

1998- 2004
Black with a red rim
Christian Dior
 red on red
2004/5- 2008
Black with a red rim

2008- November 2010
Black with a gold rim
Dark burgundy ellipse on a red background
December 2011-onwards
Red with a gold rim

Dior Hypnotic Poison ($98, 3.4 oz EDT) is available from most department stores, Sephora, Ulta, and many discounters.

Top image: Dior Haute Couture S/S 1998.


  1. Great review! This is the only Poison that I have and love. I get a fizzy root beer note that I really like. I would love a deeper noir version! :) Sylvia

  2. This is my "sexy" scent. I think I bought it around 2004 or 2005.


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