The tuberose that changed J’Adore

Dior’s perfume was launched in 1999, and whatever the variations it has undergone, its success goes on and on. For the end of 2020, François Demachy, the in-house perfumer, created an eau de parfum called J’Adore Infinissime. All it took was the addition of tuberose notes, to change everything and transform this fragrance into a perfume of tenderness. Isabelle Cerboneschi

It was launched in 1999 and has seduced millions of women. Except me. J’Adore, the famous scent of Dior, is a fresh and floral fragrance, but I prefer Baudelaireian scents. Therefore I didn’t have immoderate expectations when I discovered J’Adore eau de parfum Infinissime.

I put a few drops on my wrist, I smelled it… And I dove in. Plunged like Alice in Wonderland, in a red-orange and pink spiral. And I didn’t understand what was happening to me. A perfume is a mental architecture, and like a house, one feels good in it, or not. I felt surprisingly good in this J’Adore version. As if I was resting on a soft bed, covered with an XXL duvet, as thick as the mattress belonging to the Princess and the Pea, from Andersen’s fairy tale. Then, one of the raw materials took precedence over the others and took me virtually in a huge library, like a Gothic cathedral. A place that reassured me.

I was confused. How can a fragrance created to appeal to as many women as possible, with its fresh and flowery notes, be transformed, thanks to a change in its formula, into a caring fragrance, soft like a cashmere plaid?

To understand this, I made an appointment with Fuensanta Soto, a trainer at Dior for 23 years. She has a great knowledge of perfume and talks about it without all that idle marketing talk. She explained to me that the element that makes all the difference is tuberose: a blend of flowers from Grasse and India.

She first invited me to smell the Indian tuberose. Impossible to imagine that this could be the scent of a flower. It has an earthy, woody, almost animal note, and a delicate smell of paper dust, hence, the evocation of a library. Then, the trainer introduced me to a mixture of tuberose from India and Grasse. A completely different world. This fragrance was fleshy, sensual. The mixture of the two varieties is like an alliance between the feminine and masculine part of the flower.

This embracing scent feels so strange in a time when the slightest contact has become synonymous with danger.

« This flower has a peculiarity: after picking, it retains its fragrant qualities for 24 hours,” explains Fuensanta Soto. “Because it is a white flower, it has a very strong fragrance, which compensates for its lack of colour and attracts insects”. François Demachy, Dior’s perfumer, describes it as “violently sexual”.

“The molecules of the tuberose have been harvested with an old extraction method called enfleurage à froid. The petals are placed on a layer of purified fat which become saturated with flower oil. The material obtained is melted with alcohol and then filtered. The result is called absolute. François Demachy explained to me that by distilling a flower with an alembic, one recovers olfactory notes close to the petal, which carry us upwards, whereas with enfleurage, one goes down into the heart and collects the soul of the flower. »

A few hours later, what remains of this fragrance on my wrist? A trace, that of a beautiful perfume born before the wave of marine and sweet fragrances that overwhelmed the market. What remains is an enveloping scent that evokes the arms of an archetypal loving mother. This feels so strange in a time when the slightest contact has become synonymous with danger. Was it intentional?

According to the advertisement, featuring Charlize Theron, this fragrance was designed for a woman who lifts her chin up and moves forward, whatever it takes. A fragrance of power, of seduction too. But that’s not what I feel. What if J’adore Infinissime was a scent to comfort us in troubling times?