Notes: coriander, plum, wild berries, anise, Brazilian rosewood, carnation, jasmine, African orange flower, tuberose, opoponax, cinnamon, incense, rose, white honey, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, Virginia cedar, amber, vanilla, and heliotrope.
The bar at the Ritz Central Park in New York is one of my favorite meeting spots in the city. The bar itself is small, but usually not overcrowded and not too loud either. My sister and I have used it as a meeting point and just a place to grab a drink and rest our feet. (It’s also a good place to stop and use the bathroom if you’ve been running around the city all afternoon!) I bring this up because I was sitting at the bar having dinner one night when I recognized a familiar scent: Poison. That huge all-enveloping tuberose is unmistakable. A French woman came in and sat down at the other end of the bar and ordered for herself. I assumed she was French even before I heard her speak because who else still wears vintage Poison these days? I could smell Poison wafting towards me all evening. It’s a beautiful smell, and all-consuming one. I think we all left the Ritz that night smelling of Poison.
In the US, I feel like Hypnotic Poison has definitely taken over as the Poison scent to wear. When I worked at Sephora, we didn’t even carry the original Poison in store. We carried the flankers: Hypnotic, Pure Poison, and we got the new Poison Girl in. (I actually don’t mind Poison Girl. There is something of the original Poison in the base). The original Poison was created by Edouard Fléchier and was released in 1985. It is unquestionably an 80s fragrance, in that it’s huge, in your face, and demands all of your attention. You can kind of see how the pendulum swung from this extreme to the other extreme with the 90s acquatic calone-infused fragrances. The US is still a little bit enamored with these clean scents. One thing I used to hear all the time from women looking for a new scent was “I don’t want to smell like perfume.” What they meant was “I don’t want to smell like No. 5. I don’t want to smell like Poison.”
Even Poison does not smell like Poison anymore. I have a bottle of the EdT that I purchased from Dior in 2016. The opening is lovely. It’s an explosion of fruity, jammy plum, creamy tuberose, and a little bit of sharp, spicy cardamom. It settles into my skin nicely. I get smoky incense and a spiced carnation in the heart. But, as it wears, this Poison takes on a manufactured grape juice smell. Going into the base, the composition feels thin. It’s missing that rich, syrupy, creamy texture.
I’m happy to own a bottle of the Poison EdT. I love the apple bottle shape and the deep purple — so dark that it’s almost black. But it’s not my favorite to wear. I am keeping an eye on ebay for samples or small decants of older formulations. I know that The Perfumed Court also offers decants of the vintage Eau de Cologne formulation. Ami Loves Perfume has a fantastic video here on her channel about Poison. She shows examples of the different packaging and bottles over the years in case you’re looking at Poison on ebay and are wondering what’s authentic. It’s also just a very informative and lovely video to watch!
I’m publishing this post on Halloween and, yes, I am wearing Poison for my Halloween scent! Although, the truly scary thing is how quickly Dior seems to reformulate their fragrance compositions these days. All the reformulation drama aside, I love Poison. Love it or hate it, once you smell Poison, you will recognize it forever. It’s a haunting perfume, indeed.
I ordered my bottle of the Poison EdT online directly from Dior. They also have an extrait available. I’m very curious as to what the modern extrait smells like.
The info on the notes is from Fragrantica.
The photo is taken by me.