Dior Les Escales Collection

Dior, Les Escales, Escale aux Marquises, Escale a Portofino, Escale a PondicheryI thought I had already discovered every fragrance I was ever going to love — how very melodramatic (and wrong) of me. My Nordstrom Dior counter has a new manager, and we ended up talking about beauty, and the next thing you know…

Dior has a new fragrance out: Escales aux Marquises, the third in their Les Escales collection. Escales (according to Babelfish and Google Translator) means stopover, or port of call, and each fragrance is named after an exotic destination.

Portofino was the first, launched in 2008. It’s actually the only one of the three I didn’t care for. Portofino is a fishing village and tourist hot spot on the Italian Riviera, and the fragrance offers top notes of bergamot and citron, middle notes of almond and orange blossom, and base notes of cool cypress essence. It smelled powdery to me. I imagine a lot of women like it, but it didn’t strike a chord.

Pondichery was released in 2009. Named after a coastal city in southern India (formerly a French colony), the fragrance is unusual — sweet, spicy, with top notes of cardamom essence and jasmine sambac, middle notes of black tea extract (you can smell the tea), and base notes of sandalwood essence. I found it absolutely intriguing, and unlike anything I’ve smelled before.

Dior, Escale aux Marquises, promoEscale aux Marquises, named for the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia (852 miles northeast of Tahiti and 3000 miles west of Mexico), features notes of blood-orange essence, Tahitian tiare flower absolute, vanilla absolute, and pink peppercorn extract. The notes are printed on the back of the bottle, and when I read “tiare flower” (a member of the gardenia family), I was worried that the scent would be overwhelming with gardenia. Sprayed on a card, I actually smell the pink peppercorns first (which made me willing to try it on). On my skin, the tiare flower comes out more strongly, but it’s a new twist on gardenia, and I like it. Of the three, it’s my favorite.

Les Escales are available year-round, but I think they’re the fragrance complement to Dior’s Cruise Collection (to put you in a resort frame of mind). They’re available only as Eau de Toilette; $66 for a 2.5 oz. bottle, $87 for 4.25 oz.

So what are the fragrances I love? Ormonde Jayne Woman. Dior Addict. Hanae Mori Butterfly — though Butterfly and I need to take a break, thanks to a coworker who overdid it. I haven’t owned Serge Lutens A La Nuit or Bond Brooklyn, but I’d like to.

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6 Responses to “Dior Les Escales Collection”

  • Named for the Marquesas? I need it! I have this ridiculous obsession with the Marquesas after reading a few James Michener books. Very remote, and up until recently I believe there was still some cannibalism going on. Actually planning to sail there from Tahiti in the next couple of years (no joke! If you get 3-4 couples you can charter a boat with a captain and a chef). Guess I know what fragrance I’ll be wearing on the trip! :)

  • KarlaSugar says:

    Everything about that sounds glorious. I’m emailing Mr. Salt.

  • lexi920 says:

    I actually like all 3 in this collection. I do like Pondichery the most. I am wearing my Portofino sample today, ironically. I guess to keep me in a summer mood amidst the SF fog!

  • G. says:

    “A new twist on gardenia” is all you had to say. I’m sold! Thanks so much for the great review. :)

  • Tamasin says:

    You need to try the newish ormonde jaynee scent Tiare – it’s also with tahitian gardenia & i think pink pepper, lime & mandarin – it’s like a more individual more magnificient version of Chanel’s Cristalle.

  • MichelleChefNYC says:

    I know I’m a bit late to the party on this post, but I can’t wait to try these! If you like the Pondichery fragrance, have you ever tried BOND Chinatown? I didn’t love it on the tester paper, but once I tried in on my skin I fell in love with the somewhat weird combination of exotic and comfortingly familiar scents. I have never smelled anything quite like it before, and I like it. I especially like a cardamom note in fragrances.

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