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Hypnotic Poison - Hypnotic? Yes! Poisonous? NO!

Dior Hypnotic Poison ad -

True story: It’s Hallowe’en evening in the late 80’s and we’re getting ready for the Big Night. My older son is a zombie, my six year old daughter is a witch - they’ve done the costumes, I’ve done the make-up, and we all agree that they both look fabulous! Very scary and very dead! My little witch wants to carry a big broom, or a heavy antique cane and I nix the idea “No – too dangerous, too awkward, too valuable.”

Desperate to please her and get her out to the group waiting on the sidewalk, I grab my bottle of Poison off my dresser and put it in her hand. “Here, take this. Witches always need poison!” and off she goes. An hour later they’re back, big smiles, mission accomplished and bags full of loot, but when I ask for my perfume bottle her little witch face crumples up and the tears start. “Oh Mummy, I lost it!!!!” Hmmm – am I upset? Not really, amazingly not at all, as it dawns on me that I never really enjoyed wearing that huge honking scent anyway, a gift from a good friend  which I’d always felt I HAD to wear. “Don’t worry, Honey,” I reply, “It's OK - that was an ugly ol' poison anyway.”

Fast forward to 1998: Dior launches Hypnotic Poison, the second flanker after Tender Poison, and I catch a whiff walking through The Bay one day. One spritz and I buy a bottle. THIS is a beautiful Poison!

Hypnotic Poison is the work of the brilliant perfumer, Annick Ménardo, whose most famous creations all claim a weird quirky note in the mix. Bulgari Black – rubber, Lolita Lempicka – licorice, Patchouli 24 – dirty leather, and........... Hypnotic Poison - bitter almond.

A lush woody oriental, swirling with gourmand notes, the fragrance is built on four accords instead of the usual pyramid of top, middle and base notes: bitter almond and caraway, sambac  jasmine, moss and jacaranda wood, and vanilla-musk. The jasmine is the link to the original Poison, a perfume which, to my nose, is so incredibly strong that it feels like it could break glass, but Hypnotic Poison spins a VERY different effect. The listed notes are: coconut, bergamot, tangerine, lemon, plum and pimento, heart notes of apricot, rose, ylang-ylang, orris, peach, lily of the valley and jasmine on base notes of tuberose, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, benzoin, cedar and jacaranda wood.

The unique top notes of almond, caraway, coconut and plum are intriguing – sweet but not sweet – creamy but with an underlying edge. Jasmine gives it a shine, and vanilla, plum, rose and tuberose give it rich symphonic depth, the woody musk tones combine them all into a velvety confection that is smooth, powdery, spicy, woody, and which melts into your skin. Sweet and bitter – perfectly balanced – perfection.

I don’t feel a pattern to the dry-down in Hypnotic Poison, instead I experience the different notes and accords as a swirling, gourmand cloud. The almond cuts the sweetness of the plum, and the plum blends with rose and the woody base notes, and the end result is a richly deep, dark scent that you can get lost in. I love wearing it to bed – it’s one of the most luxurious scents ever. Is this a sexy scent? I think so, but not one designed for wild, frantic and sweaty, it’s meant for langorous, caressing, sensual - in satin sheets.

I’ve worn Hypnotic Poison constantly since I first bought it in 1998.  I think it is one of the all-time modern greats, and can be judged alongside the iconic Guerlains and Chanels. It’s available in stores or on-line for a reasonable price, and should be in every serious perfumista’s collection - at the very least, go to Hypnotic Poison in our Decant Store and order a sample so you can experience it yourself.

It has a soft but complex sillage that I find haunting, hypnotic. If my little witch had lost my bottle of Hypnotic Poison, I would have been very upset – but then I never would have given it to her to take out on Hallowe’en in the first place. I’ve always wondered which neighbor scored a used bottle of Poison that night. I haven’t missed it – I’ve been under the magic spell of Hypnotic Poison.

Hypnotic Poison is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.



I've been hypnotized!

I purchased a sample of this along with a baggie of other delights, and last night I finally got around to trying it on my skin. I love it. It has a sweetness to it that is not at all sickly, and I totally agree with the sensuous characterization of it. And how happy am I that it's relatively affordable?