Today we look at a fragrance from Christian Dior‘s exclusive, high-end Collection Privée, which is also referred to as the “Maison Dior” or “Maison Christian Dior” collection, and which some people might define as a niche collection. Well, certainly it is less mainstream and pricier, I’ll give it that.
The scent of which I only have a few more sprays is Rouge Trafalgar, which was launched in 2020, created by in-house perfumer François Demachy. On the website, you can find bottles of 125, 250, and 450ml spray bottles. Although you don’t see it on the website, they also get either 30ml (or perhaps 50? – I can’t remember) spray bottles. I know this because I sprayed wickedly fast through such a size of Oud Isphahan a few years back, which is why I now own a bigger version, which I’m consuming at a much slower pace. You cannot wear oud all the time, especially when you live in Japan as I do.
You can also 8ml mini sizes which are none-spray. I proudly have 24 of these little guys currently in my collection, and am trying not to use them up before I get a chance to analyze them. I’m not usually one to care for bottles and packaging, but I just love the packaging of fragrances from Dior’s Collection Privée. The bottles come in cylindrical cases, too, and overall I the simple and classy black and white vibe is refined and beautiful. The magnetic closure on the cap adds to the luxury. Once I’m done with the bigger bottles in my collection, I plan to save the caps and use them as door or drawer handles in a future furniture project.
Dior describes Rouge Trafalgar as a fruity floral. I thought it might end up being more of a chypre floral, because that is what Fragrantica calls it, but no, there’s no oakmoss, no vetiver or other grassy green stuff going on. There is hint of patch at the base, so I think this is more of a fruitchouli in the end. Here are the notes (according to Fragrantica, my default source):
- raspberry, strawberry, cherry, mandarin orange
- black currant, grapefruit
- musk, patchouli
I think there are also some sort of wood elements in here, too, that doesn’t come up in the list. Rouge Trafalgar is indeed a tasty scent. It has a refreshing tartness to it that prevents it from going too sweet, and if you’re a berry lover you’ll probably like if not love this. I think it bears a similarity to Miss Dior Cherie, but fruitier. And Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay fans will love this one. I never buy Jo Malone retail due to poor performance. This one thankfully scores better in technical merit.
It starts off with a fantastic fizzy and juicy berry accord, not sour or bitter, but there is a tartness that plays off the sweetness and prevents it from going too juvenile. It is also very airy but not watered down. The berries are syrupy, but there are thankfully no gooey gobs of sugar glue. Slowly revealed, perhaps at the 30 minute mark, are some green touches, maybe more of the stem and leaves of the berries making an appearance. There is even a dusting of some sort of citrus.
I think it is probably quite difficult to do a berry scent without getting into cough syrup territory, especially if cherry is involved, and I think it is here. Yet François has pulled it off. Although it’s not heavy or too sweet I would not call this a light fragrance, despite the airiness. And not powdery, so male fruit fans may fuel their fetish with this find. Fantastic. Japanese will like it because it is polite and unobtrusive… and yes – boring (more on that later).
Rouge Trafalgar lasts more than half a day on me, which is pretty good considering the notes. Of course, it will live closer to the skin as time passes, and the musky patchouliness will later become prominent and last until later in the day, but you’ll have to put nose directly on skin to sniff it out.
It’s a very contemporary, chic, urban, and youthful scent. It’s been something I spitz on in the morning when I don’t want to think too deeply about how I want to smell. I read one comment somewhere, probably Fragrantica, calling it a dumb reach, and I think that’s true. I’ve also read the word sophisticated being applied to this, but I might have to disagree just a little there. It’s too youthful. The first time I smelled it I pictured a very young lady in her first makeup, updo, and glitter, dressed up for prom, but a tasteful prom – about as tasteful as proms can be.
Here’s how Demachy himself describes it:
“Rouge Trafalgar is a fragrance with the seductive signature of a delicate and mouthwatering Red Berry accord, to which I also added captivating unexpected notes like Black Currant and Grapefruit. It’s a vivifying trail that reflects the famous Dior red, an iconic colour of the House. A classic that has lost none of its shine.”
I just want to make it clear to you all that I bought my almost depleted bottle of tastiness second hand, when it was less than a quarter full, for an extremely low price. I’m very happy for the purchase. It’s been an easy-to-wear, friendly, girlish, crowd-pleaser but also a very derivative, commercially oriented “cocktail des fruits.” No, I probably won’t be buying a full bottle at full retail price. And if I’m honest, I do not think this fragrance it is worthy of holding a place along with other far greater fragrances in the line. However, it’s probably one of the better scents that have recently been launched directly into Privée stature, and perhaps I’ll rant more about that in the future.
But basically, in 2017 or 18, Dior launched a whole bunch of fragrances that appeared to cater more to the East Asian market – very pretty, ephemeral, and lacking any possibility of polarity, for the most part, and they renamed their haute collection Maison Christian Dior, but it also includes fragrances from the old Collection Privée. Maybe reformulations? I am not sure. It’s all very confusing.
For me, the haute collections from Dior and Chanel… these are… (well they should be) absolutely gorgeous, luxurious, sought after, and irreplacable. Give me Cuir de Russe, Ambre Nuit, Fève Délicieuse, Bois D’Argent, etc.
Am I saying this is a bad fragrance? No, I very much enjoyed (still enjoying) this fragrance. This is berry-infused rain coming down on carefree giggles and dancing in the back yard on a warm Sunday afternoon with no sign of Monday. Delightful, uplifting, mood-boosting, yummy – a lovely, well-blended concoction. In fact, the fruit accord is top notch. And the syrupy raspberry and blackberry truly shine.
I’m just saying, essentially, that to me this feels mainstream and not particularly original. There’s nothing wrong with that. As for myself, rather than repurchase, I think I’ll explore an isle in some retail store like Bath & Body Works when I next venture into Canada or the US (which for me will happen once the world starts normalizing a bit, though “normalizing” is a poor choice of words. There will be a “new normal.”). I’ll bet I can find something that is similarly yummy there, though probably less long-lasting, and yes, minus the effervescence and depth that make Rouge Trafalgar a little more luxe.