Created by Jacques Polge, Chanel’s third Master Perfumer and current nose, Diva launched in 1983 and was succeeded by two different flankers, Fleur de Diva – a fruity floral- in 1997 and Divas – a woody musk scent whose notes sound absolutely delightful- in 2000. A child of the eighties though it might be, Diva does not have the quintessential powerhouse-fragrance feel many of its contemporaries have. The name in this instance is rather misleading: this is a much more subtle and ladylike floral-chypre scent, that oozes class. The opening is almost sour, full of vintage ambience. Quickly the aldehydic top notes amplify the sharpness of coriander and bergamot, imparting a sense of fizzy greenness on the skin. Once the initial “sourness” dissipates, Diva goes through a short stage in which it is quite reminiscent of Paloma Picasso with which it is very often compared – although I feel I must add that Paloma Picasso has more depth and feels much more layered. Even though there is no leather note in this scent, it is in this stage too that I get a definite impression of leather, a soft crack of a whip that stings oh, so sweet. The middle stage of Diva’s development is in turn a beautiful floral heart, with no traces of Paloma Picasso’s strong profile left and the cracking of the aforementioned whip all but a distant thunder. At first, the most prominent and easily picked-out note seems to be the gorgeous rose, concentrated and deep, changing colors in my mind’s eye from deep red, to match the potency of its scent, to creamy champagne, matching its spirit. Soon though, my senses get not so much awakened, but actually assaulted by the powerful imagery created by the ivory bouquet of white florals. An impression so strong, so powerful, of indolic jasmine, tuberose and fleshy gardenia, slaps me in the face abruptly and I breathlessly turn the other cheek, eagerly begging for more. I speak of imagery indeed, because the occurence always manages to be eerily visual. Diva’s mossy base is apparent from the beginning, but as the heart notes slowly fly off, the oakmoss becomes truly inebriating – chypre lovers will swoon with joy. This is a lovely, musky, mossy drydown, which makes excellent use of a thyme-honey accord. The effect is utterly lovely: beautiful, honeyed oakmoss with a hint of beeswax that makes me want to rub my nose against my own skin like a kitten. Those that enjoy Ivoire’s mossy drydown but wish it was a little less single-minded and a little more elaborate, are sure to love Diva.
Images: www.punmiris.com and http://commons.wikimedia.org