Viewer Mail: I'm Ashamed of My Love for Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau

Hi Katie,

I need he-he-helppp! I've fallen for a great 'fume, a real sweetheart, but the problem is, I hate her looks and the company she keeps, and now I'm afraid my friends will hate me for wanting to be friends with her.

Yes, I'm a terrible snob, superficial and scentsitive, but what would you do if your new love turned out to be Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau (that's the green one, not the pink one)?

Katie, can you help me find something that smells like MDCL'E but isn't MDCL'E, or are you shaking your head in disgust at me?


Tender, I could never feel disgust for a consensual love between a woman and her perfume. You’re living your life the way you choose, and no one is being harmed (except perhaps your friends with their nimimy-piminy aesthetics).

Having said that, I positively pounced on your question, because I happen to have a couple of pretty good ideas for "grown up" variations on Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau’s theme.

But first, don't be too hasty to abandon your loyal companion if she's the one who's making you smell the way you like to smell. I happen to think that this watery fruity-caramel with soft musk is nicely composed and even borderline odd. I'm always in favor of a bit of quirk.

Anyway, most of the kids seem too preoccupied with older sis Miss Dior Chérie, with her strawberry Jell-O and patchouli ka-pow, so you’re not gonna be called out by an angry tween for co-opting the scent of Generation Z if you stick with Chérie L’Eau.

For the record, the official notes for Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau list bitter orange, gardenia accord and white musks. There seems to be no mention of what I refer to as “stoner munchie mix accord”: a borderline-stale caramel popcorn aroma that drifts around the periphery of Chérie L'Eau.

It’s a buttery, starchy sweetness that I also experience in Stella McCartney Stella Sheer (2009), except here the white flowers are swapped out for roses. And you should also seek out The Body Shop Love Etc, another cozy-fruity-musky caramel popcorn, though this still keeps you firmly, if sweetly, in mall-rat territory.

If it’s truly time to make like Sabrina back from Paris and wow Humphrey Bogart with how much you (Audrey Hepburn) have matured, I’ve lined up two contenders:

D&G Anthology 18 La Lune is a rosy tuberose that starts off citrus-y and drifts off into a verrrrry nice leathery sandalwood. It’s pretty and feminine with teensy kink.

Prada L'Eau Ambrée is a light jasmine-gardenia with a citrus kick-off into ambered vanilla. Like Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau, it has a watery quality that keeps things ambiguous and subtle.

Let me know if any of these pass muster with snobby you!

Fumeheads - what else might fit the bill for Tender?


  1. I want to suggest the original Lolita Lempicka for some reason which I can't quite pinpoint. :)

  2. I am thinking about PdN's Maharanih, although, like Kristy, I can't put my finger on what the connection would be.

  3. Any other "perfume empaths" wanna feel out a recommendation for Tender?

  4. Thanks sympathisers.
    See you later, I'm going to try out your green-water-antidotes.

    Tender O.

  5. Versace Versense (although more citrus), and Bvlgari Omnia Green Jade are similar in tone and style to Miss Dior Cherie L'Eau.

  6. BTW, I detect the caramel popcorn accord wafting through MDCL'E too and I can't say I find it charming. What I love is the opening, the bitter stuff and the green stuff. And I wish the gardenia (which, let's face it, seems to be growing underwater here) was more herbal. And also that someone would clean up the mess those lovebirds spilled between their seats in the cinema.

  7. NOW you tell me, Tender! It's not the stoner munchie mix you're after, it's the odd bitter/green stuff. And there I was on the verge of recommending Vera Wang Princess to ya. In this case, steer clear of Love Etc...and in fact, everything else I recommended except for Prada L'Eau Ambrée. Hmm...what about Annick Goutal Un Matin d'Orage? It's a watery gardenia, and maybe the shiso in there will conjure a smidge of bitterness.

    And regarding your last reference, I just finished writing a review that references the "jism accord", which I'm about to post. I'm always amazed by how breezily people can identify it in a perfume, while I feel like the 5-year-old yelling out inappropriately at the grocery store, "I don't smell SPERM!"

  8. Ahahahaa!

    Really looking forward to that upcoming review!

    I tried L'Eau Ambree on my skin and my boyfriend rather loved it... but I'm not so sure... yet. It's a bit too sleepy for me, especially in the winter when I tend to crave the bright, light and fresh stuff rather than things that feel like thick velvet cloaks.

    I'll revisit Lolita Lempicka and Omnia Jade and AG Un matin d'orage. I shall smell good, in the end!

  9. Tender, your "bright, light and fresh stuff" makes me want to suggest Chanel Eau Fraîche, Cristalle EdT and Cristalle Eau Verte. But none of those involve gardenia, and they all get away from the softness of Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau.

    Also totally removed from that softness is Michael Kors Very Hollywood, which strikes me as a combo platter of Fracas and Juicy Couture with a Cristalle drydown. Bright tuberose and zesty orange blossoms to appeal to younger noses, but with a classy green sign-off. None of the bitterness you're looking for, though.

    If you're not averse to a powdery quality, you'll find green bitterness in Chanel No. 19 and Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, which both feature iris and galbanum.

    I'm kind of stumped, but I'll keep thinking. More suggestions are welcome!


  10. Tender, I just got back from a smell-a-thon at Nordstrom, and I tried all the fragrances everyone's been talking about in this post. My conclusion is that nothing at all is really similar to Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau - it stands alone! The closest may well be Bulgari Omnia Green Jade. But the Chérie L'Eau does have that twangy bitterness that's kind of intriguing. So maybe you should stick with it. I'm very keen to hear what you decide!

  11. It took my a while to get through all the recommendations (I can't do smellathons, which is a bloody shame as I'm rather greedy)... the only one I'm missing is the PdN, which sounds sooo nice...

    I like Stella Sheer (2008 edition, white bottle), surprinsingly. I also like Stella Rose Absolute. This is all very odd as in the past I've despised rose fragrances, but ah well, things change, I never thought I'd fall for something like Miss Dior blahblahblah either...

    I also like the original Lolita Lempicka EdP, I remember smelling it on some of my classmates as a girl when it was first launched and finding them sexy and all that, but it's not for me. And I don't like the bottles that much either. I know you do, Katie, I just read your latest article, but to me it feels like I have corals growing off the soles of my feet with such bottles floating around me and sunlight streaming in from above. Which isn't that bad, I suppose.

    Anyway, the perfume I found that's closest to MDCL'E is Armani Code Summer Femme. Not serious, light-hearted (perhaps a little daft, too), sexual identity distinctly established as female, a whole fruitbowl thrown in there but also ginger, bitter neroli and the green stuff I like, too. It's sweet but not in the same caramel-y way as MDCL'E. I'm thinking about it. I don't usually go for these types of fragrances, I don't like the packaging or the vibe around them, which, I think, is the shallow reason I'm still hesitating. But I do feel I just need something uplifting for the winter. In the summer I'll go back to my usual dirty, nasty, demonic scents.

    Haven't committed fully yet, to anything, but thought I'd let you (all) know and thank you again for your kind suggestions. If any of you have smelled Armani Code Summer let me know what your thoughts are


  12. Tender! Welcome back - so glad to have the update. I don't know Armani Code Summer. But after writing my Penhaligon's Amaranthine reivew, I'm on a bit of a Amaranthine kick, and wonder if it's too off the Tender track for you? Despite the talk of "skank", it's bizarrely also a fresh, green floral. Worth checking out?

  13. I already checked out Amaranthine (when it came out, I like the "corrupted oriental" description in the copy), and I've read in various reviews that people are picking up a distinct conserved milk accord, which I also get. Unfortunately, it goes very subdued and powdery on me, as do a lot of beastly fragrances (even SL Muscs KK). I don't know if it's my nose or my body that transforms somethings into drawers full of old makeup once I spray them onto my skin... pity.

    But I'm happy to hear you love the new Penhaligon's, and I enjoyed you description of the off-putting unholy trinity of Bluebell lovers.

    If ever you get a chance to smell the Armani let me know what you think!

  14. I s'pose your nose focuses on the powdery furriness of whatever animal it comes in contact with. I'll keep my eyes open for the Armani. Is "Summer" the same as "Sheer"?

  15. Katie, had to let you know that I think I've found it!!: after many failed attempts of layering Miss Yadayadayada and producing the most obnoxious, ridiculous scents I found that combining MDCL'E with Eau d'Issey Été (female version) works quite nicely...

    I think that's it! Am about to see whether it truly meets my hopes of very cold, bright green bitterness tonight, walking to the theatre in -7 Celsius.


  16. Wow! That's truly a mad scientist breakthrough, Tender! I think you've identified a heretofore unserved niche in fragrance tastes.

    But tell me again: Chanel Cristalle EdT doesn't meet your "cold, bright green bitterness" requirments? Or even Gucci Envy?