This Iconic French Perfume Was Made to Smell Like Solid Gold, and We Love It

When I think of Dior, frothy tulle, ornate embellishment, breathtaking ball gowns and that French je ne sais quoi instantly come to mind. But one of the brand's biggest symbolisers has to be its most famous perfume, J'Adore. Dior first began creating perfumes to match its new fashions in 1947, with Miss Dior serving as its very first scent, which the brand's founder, Christian Dior, adoringly named for his sister, Catherine. However, for many beauty obsessives, J'Adore is the jewel in Dior Beauty's crown—even if it was released over 50 years later.

J'Adore has become increasingly popular since its debut in 1999, but what is it that makes it so iconic? Its fragrance? Its bottle? Its heritage? We think it's a potent blend of all three.


(Image credit: @charlizeafrica)

Described as being "what solid gold would smell like if it had a scent," J'Adore is the epitome of opulence; a golden liquid that bestows the skin with a matte gleam and a hedonistic aroma. To create J'Adore, Dior enlisted the talents of French master perfumer Calice Becker, the nose behind some of the industry's most-loved fragrances. Think Tommy Hilfiger's Tommy Girl, Marc Jacobs's Lola, Vera Wang's Rock Princess, and Calvin Klein's Secret Obsession. J'Adore, however, is perhaps the finest example of her work.

What Becker crafted is a scent that is sweet but balmy; floral with an edge. Those with a keen sense of smell will identify fresh mandarin and ylang-ylang in the top; jasmine, orchid, plum, and rose in the heart; and amaranth, blackberry, and musk in the trail. This complex blend of notes ensures that it's not too floral, too sweet, nor too spicy—they weave together to make a scent that few could find fault with, which has ultimately ensured its success. That said, its gorgeous bottle has to be a contributing factor to its popularity. Elegant and alluring, there's no disputing that it was designed to sit pride of place on a dressing table.

In early 1999, designer Hervé Van der Straeten began his first studies for the conception of the J'Adore bottle. He looked to historical amphoras, Greek containers with a curved shape. Amphoras had been a source of inspiration for Christian Dior himself when, in 1947, he debuted his New Look dress designs, which, unlike the loose-fitting clothing of the '20s and '30s, featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full, A-line skirt to create a previously unseen hourglass silhouette.

According to Van der Straeten, the J'Adore bottle was "designed to enhance the perfume itself and is a talisman-like object that nestles in the palm of the perfuming hand." No writing appears on the exterior of the bottle, but the name is discreetly engraved on the stopper, its lack of branding making it feel all the more luxurious.

Widely considered the most precious of metals, gold—both the colour and the material—are widely used within Dior's fashion and beauty collections. Christian Dior, who used gold to decorate both gowns and fragrances, was said to be fascinated by it. However, J'Adore was the first perfume that saw the brand use gold so profusely.

Perhaps one of the perfume's most notable characteristics is its name. J'Adore is a rare example among fragrance names, as expressions were, and still to this day are, seldom given to perfumes. Christian Dior was known to exclaim "j'adore" when he would first see a model in his designs, making this fragrance all the more sentimental and a loving homage to the brand's heritage. 


(Image credit: @charlizeafrica)

Since 2004, J'Adore has been personified by Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron. The adverts in which she stars—often dripping in beautiful gold beading—are easily some of the most memorable ever created, particularly in the world of beauty. She and Kate Winslet and Chrissy Teigen are all said to be J'Adore devotees, and it seems so are we. 

Few perfumes are considered as timeless as J'Adore, making it a wise investment for any bathroom vanity. Scroll below to shop the iconic fragrance, and then proceed to peruse the other exquisite perfumes in Dior's beauty directory.


J'Adore's popularity has only grown over the years, as has its fragrance collection. The original perfume has developed in a number of variants of different concentrations, ensuring there's a J'Adore scent to suit everyone. 

The original J'Adore:

J'Adore In Joy:

J'Adore Absolu:

J'Adore Eau Lumière:

J'Adore L'Or


Opening Image: @lenafarl

Next: 12 Hand Sanitisers That Almost Smell Just as Good as Perfume

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.