Wednesday, 1 June 2011


The other day, I've wondered about Shiseido's perfume naming strategy. It appears to me that someone picked a word they liked, possibly tweaked it around a bit and here we go, let's stick it onto the bottle, nobody would care anyway. Because... Sourire? To smile? Why not, say, Pour sourir or Une souris?

Same thing with Dignita. It suspiciously reminds me of the good old Latin-derived dignity but none of the languages I'm familiar with uses it in this form. I may be wrong and it means something like Tender Flowers in an extinct dialect of Inner Mongolia.
I however suppose that someone in the marketing department just liked the word. I could imagine the smell of dignity, something between moth balls, old leather, expensive woods and incense. Or some such. The brownish jus and brown and white packaging would also hint something more substantial but Dignita is anything else but moth balls, old leather and the general air of old mansion that could use some redecorating and thorough cleaning.

I did my best to find the notes listed somewhere but I've failed. My smell detection device, which is not the bestest, says that there's a gentle whiff of PVC at the beginning but that doesn't surprise me, many fragrances give out a very chemical odour before the alcohol evaporates. Then, Dignita becomes a really nice floral - there's a whiff of violets, not the alph amethyl ionone sort from violet pastilles (oh, yum) but a greener variety, and then the fragrance evolves into a lovely bouquet of roses, although the first identifiable smell is that of a soap named Green Apple, which we used when I was a child - maybe I should check some bad drugstore which has the less fashionable stuff and I'll find it somewhere. Or it may be some other tart fruit - wild cranberries or white currants; one way or another, it (a) makes me drool (b) reminds me of Dior's Chris 47. Anyhow, tart fruits and armful of roses. Those of the soapy variety, then the lemony Gloria Dei and maybe a whiff of the most extraordinary Mainzer Fastnacht, which was elaborated in another Shiseido's fragrance, Blue Rose (which will be dealt with shortly), and some cut grass.

After the initial multifaceted impression, Dignita remains rather linear. Fruits and roses wear down a bit, revealing a soft resiny and powdery base - elemi and iris, I would say, along a well crafted base of general leafy greenery. And a bucketful of lovely musk, that bright, cheery, clean and soothing type, which is the reason why Dignita lasts rather long but after an hour it quietens to a slightly powdery skin scent that still keeps a bit of tartness.

I have no clue whether Dignita is still produced. Uncle Google found several Russian online retailers that sell it, I scored my bottle in France.

A point about the picture above: The beautiful Old English rose of unknown cultivar just fits to the fragrance. Of slightly indefinable colour between apricot and yellow which fades as the blossoms wilt, it smells faintly of, well, roses of the sweeter variety, with a touch of something incense-y. And it matches colour of the jus. Coouldn't resist the kitsch. I however resisted cutting my last iris despite how it would fit in.

To make the blog more interactive, I'm asking a question, dear readers. What Shiseido fragrance would you want to read about next? Let me know in the comments.


  1. dignità is the italian form of dignity

    cari saluti, Laura

  2. Laura, not that I wouldn't have guessed. It's not dignità, only dignita, without the accent thingy. Thus the rant.

  3. maybe the wanted to keep it simple and simply omited it. or it's just ignorance?

  4. I would like to hear something about shiseido's "vocalise"... I own it, but haven't used it much yet.
    best, L