The new J’adore Parfum d’eau is an interesting new fragrance that's made without the industry's most common ingredient: alcohol. Credit: Dior Beauty

Regardless of the category of perfume you go for – from lighter ones like colognes and eau fraiches to more concentrated forms like eau de parfums – an ingredient common to the vast majority of them is a humble one: alcohol.

Alcohol tends to get a bad reputation in skincare these days, but in perfumery, it’s traditionally been used as a solvent to dilute the essential oils to just the right percentage desired for any particular scent. So colour us surprised when Dior announced that the just-launched J’adore Parfum d’eau – the newest addition to the long-running J’adore family – is an entirely water-based, alcohol-free fragrance.

dior alcohol free perfume
Credit:Dior Beauty

The new J’adore Parfum d’eau s a water-based, alcohol-free fragrance with all the potency of a traditional eau de parfum.

As you would imagine, it’s a difficult process because water and oil by nature do not mix well. Water-based perfumes are still relatively rare on the market, and they’re often described to be lighter, more delicate and refreshing than traditional models. But thanks to the use of what Dior describes to be a high-pressure nano-emulsion technique, the Maison has managed to create a concoction with the same intensity as an eau de parfum (these typically contain a heady 15 to 20 per cent of essential oils).

As for the fragrance itself, the usual top-heart-base note structure is dissolved. According to Dior, J’adore Parfum d’eau does not diffuse nor project the volatile top notes that we’re so used to; instead, it is said to melt into the skin because of its water composition.

dior alcohol free perfume
Credit:Dior

Harvesting the flowers of the bitter orange tree in Provence, through which neroli – the key ingredient of J’adore Parfum d’eau – is extracted. It’s a slow and tedious process – the flowers are usually harvested by hand between April and early May. 

The hero ingredient in this new J’adore member is the exquisite – and exquisitely expensive – neroli, which is extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree through steam distillation. Other notes in J’adore Parfum d’eau include jasmine sambac and Chinese magnolia. (FYI, Dior seems to be pretty serious about neroli – it signed an exclusive partnership with Florapolis, a bitter orange plantation run by flower farmer Christelle Archer in Provence.)

And in a nod to the white flower bouquet J’adore Parfum d’eau is meant to signify, even the classic gold-tone J’adore bottle has been given a mini-revamp: it now sports a milky, opalescent hue.

J’adore Parfum d’eau ($192 for 50ml, $275 for 100ml) is available now at all Dior Beauty Boutiques, counters and its online store