First launched in 2000, Dunhill Desire has spawned a range of flankers over the course of 18 years each with their own distinctive colours. A precursor to Dunhill Icon in many ways, which is a favourite of ours, we decided to pitch them together in a detailed comparative review.
In this review, you will the four most popular Dunhill Desire fragrances with a focus on the following topics:
- Bespoke Unit Fragrance Formula (BUFF)
- Fragrance Overview
- Blend & Fragrance Strength
- Tested 3rd Party Feedback
- When To Wear Dunhill Desire
- Presentation & Value
Use the links to jump ahead or scroll on to read more.
- Brand: Alfred Dunhill London
- Fragrance: Desire
- Concentration: Eau de Toilette
- Release Year: 2000 – 2018
- Batch Reviewed: 5251 [Red], 1237 [Blue], 5047 [Black], 5348 [Silver]
- Olfactive Fragrance Family: Various [See Fragrance Formulae]
- Related Fragrances: Dunhill Icon, Dunhill For Men
- Price On Amazon: $40 for 100 ml [Buy Now]
- Price On FragranceX: From $30 [Buy Now]
The Desire range first launched with its distinctive red hip-flask inspired bottle in 2000. It was developed by the celebrated perfumer Michel Almairac who is probably best known for Christian Dior Fahrenheit. Blue followed in 2002 by Philippe Romano. However, it wasn’t until 2014 and 2015 that Desire Black and Silver were released, which were developed by Irina Burlakova and Carlos Benaim respectively.
Browse Dunhill Desire On FragranceX
Dunhill Desire Composition
As you’ll learn in this review, each of the Desire fragrances are unique and manage to distinguish themselves with different compositions. Both the Red and Black share Oriental components with the former being an Oriental Woody while the latter is a Amber Oriental Fougère.
Meanwhile, the Blue is an Aquatic Aromatic thanks to its sea-breeze personality. While the Silver comes quite close to this too, it lacks the oceanic character necessary and instead reverts to an Aromatic Citrus.
- Red: Granny Smith, Neroli, Lemon, Bergamot
- Blue: Bergamot, Lotus, Lychee, Tangerine
- Black: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Petitgrain, Pepper
- Silver: Mandarin, Bergamot, Lavender
As you can see above, each of the fragrances feature a note of bergamot. While this does bring them together, they’re expressed very differently. After all, it is one of the most popular opening notes in a fragrance.
For instance, Red is remarkably sweet with an almost bubblegum property. Yet, this doesn’t really show itself until the heart and we’re instead given a tart green apple note with some citrus zest from the lemon and neroli.
Meanwhile, the Blue is fruity without being overly sweet. In fact, it’s quite prickly with a sourness produced by the lychee and lotus accord. As for the silver, it has an airy property with subtle notes of citrus. On this occasion, the bergamot is the most noticeable and a hint of lavender as a freshness to the experience.
However, the Black is the most unique. Between the petitgrain and pepper, it immediately reveals its spiciness and offers a somewhat woody opening. Additionally, the grapefruit may have a citrus character but its quite bitter, which only adds to the elements of spice.
- Red: Patchouli, Teak Wood, Rose
- Blue: Calone, Orange Blossom, Rosewood
- Black: Cypress, Saffron, Elemi, Rose
- Silver: Cardamon, Calone, Wisteria
Desire Red’s heart begins to really tout its bubblegum sweetness but still shows some restraint. Overall, its quite earthy at this stage thanks to the patchouli while the teak and rose provide the sweet accord that surprisingly isn’t overly floral.
Blue, quite literally on the other hand, has revealed its oceanic character with an unapologetic burst of calone. Fortunately, this is curbed slightly thanks to the orange blossom and rosewood, which some substance to the fatty aldehyde aquatic compound.
As for Black, its showing a far more interesting development at this stage. While the spiciness of the head has faded, it is beginning to reveal a powdery profile, which is expressed with an evergreen Chypre scent, dry saffron, resinous elemi, and oily rose.
Meanwhile, Silver is a little lacklustre compared to its peers. However, it’s not without merit. Like Blue, it has a Calone character yet it’s far more restrained. Thanks to a hint of cardamon, it offers a touch of spice while the wisteria produces a refreshingly floral property.
- Red: Vanilla, Agarwood, Labdanum
- Blue: Tonka Bean, Ambergris, Benzoin
- Black: Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedar, Frankincense
- Silver: Birch, Vetiver, Ambergris
Once into the base, Desire Red continues with its bubblegum sweetness, which persists well into the skin scent. However, it has developed a muskiness brought on by the presence of labdanum and just a dash of agarwood. This is significantly softened by a pinch of vanilla that further contributes to the sweetness.
Blue Desire continues on its oceanic theme and the calone continues to follow into the base. Although some tonka bean and benzoin seek to add a gourmand flavour to this bouquet, it is mostly drowned out by the ambergris that only adds to the aquatic profile.
As for black, it has beautifully descended into a warm, balsamic assortment of spice and wood. Although subtle and quickly close to a skin scent, the cedar is crisp while the Frankincense has a fruity property that adds to the patchouli and vetiver’s earthiness.
Finally, Silver is very mild compared to the other flankers. While the ambergris bring forward the refreshing sea-breeze notes with a hint of musk, the birch is very underplayed and the vetiver just about adds some character to this subtle fragrance.
That said, Silver does produce a pleasant skin-scent over time that is reminiscent of cucumber, moisturiser, and even sun cream.
Dunhill Desire’s Life-Cycle, Wake & Strength
The above fragrances all more-or-less followed a classic dry-down that you can expect from relatively common fragrances. While the Red, Blue, and Silver were pretty unremarkable, the Black was actually quite surprising.
For instance, the head-to-heart transition is unpredictable and exciting. Similarly, it beautifully evolved into its rich resinous base and eventually a skin scent with elegance and pace.
However, each of the fragrances were somewhat let down by a lower-than-average performance. While Desire Black was undoubtedly the strongest, it wasn’t by much. Meanwhile, Silver was very quick to fall into a skin scent and both the Blue and Red only lasted a few hours.
As for the respective projection and sillage, they were quite typical of value fragrances. While far from overwhelming, they aren’t too weak and can produce a nice trail or scent bubble for the wearer. Nevertheless, frequent reapplication is recommended throughout the day.
What People Think Of Dunhill Desire?
First of all, we’re looking at four very distinct fragrances with their own unique identities. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that they can be considered affordable fragrances and sometimes that is reflected in the overall experience.
For instance, both Desire Red and Blue may come across as somewhat cheap. In some circles, this isn’t ideal. However, you can wear it to your advantage.
Red and Blue did indeed fare best with younger people. While Red was more popular with women, Blue was actually enjoyed more by younger men. In both cases, people did remark that it would have been hugely success twenty or thirty years ago but seemed a little dated today.
Meanwhile, Black is a significantly more mature fragrance and this reflected in the feedback we received. Black was a far more popular fragrance for older men than any of the others and we had comments on how it was reminiscent of an old-school power frag.
That said, some were concerned that it was a little too musty.
Finally, Desire Silver is so mild and inoffensive that nobody disliked it. However, they weren’t enamoured by it either. Nevertheless, its clean and soapy character was appreciated by people who thought it would be good for the gym or office.
When To Wear Dunhill Desire
Another advantage to the variety of flankers and their very different compositions is that they can be easily used for different situations. As mentioned earlier, both Blue and Red are excellent for younger wearers.
While they’re also both quite casual, they contrast each other enough to be used in different situations. For instance, Desire Red is an excellent nighttime winter fragrance and would be a great option for clubbing.
Meanwhile, Dunhill Desire Blue is more of a summer daytime fragrance. Therefore, it can be worn to class, university, to the gym, or even during a day out on the beach.
However, Desire Black is another beast altogether. Instead, it’s more suited to more mature professional men. Both Black and Silver are more professional too and we’d argue that they’re the best choices of the four to wear to the office.
Again, Black is a winter option but it can be worn all day. It also has a stronger sense of masculinity and is does demand respect. Meanwhile, Silver is more subtle and is better worn in the summer.
As it’s more moderate and mild, it would probably be a solid option to wear at junior positions or if sharing an open space office.
Presentation and Value For Money
We’re big fans of the Dunhill Desire flacon. Like with Icon, Desire seeks to capture Dunhill’s motoring accessory heritage by creating a geometric design that’s evocative of a hip flask. As a result, it fits nicely in the palm of the hand and the cap is fixed to the bottle thanks to a hinge.
Interestingly, and this is just an observation, each of the caps have a knurled finish except for Desire Blue. For some reason, it’s very slightly different. Similarly, it also features the name down the side while all the others are blank.
Furthermore, the atomiser works very well. While a little thick on occasion, it does produce an unctuous and generous cloud, which allows for a thorough application.
Similarly, the packaging is stylish yet understated in a way that is common with Dunhill. Despite being a budget choice, it still retains a sense of elegance.
Finally, the value for money is nothing short of excellent in each case. While it’s hard to find the RRP now that they’ve been out for a while, prices seemed to be around $45 at its most expensive.
Admittedly, Dunhill Desire’s flankers won’t be for everyone. At their worst, they’re dated and can smell a little cheap. However, if you’re willing to look past that, you’ll quickly realise that they each have their own qualities that are well worth considering.
Desire Black is easily the superior fragrance of the four and scored the highest when we ran it through BUFF. For the price, it offers a rich and lavish gourmand experience with a variety of spices and resinous woods.
However, Red, Blue, and Silver are also quite interesting in their own way. Whether it’s something for going out, wearing to school or the gym or even the office, they do have certain elements in their character that might be just right for your needs.
Now that you have read our detailed review of Dunhill Desire, why don’t you check out some of our related content?
- All Dunhill Fragrance Reviews
- Best Fragrances For Every Occasion
- How To Apply Fragrances
- History Of Men’s Fragrances
- Fragrance Homepage
"While Black may be the superior fragrance more suitable to mature fragrance enthusiasts, Red, Blue, and Silver each offer something different according to your tastes and requirements."