Battle of the Irises: Dior Homme Intense or Valentino Uomo Intense?

Two similar scents, competing against each other.

Dior Homme Intense, attributed to chief in-house perfumer Francois Demachy, was launched in 2011 as a flanker to the original Homme EDT when it was reformulated. The idea behind the new DHI was to emulate what the original formula smelled like.
In 2016, Valentino launched Uomo Intense; created by Sophie Labbe, with a flamboyant black studded bottle. Contained inside was a juice that smelled remarkably similar to Dior Homme Intense.

For buyers in the market for an iris-backed, smooth masculine scent, this presents a dilemma. Here we have two markedly similar scents, which retail at a similar price point. Which one do you buy?

In order to crack the case, I decided to wear both side by side several times and compare the two. I wore the 2011 formulation of Dior Homme Intense and a 2017 formulation of Valentino.

Note: I am told that Dior Homme Intense may have been reformulated this year, and Valentino Uomo Intense has now been discontinued. However, it is still reasonably easy to get your hands on a bottle of either scent.

Comparing Scent Nuances

When looking at the note pyramids of the two fragrances, you’ll notice that the Dior scent has a markedly more complex list compared to the Valentino which is quite simple at just six accords.

* Note: From now on I’ll refer to the Dior scent as DHI and Valentino as VUI.

The power is similar in both during the opening, however VUI has a sharper character. This could be from the inclusion of mandarin in the top notes.
A difference becomes immediately apparent in the drydown. In the heart, I find DHI to be more subtle in character with the smooth butteriness of the iris taking centre stage. VUI, on the other hand, is much brighter and louder in its presence and the iris is more of a backbone than a star. It’s sweeter as well, from the inclusion of tonka bean. I think this makes it a tad unbalanced, especially compared to its competitor – DHI is blended better, in my opinion.
The base notes present some more subtle nuances, and while at a glance they smell similar, the accords that make up the characteristics are different. DHI has a base of vetiver and cedar, while VUI has a leather and vanilla base. In both cases, you can identify the two accords in the scents by giving it a good sniff after around eight hours. When you smell them side by side, the leather note in VUI is quite distinct in identifying it from DHI.

One difference I also noted in the overall compositions of both was that VUI had a more synthetic character than DHI. This wasn’t a major synthetic character like you’d find in Montale/Mancera scents, but there was a trace of the chemical vibe in VUI. This made me lean towards liking DHI slightly more.


In this department, both scents are fairly balanced in comparison to each other.
While VUI projects much more loudly than DHI, I found that I get a couple of extra hours in longevity from DHI.

In this sense, make your choice depending on what suits you best. For a bolder approach, VUI is the choice. For a more subtle, sophisticated longevity, DHI is the one to pick.


The presentation is the one facet in which these two scents wildly differ. I think that each scent’s bottle design manages to sum up the differences in their characters.

VUI is the louder, more flamboyant scent, and its bottle is a reflection of that character. DHI is more subtle and sophisticated, and its bottle is also a reflection of its character.

So which one’s for you?

Choosing between these two has a couple of factors to consider.
First is price and availability. Price-wise, they occupy fairly similar ranges with 100mL of DHI retailing at $160AUD, and VUI at $175AUD (both from Myer).
VUI is apparently discontinued, so it might be more troublesome and expensive to get hold of over time. This may be different in other countries.
Second, is your own character and what you want to represent of it through fragrance.
Are you more loud and visible, or the cool, calm and collected type?
You can choose accordingly.

Can’t choose, or prefer something else? You could try Prada L’Homme Intense as well.

Personally, of the two, DHI is it for me. I like it for its prominent use of the iris accord and the butteriness of it, with the subtlety of it also gaining my favour.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

2 thoughts on “Battle of the Irises: Dior Homme Intense or Valentino Uomo Intense?

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