Unkempt – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Granville

If you are looking for an unusual summer scent, a cologne type fragrance that is not the onehundredandeleventh rendering of citrus-lavender-musk, look no further.

The Positive:  Granville is fresh, green, unusual, well-made, aromatic, spicy and lasts not at all badly for an EdT.

The Negative: you’ll have to be in Paris, London or New York (okay, a few other capitals of the world as well, but don’t be so OCD) to get it and you’ll have to invest a considerable sum in a big bottle (available bottles are 125 ml, 225 ml and 450 ml).

Granville is part of the exclusive La Collection Privée (previously known as La Collection Couturier), created by Dior in-house nose François Demachy and includes notes of mandarin, lemon, thyme, rosemary, pine needles, black pepper, sandalwood and gorse.

Granville smells different and unexpected for something that is meant for women. It is clearly a masculine-leaning unisex scent in my opinion, but several sources, including Dior themselves say it is a feminine perfume.

The name and the fragrance are inspired by Christian Dior’s childhood home, an estate in Normandy in a town called Granville. François Demachy says:

“I not only wanted an aromatic fragrance, as the estate has an abundance of pine trees, but also one that is exceptionally invigorating and extremely fresh. The gusts of wind, the waves that are constantly breaking against the rocks… Nature, in Granville, is anything but serene. This fragrance is like the wind that blows through Granville.”

-from the Dior website

Granville does smell like raw nature. It smells windswept, aromatic, herbal and fresh, it smells of pine trees and grassy meadows, it smells of wood and earth. After a too short (I’d love this lovely top to stay longer), almost harsh opening of citrus notes that sparkle with life and good spirits, one after another the spices and herbs kick in, producing a complex aromatic accord that tells the tale of windswept fields and sun-dapples forests.

Granville smells dry, rough and keeps up the cool, green herbal complexity until it finally gives in to a resinous and woody base. At first I thought it would be way to masculine, too detached, too cold and aloof for me, but Granville grew on me. Its uncivilized aspect, its rough and uncouth clarity impressed me.

Granville is cooling and calming, despite its wild side and it makes me breathe deeply.

I like that Granville is in sharp contrast to the rest of me. I get strange, but I daresay admiring looks from men and women when wearing it and I have been asked what it is more than once, which doesn’t happen often.

I was not keen on trying the Dior collection when it came out, it somehow bored and probably overwhelmed me, but slowly I come to appreciate the perfumes in the line. Here I want to say a heartfelt “Thank You!” to Tara, a loyal reader and commenter here on OT, who was extremely generous and sent me her minis, so I can test and review them.  Thank you so much!

Image source: eloisehairmakeup.blogspot.com, Fred Varley Stormy Weather via binbin.net, postcard of Granville via vintagepostcards.com

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Dior, Dior La Collection Privée, Fragrance Reviews, Green and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Unkempt – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Granville

  1. Tara says:

    What a lovely thank-you! *blushes*

    I didn’t think I would like Granville much because I usually find pine notes in perfume rather harsh and off-putting. However there’s a lot more to it and though I don’t feel the need to own a full bottle, I do think it’s very well done. Your image of the pine tree on the windswept coastline sums it up perfectly.

  2. Georgy says:

    Actually I think that amicis for men @ stubenring are selling these scents in vienna, or at least used to…..

    • Olfactoria says:

      Maybe the earlier version of the collection, there were four men’s colognes that have been incorporated in the new La Collection Privėe. Thank you!

    • karin says:

      They’re also available for order on the Dior website. I ordered a sample set of all of these from the Perfumed Court months ago, and still haven’t tried them!!! Need to dig them out!!!

      • Olfactoria says:

        I have been sitting on some samples for a while too, some are still unsniffed. Maybe it is all too much, introducing less perfumes at a time might be better, like Cartier did with Les Heures.

  3. Vanessa says:

    That’s a beautiful review of a perfume that is not in a style I care for particularly. Herbal/piney scents I mean. I did dally briefly with Guerlain Sous Le Vent which was lemony and aromatic, but found it too sharp and granular in the end.

    And for me, Granville’s will forever be the wine bar with live music in a neighbouring town. : – )

    I would like to try this collection though – so far only 1947 New Look (whichever way round that goes) has crossed my path.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh dear, the wine bar association is not a good one to have… Kinda takes the glamour right out of Dior. 😉 You reminded me to take out Sous Le Vent again, I like it a lot, but I find such herbal-piney scents can get too strong easily.

  4. Lucy says:

    I personally am glad that skillful perfumers are starting to use pine and evergreen notes in perfume, and I do love Fille & A — so for me this is intriguing. A little goes a long way but there is nothing that can match the distinctively herbaceous uplift from an evergreen, mixed with that bark scent it always has, it evokes particular landscapes like no other. It’s more than high time to reclaim it from the bad versions we associate with kitschy holiday ornaments and cleaning products.

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are surely right that I have not so perfume-y associations with pine. Cleaning products and bathing foam mostly. As a child we had that horrible Pine Showergel… 😦 But perfumes like Granville are slowly rectifying that.

  5. Liam Moore says:

    The smell of raw nature? Sounds very promising 🙂

  6. deeHowe says:

    I really hate it when my hard-worked-on comment suddenly disappears due to operator error—especially at five o’clock in the morning, when I have no business using words to begin with…


    Anyway, I love evergreen notes! Anne-Marie really loves this fragrance, and it, along with the rest of the line that I have not yet tested, is on my sniff-list 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sorry you lost your comment, I hate that too! Maybe Granville will be great for you to try in Texas, since it reminds me a bit of the PNW coast. A scent to remember Oregon. 🙂

  7. Fernando says:

    It’s a pity Dior doesn’t offer a sampler set of these scents. They are available on the web site, but they’re too expensive to buy unsniffed!

  8. anotherperfumeblog says:

    I passed this by initially, because of the pine, but maybe I will seek it out next time I am in one of those very few places it is sold!

  9. Suzanne says:

    Oh, I like the ruggedly fresh description of this one, Birgit. I bet you do suprise people when you wear it, as it sort of plays against type (its ruggedness vs your femininity) and yet complements it at the same time (I can envision you walking on a windblown heath…your blonde hair blowing in the wind!).

    Went away on a short trip to Montreal this past week, but kept up on your posts via email. Loved your post on Chanel Bel Respiro, too.

    Now need to catch up on everyone else’s blogs. Goodness, June went by fast, didn’t it?

    • Olfactoria says:

      June went by in flash, the whole year did actually… Montreal is a city I really want to visit some time, it must be beautiful. Good to have you back though.

      I like walking over windblown heaths, but always wear my hair up, I hate when it gets all tangled. 😉

  10. Eva says:

    Hm, I’d really like to smell this one. I have a prejudice against pine-scent which goes back to my medical student days- we used to spray a pine-scented airfreshener during “practical” anatomy classes, enough said… Mayby smelling a really good pine-scented perfume would cure it!

  11. JoanElaine says:

    I must add Granville to my list! Pine is one of my favorite notes but it must be well-blended, otherwise it makes a perfume smell like a household cleaning solution.

  12. annemariec says:

    I’m glad you like it. I do too, but because I don’t have much experience with this genre of fragrance, I had wondered if this was a good example of it. It could be just another ho-hum dry herbaceous masculine-leaning thing. But I’m learning to trust my nose and I do think it is very good, and rather lost in that long line-up of other Collection Privees. I love the images you use in your review. I admit that I am strongly attracted by the salty, windswept mental images that are cleverly conjured up by Dior around this fragrance.

    I started with a sample from TPC, and then upgraded to an 8 ml decant. I may have to get more, but 8 mls is a good size for me usually for a fragrance I like very much but don’t love. I cannot IMAGINE getting through even the smallest of the full bottles!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It was your lovely review that sparked my interest in this fragrance! 🙂
      I wouldn’t buy a full bottle either, it is just too large for people like us to ever use it up. I am making some headway on my Mitzah bottle though, I always use a perfume more when I know I have enough. With decants I am very restrictive for fear of running out. 🙂

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  14. Philipp says:

    I wore Granville yesterday and could not wait for the citrus top notes to vanish. Once they were gone I liked the scent a lot more. Sadly it does not last long on my skin, because the main thyme-pine-wood blend is very nice. I guess Lutens’ Fille is still the best pine fragrance currently available.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It reminds me a lot of Chanel Bel Respiro, also when it comes to wear time. 😦 Filles is a league of its own to me. A very different character. While Granville plays out in bright daylight, I can’t help but imagine Filles as a scent of deepest night, sense of doom included. 🙂

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