A Good Friend – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Patchouli Impérial

My third Dior La Collection Privée bottle that I unexpectedly encountered at London Heathrow airport and that I gave myself for my birthday, has the pride of the place right now. Flanked by its sisters Mitzah and New Look 1947, it makes for a lovely display on my dresser (at least a temporary one, I’m too afraid of daylight hurting my precious ‘fumes to leave them out for more than a few minutes of unabashed admiring).

Patchouli Impérial was created by Francois Demachy in 2011 and includes notes of Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot, Russian coriander, Indonesian patchouli, cedarwood and sandalwood essence.

Patchouli Impérial opens with a burst of mandarin and bergamot laced with coriander, which can be a bit harsh at times, but the more often I apply it, the less sharp the top notes seem to me. Patchouli Impérial, just as the name suggests, is about patchouli and fills a patchouli shaped hole in my collection, but it is more than a simple “solinote” perfume.

Not too dry, not too sweet, it strikes a wonderful balance. The earthy and chocolate-y, but always transparent and lightweight patchouli sings a lovely tune with coriander and sandalwood, showing off both spicy and creamy aspects.

Over time the perfume sweetens and softens, the slight harshness of the beginning forgotten and replaced by a refined and elegant aroma that is never in your face, but always present.

On me Patchouli Impérial has good longevity and a beautiful sillage.

I find Patchouli Impérial to be very elegant, very lady-like without being overly feminine. It would be as wonderful on a man than on a woman.

I wore it on a few quite hot days and can honestly say that it is great to wear in summer, when I get easily overwhelmed by a perfume (sadly my beloved Beloved is not ideal in the heat of summer, I have found), but I enjoyed Patchouli Impérial because it is present and accounted for, but does not completely take over the show once temperatures rise.

Interestingly, in the course of my latest look at the Dior line, I fell in love with a perfume I had half dismissed earlier (story of my life, I know… 😉 ), Ambre Nuit. I was of the opinion that it is a somewhat half-assed amber, which it is, since it it actually all about dark rose. Since my perspective changed and I see it as a rose perfume, I’m all over it. So it seems I’m not yet done with La Collection Privée…

But back to Patchouli Impérial: I did not read any reviews beforehand, as to not be influenced, but now that I did, it seems opinions differ widely from masterpiece to disappointment. On that continuum, I would like to position my review at “very wearable, very elegant and beautiful perfume that I enjoy, but that doesn’t inspire fits of raving passion”.

I have learned on my fragrant journey so far, that those are the perfumes that get actually worn, those are the scents I go to most often, those are the perfumed equivalents of good friends, because you just can’t do great love and grand passion every day.


About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Dior, Dior La Collection Privée, Fragrance Reviews, Oriental, Patchouli, Rose, Spicy, Woods and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to A Good Friend – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Patchouli Impérial

  1. Olivia says:

    Congratulations on your new bottle, B! It is so satisfying to be able to gaze lovingly at the little displays on the dresser (before frantically squirrelling them away from the light again!) I have troubles with patchouli, so I’m afraid I probably didn’t give this one a fair chance when I had a quick, introductory sniff through the line the other day (I’ll have to rectify that now! And thinking about it, I do love Coromandel, so perhaps all is not lost 🙂 ) I liked Ambre Nuit, although it started feeling a little familiar on drydown – and then I realised it reminds me of Le Labo Rose 31 (which I like but maybe not enough to buy.) Do you get this? They both have that rose-amber-spice thing goin’ on i guess..x

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Olivia! The arranging of the bottles is a very important ritual in a fumie’s life. 😉

      If you love Coromandel all is not lost indeed, the two are close cousins, but the Dior is lighter and more transparent, better for summer I think.

      As for Rose 31: I definitely smell the kinship, but I find the Le Labo more masculine, harsher, drier, not as smooth, which is why the Dior has the edge over Rose 31 for me, although both are really good.

  2. andreawilko says:

    I finally got around to buying a full bottle of the Dior line, I had been toying with the idea for quite a while then a deal came up for New Look which was rude not to accept, that is on it’s way to me now, you know me though, totally unsniffed 🙂
    I have not got a Patchouli void to fill as I don’t like the note very much, your review has me thinking maybe I should give it a chance and sniff this one out, after all I started out not liking amber, rose, cumin, the list goes on. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I hope you let me know how you get on with New Look. Some of the Diors are duds, but I’m extremely happy with the ones I’ve got and wouldn’t want to miss them. I’m looking forward to the new summer release Oud Ispahan, an oritental rose-amber-oud fragrance. This sounds just like my kind of thing…

  3. tara says:

    I know there’s not much to them but I love those Dior Privee bottles. I’m glad you take a little time to admire your three. I will re-try Patchouli Imperial after your endorsement and it’s good to know that initial harshness fades and it gets a bit sweeter. There’s a lot to be said for a perfume that is easy to wear day in and day out and it’s good you can wear it in the summer.

    Quite excited about the sound of Oud Ispahan.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love those bottles too, quiet elegance is always a plus. (Chanel’s are amazing for the same reason.)

      Since you love patchouli normally I was surprised you didn’t like PI, maybe on second sniff. 🙂

      I’m very excited about Oud Ispahan too!!!

  4. I have been awaiting your review of this one since you said that you bought it! Patchouli Imperial is one that I’ve not tried yet, but I like the sound of it being a very wearable patchouli, something that isn’t that easy to come by.

    Plus those bottles are beautiful even by my standards, and I don’t usually do ‘simple’ lol.

  5. Alexandra says:

    The conclusion of your review reminds me of a fascinating programme I watched last year about the difference between great ‘Art’, pieces that hang in Galleries & Museums; and the art that people have on their walls at home. Guernica might be an absorbing and challenging piece of great art that I long visit, but hang it on your bedroom wall and I think it could be over-whelming and disquieting. Similarly in my perfume world Onda needs time, understanding and exploration, but is too distracting to accompany me through my day to day routines. This probably explains why the majority of my collection comes under the heading of ‘snuggly’!

    You have made this one sound absolutely delicious and I imagine the three Dior’s look beautiful together; plus smelling Mitzah the other week with you certainly created a bit of a lemming there too, oh no…

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is my point exactly! The great pieces of art that evoke big reactions are not for everyday. I want my full bottles to be perfumes I can wear whenever I like.

  6. smellythoughts says:

    I’ve been craving patchouli a lot recently. My only patchouli currently is Intrigant Patchouli – which is absolutely outstanding, but not the dank stuffy sort I’m after.
    I will have to check this out, along with the rest of the Dior Privee line which I haven’ yet explored.
    Hopefully I’ll have more luck with these than the Chanel Exclusives which were a bit yack to me.

  7. Jules says:

    This does indeed sound delicious. I’m sooo in need of an easy-wearing “go-to-perfume” right this moment. (And a patch one all the better !) As I always find most difficulty finding “summer-fumes” that I’m actually excited about. (NEVER a problem with my “wintery-balsams”) 😉 …
    And you are so very spot-on with the whole “can’t do great passion every day”. I’m often even astounded that I actually wear my absolute fave fumes so much less than my less than favourites.

  8. Jules says:

    P.S. … Tho’ I must admit I’m unfortunately less than excited for Rose Ispahan. 😦 Even under the great deluge I’ll probably never tire of oud. – BUT a rose/oud combo I’m afraid now just bores me to tears. It would have to be really, REALLY sumthin’ to impress me. (Tho’ that “amber” addition is certainly the right direction for me …. ) 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I can’t get enough of a good rose oud, so I’m curious. Combine it with amber and I’m seriously excited. 😉

      • Jules says:

        If it’s a natural oud/rose combo, then yes I can see the attraction, as they will/do diversify. (Especially with a nice Laos Oud.) 😉 Yum !! … But when it comes to a synthetic combo, unfortunately they just tend to smell too “samey” for me lately. To the point that it’s marring my enjoyment of the accord.

        • Jules says:

          I’m actually much more /intrigued excited for Mona’s “Rose of Amsterdam”. (Which I wouldn’t be surprised it havin a good dollop of oud in the base too probably (??)
          Tho’ this is just plain speculation, as I’ve heard nothing about it’s notes just yet ! But it wouldn’t surprise me if it too were in the direction of a “Europonized” Rose/Oud combo.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Well, we have to wait and see… 🙂

  9. Vanessa says:

    I was also a bit overfaced by the opening to this one, but I seem to remember enjoying the drydown. I gave most of my sample to Donna, my new patchouli-loving fumie friend in Belfast, but have kept a bit back for reference, and must give this another whirl.

  10. Undina says:

    Birgit, what are you doing to me?!! 🙂

    No, I’m not talking about Patchouli Imperial: I like it and will eventually get some (a decant?) to use. But only yesterday (!) I was thinking about which “amber” I should get (first) – Mitzah, Ambre Noire or (from another brand) Ambre Russe since I liked all of them. I went to read your reviews and after re-reading the one with the cuttest kitten (meh) sighed with a relief thinking that if you, the Amber Queen, didn’t like Ambre Noire much, I could definitely rely upon your judgement… And here it goes – the very next day you announce you’ve changed your mind! And I’m back to my doubts 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      So sorry! I don’t recommend Ambre Nuit if it is an amber you are after (go with Mitzah!!!), but as a rose fragrance Ambre Nuit is wonderful. My new review is upcoming soon! (and there is a cat in it too!) 😉

  11. Scenterelle says:

    I was sooo relieved to find a review on this. Thank you, thank you!!

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