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Patchouli Impérial – dirty and refined and patrician - June 13, 2016

Dior Patchouli Impériale -

Sometimes I have to learn the things the hard way. When I first I discovered Eau Noire by Dior my perfume world was never the same. It’s sweet darkness was a revelation for me and I bought a big bottle. Part of the prestigious La Collection Privée line, which included Bois D `Argent and Cologne Blanche, I thought they’d all be around for a while,  so I took my sweet time getting back to Bois D `Argent and Cologne Blanche. Big mistake. Fast forward and soon they were hard to find, really, really hard to find and then Cologne Blanche just disappeared.

That’s why to this day, I keep a hawk eye on Dior and it’s paid off big time. In fact, that’s how I discovered Patchouli Impérial. Part of the expanded La Collection Privée Christian Dior, Patchouli Impérial is that rare thing – a refined elegant patchouli scent.

Patchouli is a fickle note. On some skin it just doesn’t last or it lasts too long or just doesn’t work. Then there are the ‘hippie’ associations that put some people off. I totally get that, but I’m totally over it. The patchouli in Patchouli Impérial isn’t wrangled so much as it is polished. At first I thought I smelled wizardry, but it’s really the skilled work of perfumer François Demachy.

Born in Cannes in 1949, Demarchy was raised in Grasse and attended the Ecole de Parfumerie de la Société Charabot. After he graduated, he was recruited by Chanel where he worked for nearly thirty years before becoming Director of Olfactory Development at LVMH in 2006, where oversees brands like Guerlain, Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy, Acqua di Parma, Pucci and Fendi.  He is also Perfumer-Creator, Parfums Christian Dior creating many fragrances for the line, including some of my favourites: Mitzah, New Look 1947 and Christian Dior Vetiver.

Researching Demarchy, I found this great quote in an interview he did with Paris Match:
Q: The art of seduction, it is essential to a perfumer-creator?
A: Art? No. Let's talk about craft. Seduction? Yes absolutely. No desire, no fragrance.

Well, I sure desire Patchouli Impérial.

On me, it opens with a note of earthy, herbal and camphourous patchouli along with zesty, bitter bergamot and sweetened with mandarin orange. Soon a peppery piquancy coriander comes forward, sharpened with the bergamot and orange. After a few moments, the coriander gets woody, resinous and I smell its characteristic clay-like facet. And then, the patchouli swells up, heady and narcotic – a quality that I cannot get enough of. But here’s the interesting part: the harshness is smoothed. It’s not less dirty or less pungent or softer, just more refined. The sandalwood at the base is creamy, sweet and warm – the perfect support for the patchouli.

The drydown is a rich, warm patchouli that is animalic yet with an elegance that makes it patrician.

I love wearing and smelling Patchouli Impérial on a man or a woman and because it is so elegant it can be worn any time of year.

Gee, this learning thing really pays off…

Patchouli Impérial is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.