Blog post by Gwen

Patchouli Impérial – dirty and refined and patrician

Dior Patchouli Impériale -

Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. When I first discovered Eau Noire, Part of Dior's prestigious La Collection Privée line, my perfume world was never the same. Its sweet darkness was a revelation, and I bought a big bottle. Cologne Blanche was part of the line as well, and I coveted a bottle of it, but I thought it’d be around for a while, so I took my sweet time getting back to it—big mistake. Fast forward, and soon it was hard to find, really, really hard to find and then Cologne Blanche just disappeared.

But I kept my eye on Dior, and it paid off big time when I found 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, lasts too long, or doesn’t work. Then there are the ‘hippie’ associations that put some people off. I 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 was 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 he 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.

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 sweetened with juicy mandarin orange. They’re joined by coriander. At first, its peppery piquancy is sharpened with the bergamot and orange. But as it settles, the coriander gets woody and resinous and calls forward a note of patchouli that’s heady and narcotic. But here’s the exciting part: the harshness is smoothed. It’s not less dirty, pungent, or softer, just more refined and mesmerizing. 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, and its elegance means it can be worn any time of year.

Gee, this learning thing can really pay off…

Check out Patchouli Impérial in our Shop.