There’s no getting around it… this is one of the best patchoulis I’ve tried. Immediately upon application I get the rich, broad-spectrum Indonesian patchouli – I believe it’s already supported by the base’s sandalwood: It is an excellent, strongly wooded patchouli fragrance. There is also an amber with the patchouli, which gives an almost gourmand lusciousness to the visceral stripped-earthiness of the patchouli and the smooth richness of the sandalwood.
Patchouli Imperial has good sillage and excellent longevity, and I would say it’s likely the easiest patchouli to wear of all the patchoulis I’ve tested. For both patchouli lovers and patchouli middle-grounders, this is a dream fragrance.
My last foray into the Dior Privee line, the others being Cologne Royale, Granville, Vetiver, and Ambre Nuit.
Patchouli Imperial opens with a very strong Patchouli note that is perhaps the driest I've ever encountered. The Patchouli is very natural and it's dryness is balanced out by an equally natural cream note.
As time goes on, the cream subsides and the dry Patchouli begins mixing with something that reminds me of freshly tilled soil... earthy and thick.
Sweet wood notes emerge eventually, and they would have smelled just as natural as the others if they had been as consistently dry, but the attempt at balancing makes their unnatural sweetness all the more noticeable.
Luckily the sweetness disappears, along with most of the Patchouli, and all that is left is a very nice wood scent, which reminds me of the way my mother's 110 year old dining room set (table, chairs, china cabinet) smell.
While Patchouli Imperial is certainly not my type of fragrance, like all the others in the Privee line it is a work of art, the quality of which I can appreciate.
As for wearability, I don't think I'd be able to go outside the house with this one, but I can see it being a favorite for many on this site for it's strength and quality construction.
For those reasons, I give it a Neutral.
This opens with a really loud in your face Patchouli mixed in with coriander and woods. There is also a hint of citrus and florals making the patchouli smell creamy.
As the scent dries down it becomes more woody with a slight amber sweetness. Though the patchouli stays linear throughout.
Spices, pungent subtle fruit accents, soft and mellow ambery/aromatic woody base. Kind of Coca Cola vibe – the same I get in quite many Oriental spiced/resinous scents, Lutens' Arabie for instance. Smoked caramel vibe. Once the sticky opening dries down you can feel better the earthy dusty side of patchouli, still keeping it slightly resinous and fruity. Although it is well composed and overall nice, to me there is quite many better patchouli scents around (I rather prefer rawer, simpler ones).
Dense patchouli sitting on a proper chypre structure. The top is a fusty but aromatic mix of lavender and bergamot over that omnipresent patchouli. The patchouli itself isn't green and grassy like some, or "purple" and fruity like others - instead, it's earthy and mossy, which is in turn exaggerated by the dirty aspects of the lavender. This stage is fine, but not really my cup of tea (it reminds me of a more refined Sagamore, a scent which I seem to be the only snob to dislike).
The real fireworks are in the base, once that fusty bergamot and loud lavender fade away, leaving the patchouli to meld with the galbanum and moss of the chypre basenotes, while a subtle sandalwood fills in the cracks. This is where Patchouli Impérial really sings.
All in all, a hearty thumbs up for the base and a tepid thumbs up for the topnotes. Honestly, I personally prefer green mossy patchoulis like Moss Breches over this aromatic type, but it's well done.