Perfume Review: Christian Dior La Collection Particuliere Passage No 4, No 8 and No 9
Short background on how La Collection Particuliere came into existence. I have been bothering Dior forever to create for women a line similar to that done by Hedi Slimane for men: classic, in the spirit of Dior, yet with a wonderful, quirky, modern feel. Finally they got tired of my nagging and launched a feminine exclusive trio. But, in revenge for all the nagging and for all the bad things I've said about every and each of their recent mainstream releases, they priced it very, very far out of my price range. Next chapter in my relationship with Dior will feature them re-releasing Diorling, Diorama and Dior-Dior for $2000 a piece... The less me-centered version of events: La Collection Particuliere was launched by John Galiano to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the House.
Passage No 4, described as "a sovereign rose, a fiery pimento, a journey, a garden," was my least favorite. It made me think of Stella spiked with a touch of spice. And a touch of spice is just not enough for my taste. As far as I am concerned, it smelled too conventionally and straightforwardly rosy, and is much too sweet. Lovers of rose soliflores might, however, adore Passage No 4. Whether they would want to shell out €320 for what ostensibly smells like many other -and cheaper- scents on the market, is a different issue. As a side note, Passage No 4 has a tremendous lasting power on my skin. In fact, it is practically indestructible
With Passage No 9, I went from the fairly disappointed "oh, OK, it's tuberose and it's pretty" to the fairly excited "oh, OK, it's not just a pretty tuberose". Described rather obscurely as "a dazzling tuberose, creamy woods, late nights, fireworks," Passage No 9 has, on my skin, a very distinct green-floral, even, dare I say, chypre-esque quality. In fact it smells like Chanel No 19 would if a generous dose of tuberose was added to it, to soften and sweeten its wonderful raw, earthy verdancy. The more I wear Passage No 9, the more facets it reveals, the more I love it. Is it worth €320 to me? Maybe.
I would have never guessed that a scent portrayed as "a velvet violet, a sophisticated iris, a dream, a burst of laughter" will be my favorite in La Collection Particuliere. In fact, after the orris-full 2007, I feel that, if I never get to smell another violet or especially another iris scent, I would be very happy indeed. And yet here I am, nose glued to the wrist anointed with Passage No 8. The scent has the qualities I love the most in violet and iris. The violet smells thick and "buttery" and only a tiny bit powdery (think Bois de Violette rather than Meteorites). The iris, which is less prominent on me than violet, smells raw and silvery (think a hint of Iris Silver Mist), and its ethereal airiness provides a beautiful contrast to the earthly robustness of the violet. The longer the scent stays on my skin, the less of an iris scent it becomes and more of a violet one, which is just fine with me. In the end it smells like a warm, creamy, woody violet, a wonderfully soft and rich skin scent. If I had the €320 to spare, I would have paid it for Passage No 8.
The three La Collection Particuliere perfumes are available in Dior boutiques, €320 for 75ml Miss-Dior-inspired bottles of parfum.