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Friday, January 04, 2008

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.


Blogger elle said...

I had assumed the rose scent would be my hands down favorite. How could it miss w/ "fiery pimento" in the description? Can I just say that the very first thought that entered my mind when I sampled it was "Lying SOBS." Yes, I'm bitter. :-) However, I was shocked to find I loved the tuberose. I actually think it's my favorite. You're so right - it's wonderfully multifaceted. But think I can survive w/ a decant. I need to continue sampling No. 8. I'm not a huge violet fan, so perhaps that's why I'm missing the magic. However, give me a few more times of sampling it and I may be pawning my wedding ring in order to buy it.

9:51 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I might need to pawn mine too, for Violet. In fact, I'll have to pawn all of them, one won't be enough :-) I don't know what I'd need to pawn though if I decide I need Tuberose too. A kindey? :-)

9:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oy Vey that's a rough price point...

10:26 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You had me right up until you said the words skin and scent consecutively. Is this only after a while or is it always a skin-scent? Id prefer killer sillage that asphyxiated people, but thats just me for ya.

Ill have to try it anyway. (The Iris/Violet one) But only if its the one in the blue bottle...

I'm on the fence with a lot of things - but I doubt I could bring myself to own the yellow or pink bottles. They're everything I hate in life. But I do love cobalt - anything cobalt.

It would also have to favor the Iris on my skin instead of violet.

11:37 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at those prices it's merely academic whether I like these or not, but the tuberose one sounds promising. I am not the White Flower Queen for nothing!

1:17 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

But what perfume lover doesn't crave a bit of rough now and then. OK, that did NOT come out well :-)

6:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Mark David,
It's a skin scent only in the end, all three are surprisingly strong, but if you want to kill people with your sillage, I highly recommend the Rose :-) Despite the blood-colored bottle.

6:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Academically speaking, I believe a White Floral Queen would like the Tuberose, maybe even love.

6:46 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Lordy, Marinochka.

[From "The Prairie Home Companion":

"I will pawn you my gold watch and chain, love...
I will pawn you my gold wedding ring;
I will pawn you this heart in my bosom-"]

My, my.

7:40 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

I smelled these VERY briefly after seeing you (they said they didn't have samples). Like you, I didn't think much of the rose. I really liked the tuberose and I was impressed with the violet. How much? I don't know; I was too tired and hurried. I'm thinking decants, but. . . I need to smell them again. They should have samples!!

8:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn I thought I was safe from these! The rose one never appealed but I was covertly interested in the tuberose and iris/violet ones. Now you go talking of Chanel 19+ and a creamy iris/violet skin scent. Huh. Well I've heard the bottles are vulgar but at that price it's just as well there's something to take the edge off.

8:54 AM EST  
Blogger priscilla said...

Well, since I have Dior on my "to do" list this year, I should probably work to scavenge samples of these...Nos. 8 and 9 do sound intriguing. Poor No. 4. I'll stick with Stella, it sounds like.

9:06 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd pawn those too. :-)

9:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

They are too excluisve fopr samples, I bet, and too lazy to decant a vial :-)

9:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

In perfume world, one is never safe. Constant vigilance against the dark forces of lemming!

9:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd stick with Stella, but, as you like Stella, I would still give No 4 a try, just in case.

9:16 AM EST  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Ugh - so expensive!! I so much appreciate you hounding Dior Columbina. Someone has to do it. :-) Thank you for shedding light on these. I'll start saving my pennies for the third one. Have a great day!

10:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I've been hunting the perfect tuberose, & as I needed cheering last month as I was running back & forth to hospital visits, AND as Dior boutique was on my way home, I tried No9. It's lovely. Even my usually floral hating bf agreed it was lovely. And my usually floral spurning friend S thought so too. Lovely, but not swoon inducing or chills giving. It didn't make me bury my nose in my wrist or look up the notes to read them over & over. In the end we all agreed it wasn't worth $500, no perfume is, at least not to us - a decision made easier by the lovely but no swooning assessment.

11:18 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Why can't I get excited about these? I'm not even interested in trying them. I'll hold out for Chapter 2 in your relationship with Dior!!!

11:59 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Hmmm.......I think that it sounds like #8 is something that I might sell my first born for :),I'm a total pushover for the violet/iris accords. 320 euros though? It would have to be nothing short of completely orgasmic!I loved reading your review though Marina, there hasn't been much from Dior that I've liked in awhile and you really wet my appetite with your words!

1:30 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You are welcome :-) My pleasure! :-)

9:27 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

not swoon inducing or chills giving - exactly!

9:28 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Chapter 2? Dior-Dior for $2000? :-)

9:28 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It's beautiful, but I wouldn't call it exactly orgasmic. :-(

9:30 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Ok, then I'll hold out for Chapter 3, in which you negotiate reasonable prices, LOL...

1:35 PM EST  

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