I’ve wanted to sniff Le Lion de Chanel for a while now. Obviously, the name appealed to me, and I have always been fond of most of the Chanel Exclusif collections. I always fantasize about making it my ‘signature’ scent, as it would be so fitting, title-wise. And upon first blast, I had one instant reaction: it smells very Chanel.
Meaning: it’s refined, it’s couture, it matches everything the house represents. It’s an amber scent, and it does so beautifully. I imagine wearing this scent with pearls, I imagine wearing it with tweed. It would not feel out of place wearing it with head to toe Chanel things. It’s a sweet elegant amber, with added notes of leather, and incense. It’s strong but not cloying, it has its presence felt for sure but never overstays its welcome. It’s rich but never overpowers. The aldehydes are abundant, just like a Chanel scent would, but it never feels synthetic. It smells expensive.
If I had smelled this ten years ago I would have grabbed it instantly. Nowadays, I am more cautious with warm scents. But I don’t know if I can resist this.
I really do like Chanel’s Les Eaux collection, which is a set of olfactory experience from Coco Chanel’s life travels. I think they are perfect if you want ‘lighter’ scents, and when I am in the mood for. something like that (though not always) it is a great luxurious way to mist yourself. I recently got a sample of Paris-Edimbourg and on a perfect summer day it’s a fresh scent that’s interesting and not run of the mill.
Paris-Edimbourg is the route Chanel used to take when she was with the Duke of Westminster and is a rugged castle in Scotland. The scent translates to some fresh resinous notes – icy juniper and cypress. It smells of wet green forest. And there is a whole underlying tone of frankincense. I always associate incense with dark and warm notes but here the effect when mixed with the greens is…clean. It feels like a fresh shower and is perfect after such. It’s herbaceous but clean and powdery. It is a very unique take on the ‘fresh’ scent, something I normally get bored with.
It’s light, though. I think I have ot probably refresh it a couple of times a day if I want to wear it like I wear my scents. But… I like.
There I was a time I was obsessing over Chanel’s Les Exclusifs Collection, and some of them interested me more than others. I do have samples of most of them, and I found them the other day so I am re-testing.
28 La Pausa is named after Coco Chanel’s French Riviera Estate. She spent her vacations there, and the grounds were full of iris flowers. So yes, this is an iris-centric perfume. It is not the rooty or paper-y kind, though. This is a very refined iris, reminiscent of the flower on a summer’s day – it is bright and cheery, more natural but not earthy. You can tell its ingredients are tops, and it smells ‘expensive,’ if there is such a thing.
It’s also kind of boring, and no wonder it did not make an impression on me then as full bottle worthy. Add to that, it’s very faint. I almost finished my generous sample and an hour later, I can barely smell it. I get a whiff every now and then, but perfume wise, I like to smell what I am wearing.
31 Rue Cambon is the boutique where Coco Chanel started the House of Chanel, and to this day her legacy stands there. So of course the perfume that would be named for that address has to be grand. And yes, 31 Rue Cambon is. When someone says a perfume smells French, this is what I envision that perfume to smell. It is a modern chypre, without the oakmoss, but you do not miss it. Jacques Polge, who signs this perfume, has crafted a modern perfume that feels and more importantly, smells like a classic.
It starts with a floral bouquet of iris, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, and is fuzzed out by Chanel’s trademark aldehydes. It smells very Chanel, and at times, I feel like I am sniffing Chanel no 5. In my younger years, I probably would have called this very ‘old lady’ like, but now that I am older, I cherish it because it smells like a perfume you would wear when you want to wear perfume. It is a little ‘formal,’ I think, and I don’t know if it fits me wearing it while I buy groceries at Trader Joe. But with a nice cashmere sweater, this more than fits.
Someone once told me he didn’t like Chanel fragrances because they all smell the same. I thought about that remark and say, well, I think that’s the same reason why I love them. You know exactly what you are going to get with a Chanel fragrance – something elegant, something tender, something that is classy, and you can wear today and will probably still be relevant ten or twenty or a hundred years from now. Chanel ‘1932,’ is exactly that fragrance. This is part of their Les Exclusifs Collection, and is named for the first year they started offering fine jewelry. The fragrance is inspired by diamonds and comets.
1932 is a soft scent – its notes say white jasmine – and this is a very clean jasmine (nothing indolic here) It is mixed with rose petals, but it is not jammy or sweet. There is a lot of their trademark aldehydes here, and the overall effect is something that smells like one of their makeups. It is certainly pretty.
It’s also kind of boring, and I don’t know if I really need it on my wardrobe. And yes, I probably have something very similar to it already. But this sample is nice to wear and I shall enjoy it.
I have had Chanel Gabrielle since before it was launched. I was offered it before it was available to the public, and of course, I took the chance for an ‘exclusive.’ But sadly, it did nto excite me. The SA at my Chanel store was raving about it, and telling me this is going to be the No. 5 for the next generation (‘Millennialls love it,’ she says) but for me it felt ordinary, so I just kept quiet.
Fast forward to now. For some reason, this was one of the bottles I took with me when I moved, and I have been wearing it a lot. I don’t dislike it, for sure, but I just feel like I wear it as some kind of of obligation. It’s a pleasant office scent, and idea-wise, I love the floral bouquet of jasmine, ylang ylang, tuberose and orange blossoms. But my problem with this is that it feels so synthetic, and so familiar. It doesn’t feel like a Chanel – I keep on wanting to put some aldehydes in there. (For some strange reason it reminds me of YSL Baby Doll, which I used to wear a lot int he 90s – maybe that’s why it smells familiar) I get compliments on it from people at the office, and I take them, but it lacks the one thing I look for in my scents – an emotional connection. I don’t crave this, and that just makes me sad.
I have had a weird relationship with Chanel Boy, the 2016 addition from the Les Exclusifs collection. I was so excited when it first came out in Europe, and I pestered my ‘girl’ at the Chanel store, telling her to contact me as soon as it was available locally. I couldn’t wait to try it – mainly because of the story behind the release. The perfume is named after Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel, who is said to be the one true love of Coco Chanel. The hopeless romantic in me relished that.
Signed by Olivier Polge, this is his second creation for the Les Exclusifs line, after last year’s Misia (which, come to think of it, I have to write about) When I trekked to the store, it was a hot day, and when I sampled Boy, I was impressed, but ambivalent. It is most definitely and unmistakably Chanel, I thought, and while I liked it, I found it derivative of some of their other releases – I thought it was very similar to Misia. My mistake was I didn’t ask for a sample. I think that day I suffered from parfum fatigue, when you try so many perfumes in a day and Boy suffered because I sniffed i late in the day.
Recently, I was back at the store, and tried Boy again. And this time asked for a sample. I liked this better same time around – I like the rose and geranium combo, I like the lavender in it. Polge calls this a barbershop scent, but it is so classy ans refined I can imagine an all-glass shop. Boy is a perfect example of what I call a soft masculine, where in theory this is a masculine scent but the touch is so light that it reads feminine. I found a lot of depth here – there is soft sandalwood int he base, and the aldehydes make it smell classic while at the same time this is a very modern perfume. Add this to my Santa list pronto!
I never ever venture to the male perfume section at department stores. The choices there are so dire – almost nothing interests me, as all the scents there follow the same formula: that boring aquatic accord of some citrus, some woods, some clean musk, some vanilla. Maybe the citrus varies, maybe the variant of woods vary, maybe some musk is more clean than the other, but essentially, they sell one perfume. I always wonder, what is the allure?
Chanel Allure Homme Sport fits that mode perfectly, and it has been here since 2008 so it must be selling. As a matter of fact, it is the single most popular scent when it comes to department store samples – I have tons of them. Even if I don’t own a bottle (and probably never will) I have enough samples to last me for a long while. It’s a Chanel so the raw materials are a little better than others, though I never really did any kind of comparison. I haven’t had any reason to write about this scent. I wouldn’t know what to say about it – it is what it is.
Until now. The other day, I had the most handsome Uber driver. It was in the morning, and I was on my way to work. He was dressed well. I complimented him and he even jokingly said, “Yes I dress for all my passengers” (He’s a keeper) And then I started to smell his cologne – the top grapefruit-y notes of Chanel Allure Homme Sport. An dthen all of a sudden it hit me – combined with his skin chemistry and teh sparkle in his eye, his cologne made him even more attractive. And he smelled divine – like a man. I have always been a proponent that scents have no gender, but on him this made him the manliest of all man. And I finally get it – it’s not the perfume that makes a man, it’s the other way around. Chanel Allure Homme Sport just gave me a wonderful moment, and a sexy memory. I may just buy a bottle now.
Today will be a long day for me – a full day at work, and then flying to Los Angeles after. It’s a short flight, but God knows where I will end up later. Whenever I have these kinds of days, I always want to wear scent that is tenacious – one that will stay with me till the wee hours of the morning. (I am almost positive I will go out after landing at LAX) Last week it was Dior’s Oud Ispahan, and it got me through a similar day. Today I wore Chanel Coromandel – I wanted something strong, but also versatile – something that will withstand weather changes, bar hopping, and an after-midnight food trip. Coromandel is kinda rough – a big blast of patchouli and woods. But it is also pretty – amber, benzoin, vanilla. And since this is Chanel, it has the sheen of aldehydes. It’s unique, but has an oriental feel that’s familiar. I can imagine it on Coco Chanel, with her pearls and pearl buttons. I can also imagine it on a French businessman, with his blue shirt and navy tie. Whenever I wear it, I find something new to smell about it – as I sprayed this morning, I think I never noticed how pine-y it is in the beginning. Now, about two hours after, my arm smells mineral-ly – I sense a little bit of dirt in the patchouli. It is a perfume that evolves as you wear it, and I look forward to what it will smell on me after a couple of Gooseberry drinks tonight.
Yesterday was one of those “just staying at home and relax” days for me, and that is when I grab samples from my ever-growing samples box. I always say I do this because I can concentrate on smelling the new-to-me scents. But really, I try not to use my samples (unless I am traveling) because a lot of times I fall in love with a fragrance and would want to get a full bottle right away. Chanel’s Gardenia called out to me yesterday, and this, of course, is the ‘modern’ version, the one on the Les Exclusifs line. And of course, it called to me because I was wearing Annick Goutal’s Un Matin du Orange the day before,and was on an orange blossom kick. Chanel Gardenia obviously does not have a gardenia note in it : it is a bouquet of jasmine, orange blossom, and tuberose, a blossoming white floral. But this version is slightly watered, slightly aquatic, and though it advertises as having some musk, I don’t get it. It’s nice and fine, but that’s about what it is: nice and fine. It’s nice and easy to wear, but it did not challenge me, it did not want me to reach for it. It’s inoffensive, and I would imagine it is perfect as an office scent: the sillage is not obtrusive, and it smells “classy” enough for someone past the age of 25. Crisis averted, I say. If I saw a cheap bottle, i would probably get it, but otherwise, I have other Chanel wants (La Pausa or Jersey, for example) on my list.