Archive for the ‘Chanel’ Category

Cristalle Eau Verte Review

May 13, 2009

Cristalle Eau Verte is Chanel’s latest offering, and is a modernized update of the 1974 classic created by Henri Robert. It is designed as a luminously fresh fragrance, and is meant to evoke “the exhilaration of refreshing summer rain at the close of a gorgeous sunny day”. I’m not sure that it smells particularly of rain or summery. Many other reviews have cited that it doesn’t seem at all related to the original fragrance – and I can only agree. The EdT is very mossy. The EdP is thick and heady. Eau Verte is light and breezy.

cristallThe opening is a bright, bitter and sweet Lime, much like Guerlain Homme, with a shot of Anise, which is present for mere seconds and creates a more bitter tone for the duration. Up top is also a high dose of Citronella, which adds to the freshness. It feels incredibly green, and the Lime plays on this.
In my opinion, it is somewhat similar to Chance Eau Fraiche, and is also similar in style to the recent J’Adore L’eau, with it’s combination of creamy Magnolia and citrus notes, and Versace’s Versense, which feels green and has a potent Citronella note too.
The heart hides a light white-floral mixture of Jasmine, which has a little bit of skank, and is hard to smell behind the verdant greenery. There is also some kind of effect that reminds me of the darkness in Gucci by Gucci.
The drydown is a skin-soft, very light and creamy Jasmine, lacking any punch or much of a trail, but it’s very pleasant and it seems like Chanel are onto a winner. The scent is completely genderless, and unless you are put off by floral notes it is completely wearable by a guy.

Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Middle: Magnolia, Neroli
Base: Jasmine, Musky-Iris Accord


Allure Homme Edition Blanche Review

February 28, 2009

Allure Homme Edition Blanche is the newest masculine offering from Chanel. The review also marks the end of the series of Chanel reviews. It’s my favourite “version” of Allure, because it reminds me of other fragrances I like.

editionblancheThe opening is a bright citrus accord – it smells quite high quality, compared to Allure Homme Sport Cologne or Givenchy Play, which have a plastic synthetic feel. Bergamot, Lemon, and Grapefruit, quite sharp and juicy. The Lemon does smell like Lemons, rather than cleaning products. Most recent fresh scents have a citrus note that continues for the duration of the fragrance, and I’m glad to say that it doesn’t last for hours in Edition Blanche.
The heart develops into a green Fig tree and leafy accord, very similar to Dune for men, but Chanel does it better. It feels really “wet”. There is also a similar feel to YSL’s L’homme with it’s softly spiced Pepper-Ginger-Cedar accord. And a slightly powdery, floral feeling note.
Dries down to a sweet Tonka and Vanilla, with a similar woody feel to the original Allure.

Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Middle: White Pepper, Pink Pepper, Ginger, Cedar
Base: Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, White Musks

Allure Homme Sport and Cologne Sport Reviews

February 27, 2009

Allure Homme Sport, released in 2004, was the first flanker to Allure Homme. Chanel must have felt the need to have a fresh aquatic like every other masculine house, I suppose they want cash too!

alllurehommesportA citric (read acidic smelling citrus) blast erupts from the bottle and smells like a mix of everything citrus scented on the planet at once. Like every single citrus oil has been used. It really feels tingly. Still, it smells better than any of the Boss fragrances to me. AHS is also metallic and musky at the beginning.
I’ll be honest and say I never wanted to put it on my skin, I’ve been put off by it on a card too many times. But when I did, I was pleasantly surprised, the softly peppered and earthy Vetiver and Neroli is quite pleasant. There is plenty of Mandarin, too.
The base is a warm Tonka contrasted by a sharp Musk. A similar musk note is used in hundreds of masculine fragrances, it smells acidic, bitter and sour, and the earthy smell from the heart makes way for the Vetiver to turn salty and give a real aquatic feel.

Top: Aldehydes, Mandarin, Orange
Middle: Neroli, Black Pepper, Cedar
Base: Vetiver, Tonka, White Musks, Amber

Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport is a flanker to the flanker, released in 2007. I find it funny when there are flankers of flankers and fragrances become less related to the original and more directed at the lowest common denominator.

alllurehommesportcAs an Eau de Cologne, you don’t expect much strength or tenacity. A soft citrus is about it. With Cologne Sport you get buckets and buckets of sharp Lemons. Like some strange kind of lemon made of plastic, that still smells of lemon. And any lemon scented bathroom cleaner. It doesn’t go anywhere or do anything apart from lemons. Surprisingly long lasting for an EdC – if you want to smell of lemons, buy this. “Awakens and invigorates” says Chanel. “BANG and the dirt is gone!” says Barry Scott of Cillit Bang.

Top: Mandarin, Lemon, Grapefruit, Bergamot
Middle: Elemi, Spicy Note
Base: Cedar, White Musks

Allure Homme Review

February 25, 2009

Allure Homme is the 4th masculine from Chanel. It was launched in 1999, and has since spawned 2 flankers. The fragrance allegedly enhances the natural allure of a man, and has a “great olfactory intensity”. I never really know who Allure is actually for.

allurehommeAllure opens to a bright pepper and fruit note. It doesn’t seem at all citrusy. If the fruit was just a touch louder, it wouldn’t feel at all masculine and would drift right into fruity floral territory. Luckily for Allure, Jacques Polge tempered the fruit with a pink pepper note, the same note that makes YSL Elle smell more masculine and confident.
The heart is warm and soft, with a real blended feel. There is a light, very clean and transparent Jasmine note (bye bye Indole). There is also an aquatic note in the heart. It’s present, but not overpowering. Perhaps it’s meant to represent dew on the flowers. More woody than it is floral, but a Rose note makes an appearance too.
The base is a warm musk, with clean wood notes. It’s so soft, clean and polite that it’s almost apologetic. Eventually it fizzles out to not much, and it hasn’t made much of an impression on me at all.

Top: Mandarin, Lemon, Peach, Bergamot
Middle: Pink Pepper, Coriander, Freesia, Geranium, Rose, Jasmine
Base: Cedar, Vetiver, Benzoin, Tonka, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Patchouli

Platinum Egoiste Review

February 23, 2009

Platinum Egoiste is the flanker to Egoiste. Launched in 1993 and still about today, probably because it’s so quiet and inoffensive. The “Platinum” part comes from an old French saying, “Qui a de la platine”, “He who has Platinum”, used to describe an eloquent man. Similar to saying someone has a silver tongue. Makes me think of Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne from the Witches of Eastwick. He’ll-say-anything-to-get-you-into-bed kinda guy.

platinumegoistePlatinum is round, smooth and, for lack of a better word, fresh. It’s not aquatic by any stretch of the imagination. The fragrance must have been copied into thousands of shower gels, because I can’t get the image out of my head. There is a light Orange note up top, followed by an aromatic-floral accord.
The muted fragrance develops slightly into a woods, but they have been given a very light, transparent touch. This is why you can tell this is a 90s fragrance, it’s so clear. Reminds me of YSL L’homme with it’s soft floral feel, but Platinum is fresher in character, which is where L’homme wins out for me. I just don’t get most fresh fragrances, especially when the volume is turned right down.
It feels as though Platinum “breaks apart” rather than moving smoothly between stages. There is a softness in the drydown that reminds me of Burberry Touch, but without the violet leaves. The base is a slightly sour, powdery vetiver, again with the light feel.

Top: Lavender, Rosemary, Petitgrain, Neroli
Middle: Clary Sage, Geranium, Galbanum, Jasmine
Base: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Cedar, Cistus Labdanum

Egoiste Review

February 21, 2009

Egoiste is the 3rd Chanel Masculine, launched in 1990. Egoiste is apparently the relaunched version of Bois Noir, which was a US exclusive and (according to reviews on Basenotes) had more Sandalwood and Vanilla than Egoiste. More? Egoiste has plenty! Apologies for the small image, I couldn’t find a decent sized one.

egoisteAs soon as it’s sprayed, there is a sweet citrus note that lasts mere seconds. Egoiste’s first impressions are of a sweet, boozy, sugary, Anisic cough syrup. But I like that! There is a soft wood note, which is also warm, and a sweaty smelling note, probably Cumin. I think Egoiste may well have been the predecessor to other Anisic beings, like Yohji Homme and Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin.
The sweat note disappears pretty quickly for a Cinnamon and Rose / floral accord similar to YSL’s Opium to hang about. But as the surroundings for this accord are very thick in feel, it never gets to take over.
A vanilla note, similar to Bvlgari Black, and Ambrette, similar to the sweetness of Dior Homme Intense are the “thick” surroundings which live in the drydown. The smoky floral and cinnamon combination against the vanilla and ambrette sweetness is delicious and enticing. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla and more boozy vanilla essence makes it smell of some kind of vanilla liquer when it’s on the card, whereas on me, the Sandalwood is apparent alongside this.
Egoiste shouts for attention and wants to be heard – I’m happy to listen. I think Egoiste came too early to be appreciated, and as such is harder to find than it’s flanker.

Top: Mandarin, Rosewood, Coriander
Middle: Rose, Carnation, Cinnamon
Base: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Ambrette Seeds

Antaeus Review

February 19, 2009

Launched in 1981, Antaeus is Chanel’s second masculine. Antaeus is named after a hero from Greek Mythology, who was extremely strong as long as he stayed in contact with the Earth. Which made him vulnerable when lifted into the air and got him crushed by Hercules. Weakness aside, he was a manly man, who killed men for their skulls to build a temple to his father, Poseidon.

antaeusAntaeus is many things, but it’s not manly. As it’s sprayed, there are lots of warm moss and wood notes apparent. Slightly spiced and leathery too. It’s an old leather jacket. One that’s been worn for years, cracked leather with buttons re-attached and treated like a friend rather than an object, and just taken off so it’s still warm.
The heart is mostly dried flowers to me. I think there is some kind of Frankincense or something here too.
There is also a baby powder note to me. Really very talcy. As soon as I notice the baby powder note, it takes over the fragrance for me. The drydown is baby powder with harsh woody notes and leather in the background. To me, there are similarities in the overall smell between Antaeus and Bandit. But Bandit doesn’t have the talc note. Antaeus is also in the same vein as Miss Dior, which is why I think that it would be better on a girl than it would be on a man.

Top: Lemon, Lime, Coriander, Clary Sage, Myrtle, Lavender
Middle: Thyme, Basil, Rose, Jasmine
Base: Castoreum, Leather, Oakmoss, Labdanum, Beeswax, Patchouli

Pour Monsieur Review

February 17, 2009

Pour Monsieur was Chanel’s first Masculine fragrance, launched in 1955. Although strictly speaking, Antaeus was released in 1981 before this was re-released (and reformulated by Jacques Polge) in 1988, Chanel say the fragrance is unchanged. According to Chanel, this is “The fragrance of the (almost) ideal man”. I’m tempted to agree.

pourmonsieurPour Monsieur has a bright citrus opening, like any classic chypre, following the structure Bergamot – Labdanum – Oakmoss. Clean, bright and cheery – just like Eau Sauvage in character. To me, Chanel took the structure of Pour Monsieur, took away the citrus, added Iris and Leather, and got No 19.
There is warmth in the heart, an ambery Oakmoss that is lightly spiced. This is certainly a fragrance for a gentleman. Classy, refined. Oakmoss, for some reason, is associated with “old people” by young consumers. I hope that when they get older, they feel that they can wear a fragrance like this, because it’s really timeless.
The Oakmoss drydown is smoky, dry and captivating. It’s incredibly pretty, but barely lasts. The poor longevity is the one bugbear I have with this fragrance, and the reason I agree with the Chanel’s statement.

Top: Verbana, Orange, Lemon, Neroili, Petitgrain
Middle: Ginger, Coriander, Basil, Cardamom, White Pepper
Base: Oakmoss, Cedar, Vetiver

“Best of ’08” No5 Eau Premiere Review

January 6, 2009

As I mentioned in my previous post,  Chanel’s Eau Premiere is one of my favourite feminine releases of the past year. The thing with the “original” No5 (I always think of the EdT as the original) is that it’s a hard fragrance to beat – No5 is a classy and incredibly feminine fragrance.

It’s the first fragrance that comes to mind when anyone says “Aldehydes”, because it famously contains a huge dose in the topnotes. According to various articles on the history of No5, Coco Chanel herself wanted the fragrance to be abstract, unique, and artificial. She’s quoted as saying “Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition”. I’m glad that Ernest Beaux made what he did – a stunning luscious soft floral.

No5 Eau Premiere is the newest interpretation of the fragrance. The original No5 was the Parfum, released in 1921 for gifts to the customers in Chanel boutiques. The Eau de Toilette was released in 1924 to make it more accessible. The Eau de Parfum was released in 1986 to contend with the power-fragrances of the time – like Poison and Opium. A common misconception is that the EdP is the “original”. I’d like to dispel that myth.

The marketing for Eau Premiere wants us to think of No5 as a painting. Eau Premiere would be the watercolour. My interpretation of this is that it’s transparent, with soft edges. If No5 really is a painting, I’d like to extend the metaphor.
The Parfum is the oil painting – beautiful but “thick”. The top note of mainly Neroli and Aldehydes persist for hours, and eventually there is a rich buttery floral left on the skin.
The EdT would have to be a 1920s Art-Deco work, the Aldehydes here are softer than in the Parfum, the top notes are more ‘Peachy’ and it has a soft, powdery and Rosy heart. Romantic and classy.
The EdP would be an ugly piece of Pop-Art. Loud, bright Ylang-Ylang over a sharp and Fatty Aldehydic note, similar to the Aldehydes of the time demonstrated well in Estee Lauder’s White Linen, with a slightly Animalic and dry Iris base.

eaupremiereWith Eau Premiere, the first impression is indeed of lightness and transparency. The Aldehydes have obviously been toned down, as it doesn’t smell quite so ‘old’. They are in no way sharp or offensive, but instead have a feeling of modernity, they are still familiar. With the toned down Aldehydes, the citrus note that has been hidden behind them is free to make an appearance. A light lemon citrus topnote is supported by a light Neroli in the background. This makes the opening distinctly “fresh”.
The heart is a soft Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine accord, slightly fecal and inky, and a floral bouquet note, which suggest flowers but never explicitly reveal themselves.
The base is warm, soapy and almost buttery and lingers on the skin for a good 4 hours. The sillage reminds me of the No5 soap – I get a wonderful waft of it whenever I open the drawer that it lives in in my store.

The best thing about Eau Premiere is that it is still obviously Chanel No5. I like that a lot.

Top: Neroli, Ylang-Ylang, Aldehydes
Middle: Rose Absolute, Jasmine Absolute
Base: Sandalwood, Bourbon Vetiver, Bourbon Vanilla