Les Exclusifs de Chanel Are Here!

February 12th, 2007

Les Exclusifs de ChanelFebruary 12, 2007 was an important day in the life of many self-respecting perfume fanatics – the new Les Exclusifs de Chanel were finally released! A fellow perfume lover that I know through Makeupalley was actually the first person in the whole United States to purchase the scents, and I made history being the first person to be utterly glued to the display at my local Chanel boutique, and, secondly, whip out my own empty sample vials begging the sales person to let me make a few sprays to take with me (she openly admitted to have never seen such a thing). The experience was ecstatic. I fretted earlier about not wanting to be disappointed, and I’m relieved to say I’m not. All the six scents are indeed exceptional and very much in the spirit of Chanel, and while I don’t love them all equally, I’m truly impressed by each one. Below is a brief overview of what my nose could obtain from these meager samples.

Rue Cambon 31 – probably the most sophisticated of Les Exclusifs, a gorgeous blend of iris, rose, jasmine, and sandalwood, slightly reminiscent of Bois des Iles minus the woodiness. I love the composition but it seems to have a rather faint heart, as if it doesn’t quite open up. It also has a certain melancholy to it, certain aloofness, and I predict it’ll take some time for me to truly “get” it.

No 18 – according to Polge, there’s never been anything like it which I instantly agreed with until I detected a similar accord to that in L’Artisan Timbuktu (perhaps it’s the green mango note). No 18 is centered around ambrette seed, a rare ingredient, that seems to possess a slightly sour, pickle-juice-like aroma. Therefore, it’s an odd scent but appealing nonetheless. A bit musty, a bit spicy, and definitely unique.

Bel Respiro – a very pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to fall for this one as much as I did. It smells of fresh cut grass, summer days, warm air, and leisure. I detect galbanum and perhaps hyacinth. Very aptly described as “stemmy” by Polge, it’s light and airy but exceptionally blended. I envision myself wearing this a lot in summer.

Coromandel – ah, instant mad love which wasn’t a surprise as the notes promised to have such an effect. Coromandel is done using the popular nowadays gourmand amber and patchouli theme. No wonder it instantly reminded me of the Prada perfume, except Coromandel is far superior in both composition and character. Its heart is very ambery and spicy, with patchouli adding but a wet earth undertone that never dominates. Truly mesmerizing! It’s bound to be very popular.

Eau de Cologne – a very nice cologne, with lots of zesty lemon that takes a slightly sweet turn reminiscent of fresh lemon candy. Nothing more to say as it didn’t quite move me.

28 La Pausa – all about iris. Sparkling, slightly sweet, moderately powdery iris. Think Hermes Hiris with added fruity notes, maybe? The drydown is lovely but the scent seems a bit too faint, it needs more presence. However, further testing is necessary.

All the scents are in the eau de toilette concentration. They come in huge 6.8 fl. oz (200 ml) spray bottles, with a fancy magnetic top. The lasting power depends on the scent (Coromandel is definitely the strongest). As a side note, the reissues – Gardenia, Cuir de Russie, No 22, Bois des Iles – seem to have been tweaked, especially Cuir de Russie which was another pleasant surprise as I actually got leather! I highly recommend testing all these fragrances – Chanel doesn’t disappoint!

Les Exclusifs are available at Chanel boutiques exclusively.

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  • 1. Marina  |  February 13th, 2007 at 12:01 am

    My nose is a-twitching to start a-smelling! Thank you so much for the reviews.

  • 2. carmencanada  |  February 13th, 2007 at 3:00 am

    I’m planning to drop by Chanel rue Cambon today… And thinking I might walk out with Cuir de Russie anyway (added leather? Meow!). I get the feeling these are a little weak in concentration from your first appraisal. But they all sound very well done. I’m especially, oddly tempted by Bel Respiro.

  • 3. Leopoldo  |  February 13th, 2007 at 5:09 am

    *too weak-kneed to type. Wants at least three immediately*

  • 4. Nina  |  February 13th, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Ooh, the excitement! Can’t wait for my sample set to arrive. *whisper* You might want to change that date to Feb 12th 2007?

  • 5. shifts  |  February 13th, 2007 at 6:28 am

    I just can’t wait. Oh my…

  • 6. chaya ruchama  |  February 13th, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Whoooppee !

    Thanks, Inushka !

  • 7. Judith  |  February 13th, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Can’t wait, can’t wait! Well, I really shouldn’t have to wait–I could go to my local boutique. But I’m busy and wanted to give them prolonged tries, so I sent for a decant set. Can’t wait, can’t wait.

  • 8. Judith  |  February 13th, 2007 at 6:41 am

    PS Not so sure I like hearing about the others being tweaked, though. I adore CdR parfum just as is. You never got leather from it before?

  • 9. Elle  |  February 13th, 2007 at 7:53 am

    SOB. Want. But you have given me great hope by mentioning a Timbuktu note in #18. I adore ambrette seed, but Timbuktu is pure evil on my skin and a green mango note can deep six anything for me. However, that’s not much comfort since I feel I will need all the rest other than the EdC, which I knew from the start would not be essential. Need to have another long talk w/ DH about the attractiveness of the local homeless shelter.
    I’m w/ Judith – am not at *all* happy about the tweaking of the others. I thought they were perfect as they were. For either CdR or BdI to be changed even a tiny bit would be pure tragedy imo. Let them tweak away w/ Gardenia, but the rest are sacred.

  • 10. newproducts  |  February 13th, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Oh, Coromandel sounds so good!! How wonderful that you got to sniff these so soon after their release. I look forward to trying them at my own usually late time. :-)

  • 11. Victoria  |  February 13th, 2007 at 9:45 am

    It took me a while to make up my mind, since all of them are quite beautiful. After I have worn all 6 of them thoroughly, La Pausa and Bel Respiro emerged as my favourites without a doubt. Coromandel was my favourite from the start, but then I found it to be somewhat flat. It is like diet Coco.

  • 12. Kelley  |  February 13th, 2007 at 9:58 am

    That pickle juice smell in No. 18 is something that not all people can smell. I am betting that it’s Iso E-Super. The first time I took a whiff of the men’s Tumulte, all I got was pickle juice and after much research, found out that it was loaded with Iso E-Super, a synthetic sandalwood/cedar compound. I had to trade the bottle because I never could get past it…I mean, who wants to smell like a pickle?

    By the way, can’t wait to try these!

  • 13. mharvey816  |  February 13th, 2007 at 11:11 am

    As excited I am about the new line, I’m concerned at the confirmation that the existing Rue Cambon scents have in fact been “tweaked”. Now I feel better about buying an extra backup bottle of No. 22 this past weekend, just in case.

  • 14. annE  |  February 13th, 2007 at 11:23 am

    So, it sounds as if you agree with Luca Turin, and Chanel may very well turn out to be the saving grace of contemporary perfumery. :)

    Thanks for your early reviews; I am filled with admiration at your courage in carrying in sample vials for the SA to fill for you! I suppose I could have done the same thing (there is a boutique not far from me), but I found that the easier, softer way was to order a decant set. I am a mouse when it comes to dealing with haughty boutique SA’s.

    I have just recently tried and been smitten with Cuir de Russie – how ever did it take me so long? I guess I *do* need to go to the boutique so that I can make a comparison. I will keep your brave example in mind.

  • 15. Tigs  |  February 13th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    What a coup – you’re the first to post reviews of these, Ina! I’m going to wait until I get to France, I think. (Don’t even know if they’ll have them at the Calgary boutique.) I think I’ll take some sample vials with me and try your technique. The No. 18 is driving me crazy – smells like Timbuktu, you say?! Another one I’ve been dying to try. Arg! I don’t like the sounds of them tweaking the others, though. Now tweaking was necessary, IMO.

  • 16. Patty  |  February 13th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Dying, dying…. where is my fed ex or ups guy?!?!?!

    :::: sigh:::

  • 17. violetnoir  |  February 13th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Right on, Ina! I love your assertiveness. It never hurts to ask; the least the SA could have said was “No!” But she didn’t! :):)

    I can’t wait to test these. No. 18, 28 La Pausa, and Bel Respiro sound absolutely wonderful.

    Thank you for your “sneak peak,” darling.


  • 18. March  |  February 13th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Of course, Les Exclusifs are coming to Washington, D.C. … never. As our Chanel ladies informed me oh-so-crossly… doing a little dance with you, though, in excitement! Can’t wait for my decants to arrive from My Ususal Sources — Patty, I hope you’re out there, hon, driving around looking for the Fed-X guy… :-)

    I have high hopes for Coromandel, but it sounds like a couple of the others have potential. Soooo excited!

  • 19. chaya ruchama  |  February 13th, 2007 at 3:57 pm


    I just bought the Coromandel. Yup.
    Happy Valentine’s day to me !
    Bottom line- the patchouli is very well aged, and winey /earthy, somewhat vanillic, like oaken casks.
    If that description appeals- then you’ll love it.
    I did…

    31 Rue Cambon takes wearing- it went through three phases-
    1) pretty
    2) meh
    3)much prettier-haunting, even.

    After hand-washing, I still liked what I smelled. A good sign.

    La Pausa: I’ll need to side-by-side w/ ISM- there are similarities, but the drydown of Pausa has a dark note, like a non-Mysore sandal note.

    Bel Respiro:
    I like it, but I’ll have to put it on skin-
    My impression, is that there are other really green, grassy scents out there, and that it’s pretty, but linear. Disappears fast.

    #18 : I really like it.
    Ambrette with hibiscus reminds me of the ‘passiflore’ note, Very fresh, musky, pretty.

    Smelled the new CdR- it does feel more leathery, a little less biting.
    Didn’t sniff Gardenia, BDI, EDC,or #22.

    That’s all, she wrote…

  • 20. winterwheat  |  February 13th, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Great reviews. Can’t wait to try these. Dang blizzard, slowing up the mail an extra day! >:-(

  • 21. aliki  |  February 14th, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Apart from 31 rue Cambon and Bel Respiro, I don’t know how nor why the names were chosen. Chanel 19 is one of my favourites ever, and my daughter was born a 19th of August too… I guess I love Chanel scents as much as their names and stories. Can you let me know more about this fabulous series? Many thanks and even more kind regards-

  • 22. Victoriasown  |  February 14th, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Liking them all really – reserving my “love” for a few more wearings. Wearing La Pausa today, to see how it does over time.
    It might just move up in my ranking. :O)

  • 23. Shannon  |  February 15th, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Ina, I was just writing about the launch of this fragrance today when I came across your first hand review…so I included you in my post with a link back here to your post. :)



  • 24. Flora  |  February 16th, 2007 at 2:17 am

    Hmmmm – could Bel Respiro possibly be a suitable replacement for my beloved Patou Vacances? Green, grassy, galbanum, hyacinth….I can’t wait to try it! The others all sound wonderful as well.

  • 25. barbara edlin  |  February 20th, 2007 at 3:47 pm



  • 26. Kerry Fairr  |  February 21st, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Received my samples. Tried 3 so far. Coromandel best, Bel Reposo I liked but disappeared too quickly. 28 La Pausa was really great. I’m trying one each day.

  • 27. Ian Booth  |  May 20th, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Why, why, why, – of all the perfumes on the market there are only two I cannot stand. The Chanel one is Bois des Iles – I bought it for my wife last Christmas – never again [the other is Dior’s Poison]

  • 28. Nataly  |  May 30th, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Dearest members.
    Could you give me inet adresses where I can order samples of Exclusifs de Chanel?
    TNX in advance

  • 29. Ina  |  May 30th, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Nataly, you can try fragrantfripperies.com

  • 30. Aromascope » Scents&hellip  |  May 30th, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    […] Parfumeur, Vie de Chateau by Parfums de Nicolai, Hierbas de Ibiza, Sous Le Vent by Guerlain, Bel Respiro by Chanel, Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca by Guerlain, Eau Sauvage by […]

  • 31. Mary Helen  |  July 16th, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I am heartbroken. I serviceman bumped a shelf and broke my three Chanel fragrances — Coco, Rue Cambon 31 and La Lausa. The problem is that these were exclusive samples and I do not know where I can replace them. Do you have any ideas. Thank you.

  • 32. Aromascope » Best O&hellip  |  December 27th, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    […] Les Exclusifs de Chanel […]

  • 33. Fatima  |  January 28th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    please , I want to know the price of bel respero perfume
    (chanel) ??

  • 34. Sandra Chen  |  May 14th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Can you recommend any place online or in NYC where they sell the Chanel Les Exclusifs, especially Bel Respiro? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • 35. Michele Priamos  |  September 17th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I’m trying to purchase Bel Respiro… I cannot find it anywhere! Help…

  • 36. The Rue Cambon. « K&hellip  |  April 26th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    […] & I recently ordered samples of the Chanel Les Exclusifs line of perfumes and eagerly await their arrival. During one of our endless email chains, we […]




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