February 12th, 2007
February 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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